How do you increase your spatial reasoning?

10:32 PM, Monday May 30th 2022

Hey all, I've been doing Drawabox for a while and I'm stuck on the drawing boxes. My biggest issue is line convergence in pairs. I, for the love of me, cannot seem to get it. I read and read and read, I practice and practice, and I watch youtube videos but nothing is sticking. I've crumpled up paper after paper, wasted sheets but drawing a box in perspective with lines that correctly converge is outside of my current ability and it's stopping me from moving on. Is there anyway I can learn spatial reasoning to help me? Which I think is my problem. Any tips?

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5:08 AM, Tuesday May 31st 2022

The entire point of this exercise (and ultimately DaB in general really) IS to improve your spacial reasoning. You're not expected to come into course with it already formed. It'd be like working out and building muscle in preparation for going to the gym. So don't worry that you can't get it perfectly.

Converging in pairs is a mistake I make a lot too. I think the problem is when planning out a line, you may accidentally focus too much on how it convergences with the other line on the same plane and not give the same amount of thought to the other lines it also converges with.

2:31 PM, Tuesday May 31st 2022

Thanks for responding. Hey, have you figured out a way to lessen the focus a bit? I had to sleep it off and my mind is a bit more renewed this morning (over here as of writing), though I am a bit worried I'll be making mistakes.

10:39 PM, Tuesday May 31st 2022

I think it comes down to conscious practice. When planning out your lines stop and pay very close attention to the angle of every single line drawn so far that converges to the same VP as it, and angle it so that it agrees as much as possible with all of them.

It'll take some tries, but as I said before don't try to strive for perfection, strive for good enough.

1 users agree
4:13 AM, Tuesday May 31st 2022
edited at 4:28 AM, May 31st 2022

Drawing boxes in perspective is really hard in the beginning. If you're doing the 250 Box Challenge, then you should just do your best with each box and move on, not be crumpling up page after page till you get it right. Over time as you continue to attempt to draw boxes and other objects in perspective and strive to understand, it will come to you little by little. Spacial reasoning likely isn't a skill you're going to just get and then have it; for me it wasn't a light switch, but rather a progress bar. Don't let your lack of understanding keep you from completing the exercises. Just do your best to complete the required number of pages with a reasonable level of effort (you shouldn't have to kill yourself) and then get it critiqued.

Before I did Drawabox I studied perspective and rotating boxes freehand quite a bit (which was really hard, especially at first, but got easier with regular practice over many months). I also studied Marshall Vandruff's perspective video series which helped a bit. He discusses the "three-line system" referring to the 3 axis of 3D space, which are represented in a simple box. If you can draw a "solid" box in any orientation and rotate it around at will (with understanding of how it sits in space), then you're well on your way to understanding how the rest of the visual world works spacially.

Edit: I just looked at your submissions and saw that you just completed the 250 Box Challenge. Way to go! That's a great achievement. As you do your additional 30 boxes, I hope Comfy's advice starts to sink in.

edited at 4:28 AM, May 31st 2022
2:53 PM, Tuesday May 31st 2022

Thanks for responding. I suppose I've been so hard on myself as of late because I have so much expectations for me. I have been at it for months and it feels as though I am unable to make any progress. I haven't given up, and I don't intend to. I do appreciate the encouragement. I will do my best.

5:36 PM, Tuesday May 31st 2022
edited at 5:39 PM, May 31st 2022

You're welcome. Yeah, I've got that same problem. I expect a lot of myself. You may find it helpful to actually look at some real-life boxes and draw from them; you can put them in different orientations and draw them from lots of different angles (a one-inch cube is perfect size to bring with you; even a rolling-die works well-enough). They can be as big or small as you like; you'll actually notice that big boxes and small boxes look a bit differently because of how perspective causes big and close things to look different from small and far things. Drawing boxes from observation really helped me. I was quite obsessed with rotating boxes for several months; it did pay off, but that sort of grinding is discouraged in Drawabox. I guess Comfy wants us to be comfortable being uncomfortable with some things and move onto learning new concepts even if we don't totally grasp the ones that were already introduced.

If you're interested, here is a bit of my journey with learning to draw boxes. Here are some of my early boxes :D The first picture was the first day I started trying to understand boxes. I created a box character named BoxBoy to give me a reason to draw a box over and over from different angles. If I wanted to draw my character in action, I had to draw another box! He's evolved a bit since the beginning almost 2 1/2 years ago; I still love this little guy and he shows up in my sketchbooks from time to time (he's even got some other geometric friends now :) ). I found that drawing the "eye" on BoxBoy also helped me learn to draw ellipses/circles from any angle as they relate to the box. Here's more boxes from a few months later (as you can see I started to draw through my boxes to understand the whole form and not just the front-facing planes).

Eventually I grew dissatisfied with mostly drawing boxes (another crisis point) and plunged into trying to actually make pictures with what I had learned rather than just constantly grinding away at the individual skills; after all, what good are the skills if we never use them to actually make art? ;) The result was a bunch of line illustrations I completed daily over the course of a couple months. I was basically implementing the 50% Rule of drawing (before I knew about it) to produce something every day without it having to be perfect; Jake Parker's video Finished Not Perfect really helped me renew my perspective. I chose my favourite illustrations of the bunch and uploaded them to my website.

I still draw boxes quite regularly in the course of my art; now they often act as a tool to help me understand space in some way rather than just trying to understand the box itself. Here's some more-recent ways I've used boxes. Yep, BoxBoy is still around :)

I know this comment is way more than you asked for, but I thought seeing my box journey might help encourage you to keep at it and give you an idea of where your efforts might lead you to. Cheers.

edited at 5:39 PM, May 31st 2022
1 users agree
4:58 PM, Tuesday May 31st 2022

Convergence in pairs was pointed out on my 250 Box exercise too, I did it a fair amount of times (and still do).

SOMETHINGX pointed out what I would say: DaB is about spational reasoning, you will get better and better as you advance through exercises.

What you can do is, while you planning your line, focus on the whole box and where all the other lines are going and what the line you will trace needs to go to match them. Yeah, that's simple to say and hard to do, but always keep it in mind.

And don't grind, just shoow your exercises to critique, the feedback from more experienced students are worthier than grinding.

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