Lesson 3: Applying Construction to Plants

6:24 PM, Sunday October 31st 2021

Lesson 3: Applying construction to plants - Album on Imgur

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Here is my work for lesson 3. I didn't noticed before validating the post that I forgotten the leaf exercice. Here is the link for this missing page https://imgur.com/gallery/4UzuhMI (this way the submission will be complete)

This lesson was fun to make for me as there was less difficult " working on the drawing basics" like the previous two.

Anway, all the remarks and critics are welcomed!

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10:17 PM, Monday November 1st 2021

Starting with your arrows, these are coming along decently, although there are definite signs that show you kind of rushed through these, and didn't necessarily exhibit as much patience and care as you had when you went through this exercise in your work for Lesson 2. In your newer set, you tend to run into the issue of making your arrows bend rather than twist more often, and your hatching is definitely far from the best you can do. The work itself is still okay, but you should be investing as much time as you need to execute each exercise to the best of your ability, without exception.

Keep in mind that when I see things like this - that is, signs that a student is not giving their work their all - I also tend to look at other things, like how much time has passed since their previous submission. From what I can see, your Lesson 2 work was marked as complete 2 weeks ago, so it does does lean into the idea that you may have rushed certain things.

Continuing onto your leaves, you start off well (doing a good job of establishing how these simpler structures move through the space they occupy (although you seem to be missing the flow line from step 1). When you move beyond this step, however, you seem to throw the instructions aside, and jump right into skipping important constructional steps. As shown here, regardless of how complex your leaf is meant to get, you start them all out the same way. Put down a flow line, then construct a simple silhouette around it. THEN build up any additional complexity, bit by bit, onto the existing edges of that silhouette.

Since this is all covered in the instructions, I'll leave you to go through them again - but I'll provide a list of additional demonstrations (some of which I just keep for critiques, some of which are available in the lesson) that you should go over:

As a whole, construction as a process is all about building things up gradually, breaking complicated problems into a series of smaller, simpler ones that can be solved one at a time. In the context of these leaves, by building that simple silhouette around the flow line, we're establishing how the leaf as a whole moves through space. Then we can build on top of it, not having to worry about how it all flows through space, and instead just focus on every little adjustment we're making to the leaf's silhouette. When you approach a leaf as shown here, you're effectively trying to establish many things at once - how does the leaf move through space, how do the edges vary from that basic trajectory, etc. The more you try to do all at once, the less effectively you'll achieve any of it.

Continuing onto the branches, it again looks like you haven't really paid much attention to the instructions. As explained here each segment goes from one ellipse, past the second, and stops halfway to the third, and then the next segment starts one ellipse back and repeats the pattern from there. This allows for a healthy overlap between them, which in turn helps to achieve a smoother, more seamless transition from segment to segment.

Along with that, you also don't appear to be drawing through any of your ellipses two full times before lifting your pen, which as discussed back in Lesson 1 is required for every ellipse we freehand throughout this course. Lastly, you're maintaining a consistent degree for your ellipses here - as discussed in the ellipses video from Lesson 1, they should actually be getting wider as we move away from the viewer along the length of the tube structure.

Now, moving onto your plant constructions, the same issues certainly continue to show up. You skip constructional steps when dealing with leaves, your branches don't have their segments overlapping (resulting in more stilted, sudden transitions from one to the next), and so on. That's not to say these drawings are bad - some of them are definitely overly simplistic and don't show enough time being invested in their observation, but they are moving in the right direction.

There are two things that we must give each of our drawings throughout this course in order to get the most out of them, and I'd argue that right now you're missing out on both. Those two things are space and time.

While I've already established that you're not giving yourself enough time to actually process and follow the instructions provided, and that there are definitely cases where you're not giving yourself enough time to execute the exercises whose instructions you do know to the best of your ability, right now it appears that you are thinking ahead to how many drawings you'd like to fit on a given page. It certainly is admirable, as you clearly want to get more practice in, but in artificially limiting how much space you give a given drawing, you're limiting your brain's capacity for spatial reasoning, while also making it harder to engage your whole arm while drawing. The best approach to use here is to ensure that the first drawing on a given page is given as much room as it requires. Only when that drawing is done should we assess whether there is enough room for another. If there is, we should certainly add it, and reassess once again. If there isn't, it's perfectly okay to have just one drawing on a given page as long as it is making full use of the space available to it.

There are a few last things I want to call out:

  • When drawing a bunch of petals or leaves together, be sure to draw them all in their entirety, using the leaf construction technique. Do not allow them to cut each other off, as you've done here, and definitely do not simply draw what you see directly from the reference, as you did here. Constructional drawing is an exercise focused on understanding how the things we're drawing exist in 3D space. Our goal here is not to simply create pretty pictures, but rather to rewire our brains by having them solve these kinds of spatial puzzles over and over.

  • When drawing flower pots, don't limit yourself to a simple cylinder structure and call it done. Actually add in whatever else is present there - for example, another ellipse inset within the opening to help capture the thickness of the rim, and another to establish the level of the soil. Being sure to construct these cylindrical structures around a central minor axis line will also help you keep those ellipses better aligned to one another.

Ultimately, I'm kind of disappointed by the trend you're showing here, of not following the instructions that are laid out in front of you, and prioritizing getting the work done as quickly as possible rather than doing it to the best of your current ability. This course works entirely based on having students do their best - investing as much time as that requires - to streamline the critiquing process. That's how we're able to keep the feedback as cheap as it is.

I'm going to ask that you do Lesson 3 over again, in its entirety, and that you send it in as a new submission, which will cost you an additional 2 credits.

5:28 AM, Tuesday November 2nd 2021

Thanks once again for all your remarks. I failed big time... I started to focus on drawing a year ago with Draw a Box so I get I have a awful lot to learn compared students from together backgrounds.

That's why I still tend to cling to symbolic drawing as it is difficult for me to see all the construction process behind a picture right away. I definitely need to add more construction lines when I draw my plants and more step into creating my drawing.

If I start right away with contours and (even small) texture details, they'll tend to keep on appearing flat.

Anyway I have a question. In the critics It often comes up that I tend not to draw through ellipses. I think I understood what It means but I would like to confirm it. Not drawing through my ellipses means I tend to disassociate the flow with the center of the ellipse is that right?

But Marshall Vandruuf in his perspective lessons on black board with chalks explains they are some cases like when drawing a wheel and its axe. In this case, the center of the ellipse does not coïncide with the center of the circle...

How can I check if I'm drawing though my ellipses (or not)? Should I use my french curves and draw a funnel around? The exercice when we learn to draw through ellipses is the funnel exercice isn't it?

2:31 PM, Tuesday November 2nd 2021

So you may have forgotten what it means to 'draw through' ellipses, because it's much simpler than that - although to be fair, we do use the term "draw through" for two independent things, which obviously lends to the confusion. In the context of drawing forms (like boxes), it means drawing as though we have x-ray vision, so we can see all of its edges, including the ones that are blocked from view. So for example, in terms of what I mentioned about your clusters of flower petals or groups of leaves, I'd want you to "draw through" them (in other words, draw each one in its entirety, not cutting them off where they're overlapped by another).

In the context of ellipses however, I'm referring to what's explained here in Lesson 1 - the idea of simply drawing around the ellipse two full times before lifting your pen.

Hopefully that clarifies things.

4:31 PM, Tuesday November 2nd 2021

I see... I would have use the expression "gosthing method" in this case.. So my problem is that when I draw the ellipses to construct my branches, I tend not to make enough rotations...

Now that I recall, my first first table of ellipses was very much like that....

Thanks for the clarification...

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