Lesson 3: Applying Construction to Plants

12:28 AM, Friday February 9th 2024

DAB Lesson 3 Homework - Album on Imgur

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Biggest thing I'm struggling with currently is that with drawing though forms + overlapping shapes, things descend into a chaotic mess pretty quickly. I understand that line weight is meant to be used to help bring some order to this chaos, but it just seems like there gets to be so many overlapping lines it's just angry spaghetti.

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10:47 PM, Monday February 12th 2024
edited at 10:52 PM, Feb 12th 2024

Hello Danomech, I'm ThatOneMushroomGuy and I'll be the TA handling your critique today.

It is completely normal to feel overwhelmed and confused with the amount of lines present in a construction, but with time your ability to distinguish between your marks will improve and it will be much easier to distinguish between the different lines, although there are some things you can do to help mitigate it, the biggest being that you should add less structures to your pages, and which will be discussed below.


Starting with your arrows you're drawing your marks with a good deal of confidence which helps solidify the feeling of fluidity that arrows posses as they move through all the three dimensions of the world they exist in. You're keeping foreshorting in mind while constructing your arrows which allows you to make good use of the depth of your page, this gives a nice extra layer of tridimensionality to your arrows.

Your usage of hatching helps you establish how your arrows twist and turn in space and further your own understanding of the tridimensional space these objects occupy, as a finishing touch your arrows don't forget to always make use of added line weight on top of the overlaps in order to reinforce their depth.

In general you're doing well, so keep tackling this exercise during your warm ups in order take your understanding of arrows and 3D space further, experiment with the different ways arrows can twist and bend and move across space, try different rates of foreshortening and experiment with the negative space between overlaps, all of these will help you challenge yourself and develop your skills further.


The linework for your leaves is looking smooth which helps communicate their fluidity and sense of energy, it's good that you're not only trying to capture how these structures sit statically within space, but also how they move across it from moment to moment.

It's good to see that you've experimented with complex leaf structures but remember that when dealing with more complex leaf structures be sure to maintain tight, specific relationships between your phases of construction.

So for example, this structure and this structure are looser than they could be, due to the flow lines for the individual "arms" of the complex structure going past the boundary laid out by the previous phase of construction. The bigger shape establishes a decision being made - this is how far out the general structure will extend - and so the flow lines for the later leaf structures should abide by that.

Your addition of edge detail is generally looking good, as you don't usually attempt to capture more than one piece of edge detail at a time and you're also keeping the line thickness between your phases of construction roughly consistent, but you're often constructing it subtractively which is a mistake, instead, make sure to always construct your edge detail carefully, and additively, on top of your construction, as cutting back into our forms can cause us to focus too much on manipulating the 2d shapes on the page, instead of how our marks represent edges in tridimensional space.


Moving on to your branches they are coming along really decently made as you're following the instructions for the exercise, you're drawing your edges in segments which allows you to maintain higher control over your marks which allows you to create some solid but still organic looking structures.

For ellipses it's good to see that you're making an attempt to always draw through them twice, as that allows for a smoother mark overall. While it is good to see that you seem aware of the ellipse degree shift it can still be improved. At points your degrees hardly change which flattens your structures, so remember to look over the page explaining the degree shift again, and always keep in mind that as a form shifts in relation to the viewer, so will the degree of the ellipses within that structure also shift.

Plant Construction Section

And lastly let's take a look at your plant constructions, which are coming along nicely. You're generally making use of the construction methods and techniques introduced in this Lesson which helps you create the illusion of tridimensionality in your work, you're starting to develop a strong sense of spatial reasoning, but there are still some things to keep in mind.

First things first remember to always pay close attention to the instructions for the exercises and any specifications made in the homework section, for Lesson 3 the specification for the amount of plant construction pages you should submit is 8, yet you're submitted 10, including a page that you've titled "random bits salvaged from otherwise failed pages".

The use of plural in "failed pages" leads me to believe that you didn't only draw two extra pages, but many more than what were requested, and what you submitted might have been the attempts that you thought were the best and should have been included in your submission. As explained back in the introduction for Lesson 0 complete only the amount of work requested, as it's requested. Don't do any more work, that's grinding.

Moving on to your actual plant constructions an issue that hurts your work without you even realizing is the fact that you're pre-planning the amount of constructions you want to fit on a given page before you've even committed to any of them. Because of this you've artificially limited the amount of space you had to construct each structure, more space would have allowed you not only more room to work through the spatial reasoning challenges that arise when tackling these exercises, but also give you enough space to fully engage your whole arm.

Your attempts at the demos are looking generally well made and very tridimensional.

As it stands your constructions are too small and you have also chosen some very complex structures which has limited your ability to make use of the construction methods and techniques introduced in your work.

  • When approaching cylindrical structures such as plant pots make sure to start with a minor axis in order to keep your several ellipses aligned to each other more easily.

Throughout your leaf structures there are little gaps in between their flow lines and outer edges - this a mistake, all of your stages of construction should be clear and well defined, there should be no gaps in between them.

Speaking of leaf structures you're not always making use of edge detail in your pages, leaving several structures very simple and you miss out on a great tool to help you further communicate the way your structures exist and move through space. Make use of edge detail whenever possible, and remember that only the last step of leaf construction - texture - is optional. Don't forget to also start working on your edge detail additively.

Final Thoughts

In general you are doing really well with these exercises, you're demonstrating a strong sense of spatial reasoning in these pages although there are some things that can still be improved in your work. Regardless I believe these issues can be addressed during your warm ups and that you are ready for the next lesson.

I'm going to be marking this submission as complete, good luck in Lesson 4.

Next Steps:

Don't forget to add these exercises to your list of warm ups.

Move on to Lesson 4.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
edited at 10:52 PM, Feb 12th 2024
11:44 PM, Monday February 12th 2024

Big thanks for the very detailed critique, much appreciated. Understood about sticking to the exact page amount requirements and keeping to one main drawing per page.

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