100 Treasure Chest Challenge

12:10 AM, Saturday January 30th 2021

100 Chest Challenge - Daniel B - Album on Imgur

Direct Link: https://i.imgur.com/q4AitM6.jpg

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It took me a month, but I finally finished it! You got me to draw more than 100 boxes, again. You're a terrible person... but thank you. I feel much more prepared for lesson 7 now. As always, any critique is welcome. Thanks for making such an effective course!

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12:53 AM, Tuesday February 2nd 2021

Hahaha- well in my defense, the treasure chest challenge was an optional task that you threw yourself into without further prodding! But alas. Let's take a look at your work.

So as a whole you've done an excellent job when it comes to first your core constructions, and secondly exploring all kinds of different designs. You're definitely well on your way, and some of the issues I can think to address have definitely been noticeably addressed in your later chests, but I think are still worth talking about, if only to make sure that they're defined clearly (as we often develop a vague awareness of things on our own, but don't necessarily know why we've opted to push ourselves in a different direction).

The first point I wanted to call out is about consistency in how we choose to convey our visual information to the viewer. We have a lot of tools at our disposal - we've got clean, crisp linework and we've got clearly designed shadow shapes - two things we've used abundantly throughout this course as a whole. Working digitally, you've got other choices as well - working in different tones (the full range of greys is available to you), and more painterly marks are there for you to use as well.

The key is figuring out what works with what, and making concrete decisions in that regard. For example, if we look at D20 - your mimic chest with that lovely, disgusting fleshy mouth texture along its interior - it immediately jumped out at me that on one hand you made a lot of use of clean linework, but for that texture ended up kind of hedging, approaching it a more painterly fashion with marks that were not as clean and committed as the rest. When placed together, it definitely makes the interior texture feel sloppier, less intentional and less designed. If the whole chest were approached with this same painterly approach (perhaps eschewing linework for a more value/rendering focused approach), it would have been perfectly consistent, and therefore successful. Conversely, had you opted to stick to solid, black, cast shadow shapes along the interior instead of playing with all these different greys, it would have been a cohesive piece. Always make sure you choose your tools, and stick to them.

A quick pit stop over at D27 - I think exploring these different elements like legs and such is great, but don't hesitate to first and foremost get lots of additional reference (just because we're drawing chests doesn't mean your reference needs to restricted to that - if you're going to include animalistic bodyparts, grab reference for those too, in order to ensure that you're working from more than just your memory. Looking at different kinds of legs, tails, hell - even fang structures you might find in snakes. Also, when it comes to the chest itself, even if you're going to be tearing holes in it, first pinning that design down (in terms of what the chest would look like when whole) will ensure that you're presenting enough information even with holes punched into it that the design remains convincing to the viewer. Here it does feel like if you remove the holes, the chest that remains is quite plain and uninteresting.

I quite loved D37, and I feel like for the most part it was really well done, but I did find that long the bottom edge there, where you redrew the silhouette in a way that kind of zigzagged back and forth across that edge of the form, it kind of undermined the solidity of that part of the construction. When it comes to construction, I try to remind students that they should avoid simply redrawing an existing edge, just for the hell of it. We end up tracing that existing line as it sits on the page, rather than focusing on how it represents an edge in 3D space. Instead, focus on building onto that edge, adding the parts that change, but allowing the part that doesn't to continue to hold itself up.

Of course at the end of the day, especially when drawing digitally like this you might find yourself in a situation where you want to redraw the linework to clean it up on another layer - in that case, remember to always draw your lines the way you'd have drawn them originally - with the ghosting method, with confident executions, and not hesitantly and carefully in a "tracing" manner.

We can see similar kinds of issues in D44, where I feel that bursting edge there, where the tentacle's poking through on its left side, because there's no solid scaffolding supporting the bent metal, it doesn't quite read as solid as it could have. Try not to skip steps, even for the sake of design - ensure that everything is supported by solid construction. Alternatively, you could sketch something like this out more loosely, then draw a more firmly constructed approach at applying the same design, so you don't have to sort out construction and design simultaneously.

The last thing I want to mention is that there are some textures - especially when it comes to those wooden boards on your chests - where I think revisiting the texture exercises might help. Here I feel you're not drawing enough from reference, and not informing your marks based on really studying the forms that would be present. Instead the marks have a sort of vagueness to them that undermines the believability of the final construction. Even when we make relatively simple marks to imply a texture, those marks do still have to be distilled from reality. Once you've studied plenty more such such arrangements of wooden boards, you'll have developed your visual library enough to be able to reproduce that kind of information off the top of your head in a more believable fashion, but until then doing so from reference will be very valuable.

So! With that, I'll go ahead and mark this challenge as complete. You've definitely done a great job, and while I picked at a few areas with room for improvement, I am very pleased with the sheer variety of different designs you've presented here, and how your core constructions demonstrate themselves a well developed, solid grasp of construction. It's always easy to get drawn away from that when delving deep into detail, but you're still headed firmly in the right direction. Keep up the great work.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
1:07 PM, Tuesday February 2nd 2021

Thanks for the critique! This all makes sense.

Regarding the texture exercises, you're right, I do need to work on that more. I've been avoiding it. Do you have any examples of students who have done well with the 25 texture challenge that I could look at?

5:24 PM, Tuesday February 2nd 2021

You can see all the submissions for that lesson here: https://drawabox.com/community/homework/SA0GRX9/1

There aren't many, so going through them shouldn't take too much time.

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The Art of Brom

The Art of Brom

Here we're getting into the subjective - Gerald Brom is one of my favourite artists (and a pretty fantastic novelist!). That said, if I recommended art books just for the beautiful images contained therein, my list of recommendations would be miles long.

The reason this book is close to my heart is because of its introduction, where Brom goes explains in detail just how he went from being an army brat to one of the most highly respected dark fantasy artists in the world today. I believe that one's work is flavoured by their life's experiences, and discovering the roots from which other artists hail can help give one perspective on their own beginnings, and perhaps their eventual destination as well.

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