Lesson 1: Lines, Ellipses and Boxes
Do not grind. Complete the recommended amount of each exercise to the best of your ability and move on. You'll have ample time to keep practicing and improving your skills when doing these exercises as warmups later.
Do not rush. Give yourself the time you need to plan your lines out, to prepare appropriately, and to demonstrate your current best. Every mark is independently important. Once the ghosting method is introduced in the Ghosted Lines exercise, use it consistently for all your structural marks.
Read all of the instructions carefully, multiple times if necessary. While I've tried to organize this content in as digestible a manner as I can, there is a lot of information here and there is no way you'd absorb all of it at once.
Take breaks! One day you're going to be a beast who can draw for hours without breaking a sweat, but right now, you need to be patient with yourself and take it all one step at a time.
Homework and exercises
The homework assignment for this section is as follows:
2 filled pages of the Superimposed Lines exercise
1 filled page of the Ghosted Lines exercise
2 filled pages of the Ghosted Planes exercise
Each exercise in the list above links off to more detailed instructions on how they're done.
NOTE: These three exercises constitute just one section of this lesson. You should hold onto your homework until you're done all three sections (lines, ellipses, boxes), and only submit for feedback once they're all done. You may feel hesitant or uncertain about whether or not you're doing things correctly - that's normal, but it's best you push past the urge to second-guess yourself. Focus on reading the instructions carefully, complete the work, and submit once all of it is complete. This will give others a solid body of work on which to base their feedback, giving you a more useful analysis of what you're doing well and what you may not understand.
All the assigned work for this section should be done in ink, using fineliners/felt tip pens as described here. In a pinch, I will accept work done in ballpoint, but only if the situation is dire. This is an exception only for this lesson as students get started.
Of course, if you're not planning on making use of the official critique program, then this is a recommendation rather than a hard requirement.
Ellipse Master Template
This recommendation is really just for those of you who've reached lesson 6 and onwards.
I haven't found the actual brand you buy to matter much, so you may want to shop around. This one is a "master" template, which will give you a broad range of ellipse degrees and sizes (this one ranges between 0.25 inches and 1.5 inches), and is a good place to start. You may end up finding that this range limits the kinds of ellipses you draw, forcing you to work within those bounds, but it may still be worth it as full sets of ellipse guides can run you quite a bit more, simply due to the sizes and degrees that need to be covered.
No matter which brand of ellipse guide you decide to pick up, make sure they have little markings for the minor axes.