Lesson 3: Applying Construction to Plants

10:43 AM, Saturday November 27th 2021

Lesson 3: Applying Construction to Plants - Album on Imgur

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Thank you for your time and critique.

I tried to be careful with my arrows and fix the mistakes I had in the previous homework. But I feel I didn't quite understand the arrow part well.

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9:52 PM, Monday November 29th 2021

Starting with your arrows, while you may not feel entirely confident about this exercise, your actual results say otherwise. What I'm seeing here is confident, fluid linework that really emphasizes the way in which each one moves through the three dimensional world in which it exists. You're compressing the spacing well, so as to capture a good sense of depth as well. This fluidity carries over nicely into your leaves, where you've not only established how each leaf sits in 3D space, but also how they actually move through the space they occupy.

You've similarly done a good job of adding edge detail to your leaves, maintaining tight, specific relationships between the new additional marks, and creating extensions of that cohesive silhouette. I would have, however, liked to have seen you play with edge detail with more than just two of these leaves. Step 3 of the exercise (where we explore edge detail) isn't optional, after all, and the expectation is that students will have lots of opportunities to play with edge detail across all their leaf structures here.

Continuing onto your branches, your work here is largely well done too, though I do have a couple suggestions/reminders:

  • Firstly, be sure to always extend each segment fully halfway to the next segment. As shown here, this helps to achieve a smoother, more seamless transition from one segment to the next by allowing for a greater overlap between them.

  • Secondly, while you've done pretty well here, you have kind of dived into a more difficult way of approaching this exercise than was strictly necessary, at least to start with. You leaned into keeping the branches very thin, which will be useful (given that most flowers/plants have thin stems), but I would have definitely encouraged you to start out with thicker/wider branch structures, and then gradually work your way down. All the same, you've done well - just try to match the proportions shown in my examples a little more closely to start, so that you're not diving too deep, too soon, where one might risk missing something due to the extra challenge's distraction.

  • When drawing the ellipses themselves, always think about how each one's degree helps to convey the orientation of the circle in 3D space it's meant to represent. As discussed back in the Lesson 1 ellipses video, in the case of a perfectly straight tube, the degree of our contour ellipses will get wider as we slide along its length moving away from the viewer, and then on top of that, it would also get narrower or wider depending on how the branch itself turns in space. Here it does largely look like you kept most of your ellipses at roughly the same degree, although being as small as they are, it's a little hard to gauge your actual intent there, so I could be wrong.

Moving onto the plant constructions themselves, I feel you have by and large done a really good job here. There are a couple little mistakes that I'll address below, but as a whole I am quite pleased with your progress, and I feel you're demonstrating a good overall grasp of the principles of construction, and how they can be applied to solid objects.

The first little issue that caught my eye was simply that in a number of these, when you add edge detail to your leaves and petals, you do have a tendency at times to zigzag the edge detail back and forth across the existing structure, which as explained here is a mistake, due to how it results in a weaker relationship between your existing structures. This isn't something you're doing consistently, but it does come up enough for me to make a point of it.

The other, similarly minor concern, is that you do seem to increase the thickness of your lines as you move from one stage of construction to the next. I'd strongly recommend against this, instead trying to keep that line thickness roughly consistent from step to step. When we increase the thickness, it creates a distinction between the different phases of construction, like the thinner lines aren't really present, and in turn this can encourage us to trace back over them. While going back over your existing lines is fine (as long as you use the ghosting method to execute those marks as confidently as the original linework), it should always serve a purpose.

One such purpose is to help clarify the way in which our forms overlap one another in the world, using line weight. Line weight in this regard isn't used broadly to arbitrarily reinforce the entirety of our forms' silhouettes, but rather in a more focused, targeted fashion - being localized to the specific areas where those overlaps occur, as shown here.

So! All in all, your work is coming along quite well. I'll go ahead and mark this lesson as complete.

Next Steps:

Feel free to move onto lesson 4.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
10:14 PM, Monday November 29th 2021

Thank you for your detailed explanation. I didn't realize my line thickness was changing, and I will be more careful about it. When lines get crowded, I tend to get scared and try to fix them without thinking about their purpose. I will pay more attention.

Line weight is a hard topic for me, mainly because I am still afraid of going over the line with a fast move, and as a result, the lines don't appear confident. Also, sometimes I don't know where to apply the line weight when the construction is too complicated. I hope, with practice, it will get better.

And for the leaves, I believe I misunderstood the edge detail part when I first did the homework. I will do it correctly from now on.

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