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


Starting with your arrows you're drawing your marks with a great deal of confidence which helps solidify the feeling of fluidity that arrows posses as they move through the world they exist in.

It's good to see that you're experimenting with the rates of foreshortening in your arrows, but your arrows do sometimes look a bit unnatural and stiff as it seems to me you become a bit unsure of how their edges should overlap. So don't be afraid of letting your edges overlap and to ensure that you're constructing a solid structure, try to construct your arrow in segments with the ghosting method, in this manner you can gauge whether your lines would look right and overlap the way they should before committing to a mark.

Don't forget to add shading to the overlaps of your arrows, hatching will help you communicate more clearly how your arrows sit in 3d space and help you reinforce your own sense of spatial reasoning and as finishing touch, always make use of added line weight on top of the overlaps to reinforce their depth.


The linework for your leaves is looking smooth which helps communicate their fluidity and sense of energy, it's good that you're not only trying to capture how these structures sit statically within space, but also how they move across it from moment to moment, however 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.

Another thing that impacts the fluidity of your structures is the way you're approaching more complex structures because you're often skipping construction steps when drawing them.

This structure is looser than it could be, due to the flow lines for the individual "arms" of the complex structure going past the boundary laid out by the previous phase of construction (the one where you established the simple overall footprint for the structure). The bigger shape establishes a decision being made - this is how far out the general structure will extend - and so the flow lines for the later leaf structures should abide by that.

And this structure is looser than it could be, because you skipped construction steps and tried to capture the complex form of the structure right away, instead of constructing each individual arm with the leaf construction method and only then connecting them together. Even though leaves are single entities they can still made be made up of several parts.

This construction is also loose because you tried to capture the complex form of the structure immediately, but this looks like some kind of monstera leaf or a leaf structure that otherwise has a lot of holes in it. In this case we approach this type of structure in the same way we approach edge detail, but instead of adding onto the structure we cut back into it, almost as if we were outlining the spot that some scissors will cut out of the paper. Take a look at this demo for how to construct these types of leaves.

Your addition of edge detail is coming along quite well made, you're not attempting to capture more than one piece of edge detail at a time, and you're often approaching it additively - that is, constructing it on top of your preexisting structure, as well as putting it down with the same general line thickness as the rest of your construction, but you do need to spend more time with the execution of each mark - because there are so many and they seem individually unimportant, you're putting less time into each one and so they do not properly rise off and return to the existing stroke - there are often gaps and overshoots that should be avoided.


Onto your branches you are starting to move in the right direction as you're following the instructions for the exercise, you're drawing your edges in segments which allows you to maintain higher control over your marks and helps you create more solid and organic looking structures.

There are some visible tails present in your branches, but this is a very common mistake and as you keep tackling this exercise during your warm ups your marks will naturally improve.

For ellipses it's good to see that you're making an attempt to always draw through them twice, as that allows for a smoother mark overall. It's good to see that you're aware of the ellipse degree shift and making use of it in your constructions, which helps these structures feel more solid and believably tridimensional.

Plant Construction Section

And lastly let's take a look at your plant constructions, where unfortunately it seems you're not always sticking to the techniques and methods introduced in this lesson as thoroughly as you should, which affects the quality of your work and how much you're getting out of these exercises.

Here are some of the issues present in your work and how to address them in order to start to get the most out of this lesson.

Always keep in mind that the construction methods and techniques introduced in this course must always be applied to your work, as they're tools which will help you construct much tighter and solid looking structures, there are times where you deviate from the construction methods by not starting constructing your branch structures fully

or drawing your leaf structures with the correct method. They're not guidelines or suggestions - they are rules.

Always keep the different stages of construction in your work clear and specific, don't leave gaps in between a leaf's flow line and it's outer edges, they must connect.

You're not making use of edge detail in your pages even though it was pretty good in your page of leaves, edge detail would have greatly helped you further communicate the form of your structures and how they move through space, but by not adding it they're left very simple, so make sure to add edge detail whenever possible, and remember that only the last step of leaf construction - texture - is optional.

In this construction the leaf circled in red is skipping construction steps, you're trying to capture the complex shape of the leaf structure right away, which hurts it's solidity and fluidity.

  • Because we're drawing on a flat piece of paper, we have a lot of freedom to make whatever marks we choose - it just so happens that the majority of those marks will contradict the illusion you're trying to create and remind the viewer that they're just looking at a series of lines on a flat piece of paper. In order to avoid this and stick only to the marks that reinforce the illusion we're creating, we can force ourselves to adhere to certain rules as we build up our constructions.

  • For example - once you've put a form down on the page, do not attempt to alter its silhouette. Its silhouette is just a shape on the page which represents the form we're drawing, but its connection to that form is entirely based on its current shape. If you change that shape, you won't alter the form it represents - you'll just break the connection, leaving yourself with a flat shape. We can see this most easily in this example of what happens when we cut back into the silhouette of a form.

You can see here in this mushrooms circled in red places where you've cut back into your forms, and then in purple are areas where you extended off existing form's silhouettes. The same is true for this cactus construction where you cut back into your silhouettes.

Cutting back into the forms you've already drawn is something that only works for already flat structures such as leaves, but when it comes to structures with actual volume to them we must ensure that we're always working on them additionally, always constructing new and full forms on top of what we've already drawn, as shown in here.

Final Thoughts

It seems to me that you haven't fully grasped why these techniques and methods should be applied to your work, and why they are important, which causes the quality of your work and the usage of these methods to be very inconsistent in your pages.

It's important that you understand how to make use of these techniques to the best of your ability in order to construct a structure that feels tridimensional. As such I'm going to be asking you for some revisions so that you can revisit these exercises before delving into more complex subjects. Take your time to look at the relevant lesson material mentioned here, then please reply once you're finished with:

1 page, half of leaves, half of branches.

2 plant construction pages.