Lesson 3: Applying Construction to Plants
4:47 PM, Saturday April 10th 2021
Used references: https://imgur.com/a/EzRFjjf
Used references: https://imgur.com/a/EzRFjjf
Starting with your arrows, you've done a great job of capturing how these flow fluidly and confidently through space. That same confidence is definitely present in your leaves as well, although I did notice that many of these were drawn with a bit too much focus on how they lay flat against the page, rather than how they actually move through all three dimensions. The second column of leaves are definitely better in this regard, but pushing that sense of flow in the others would definitely help.
That said, you've shown a lot of clear respect for the constructional method here, in how you've built up your edge detail with individual changes, adding bumps separately, one by one, onto the existing structure.
Continuing onto your branches, it appears you've done a great job of following the instructions here. You've got a healthy overlap between the edge segments, allowing them to transition more smoothly and seamlessly from one to the next. The ellipses themselves are just a little bit stiff at times, though only just. Be sure to continue executing them with confidence, prioritizing their flow and even shape over their accuracy, and executing them from your shoulder using the ghosting method. Again, though - it's a really minor level of stiffness that I'm seeing, and will probably rectify itself by just thinking about a more confident execution, rather than overhauling your whole approach.
Moving onto your plant constructions, you're definitely moving in the right direction overall, but there are a number of key issues I'd like to point out in your work, which should help you stay on the right track:
Firstly, I'm noticing a pretty heavy tendency to go back over your existing linework, adding line weight to the whole silhouette of entire forms. Line weight is a very specific tool - we use it to clarify how particular forms overlap one another in limited, localized areas, applying it confidently so we can blend it back into our existing linework with tapering strokes (as shown here). Here you're definitely using it way too much, and you appear to be treating it like an opportunity to "commit" to certain lines, creating a very clear distinction between your "construction" and your "final drawing". Don't - every single mark you put down is part of your drawing, and the construction is the whole drawing. Unless you need to clarify how two forms overlap, or something needs to be changed, don't go back over an existing stroke.
Your linework tends to be very uniform, which suggests to me that you may be pressing a little too hard on your pen as you draw. This may actually be the source of that "stiffness" I noticed. Generally speaking, a fineliner doesn't really need that much pressure to make a nice, rich mark on the page - try to keep yourself from pressing too hard, and instead focus on achieving a nice fluid motion from your arm as your pen glides across the page.
As a rule, avoid having your next phase of construction completely replace the previous one. For example, on this page, the wavier, darker lines of the leaves completely replace the previous marks, and it's very clear that you've drawn them as a single continuous stroke, rather than a series of individual bumps coming off the previous phase of construction and returning to it. In this regard, you're breaking the third principle of markmaking from lesson 1.
When drawing your cylindrical flower pots, like on this page:
Make sure you're constructing your flower pots around a minor axis to help keep the ellipses aligned to one another
Remember that as we slide away from the viewer (for example, the base is farther from the viewer than the top), the ellipse's degree should be getting wider. This is explained in a few points throughout the course, but more recently I updated the ellipse section video for lesson 1 and included an explanation as to why this occurs.
Flower pots are much more than just a basic cylinder. They've got a rim at the top, which has thickness to it - we can capture this by including another ellipse inside the first one. We should also draw a complete ellipse to capture the level of the soil, and for any other feature of the pot that you may see in the reference image. Don't just settle with a basic pot.
Lastly, when it comes to how you approach adding detail to your drawings, I noticed that you appear to be focusing primarily on "detail" being an opportunity to decorate your drawing and to make it look as impressive as you can manage. As such, you've tried quite a number of things, from capturing the form shading, to the patterning on the various surfaces, etc.
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.
So to this point, remember what we discussed back in Lesson 2's texture section. Everything we capture in terms of detail is going to be implied - because it's all about the actual physical forms that are present on the surface. We're drawing the shadows those little forms cast. Each mark is intended to communicate the presence of such a form.
When it comes to shading, as discussed in Lesson 2, leave all that stuff out. When it comes to any sort of local colour/patterning, because we only have black and white to work in, it's generally best to just leave that information out too, and treat our drawing like it's covered in white. That way we can focus entirely on conveying to the viewer the information we could feel with our hands, rather than what we can see with our eyes.
I'm going to assign a few pages of revision below - it won't be much, because all in all you are moving in the right direction, but I want to see that you understand the points I raised here, primarily the one about not going back over your linework so much.
Please submit the following:
Thank you for reviewing my homework!
First of all, I wrongly used line weight to make drawing prettier instead of clarifying how forms overlap. I fixed my approach in the revision.
My linework was very uniform probably because I used low quality pens. I switched to Faber Castell PITT Artist Pens for the revision. Drawing with new pens felt better.
I still struggle with textures. Your explanation to treat everything like it is painted in white and focus on what could be felt with hands was very helpful.
Used references: https://imgur.com/a/YovdKPD
Looking good! As a whole your constructions are well done, and you're doing a good job of capturing the solidity of most of your forms. Just a couple things:
Your ellipses need work - right now they're being drawn more hesitantly, so they come out a bit more uneven and don't quite maintain the illusion of being solid and three dimensional. I recommend you review the recently updated video content for Lesson 1's Ellipses Section to remind yourself of why this is important. Also, don't forget to draw through your ellipses two full times in all cases throughout this course.
With texture, always aim for less rather than *more. Try to focus on how you can communicate the textural quality of a surface with as little ink as possible. With your detailed leaf on page 2, you definitely ended up basically covering almost the entire leaf, rather than just focusing on putting down a few simpler cast shadows to imply a couple veins here and there. It really wasn't necessary to go quite so far.
Remember that line weight should be executed, as with all marks, with confidence, using the ghosting method. Right now your line weight tends to appear pretty stiff and traced, and you're struggling to blend it into the existing linework. This also relies on the confidence of the stroke, which as shown here makes the mark taper on the ends, allowing for a smoother transition.
Anyway, you can continue to work on these things as you move forwards. I'll go ahead and mark this lesson as complete.
Move onto lesson 4.