Lesson 1: Lines, Ellipses and Boxes

9:01 PM, Monday October 18th 2021

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My Lesson 1 HW, any criticism is welcome. Let me know if there's any issues with the upload.

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4:52 PM, Friday October 22nd 2021

Hi Wilp. Welcome to Drawabox, and good job making it this far. I have a fair amount to say, so I'll split my critique up into the same three sections as the lesson itself to make it easier to understand. Some of it might seem harsh, but it's all meant to help you improve. Without further ado then...


Looking at your exercises for this section, I'm fairly confident that you aren't ghosting your lines properly before you draw them, nor drawing them confidently from the shoulder. I'm seeing a lot of wobble that comes from worrying too much about accuracy, and the fraying at the starting points on your Superimposed Lines (like this: https://d15v304a6xpq4b.cloudfront.net/lesson_images/1585f266.jpg). Controlling where such a long line ends up can be hard, but you have complete control over where it begins, so this shouldn't happen so long as you take your time.

Think of ghosting a line as doing practice runs at drawing a line from point to point in a single fluid motion. You might find it takes seven, eight, or even more passes to get the feel of the motion down, but this is the kind of care and attention necessary for good markmaking. This motion should come from the shoulders (and occasionally the elbows), which are better for this sort of work than the wrist. Don't worry too much about accuracy; this comes with time and practice, and slowing down to correct your trajectory is how lines become wobbly instead of smooth and confident.

There's also a little bit of arcing here and there. If you notice that happening to your lines in the future, try deliberately drawing a slight arc going the other way. This should counteract the effect and get you into good habits. You've also redrawn one or two, which we don't encourage. If you can tell you've made a mistake, don't worry too much, and just work through it.

On the positive side, I can see that you have been fairly diligent about plotting your lines, and otherweise followed all the instrutcions, so as long as you start taking your time with the ghosting process, you should be able to improve quickly.


You've done a fairly good job keeping your ellipses in their intended spaces, and keeping the ellipses in your funnels exercise properly aligned to the minor axis. Unfortunately I'm seeing a lot of the same confidence issues that are present in your lines, leading to some unevenness here and there.

You're also drawing through most of your ellipses much more than the two or three times prescribed by the exercise. I think I know why: it's tempting to keep your pen moving as you repeat the motions and develop a more smooth and confident shape. But getting that in place is something that you should do during the ghosting phase. I do note, however, that this is something you seem to have ironed out yourself as you've progressed through the exercises, and the fact that you've corrected this error on your own is very good to see.

The only other issue is that there should be a more appreciable difference in the angles (width) of the ellipses in your Funnels exercises, with the ellipses thin in the centre and getting wider as they approach the edge. Try holding a pot lid or CD up with the thin side facing you and move it side to side to observe this effect in real life. (This is fairly advanced, so this is something to think about once you've mastered the more fundamental matters discussed above.)


Your Plotted Perspective exercise looks okay, though there is one box that doesn't quite read as a 3D shape (rightmost in the second set) and I would note that it's probably better to draw a horizon line in the frame rather than using the frame itself. Your Rough Perspective is also looking pretty good, save for the line issues I've already covered. You're plotting your lines back properly, though you seem to have skipped or forgotten this step on the last few frames.

Your Rotated Boxes look pretty good, too. You've followed the instructions well, and your rotation effect is consistent and accurate save for the top-rightmost box. (I did see some redrawn lines, though. Remember, work through your mistakes.) Your Organic Perspective exercises look okay (I think you did especially well on the swooping guideline), but it might be better to keep the boxes consistently bigger or smaller as they get closer to or farther from the viewer, since this is a perspective exercise. (Again, this last point is fairly advanced, and something you'll come to get a grip on once you've done Lesson 2.)

Next Steps:

I know that was a lot, but don't get discouraged! I think you need to really get a grip on the core principles of markmaking before you'll really be ready for your next step, but I also think you should be able to do it as long as you take your time. As such I'd like you to do the following further exercises before you move on:

  • 1 page of Ghosted Lines

  • 1 page of Ghosted Planes/Ellipses in Planes

The rest of the course won't help you much if you don't master these basic skills and stay diligent in applying them. Drawing a single line should take just as much time and effort when you're constructing a box or even a complex 3D form as it does when you're doing these starting exercises. It takes patience, but that patience will be rewarded.

You can show me your corrections in a reply to this critique, and please feeel free to reply with any questions that you have as well.

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
10:12 PM, Monday October 25th 2021

Thanks for the advice. I've redone my Ghosted Lines and Ghosted Planes/Ellipses.


I also have a few questions regarding the ghosting technique.

Should I be drawing at a consistent speed for all of my ghosted lines regardless of length?

Should I always apply the ghosting technique?

Should I use my shoulder for all of my lines? Or is there any length I should only use my elbow or wrist for?

Thanks again.

6:24 AM, Wednesday October 27th 2021

Hi, Wilp. I'll start by answering your questions.

First of all, if by speed you mean the speed at which you are actually moving your pen across the page, then you should be drawing at whatever speed is comfortable and produces good, confident lines. Probably this won't change much with line lenth, but I encourage you to find what works for you. On the other hand, if you're talking about the total amount of time it takes to produce a line, then it might takee more ghosting passes to find a good, smooth motion before you put pen to page for a longer line, but what matters most is giving each line as much time as it needs, so things like finding a good angle for the page matter as well.

Yes, you should ghost out every line you draw for the duration of this course, and it's a valuable technique in general art practice as well.

For the purposes of this course, default to drawing from your shoulder or elbow. (You can also think of this as drawing with your whole arm as opposed to just your wrist.) There are times where the kind of fine control your wrist has is valuable though, especially in Lesson 2 where we cover texture. It's a matter of finding the right tool for the right job, and for most of the construction you do on this course the right tool is the elbow and shoulder, even for shorter lines, because it's usually a smooth trajectory that matters.

Turning to your revisions, what I'm seeing at the moment is inconsistency. Some of these lines are as smooth as silken butter, but others show very noticeable wobble. But it is an improvement, and I think you'll get even better with further practice. Remember that part of ghosting is finding a comfortable angle for your lines, so don't be afraid to rotate the page so you can use a more comfortable motion.

Your ellipses are still looking a little uneven but they too show significant growth. Keep practicing ghosting and focus on confidence to refine this into a smoother execution.

Next Steps:

This is a good effort and you've shown real improvement, so I'm going to recommend you move onto the 250 Box Challenge. Good luck!

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