Lesson 3: Applying Construction to Plants

3:59 PM, Tuesday October 17th 2023

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I've split the 8th page into two parts, because I felt the other plant on the page with the mushroom turned out very bad.

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11:19 PM, Friday October 20th 2023

Hello Koolestani, I'm ThatOneMushroomGuy and I'll be the TA handling your critique today.


Let's start by talking about your arrows, where right away we can see an issue found here which will be consistently present throughout your work, that is, the fact you're making use of an underdrawing, or lines made with fainter, lighter strokes which you then go over with a darker, thicker lineweight. This is a mistake present in all of your pages, so I won't be mentioning it every single instance of it, but regardless is heavily brings down the quality of your work, taking away the initial fluidity your original marks had as you attempt to replace them with new marks.

Onto your arrows the original linework is looking pretty smooth, and would have been even more so if you hadn't traced over your marks. You're making good use of the depth of the page, your arrows look clearly tridimensional as they move freely through the space they exist in.

You seem hesitant to make use of hatching in your arrows, so don't be afraid to add it in, it will help you further your knowledge of 3d space by helping you understand more clearly how your structures twist and turn as they move through the world. As a finishing touch to your arrows don't forget to make use of added lineweight on top of the overlaps to reinforce their depth.

In general you're doing well, so keep experimenting in order take your understanding of arrows and 3D space further, experiment with the different ways arrows can twist and bend and move across space, try different rates of foreshortening and experiment with the negative space between overlaps, all of these will help you challenge yourself and develop your skills further.


Now let's take a look at your leaves, which are generally looking pretty fluid and energetic, you're not only trying to capture how these objects sit statically within 3d space, but also how they move across it from moment to moment.

The biggest issue present in your leaves is the way you're approaching your edge detail, while it's good to see that you're not trying to capture more than one piece of edge detail at a time you're often constructing it subtractively which is a mistake, instead, make sure to always construct your edge detail carefully, and additively, on top of your construction, as cutting back into our forms can cause us to focus too much on manipulating the 2d shapes on the page, instead of how our marks represent edges in tridimensional space.

You also have some unnatural bends present in your leaves. Keep in mind that even though leaves are very flexible structures, that mostly applies to their length and not their width, they're like a piece of paper, not a piece of rubber, they can fold and bend in a lot of ways, but they can't stretch or compress, and if you try to force them to they'll simply rip apart.


For your branches you're not following the correct methodology for these structures, while it's good to see that you're extending your edges in segments, you're extending your lines several times starting at the same point, which leaves several visible tails in yout branches and defeats the purpose of extending our segments in this manner - that is, creating the illusion of a single mark made up of several compound strokes that run seamlessly into one another.

So remember how branches should be approached: by starting your segment at the first ellipse, then extending that line past the second ellipse and only up to the halfway point between the second and third ellipse. After these steps have been taken you'll start a new segment at the next ellipse point and continue with this methodology until your entire branch is complete, never redo a mark, only extend each segment once.

You're not always drawing through your ellipses twice which leaves them a bit too loose, don't forget to always draw through your ellipses twice before lifting your pen from the page. Something to focus on is that many of your ellipses degrees barely change when they should due to how the ellipse degree shift works, as shown here. Remember that as a cylindrical form shifts towards or away from the viewer, the degree of the ellipses within that structure will also shift.

Plant Construction Section

And now let's take a look at your plant constructions. While you are demonstrating a strong and developing sense of spatial reasoning in the tridimensionality of your structures in these pages, they are being severely impacted by the fact that you're not closely following the instructions for the exercises, as mentioned beforehand the biggest issue is that for every single of your constructions you're not only approaching them with an underdrawing, but in this case you're switching between pens, both are mistakes.

Drawing earlier phases of construction more faintly and switching between pens can make one think of Drawabox exercises as sketching, where the initial lines are only building blocks for the refinement that comes later on. But Drawabox exercises are not sketching, they're drills created with the explicit purpose of helping you develop your spatial reasoning skills, it's important that you commit to your marks and respect the decisions and boundaries that they establish as they all contribute equally to the solidity of your structure. Lineweight itself can be added towards the

end of a construction, focusing specifically on capturing how the different forms overlap one another, as explained here.

There are other problems present in your pages which hurt the quality of your work, such as the fact that you're often pre-planning how many constructions you wish to fit on your page.

For these exercises there are two things we must allow ourselves in order to get the most out of our practice, they're time and space. In order to ensure we're making the most out of the space on our page, we cannot pre-plan how many constructions we wish to fit in it before committing to any single drawing. Instead, we must start each page with the idea that we will do only a single construction in it, made to the best of our current ability.

Drawing bigger will allow us to draw through all of the forms present in our work, construct all of our forms fully, and truly engage our spatial reasoning skills, and truly understand how our structure exists in 3D space, how each form exists in relation to the others close to it - in the event that we draw our first construction as big as we needed in order to be comfortable yet there's still a lot of space on our page, then we can certainly add another construction, still following the same principles as before. However, if there's no space left on our page, there's nothing wrong with leaving a single construction per page.

Another very important thing is to make sure that you never deviate from the instructions for these exercises, execute them how they were written, to the best of your current ability. The construction techniques and methods introduced in these lessons aren't just guidelines or suggestions, they're tools which will help put you in a certain mindset and not only draw your structures as they look, but how they exist fully, in an actual tridimensional space.

However these tools will only be effective if you actually apply them, and for several of your constructions you deviate from the instructions for the branch construction method as well as the instructions for drawing leaf structures, by drawing their silhouette right away, instead of building them up in simpler steps, which causes some of your structures to be left stiff and awkward, such as in here and in here you're also not always adding edge detail to your leaf structures. Despite the misleading name, edge detail is actually another step of the construction process, and as such it's not optional. Only the last step of construction, texture, is optional.

There are some places in your constructions where you haven't drawn the parts of your forms which wouldn't be visible to the viewer, which is a mistake. You should always be drawing through your forms and constructing them fully, as not doing so will severely limit your ability to work through the tridimensional puzzles that arise during these lessons and it'll limit how much you're getting out of the exercise.

You also leave several of your forms open ended, which you must avoid at all costs, if a branch runs off the page, cap it off with an ellipse beforehand, and don't leave leaf structures open ended, as it flattens and stiffend your construction.

I also need to give you a reminder that when tackling these exercises you want to be entirely focused on the task at hand and follow the instructions as they are written](https://drawabox.com/lesson/0/3/gettingthemost). So if you're going to be tackling plant constructions you'll want your entire page to be made up of plant constructions, with no leftovers of other exercises such as form intersections present, which I noticed you had in a lot of your pages.

Final Thoughts

Looking through your work I'm lead to believe you're generally not paying enough attention not only to the instructions for the exercises, but also important principles for the lessons, such as the fact that you should not grind.

I don't believe you've given yourself the time that was necessary in order to fully understand these exercises, as such I'm going to be asking you for some revisions. Please revisit the relevant lesson material and then reply with:

1 page, half of leaves, half of branches.

4 plant construction pages.

4:26 PM, Wednesday October 25th 2023

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8:41 AM, Friday October 27th 2023

Hello Koolestani, thank you for getting back to me with your revisions.

While your work here is marginally better than your original pages as you give yourself more space to work on your constructions and stop switching between pens, as well as become more intentional with your marks, creating some tighter structures overall, unfortunately it seems not all of my feedback was taken into account. You're still running into many of the issues which greatly harm the quality of your work mentioned previously such as:

  • Not drawing through your forms.

  • Not constructing your branch structures with the branch construction method in several of your pages.

  • Zigzagging your edge detail and leaving it out entirely from your actual plant constructions, when it should have been added in.

These are issues that heavily impact the quality of your work, as such I'm going to be asking you for some more revisions, because it's important that you address these mistakes before facing more complex construction challenges in the following lessons. Make sure to reread your critique and revisit the relevant lesson material, then please reply with:

1 page, half of leaves, half of branches.

2 plant construction pages.

Next Steps:

1 page, half of leaves, half of branches.

2 plant construction pages.

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
2:48 PM, Saturday October 28th 2023

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