Jumping right in with your arrows, you're off to a pretty good start here. You've put a lot of attention towards executing those marks with a lot of confidence, which helps to create a strong impression of force and fluidity in how they move through all three dimensions of space. This carries over very nicely into your leaves as well, where you're not just capturing how they sit statically in 3D space, but also how they move through the space they occupy.

I have just one thing to call out, in regards to your leaves. By and large you're handling the addition of edge detail quite well, and I can see that you're generally breaking the edge detail into separate marks, but the marks you put down for that edge detail still do end up being fairly complex, and even tend towards zigzagging back and forth. You do maintain fairly tight relationships with the previous phase of construction, which is good, but having each individual bump come back to the earlier stage of construction's edge is important in order to ensure that we're not redrawing more of the leaf than we need to be.

Continuing onto your branches, the main point of concern here is that you're not following the instructions for the exercise as closely as you could be, in regards to how the edge segments themselves are to be drawn. Each segment starts at one ellipse, continues past the second, and extends fully halfway to the next ellipse. The next segment then starts at the second ellipse and repeats the pattern. These start/end points are important because they provide a healthy overlap between them, which in turn makes the transition from one to the next smoother and more seamless. Generally speaking the issue here is that you're not extending them fully halfway, but there are definitely a number of spots where you start a little ahead of the previous ellipse, which only further minimizes that overlap.

Continuing onto your plant constructions, overall your work is pretty well done, with a few issues to keep in mind that I'll call out. Before that however, I'll answer your question, as it relates to the first point I want to discuss.

In regards to making our drawings clearer, there are definitely things we can do - although first and foremost, it is important to remember that these drawings are simply exercises. Each construction is a 3D spatial puzzle, in which we must consider how to build up towards a desired result (or more often, a desired direction defined by the reference image, as we don't usually end up copying it perfectly) in a step by step fashion, all the while considering how the elements we add exist in 3D space. So a drawing may be unclear when it's finished (and we definitely get into some seriously dense drawings later on in the course - it does get easier to make sense of all the lines as you get more accustomed to these kinds of exercises), but it will still have served its purpose.

But, as promised, we can change the manner in which you employ line weight to help give a bit more clarity. Right now you're adding line weight somewhat arbitrarily - reinforcing silhouettes for certain forms, but it tends to be heavier than it needs to be, and it isn't really helping as much as it could.

  • Firstly, it's important to keep in mind that line weight should be kept very subtle. It's not a shout to the viewer, it's a whisper to their subconscious. While you're allowed to use a thicker pen or a brush pen to fill in shadow shapes, you should still be adding line weight using the same pen you used to put the marks down initially, so as not to step up so highly in thickness as to be jarring. To that point, keep in mind that line weight and cast shadows are two very different things. Cast shadows are cast from one form onto another surface, and cannot simply cling to the silhouette of your object in the way that line weight does. Conversely, line weight cannot be overly thick, whereas cast shadows can be as broad and deep as you need.

  • Secondly, it helps a lot to focus our line weight towards a specific purpose. As explained here, I argue in favour of being quite limited in our use of line weight, applying it only in the localized areas where overlaps occur between different forms, in order to clarify the nature of those overlaps. That is ultimately what makes all of those lines very dense and confusing - there's no clear hierarchy in terms of which form is in front. This can help, and that limited, localized use can really reduce the overwhelming use of black, while still getting the job done.

Of course, you can certainly employ cast shadows where they make sense to push a surface back and bring a form forward - just be sure to outline/design those cast shadows with your fineliner first, then fill them in with whatever thicker pen or brush pen you might have on hand.

With that addressed, here are the main points of feedback I have for your constructions:

  • Always remember that the relationship between each step of construction must be tight and specific. If you draw a flow line, the subsequent petal or leaf it's meant to govern should end at the tip of that flow line. Leave no arbitrary gaps between these stages of construction, as each step is a decision being made. If you change that decision, you'll end up with contradictions in your structure that serve to undermine that illusion of solidity. For example, this drawing treats the phases of construction quite loosely - you've got some flow lines with no corresponding petals at all, and many others where the petal ends farther (leaving a gap between its tip and the end of the flow line), as well as some where the flow line itself extends beyond the leaf. This also goes for cases where you start out a flower with an ellipse, as we did in the hibiscus demo, where the ellipse defines how far out the petals will reach. With this established, you've made your decision - so each flow line should stop at the perimeter of that ellipse, and each petal should then end at the tip of its corresponding flow line.

  • Do not jump ahead in complexity, without the appropriate structure present in order to support the complexity you wish to add, as shown here.

  • Be sure to construct any cylindrical structures, like flower pots, around a central minor axis line. I am pleased to see however that you defined the thickness of the rim on this one with an ellipse inset within the opening. You can also include another ellipse to define the level of the soil - even though we can't see it, doing so would provide us something concrete for the stems of the plant to intersect with (which should also be drawn in their entirety instead of being cut off where they are no longer visible). Remember that these are spatial puzzles, and so even when we can't see part of a structure, it still exists for our purposes.

  • Also relating to the flower pot in the previous point, remember that as we slide further away from the viewer along the length of a cylindrical structure, the cross-sectional ellipses get wider, as discussed in the Lesson 1 ellipses video.

Before I finish off this critique, there's one last thing I want to address, and it has to do with the way in which you approach the details phase of a drawing, once all the construction is complete. You're not handling it badly by any stretch, but similarly to the use of the line weight, I do think you may not have as much specific, intentional purpose driving your decisions here. It's easy to get caught up in the idea of "decorating" our drawings (making them appear more visually pleasing by whatever means we can), but this doesn't give us a terribly clear goal to work towards, as there's no specific point at which one has added enough decoration.

What we're doing in this course can be broken into two distinct sections - construction and texture - and they both focus on the same concept. With construction we're communicating to the viewer what they need to know to understand how they might manipulate this object with their hands, were it in front of them. With texture, we're communicating to the viewer what they need to know to understand what it'd feel like to run their fingers over the object's various surfaces. Both of these focus on communicating three dimensional information. Both sections have specific jobs to accomplish, and none of it has to do with making the drawing look nice.

Instead of focusing on decoration, what we draw here comes down to what is actually physically present in our construction, just on a smaller scale. As discussed back in Lesson 2's texture section, we focus on each individual textural form, focusing on them one at a time and using the information present in the reference image to help identify and understand how every such textural form sits in 3D space, and how it relates within that space to its neighbours. Once we understand how the textural form sits in the world, we then design the appropriate shadow shape that it would cast on its surroundings. The shadow shape is important, because it's that specific shape which helps define the relationship between the form casting it, and the surface receiving it.

As a result of this approach, you'll find yourself thinking less about excuses to add more ink, and instead you'll be working in the opposite - trying to get the information across while putting as little ink down as is strictly needed, and using those implicit markmaking techniques from Lesson 2 to help you with that.

And that covers it! I'll go ahead and mark this lesson as complete.