I kind of feel like I’m killing it lately. That’s a weird way to start a post about my Drawabox journey, but it’s how I’m feeling lately. Despite some initial feelings of anxiety, the lockdown has honestly seen me thriving. I no longer have an hour long commute, which allows me to jump straight to drawing or other hobbies when I’m finished working, which has in turn really helped my work/life balance.
Following completion of the cylinder challenge in 19 days, I moved onwards to lesson 6 which I completed in 27 days. For me, this is really quick, especially since I’m spending 50% of my time just drawing for the sake of it and I’m just generally drawing a lot at the moment. At the time of writing, I have filled 109 pages in the month of May, which is an average of about 4.5 pages per day.
Lesson 6 is the first Drawabox lesson where the use of ballpoint and rulers/other tools is explicitly endorsed. This use of tools and ballpoint is encouraged throughout the 25 Wheel Challenge and Lesson 7 as well, as it’s expected that students at this point should have a firm grasp on the concepts that fineliner is designed to hammer home. To be honest, I wasn’t jazzed about this newfound freedom to use ballpoint and tools as I have an especially hard time using rulers and find that they tend to shift around and slide a lot while I’m trying to use them. Indeed, I had a such a difficult time drawing boxes with a ruler that for my first demo, I freehanded the box and used the ruler for the subdivisions as I had a much clearer point to aim for in those cases.
The Drawabox website provides an introduction video which contains two demos and a pretty cranky/sarcastic Uncomfortable apparently recording the video shortly after having mouth surgery. I didn’t follow the demos in the video, opting instead to do the three that were listed on the website. I followed these without watching the videos as I find it kind of hard to focus on video instruction in general. The three demos consist of drawing a Bluetooth speaker, a barrel, and a computer mouse. I found the latter two to be an absolute nightmare which is not unexpected since the barrel had a lot of oddly aligned ellipses and the computer mouse was my first introduction to drawing from an orthographic view.
Following the demos, I started to choose my own subject matter to draw. For my first item, I chose the PlayStation Move controller at the encouragement of some of the completionists on the Discord server that I tackle a game controller. I drew an orthographic view for this item, subdividing carefully for each of the buttons on the face and so on. I ended up with a weird, chunky-looking controller that Uncomfortable described as the funniest drawing he’d seen submitted in a long time, though despite its issues, it existed on the page as a solid object so it was a win anyway. After I’d drawn the constructed controller, I did a few loose freehand studies that did come out somewhat better and made me feel a bit better about the disaster I’d drawn.
My second item was significantly more boring but far less difficult - a bottle of ink. This came out okay, and gave me the encouragement to keep pushing on despite my ugly Move controller. After that, I tackled what I think was one of my most successful drawings from the set - a fire extinguisher. Somewhat stupidly, I thought that a cylindrical object like a fire extinguisher would be pretty easy to tackle. The trigger on the fire extinguisher was devilishly tricky and I ended up with a huge mess of lines as I projected my orthographic view onto the box.
Technically I only ended up with it covering half the space it was supposed to but by the time I projected onto the front plane, I was so confused about where anything was supposed to go that there ended up being a lot of guesswork going on. My first attempt at this though, I got halfway through subdividing up my plane before realising nothing was going to line up with the centre pole of the canister, so I’m glad I started over in the end.
After I finished the above drawing (which took me something like 5 hours), I had such a bad headache from eyestrain that I was disoriented for a good hour or two and resolved to draw things that were a bit simpler from then on. I did intend to draw my cat’s scratching post but after a few false starts where I struggled with the orientation of a 2 point perspective box that was crossing the horizon line, I ditched that idea and instead went for drawing a Moleskine sketchbook that I had on my desk. Honestly, it probably was a bit of a copout but I really like how it turned out, particularly with the details, which is why it’s the cover image of this post.
My final construction (paper towel dispenser) was honestly kind of bad, because a lot of my cylinders got all misaligned - whether due to the enclosing box or just because I didn’t hit the points I was supposed to with my ellipses, I’m not sure.
I had serious doubts about this lesson because I don’t tend to be very good at using rulers or understanding the technical rules of drawing, instead relying often on intuition to get me through. I’m still undecided on whether having a technical understanding of these things is essential, but so far intuition and tricking myself into seeing things as 3D seems to be getting me by… I just hope it continues to.
Onwards to the 25 wheel challenge, where my $30 piece of plastic with holes cut in it (ellipse guide) should finally come in handy.