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


Let's start this critique by taking a look at your arrows, where your linework is looking confident and smooth which helps communicate the feeling of fluidity that arrows have as they move through the world. You're also making good use of the depth of the page with your use of foreshortening, and your well applied and correct placement of the hatching helps solidify the illusion of depth you wish to achieve in this exercise.

It's good to see that you're making use of added lineweight on top of the overlaps to reinforce their depth, but remember that this lineweight must be subtle and applied only to the areas where your marks overlap.

In general you're doing well, so keep tackling this exercise during your warm ups in order take your understanding of arrows and 3D space further, experiment with the different ways arrows can twist and bend and move across space, try different rates of foreshortening and experiment with the negative space between overlaps, all of these will help you challenge yourself and develop your skills further.


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.

There are some small signs of unnatural bends present throughout your structures so 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.

It's good to see that you've experimented with complex leaf structures, but remember not to skip construction steps when approaching these more intricate structures.

This structure is looser than it could be, because despite establishing a main boundary for the structure you don't fully construct the individual arms of the structure with the leaf construction method, leaving gaps in between them and going past the initial boundary you've established. Make sure to always keep the relationships between your stages of construction tight and specific.

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.

For your addition of edge detail it is generally coming along nicely, although there are a couple of points that you can strengthen in it. While not common, there are a couple of places where you overshoot your marks and zigzag your edge detail which is a mistake that goes against the third principle of mark making from Lesson 1. You should also keep in mind that you should put down your edge detail with the same line thickness as the rest of your linework, so as not to encourage yourself to redraw more than you strictly need to.

Your application of texture can also be pushed further, as you've got several small and timid marks throughout your leaf structures, and no focal points of detail in your structures. This is a way of adding detail that focuses much more on drawing the representation of texture, than applying it by following the principles of texture as they're taught in Drawabox.

There's much more going on than just a few stray marks implying veins and we can do much more to accurately communicate this type of texture, take a look at this informal demo on how to approach leaf texture, and make sure to give these reminders on how texture works in Drawabox a read.


For your branches your branches are starting to look decent and help you develop your skills, but there are a couple of points where you don't follow the instructions as closely as you should, stops you from getting the most out of this section of the lesson material.

The biggest thing you should keep an eye on is that while it's good to see that you're extending your edge segments, you don't always start your new segment at the previous ellipse point, instead you start it around the place where your previous mark ended which partially removes the healthy overlaps we seek to achieve in this exercise.

So remember the instruction for the exercise, notice how each new edge segment starts at an ellipse point, continues past the second ellipse, and stops halfway to the third. After you'll start a new segment at the next ellipse point, not where your last mark ended, extend it past the third ellipse, and stop halfway to the fourth, and so on until your entire branch is complete. The purpose of this is to get us used to this method of building up complex marks with individual lines, that way we can create a complex line made up of several strokes, which allows us to maintain higher control over our marks.

For your ellipses it's good to see that you're drawing through them twice, as that allows for a smoother mark overall. When it comes to your application of the ellipse degree shift to your branches it's good to see that you seem aware of it but it can still be slightly improved, as it stands your degrees are too consistent and hardly change at points which flattens your structures. Remember that as a form shifts in relation to the viewer, so will the degree of the ellipses within that structure also shift.

Plant Construction Section

And lastly for your plant constructions they are generally coming along really nicely, you're making use of the construction methods and techniques introduced in the lesson for the most part which allows you to create some really nice and tridimensional looking constructions. You're certainly developing your sense of spatial reasoning.

There are certainly still things that can be improved in your work, so here are the points that you should adress the next time you tackle these exercises in order to keep improving your skills.

Keep in mind that the introduction 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. They're not guidelines or suggestions - they are rules.

One example of you deviating from the instructions can be seen in this construction where for the inner stems you don't construct them with the branch construction method despite their cylindrical nature, this leaves the relationships between the different forms to be left vague and unclear, and also causes the forms to be less defined and leaves their sizes more inconsistent, flatrening the structure slightly.

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.

While this is something that you generally respect, as you don't really ever cut back into your forms, there are a couple of examples of where you extend off existing form's silhouettes, as can be seen in this mushroom as well as this narcissus flower's edge detail.

Speaking of this narcissus construction, the way you approached it is actually a mistake because of how you've approached the structure itself, while this is a great first step towards starting to think of how to break down different structures, it does end up accidentally stiffening the structure by not approaching it with the leaf construction method which naturally adds a sense of flow and energy to your work.

Despite the odd conical shape of this flower, it's petals are still very leaf-like in nature and should be approached with the leaf construction method. There are two ways we can generally approach it - either by drawing different sections of this structure with the leaf construction method, and afterwards connecting the different leaves together in order to build the complex shape, or by using a slightly tapered cylinder in order to construct the main body of the leaf shape, then afterwards make use of the leaf construction method, build it on top of the cylinder in order to capture the flow of the different sections of the leaf structure, and lastly connect them together, making use of edge detail in order to finish the complex structure.

I actually put together a quick demonstration of how this would look like for a different student once, and I believe you might find it helpful.

Ease up on your line weight, throughout your plant constructions there are several examples of you going over your marks several times in order to create thicker lines, but this is not necessary. Just like with all other techniques we use in this course, line weight is also a tool that has specific uses, it shouldn't jump from one form's silhouette to another, as this tends to smooth everything out too much. Kind of like pulling a sock over a vase, it softens the distinctions between forms and flattens the structure out somewhat.

Instead, lineweight should only be used to help clarify the distinction between overlaps, as demonstrated here.

And lastly let's take a look at your usage of texture in your plant constructions. Where you aporoached your texture in a very explicit manner by focusing a lot on big areas of filled in black throughout your work, which go against the idea of drawing implicity as many of these areas in your pages are much more likely to be form shadows or local areas of color rather than cast shadows.

What we're doing in this course can be broken into two distinct sections - construction and texture - and they both focus on the same concept. With construction we're communicating to the viewer what they need to know to understand how they might manipulate this object with their hands, were it in front of them. With texture, we're communicating to the viewer what they need to know to understand what it'd feel like to run their fingers over the object's various surfaces. Both of these focus on communicating three dimensional information. Both sections have specific jobs to accomplish, and none of it has to do with making the drawing look nice.

Our focus should be on understanding how each individual form sits in 3D space and how that form then creates a shadow that is cast onto that same surface, only after analyzing all of the information present in our reference we'll be able to translate it to our study. This means that the shape of our shadow is important as it's the shape that defines the relationships between the form casting it and the surface it's being cast on, which is why we need to consider carefully how to design a shadow shape that feels dynamic.

This approach is of course much harder than basing our understanding of texture on other methods that may seem more intuitive or basing it on the idea that texture = making our work look good, but in the long run this method of applying texture is the one that enforces the ideals of spatial reasoning taught in this course. By following these ideals, you'll find yourself asking how to convey texture in the most efficient way possible, with less lines and ink, focusing on the implicit mark-making techniques introduced in Lesson 2.

Final Thoughts

In general your work is looking really well made, you're usually following the instructions to the exercises and your work is coming along quite well made as a result, but there are some places where you can certainly improve.

That being said, I do believe you're ready to tackle the spatial reasoning challenges found in the next lesson, as such I'm going to be marking this submission as complete. Good luck in Lesson 4.