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4:59 AM, Tuesday December 7th 2021

Starting with your arrows, you're definitely drawing these with a lot of confidence - which is one of the more important aspects of this exercise. At times, I do get a bit of a hint of sloppiness - that is, perhaps a lack of intentional thought/planning behind your marks - but overall they are doing a pretty good job of pushing the sense of fluidity with which they move through the world. This also carries over fairly well into your leaves, where your focus on the same fluidity for the flow line helps to capture not only how each leaf sits statically in the 3D world, but also how it moves through the space it occupies.

That said, from what I can see, it appears that you've only really tackled any additional edge detail in one of these - in the bottom right - and the others appear to stop at step 2 of the leaves exercise. While step 4 (texture) is optional, step 3 where we explore more complex edge detail is not, so I wouldn't really consider this page to be complete.

As a side note, while texture isn't really a big priority here, I do want to mention that when you draw the veins (like on leaves like this), that the textural forms at play are the physical vein tubes that run along the surface of the leaf. The marks we're drawing are not lines representing the veins, but shadow shapes cast by the veins, along either side of them. You can see this in practice in the step 4 example for the leaves exercise diagram. When it comes to drawing texture in general, at least within the bounds of this course, what I stated in Lesson 2 is critical - you need to think consciously about the actual textural forms at play, and consider how every textural mark you put down is meant to be a shadow cast by the given form, onto another surface.

Continuing onto your branches, there are a couple things of note here:

  • When drawing your ellipses, be sure to employ the ghosting method, and to execute the marks using your whole arm, from the shoulder. Right now your ellipses are kind of inconsistent, and at certain angles they seem to kind of fall apart, while at others they're much better. At the very least this suggests that you're not rotating your page for each ellipse to find a comfortable angle of approach, but also that you may be falling back to drawing them from your elbow or your wrist, at least in some cases.

  • When laying out your ellipses for this exercise, space them out so every edge segment starts at one ellipse, goes past the second, and stops halfway to the third. Right now you appear to be drawing your edge segments in a somewhat more arbitrary fashion, sometimes skipping past certain ellipses as explained here.

  • Make sure that each segment extends fully halfway to the next ellipse, and that the next segments starts at the previous ellipse, as shown here. This is intended to achieve a healthy overlap between the segments, which in turn allows for a smoother, more seamless transition from one to the next.

  • Each ellipse's degree corresponds to that cross-section's orientation in space relative to the viewer. In some cases - mainly this one, it appears that you're not really cognizant of what the degree represents. Remember, that as explained in the Lesson 1 ellipses video, as we slide along the length of a cylindrical structure, the cross-sectional slices will steadily get wider. Now I do suspect that you're aware of this (some of your others, like this one) suggest as much, but your linework here is sloppy in a way that really makes it unclear.

  • You have taken a few swings at forking branches, but for some reason don't appear to have made use of the notes on how to do so.

Moving onto your plant constructions, I definitely get the overall impression that while you've put a hell of a lot of time and effort into these drawings, you've done so largely pursuing goals that were your own, rather than goals that were set out by the course or assignment itself. To put it simply - you've focused way too much on detail/decoration, and not nearly enough on the execution of individual marks, and on the construction of individual forms.

I get it - detail is a lot more fun to get into, and it also leans into things like drawing more from the wrist. It may be a more comfortable area to focus your time, whereas drawing tight, even ellipses where you need them to be may be a lot more daunting. But the thing is, these drawings are just exercises.

We aren't to focus on reproducing the reference image at all costs, or to have our drawings come out looking impressive - rather, each drawing is just a puzzle. We start with a reference image that helps us determine the direction of our goal, and we start out with simple pieces, gradually building them up piece by piece until we're able to achieve something more complex, somewhat closer to our reference than when we started. That process involves considering how different forms sit in 3D space, and how they relate to one another within it - it's by forcing our brain to think about these things as though they exist in three dimensions that helps develop that mental model of space, and our underlying spatial reasoning skills.

For what it's worth, some of your drawings have in fact come out quite impressively - this rafflesia is actually really well done. It has one issue I'll touch on in a second, but aside from that, constructionally it's well built, and even texturally, you've done a decent job in implying the presence of each little lump on its petals. I say decent because the marks themselves are kind of haphazard. You definitely decided to give each mark a lot less time, by virtue of there being so many - remember that the time a drawing requires of us is not dependent on how much time we have to offer it, but rather by how complex the drawing itself is going to be. So, for something like this, it'd have been far better had you designed each and every cast shadow shape more intentionally. Of course that'd take infinitely longer, and so you'd simply have had to spread it across multiple sittings or days.

Now, I'm going to try and touch on the major concerns I have in point form:

  • In the rafflesia, the main constructional issue is that you did not draw each petal in its entirety - opting instead to draw them where they were visible, and to cut them off where they were hidden from view by another petal. This is also an issue that comes up in the plants on this page (where again, similarly to the rafflesia's complex texture, you decided to rush rather than giving these highly complex plants the time they needed). It's important to draw each of these forms in their entirety, because of the purpose of what we're doing here. The exercises are focused on spatial reasoning - drawing each form in its entirety, regardless of what is and isn't actually visible from a single angle, allows us to better understand how it sits in space, and how it relates to its neighbouring forms within that 3D space.

  • When adding edge detail to these flowers, you've largely attempted to redraw each petal in its entirety. You started with a much fainter ellipse for each one, then went back over it with a much darker, heavier stroke. Remember that construction is all about building structures up - from the very first step that introduces a form, that form is a solid, tangible, present part of the construction. It's not a loose sketch that we're creating - every mark we put down defines something real in 3D space. The next step then builds on top of it. It's important that you avoid zigzagging back and forth, as well as just generally replacing the whole of the existing structure - both of these result in very weak relationships with the previous phase of construction, which in turn is much the same as having not bothered with the earlier steps at all. Instead, focus on each phase of construction as being an opportunity to draw the things that change - and to allow the things that don't to stand for themselves. The more you change from one phase of construction to the next, the less strongly that underlying solidity will show through, so you need to be careful about how you approach that.

  • When constructing your flower pots - specifically cylindrical ones - there are a couple things to keep in mind. Firstly, construct them around a central minor axis line, so as to ensure that all of your ellipses are more easily aligned to one another. Secondly, be sure to draw through all of your ellipses two full times before lifting your pen, as is required for all the ellipses we freehand throughout this course. Thirdly - don't just include the top and bottom ellipses, making a relatively simple cylinder. Even the simplest flower pot has more to it than that - we can place another ellipse inset within the opening to define the thickness of the rim. We can also place another ellipse for the surface level of the soil - essentially establishing a disc with which the plant's trunk or stem would actually intersect. And lastly, remember that the farther ellipse is from the viewer, the wider it'll be - so that base should have the wider degree, not the top.

As a whole, I really don't think your work here really captures the best of which you're capable. While I think you worked hard at this, I think your effort was primarily targeted in the wrong areas, and the areas we do actually want to focus on ended up getting the short end of the stick, with a lot of sloppier linework. As such, I am going to have to ask you to complete this lesson again in full, and to submit it anew - which will cost you two additional credits.

I know that you can do better than this - it will take time, of course (which of course you can mitigate somewhat by picking simpler subject matter and by leaving textural detail out entirely). More importantly though - remember the principles from the previous lessons, between the use of the ghosting method and its 3 distinct steps (planning/preparation/execution), the use of your whole arm, etc. And of course, be sure to read the instructions here more carefully (and perhaps more frequently - the material is dense, and so it's easy to forget or miss things), as that is the easiest way to avoid going down the wrong path.

9:17 PM, Tuesday December 7th 2021

Yeah, I honestly didn't feel like I did that well on this lesson when I looked over it. Thanks for being honest.

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How to Draw by Scott Robertson

How to Draw by Scott Robertson

When it comes to technical drawing, there's no one better than Scott Robertson. I regularly use this book as a reference when eyeballing my perspective just won't cut it anymore. Need to figure out exactly how to rotate an object in 3D space? How to project a shape in perspective? Look no further.

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