Lesson 3: Applying Construction to Plants

2:33 PM, Thursday October 21st 2021

DrawABox Lesson 3 Homework Submission hkkbun - Album on Imgur

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Hello, this is my homework submission for lesson 3.

My fear and perfectionism took over me for months, but a comrade on discord helped me get back on track.

Also, I'd like to say thank you for the videos and instructions !

All comments and critiques are highly appreciated.

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5:02 PM, Friday October 22nd 2021

Starting with your arrows, great work - you're doing an excellent job here of drawing these with a great sense of confidence and fluidity, which helps to push the manner in which the arrows really push through the space. One thing though - I did notice that here you're using line weight quite gratuitously, kind of separating out the pieces that we can see "through" the existing forms from the "real" drawing. Instead, I'd recommend using line weight in a much more limited fashion, focusing it specifically on the areas where overlaps occur (so the areas where the zigzags occur, and the ribbon folds back over itself), and allowing that line weight to blend back into the existing stroke. This approach tends to be more effective in general, as you can see here in this example of two overlapping leaves.

Moving onto the page of leaves, you've carried forward the same confidence and fluidity from your arrows to help capture not only how those leaves sit statically in 3D space, but also how they move through the space they occupy. There are however a few points I'd like to call out here:

  • Firstly, remember that when working on a specific exercise for this course, it's important that you stick only to those instructions - I can see that you did end up jumping back and forth between some branch structures, and even combining branches with leaves on the left side there. Stick to one problem at a time.

  • Secondly, it looks like for the vast majority of these, you stopped at step 2 of the instructions, and only pushed forward into step 3 in a small handful of them. Step 3 is still quite important, and needs to be practiced - there were plenty of opportunities to explore the addition of more complex edge detail throughout all of the simpler leaves you'd drawn, and no real reason not to do so.

  • In this leaf where you did add more complex edge detail, you ended up zigzagging that edge detail back and forth as a single stroke, effectively redrawing a whole new leaf on top of the previous phase of construction. The reason why zigzagging back and forth like this is a mistake is explained in these notes - instead, each individual bump should be defined with a separate stroke, rising off the existing structure and returning to it. Construction is all about taking the structure that exists and changing it in small steps, rather than outright replacing and redrawing it in its entirety. Ultimately the marks we draw to start will still play a role as part of the "final result", specifically in areas where they did not need to be altered, as shown here.

For your work on the branches exercise, you're largely tackling this exercise quite well. I can see that you're extending your line segments fully halfway to the next ellipse, allowing for a healthy overlap between them, which in turn helps to achieve a smoother, more seamless transition from one to the next. YOu're also maintaining fairly consistent widths throughout the branch structures (which helps to maintain their solidity) and the degree of your ellipses is shifting nicely to convey a more fluid movement through 3D space.

Continuing onto your plant constructions, overall you're doing pretty well, but there are a few hiccups specifically when you tackle more complex leaf constructions - this kind of comes back to the fact that you seemed to be kind of off track when tackling the leaves exercise, and may have been momentarily distracted from that page. Perfectionism has a habit of doing that - because we get so trapped in our own heads about what we're doing right/wrong, we focus on our own judgment of our work, and forget that our only job is to follow the instructions in front of us to the best of our ability. We expect more from ourselves, and therefore get the feeling that we should be able to bring more of ourselves into the work - but that isn't what's being asked for here.

This plant is a big example of diving into greater levels of complexity too quickly, without the appropriate structure in place to support it. For example, in this one you started out with a simple shape, then ended up drawing all of these various "arms" of that section of leaf in one go (perhaps after laying down a few basic flow lines). Instead, as shown here and in this complex leaf structure demo, it's more effective to actually build up separate, simple leaf structures individually, then merge them into one. I also see the same zigzagging issue in a number of cases in your drawing, like here.

Fortunately these issues are entirely a matter of approach, rather than skill, so they're easily fixed. I'm going to assign a couple additional pages below so you can demonstrate your understanding.

Before I finish up the critique, I do want to remind you of one thing - back in Lesson 2, we talk about form shading not being something we'll apply in the drawings for this course. The somewhat scribbly hatching here falls more into the territory of form shading. Remember that texture itself is all about identifying specific textural forms that exist along the surface of our objects, and implying their presence through specific cast shadow shapes (rather than randomness/scribbling/hatching). Of course, this is rather time consuming.

Cases like this where you've filled in the opposite side of the leaf also counts as form shading, as it is basically saying that the particular surface is darker due to it being turned away from the light source. Cast shadows themselves are always independent shapes that are projected from one form, onto another surface, and in so doing, defines the relationship between those two structures (which is why it's such a powerful tool to use).

Anyway, you'll find those minimal revisions below.

Next Steps:

Please submit the following:

  • 1 page of leaves - play with both simple and complex leaf structures, and apply up to at least step 3 from the instructions (texture/detail is optional and not that important for what we're looking for here)

  • 1 plant construction - preferably a particularly leafy one.

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
10:04 AM, Sunday November 14th 2021

Hello. Sorry for the super later reply. Here is my revision sir.


5:35 PM, Monday November 15th 2021

As a whole, this is definitely better. Just a couple things for you to keep in mind as you move forwards:

  • Some of your leaf constructions do a good job of building changes onto the existing structure bit by bit, while maintaining that underlying, simpler structure, allowing its solidity to carry forward as we build up the construction. Others, however, have you leaning more towards redrawing the leaf in its entirety - for example, this one where you've visibly replaced the entire earlier structure with a new one with somewhat darker edges. This results in a much weaker relationship between the different phases of construction. Always try to get as much of that previous stage to shine through as you can, allowing it to stand for itself where possible, so as to lend more of its solidity to the next stage.

  • I noticed a number of places where you filled the negative space (where you'd cut into the silhouette of a given leaf) with solid black or hatching. You'll note that this is not something we do in the lesson/examples/instructions, so you should not be altering that approach yourself.

  • In general, always try to reserve areas of filled black for cast shadow shapes specifically, as that's the assumption the viewer will naturally gravitate towards - that any filled black shape was meant to be a cast shadow. Once they can't make sense of it in that manner, they'll move onto other possibilities, but by that point you've already done some damage to their suspension of disbelief. So- don't use solid black to fill negative space, or the opposite side of a given leaf (that leans more into form shading, where the orientation of the surface impacts whether it's light or dark, which as discussed here is not something we'll employ in this course), or to capture any kind of local/surface colour.

I'll go ahead and mark this lesson as complete.

Next Steps:

Move onto lesson 4.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
10:37 PM, Monday November 15th 2021
edited at 1:03 AM, Nov 16th 2021

Arrrgh, I misunderstood twice. I thought that form shading, that is my blacking out the other side of the leaves was good practice. TT

Thank you so much for your feedback and critiques!

edited at 1:03 AM, Nov 16th 2021
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