Lesson 1: Lines, Ellipses and Boxes

11:31 PM, Monday November 13th 2023

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I finished my first lesson! Any feedback is appreciated.

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7:36 AM, Wednesday November 22nd 2023
edited at 7:40 AM, Nov 22nd 2023

Hi Neojazz!

I'll be doing your critique today! :)


  • Super Imposed Lines - You've done well to make sure you start each line at the same dot as there is no fraying at the beginning and only a small amount of fraying at the end, but the latter is expected. Nicely done here. However, I can see you're not exactly confident with your strokes as there is a little wobble to the lines. I'm guessing that you were trying to reduce the fraying at the end i.e. focusing on accuracy than confidence. Note that in this lesson the focus is on confidence and not accuracy. Keep practising drawing these lines with confidence in mind. The lines should be relatively straight even though they may not reach the endpoint you have your eye on. Have a review of this section to keep in mind - https://drawabox.com/lesson/1/13/wobbling. Aside from that, not too bad overall.

  • Ghosted Lines - You've done well here! You've ghosted enough that you've accurately started at the starting point and even reached very near the endpoint as well. It can be clearly seen that with your ghosting, you gained a lot of confidence in your mark-making. Very nice! I see wobbling on 2-3 lines but with ghosting practise it'll go away. Nicely done!

  • Ghosted Planes - The ghosted planes aren't bad too. There are some subtle s/c-curved lines which show that you're slightly hesitating when marking or that you are focusing too much on accuracy thus sacrificing confidence in return. Once again it is the confidence issue coming back. For the subtle c-curved lines, one thing that you can do is to consciously arch the opposite way to maintain a straight line when ghosting, this can help lessen the arching problem. For the subtle s-curved line, try to ghost a lot of times before actually committing to it, you can also increase the speed of ghosting. Again, with practise and more ghosting this will come to you. Keep these points in mind when doing these exercises during your warm-ups.


  • Tables of Ellipses - Your table needs a little work here. You've not fit your ellipses within the bounds of the table. The purpose of the table is to ensure that you try to touch the edges of the ellipses to the borders of each row and each other. Your ellipses seem to be floating of sorts and this is something that was mentioned in the lesson - https://drawabox.com/lesson/1/16/nogoal. In addition, I'm not sure if you're ghosting enough as well. The 3rd column on the 1st page clearly shows this as the 2nd stroke on some of the ellipses is completely different from the 1st stroke. To improve here, take your time to ghost. I'm not sure if you're being impatient with yourself but this is not a race. If you can practise taking the time to ghost, your ellipses will be far more accurate. Also, there is a small bit of wobbling that can be seen. Again, all these issues can be solved by taking a little more time to ghost. Please make sure that the pen you use is correctly working as I feel a pen that is running out would hinder how smoothly you can draw as well.

  • Ellipses in Planes - Your ellipses here do reach the bounds of each pane majority of the time so you've done a little better here. The second stroke of some ellipses does reach a little away from the first stroke similar to some of the ellipses in the table before but that can be fixed with practise. Once again ghosting will greatly improve how close together the two strokes of each ellipse will be.

  • Funnels -Again, it's pretty much the same feedback. Ghosting is required here. The funnel in the middle above the largest one clearly shows signs of all the issues I've mentioned. You have however managed to draw the ellipses such that the minor axis (the line in the middle) is cutting the ellipses into 2 relatively symmetrical halves so good job on that aspect.


  • Plotted Perspective - Everything looks good here, no issues!

  • Rough Perspective - Good job on keeping the lines either perpendicular or horizontal to the horizon! Also, you've accurately used the line correction method and drawn through most of your boxes though in some boxes of the first page-first row, you've missed out some corners of the boxes. Note that every box must have 4 correction lines but some of the boxes only have 3. Also, there's a little wobble/curving to your lines. This can be prevented by ghosting a little more as well as by consciously arching the opposite way to maintain a straight line when ghosting as mentioned earlier. Use your shoulder more to mark the paper as using your wrist greatly increases your chances of curved lines. Keep practising from the shoulder and arching in the opposite direction than which you tend to draw and your lines will be straighter!

  • Rotated Boxes - Good job here! Some students really struggle with this exercise. It is clear that your spatial awareness is good as you've rotated your boxes quite accurately however the distance between each corner of the boxes should be a little more closer. A little bit of curving and wobble can be seen here too in your line work but I'm sure this will improve over time. Nicely done overall!

  • Organic Perspective - The organic boxes look good! You've kept a good sense of rotation as well as perspective here too so good job! The line wobbling can be seen here too though. Even the swoopy line we needed to draw at the start has wobbling. Once again, this shows it's a matter of confidence as there is wobble in a line which didn't even have any rules to adhere to. Also, the S and C-curves can be seen too. I've noticed you do better on the larger boxes than on the smaller ones as you struggle to figure out the sides of the boxes when it's smaller. But don't worry, you'll have time to improve on these as you practise more.

All in all, this submission needs a little work. You've struggled with gaining confidence in your strokes so I'd like you to redo some of the homework as I don't feel you're confident enough to move on to the next lesson. Also please make sure that your pen is working correctly before doing the revisions.

Next Steps:

  • 1 page of superimposed lines

  • 1 page of table of ellipses

  • 1 page of funnels

  • 1 page of organic boxes

I'd really like you PLEASE take your time and ghost more. This will GREATLY improve your mark making and will definitely make things easier for you in the future lessons. Focus on confidence here more than trying to make lines accurate. Confidence is key! :)

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
edited at 7:40 AM, Nov 22nd 2023
8:39 AM, Saturday November 25th 2023

Hello, thank you for the detailed and well thought out response. About the confidence, I've done half the homework so far. Just wanting to make sure I'm on the right track. Are these still considered confident? I think i may have started reallizing as i was doing the ellipses that one of my problems was my ghosting movement didnt match my actual mark making. I would ghost with a light movement then when I made the mark, it was harder on the paper? Basically dragging the pen too hard. I don't know if that made any sense.


4:00 PM, Saturday November 25th 2023

Also I’m not sure which one you mean by organic boxes? I’m assuming the organic perspective exercise.

4:48 PM, Saturday November 25th 2023
edited at 4:55 PM, Nov 25th 2023

You are definitely on the right track with your superimposed lines and table of ellipses! This is a much better attempt than your previous submission. The lines are more confident and the ellipses don't look as haphazardly as they did before. :) I'm sure you yourself can see the difference!

As for your issue with ghosting vs mark-making, sometimes we look at ghosting and mark-making as two different things when naturally they belong together. Try this for example:

Take the pen and ghost an ellipse a few millimetres above the paper, then as you ghost slowly bring the pen down towards the paper. Keep the speed of ghosting consistent. It's at this point that sometimes we pause for a second as we suddenly think "Oh we're about to draw on the paper!" but keep that ghosting movement going while you slowly bring down your pen. Keep to the lightest of touches. You'll see how little pressure you need just to draw a faint line on the paper. You don't have to do this as part of the revision so just take a scrap piece of paper and experiment with how much pressure you need to actually mark the paper. Almost as if your arm was a robot and you had a control switch that gradually brought the 'arm' down onto the paper while the robot was just doing consistent circles. Lol. I'm not sure if that makes sense but if you want a further explanation, let me know.

Drawing ellipses is definitely harder when you are just starting off in learning how to use your shoulder to draw but don't worry, with practise you'll get better at it. Also, I'm guessing that when you write normal words, you tend to press down on the paper but with these felt tip pens you really don't need that kind of pressure. It's mainly required for later lessons when you want to draw the eye towards certain lines/aspects of the artwork.

Also to reduce the wobble (as I still see a little bit of wobbling in your table of ellipses), try increasing the speed of ghosting. Sometimes when you go a little more slowly, the brain starts focusing on trying to be accurate and then end up with a line that lacks confidence. So a little more speed and a lighter touch might help. Try doing a few ellipses like this on scrap paper before you attempt the funnels exercise.

Also if you can, try to do about two rows of the table of ellipses. This isn't part of the revision so you can skip it if you want to, but it may benefit you just to compare and see the differences between all 3 versions.

And sorry, yes I meant organic perspective. I hope this helps but it's all about loosening up and ghosting. Take your time to ghost. Sometimes it might feel a little weird to ghost about 10 times for a simple ellipse, but you'll see that after a while of ghosting, you naturally also get better at drawing them.

Let me know if you have any more questions.

edited at 4:55 PM, Nov 25th 2023
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