Lesson 3: Applying Construction to Plants

9:50 AM, Tuesday July 12th 2022

drawabox_lesson_3 - Google Photos

drawabox_lesson_3 - Google Photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/Wy3dJQa8gbrktsNTA

Hello! I’ve enjoyed this lesson a lot. I’ve done all the demos and also drawn all 8 plants.

May be I’ve followed the instructions from the lesson way too literally, so I’ve drawn a lot of leaves through, like I have some sort of an x-ray vision. Because of this, some drawings are difficult to perceive visually. And yet, this way of drawing improved my skills significantly.

I remember in the video about drawing 250 boxes, Uncomfortable explained that when we are planning a line, we can mark a point, but if this point is not where we want it, we do not have to draw a line through it. I use this principle in other lessons as well - is it ok?)

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7:06 PM, Wednesday July 13th 2022

Before I get started, I wanted to address a couple of the things you mentioned in your submission comment:

  • You've drawn through a lot of your leaves, as though you have x-ray vision, and as a result some of your drawings are a little more cluttered. This is entirely okay, and moreover, it's exactly what you're supposed to be doing. Drawing our forms in their entirety does add more clutter, but that clutter serves a purpose, to help us understand how the forms themselves sit in space, and how they relate to one another within that space. Clutter for no benefit would be a waste, but that is not the case here.

  • Yes, you are welcome to put down a point and then ultimately ignore it. The points themselves have a very small footprint and minimal impact. A whole line, however, once it's drawn, you've committed to it, and so you shouldn't be redrawing that. But deciding to abandon a point is entirely okay.

So! Jumping right in with your arrows, you've done a great job of drawing these with a great deal of confidence, which helps to sell the sense of fluidity with which they move through the world. This carries over fairly well into your leaves, where you're capturing not only how they sit statically in 3D space, but also how they move through the space they occupy. That said, when it comes to building up edge detail, I do have a few small concerns to call out:

  • There are a number of cases where you're a little too loose with how you're extending out the leaf's silhouette to add edge detail. Looking here for example, the edge detail is made up of a lot of separate strokes that do not necessarily start nor end at the silhouette's edge. There are a lot of gaps and floating bits, which breaks the impression that we're looking at a single cohesive form/structure, and instead reminds us that we're looking at a collection of lines on a flat page.

  • When building more complex leaf structures that have many arms, like this one and this one you aren't drawing each individual arm as its own complete leaf structure each time. As shown here, each one needs to be drawn in its entirety in order to give us solid structure to continue building upon.

  • Also, there are definitely cases where you try to add edge detail with a single continuous line, effectively redrawing the entirety of the leaf instead of simply building upon what's already there in small ways. We can see this in this example, which results in a lot of zigzagging of edge detail. You can read more into why this is something to avoid in these notes. We can also see this happening in this example.

Continuing onto your branches, unfortunately you may not have gone through the instructions here as carefully as you ought to have. The instructions here state that each edge segment must extend fully halfway to the next ellipse, with the next segment then starting at the previous ellipse. By design this gives us a healthy overlap between the segments (of about half the distance between ellipses), and helps a lot in achieving a smoother, more seamless transition from one to the next.

Aside from overlooking that, the other aspects of this exercise are handled well - you're considering the shift in your ellipses' degrees, and the ellipses themselves are drawn with confidence so as to achieve a smooth, even shape. Just be sure to pay attention to those edges as that is one of the core aspects of this exercise.

Moving onto your plant constructions, overall your work here is actually very well done, though the issues I've addressed above are still present (you don't get into as much edge detail in these, but where you do I can certainly still see a tendency to zigzag that edge detail). That aside, I have just one fairly minor piece of advice to offer.

When you construct your cylindrical flower pots, be sure to do so around a central minor axis line, as this will help you align the various ellipses required to flesh out the structure as a whole. To that point, defining the opening and the base is a good start, but there are additionally other elements to the structure that need to be fleshed out - at minimum, adding another ellipse inset within the opening to establish the thickness of the rim, and another to establish the level of the soil can help too, as it provides us with something for the plant's stem to intersect with.

Before I mark this lesson as complete, I'm going to assign one more page of leaves, so you can demonstrate your understanding of the points I've raised here. Be sure to add each bit of edge detail with a separate segment, rising off the existing edge and returning to it to create a seamless alteration of that silhouette. This will help your constructions appear more solid and cohesive.

Next Steps:

Please submit one more page of leaves.

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
3:12 PM, Sunday July 17th 2022

Hi Uncomfortable!

Taking this opportunity, firstly, I'd like to say thank you for your work, this site and the materials on it have become the answer to so many questions I had.

Secondly, I want to ask a question, if I may. I wondered why the lessons are arranged in this certain order? I have some assumptions: the objects that we draw in the lessons become more solid and / or massive each time. Plants, insects, animals, transport. Perhaps this order allows students to comprehend the space in stages. I'm just curious )

Page of leaves: https://photos.app.goo.gl/sbAXyWQ3maY39KnX6

6:25 PM, Monday July 18th 2022

As this course was developed on top of the skeleton of what I had been taught when taking Peter Han's Dynamic Sketching course at Concept Design Academy (whose own course in turn was based on Norm Schureman's Dynamic Sketching course at Art Center), it wasn't a strictly intentional choice I had made, but rather one that I held to. That said, I've never seen any reason to change it, and as I've adjusted and altered aspects of the course to focus more on form, construction, and spatial reasoning, I felt that focusing on organic material first, then more precision-focused hard-surface construction later on did lay the groundwork for students to absorb and understand these concepts in a more step by step manner. In stages, as you put it.

Anyway, your leaves are definitely looking more in line with what was instructed. I'll go ahead and mark this lesson as complete.

Next Steps:

Move onto lesson 4.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
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