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[personal profile] balaa
OOOh I never post any deeper machinations here, so why not? I'll give this a go!
So for a topic, how about constructive criticism for the artist? This is a topic I have thought about on off and on, usually after seeing an ill placed/written critique labeled as 'constructive' on someone else's art. Now this may seem obvious to a lot of people, but hopefully gives a few folks out there some food for thought all the same!

First, there are two main points to be made on the nature and place of constructive criticism and here they are.

1.All artists should seek to better themselves:

Alright, well on the surface that assumption seems to make sense. Why not? After all, if you are the sort of artist who is trying to make a name for yourself or carve out a spot in whatever professional industry you desire, then this is just the right philosophy to have if not the most important one to have.

But what if that's not what your art is to you? Perhaps bettering your skills is not your priority when you set out to create. Is there anything inherently wrong with this mentality? No. If your goal of art is merely pure self expression with no other definitive end goal, ie your hobby. Say you already have your dream job and art is your way to unwind and posting it up in a public gallery helps make the whole experience all the more pleasant. I say all the more power to you.

This is just something to keep in mind when you write constructive criticism for someone, or at least it is something I keep in mind. Not all artists are the same, we don't all create with the same goals in mind, so when some folks discourage critique, maybe their reasons are completely benign and they are simply there to share their work.

2. All constructive Criticism is created equally:

This is something I see quite a bit in galleries. Someone will make an attempt at a constructive criticism, and often the delivery method is rather blunt and cold, and the receiving artist will be upset by said critique. The goal of the criticizer is usually with all the best intentions in mind, so of course they feel upset when the receiving artist seems to throw that critique they tried so hard to write back in their face. So they say something along the lines of: "Well if you want to improve, you should learn to hear the plain truth about your art".

Alright, well that has some sound logic to it. Nobody will improve if they are constantly mollycoddled. But does that mean there is only one formula to writing critique and that is "straight to the Achilles heel!" ? In my opinion, no.

But, I should further subdivide things here a bit more. Some people DO thrive from constructive criticism that just tells things straight with no buffer fluff. In those cases, your critique is absolutely constructive, because after all they will utilize the concrit to better the piece. That is the very essence of constructive criticism. But another person may find such a method of delivery disheartening and instead of nudging them to improve the piece, the criticism only makes them shy away. In those cases, your criticism, however well meaning it was, is no longer constructive. The very aim of giving 'concrit', to shorten the terminology, is to help an artist better a piece of work they created.

In short, not all criticism is constructive if it falls on deaf ears, so to speak. And in the end, you are wasting your own valuable time writing these well thought out criticisms when thwey will be shrugged off or leave a sting. I should think it is in your own best interest to take a little care and thought on the best method of delivery so you will actually be heard and your time and effort appreciated.

A blunt edged critique that just points out all the stark negative aspects of a piece without countering it with some good, can make you feel rather small. No one likes the feeling of being talked down at and imo, that's just what a lot of critique feels like. I also like the philosophy of, write only what you would say to the person's face an idea that is often lost when dealing with people as a person protected by the anonymity of the internet. Chances are you would soften the blow a bit if you were speaking to the person face to face, so why not do the same online? Oh I'm not saying make the critique a tower of compliments before placing the criticism in the very tippy top of the radiant tower, but surely there are some good things about the piece you can find to say to show them, 'hey you did good', before telling them 'but this is what would make it better!'

So Let's make a few more points then, after I obviously poopoo'd all those noble hearted concriters ;D!

3. Growing a thicker skin: Hey that ain't easy!

Just as I believe we should be considerate of how we deliver constructive criticism, the flip side of the coin is also learning to accept (or tolerate at least!) constructive criticism, even if it was not delivered in the best of fashions. If you share your work in a public forum, do not expect every comment to be one patting you on the back for your wonderful accomplishment. Even if your goal is not to revolutionize the art world as a whole with your art, not everyone will know that. Just keep in mind that if they took the time to say something in depth, they were likely trying to help you and not knock you down a peg. And if it still bothers you, step away and take a deep breath before commenting back, if commenting back at all. I understand the creative process is a deeply personal one, often interwoven directly with our emotions...but honestly most criticism is not an attack on you or your art.

In other words, both sides should be considerate of each other!

4. Constructive Criticism: That there leg is wonky.

AAhh well here we are at the biggest rub at last. Someone leaves a lovely comment on your work consisting of a few short words. "That leg is wonky!"..and you reply "How is that even helpful?" and they reply "Im giving constructive criticism you snob you cant even take it you should get out of the art world" (punctuation ommitted for effect).

These sorts of comments drive me bonkers, and in my youthful days, my eyes would bulge, teeth gnash and I would ride in valiantly with my counter-comment banner waving! And then I learned my lesson.

Some people simply don't know how to deliver a constructive criticism. So, you ask, what is a good 'constructive criticism' composed of then?!

WELL, let me fill you in. (this is my opinion of course!)

A well thought out politely worded commentary that consists of the following:

a. Things that are solid about a piece, name at least one, it can't be hard and it starts you off on the right foot with the artist. Chances are they are less likely to tune out if you say something good about the piece before jumping straight into the criticism. And for that matter, if you are giving constructive crit, surely you thought that the piece was worthwhile enough in the first place for you to spend your time helping the artist make it even why not name a reason or two that do make it worthwhile?!

b. There's something wrong here: Point out the elements of the piece that could use some improvement. (You may want to start off with only a few criticisms, and if the artist is appreciative of your input, add a few more, and again try to counter it with maybe another strong point of the piece.)

c. Follow that up with suggestions or reasons that those things need work. Telling them the head looks weird does not really give them anything to go on does it?! And if you suggest something that needs work, offer up a suggestion of how they could make it work better. IE: "Maybe if you brought more light into the foreground, the characters would stand out more from the background."

That's really it. Constructive Criticism is a two way road but sometimes people seem to treat it as a one way road. But taking a little time to be considerate of the people going the other way makes for a far more pleasant trip for everyone involved!

So I think I will stop there as I'm sure it's already TLDR. I welcome input and a difference of opinion. I just wanted to share some of my thoughts on the matter of constructive crit!

In my Opinion...

Date: 2010-04-06 10:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
My art is in the form of words, so I'll state my opinion on artwork (DA-ish) and writing ( ect).

If you don't want to be told you are doing something wrong, don't show it to anyone. Because nothing is perfect and someone will always say something. If you write poetry or prose and want to just get pats on the back, you can show it to your friends and your parents and expect the gloves to stay on. But if you put it on a forums, people will comment. Maybe they hate it. Maybe they like it. Maybe they just want to help. Or, worst of all, they just don't care and 100+ views later, nothing is said. After all, isn't silence the most telling thing?

I would rather someone care than not bother myself. If I want to let people know I understand my own flaws, I will make notes. For example, if I show someone something that I wrote in say, 8th grade (in college now, so that's a good chunk of time), I will say this is something I have no plans on revising, but I am posting it to show people who read my current work how far it has come.

If someone tries to revise older work, that is their own inability to understand the uselessness of their words. I honestly don't mind or pay heed to people who don't read all the way through on disclaimers and notes about that. Otherwise, I welcome all kinds of people's opinions. Not because I think everyone is right, but because I can do that much at least since they took their time to at least try.

Insofar as art, the same applies for the written word. If you don't want comments, don't post it. If you just want to show something older to show improvement, note it and shrug off people who don't pay attention.

Now, for giving comments. I find it best to write something, delete it, then write it again so you have to think about what you are saying and how it will be read if you are trying to criticize. If you want to state your opinion, speak your mind freely because it is yours to say, which is what I am doing right now.

If I were to say I don't like your structure on something, I would write my thoughts, delete it, re-read what I am criticizing, re-write it, then post it. That is the best way for me to not get misunderstood, which happens a LOT on forums and in large posts where I'm not communicating directly with someone (say, in life where I can point out my meaning physically or in a chat room which is more real-time).

Some other people might not have my problem, but I try what I can to avoid trouble. But as far as other people go, I just admit that it is a fact that more than a handful don't communicate very well. They don't understand how to communicate through text, they won't admit to any mistakes, and they get butt-hurt over weird things that make no sense.

To them, it's usually best to just be amused and move on. Someday, they'll learn. Or not. It's really not something you can usually do anything about, in my experience.

TL;DR: Don't post/share if you don't want feedback.

Re: In my Opinion...

Date: 2010-04-06 10:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Good points. This was the reason I made the point of growing thicker skin. The purpose of this entry was merely to give people food for though, or perspectives from both sides of the fence to consider C:.

Thank you for the comment! From a personal perspective, I agree and when I post my own work, I expect to receive comments of all sorts. I just try to take more care when offering my time and critique to someone else.

Re: In my Opinion...

Date: 2010-04-06 10:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I appreciate throwing food to people, which is why I added my own opinions. :3 Too much random stuff around here, very little is connected in LJ, so when I find something I like, I feel like replying to it.

Date: 2010-04-06 10:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I also find that it's totally not difficult at all to ask if an artist wants constructive criticism, and only give it if requested. If I am worried I will forget what I was going to say or am reasonably certain that the artist won't mind getting CC, I employ the sandwich method (say something I like about the piece, leave constructive criticism, end with something I like again). Should someone have to do that? No, probably not, but it takes minimal extra effort and why not point out some things you think are working as well as stuff that isn't?

Date: 2010-04-06 10:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
that's a thoughtful thing to do as well. I don't think people are obliged to do that but it is a courteous thing to do! I think it also depends on where you post. If you post your work in a professional forum, say cgtalk or, you should expect to receive criticism whether you ask for it or not. the whole point of professional forums is for people to grow as artists and not waste time courting the criticism, so to speak.

But yes, I think mainly what i was trying to get across is the use of courtesy from both sides of the fence, the critiquer and the critiquee. (are those even words XD?!)

Date: 2010-04-06 10:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I appreciate critique, but I would prefer it if it is a critique of a commissioned piece that I could be noted privately. If the client is happy, I'd rather that internet strangers don't start putting seeds of doubt into their mind which might result in an unpaid do-over on something neither I nor they saw previously. Something minor, sure, but even that is up to the client, it's not a drawing by committee.

When I get critique I try to apply it to the next thing, keeping that previous quirk in mind, unless its a WIP I don't usually go back and fix items, so when I receive a public crit on a commissioned piece that is already finished it just kinda bothers me but perhaps I'm the only one who feels this way. Again, though, I do still like critiques, so if it's a commissioned piece, I encourage folks to note me or email me privately :)

Date: 2010-04-06 10:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The point on commissioned work is also a good one. The same goes for professional work. I often hesitate to post work commissioned by a company, especially if the company requested me to render something in a way that I wouldn't usually render it (ie the anatomy/colors/composition may be exaggerated or seem off). I expect to get comments on those things when well, that's what I was commissioned to do. I also find it a bit unprofessional to list those elements off in the submission description, in case the client ends up seeing them.

And personally I often discourage public criticism, but not because I don't want it, but for the exact reason that most people don't know how to give solid constructive criticism (and if they leave criticism they think is constructive, and I don't reply, well they likely think less of me for it)

Date: 2010-04-06 10:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
When you mention listing certain elements in the description, I've seen a lot of ways this has gone bad, but two stick out in my mind:

1. Where the artist is less than enthused about the commission or otherwise wants folks to understand that this was in no way their idea (weird anatomy, different way of rendering like you said) they act like it was a huge burden or go "yeah well, whatever! I don't ask I just draw!" in the description (unless of course it's a friendly joke drawing between friends). I find that highly unprofessional and a quick way to make someone regret commissioning you.

2. Where the artist actually /lists off/ what /they/ think is wrong with a commissioned piece of work (specifically commissioned, it's fine if its a personal piece or something they were just dinking around with), but to me that feels like it's pointing out things the commissioner might not have seen otherwise but now they'll obsess over it and wonder why you couldn't be arsed to fix it if you knew it was crap. I don't think I'll ever understand that. There's not being happy with your art, and then there's slamming your own art.

Date: 2010-04-06 10:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I really don't see the point of doing that with commissioned work, like you said highly unprofessional and especially in the fandom, where the client is bound to read the description and they will feel maybe they got less for their money or somehow the artist didn't do their best on their piece.

I do often list things I'm unhappy with in personal pieces, because I'd rather not waste people's time in giving me criticism on things I already know aren't perfect.

Date: 2010-04-06 10:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh absolutely, if it's a personal piece I ESPECIALLY want critique, but like you said, I'll usually list it like "besides this this and this, any tips?"

Good post :3 Hopefully some folks who wanted to offer advice but weren't sure how to critique constructively will be enlightened!

Date: 2010-04-07 05:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"I often hesitate to post work commissioned by a company, especially if the company requested me to render something in a way that I wouldn't usually render it (ie the anatomy/colors/composition may be exaggerated or seem off). "

Same here! At my 9-6 I HAVE to do what the bosses want, and as we are in a specific field, I often have to design, color, or draw things in a way that I wouldn't for myself. But it's what they want, and that's what I'm being paid for.

I've run into the same thing with private commissions. Someone wants a specific outfit or a specific stripe pattern etc., which may not look fitting or accurate to others, but it is what the commissioner wanted. There's only so many times you can write "all decorations/clothing/markings/colors etc. per commissioner's request" and have people ignore your disclaimer and comment "but THIS is wrong...!" before you begin to hesitate posting stuff.

Date: 2010-04-06 11:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Your post is precisely why I try and make sketches and WIPS of commission work available for critique before I move on to coloring. The last thing I want is someone to point out something I didn't notice in the actual submission and then the client may or may not come back.

Date: 2010-04-07 12:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Seconded. I love constructive criticism on MY art, but if its a commission, forget it. I don't want to have to tell the world that the commissioner wanted that impossible pose, or insisted on something that didn't make sense or look good. Aside from the fact that its tasteless and rude to do just end up getting a response along the lines of "Well, you're the artist, isnt it your job to make it look good anyway?" Its my job to do the best I can with it, but some ideas are better left in people's heads!

I do try to turn down commissions/ideas that I don't think I can make work, but sometimes the commissioner is happy with what you've done, even if you personally arent. Someone earlier here said that if you don't want crit, don't make it public, but I disagree with that. Sometimes I don't want criticism, I won't be going back to fix things, etc etc, BUT... some people might want to see it, with flaws or not.

Date: 2010-04-07 02:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
thats really true. I feel that way on commissioned work too. I wouldnt want them to start doubting or something.

Date: 2010-04-07 12:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
But does that mean there is only one formula to writing critique and that is "straight to the Achilles heel!"?

I've found that folks who pride themselves on being "brutally honest" are more interested in being brutal than honest.

A lot of these self-proclaimed critics just use offering constructive criticism as an excuse to see how nasty they can be; I've seen so-called "review" communities which are really just interested in mocking upcoming artists rather than seeing them improve. Being snarky is in style these days, and as a result, a lot of folks shrug off criticism not because they need to "grow a thicker skin" but because there's such a lack of people offering the constructive variety in the first place.

I was fortunate enough to get some art tips from a friend of mine years ago1, and my art definitely improved because of it. I'm still not great by any means, but this has more to do with the fact that I'm usually too busy to practice. (I crank out a piece of art about twice a year, if I'm lucky.)

1 It's probably worth noting that I got my art tips in person and in private, rather than from a someone on a message board who might feel the need to "perform" for an audience.

Date: 2010-04-07 01:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well, while I agree that there are some people that probably use concrit as an excuse to be brutal, I don't think that's true for the majority of people who just give bad constructive criticism.

I think some people are schooled in a specific way of delivering criticism (ie art school critique syndrome, as I will call it) and believe that it is the one true way to give critique. The problem is, when you walk into an art class, you expect to receive possibly harsh criticism, this is simply the way it works in that setting. However, one should not hold the rest of the world to that same standard. I think a little tailoring in giving criticism can go a long way, not only in actually being helpful, but also in treating people how you would want to be treated!

That being said, I don't think they mean ill, but they also don't realize they often waste their own time writing harsh criticism that in the end will be ignored by the recipient or simply not be construed as constructive by the recipient (or worse act as a detriment even!).

Thank you for your input, I definitely agree whith the latter. I typically go to a close group of friends for critique, folks I know won't just pat me on the back and actually give me helpful input, but won't make me feel like my attempts up to then have been without merit!

Date: 2010-04-07 01:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I rarely give critique unless specificly asked for it, and sometimes not even then. It's really hard to tell when a person genuinely wants help, or just wants props/attention.

If I'm having problems with an image, I have a group of friends I go to for help or opinions. I won't ask for an open call on critiques or advice because 90% of the people who would respond don't know what they're talking about, another 5% would use it as an oportunity to make nasty comments, 4% would give me blanket props, and maybe 1% would have useful advice. Having a stable of people you respect and trust to give honest help is invaluable.

Date: 2010-04-07 01:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ditto on both counts, especially the latter. I have a close group of artistic minded friends who will give me honest helpful criticism. I feel I can trust their opinion and know they won't just tell me what i want to hear. Of course, they also know I am my own worst critic and see far more 'problem' areas than even the most critical minded of them!

Thanks for the comment :D!

Date: 2010-04-07 01:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The reason I think Critiques need to be blunt is that all too often writers and artists get so much praise and back-pats, that they stop being able to see the flaws in their work. It may not be the only way for sure, but I'f argue it's necessary at times.

Further, the reason I think reviews should be posted publicly is for three reasons; the primary reason is that in doing so, it cannot simply be ignored; the second reason is that in doing so, people who might see the same problems with the story/art but don't have the balls to speak up, can be validated. The final reason is that praise is posted publicly on public works, I don't see why critiques shouldn't be too.

I'm also not sure I agree with the whole 'critique sandwich' were you say a good thing about the work, than a bad thing, and then finish with a good thing-- sometimes works of art or writing have very few redeeming qualities about them. Plus, the artist or writer will likely have all the praise they could possibly want from every other poster/commenter/etc.; it doesn't seem necessary.


Date: 2010-04-07 01:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You are welcome to disagree of course! These are my personal observations after years of seeing online critiques of every nature and style.

My main tenants for this entry were the fact that not all people create for the same reason. Some people share art as a purely social endeavor. Why should they ask for critique if their aim is not improving in the first place? In those cases, especially if one is aware of their goal with their art, then posting a harsh criticism is a means to knock them down a peg and hence the 'constructive' aspect of the critique is invalidated.

And if you spend 20 minutes writing a well thought out critique, however well meaning your intentions, IF it is ignored or shrugged off by the receiving party, then was your effort spent in vain? I'd rather use my time constructively myself and if I feel my critique will not be heard, why waste my own valuable time giving it when I could put my time to better use elsewhere?

I believe both sides need to be respectful of each other. As far as being a receiver of unsolicited critique, well yes people need to grow a thicker skin on the matter and move on..maybe even try to find a grain of merit in what the critique said.

Also I should have mentioned that it truly depends on the venue. If I post my work, as an example, on a professional forum such as cgtalk or, well I should prepare myself for blunt honesty..and I do. Those are professional sites and the reason one should post there IS to better themselves. Whereas places like Deviantart are such an eclectic composition of people creating for all different reasons, that I think it is unfair to apply one template to all critique.

Date: 2010-04-07 04:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
While I understand your point, if one does not want to expose oneself to critiques, you shouldn't be creating art and putting it in a public arena. There's no reason why you can't make the art and keep it to yourself.

Date: 2010-04-07 02:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"that they stop being able to see the flaws in their work."

That is a risk, but I think that is especially true when artists become popular and sadly.. become "full of themselves" for lack of a better term.

I cant completely relate to this statement because I always find flaws in my work, they glare at me the moment I finish in an almost mocking sense XD
Maybe it depends on the individual.

Date: 2010-04-07 07:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The way I see it...hmm, well let's say they do get popular in an online gallery and assuming they do want to pursue art professionally but stop seeing the flaws in their work. WELL I think no matter how popular you are online, if you pursue a professional venue you will be ripped apart if you don't have some sense of humility and ability to self critique! I also believe online popularity is something you can't rely on. People's attention spans are short, sooner or later their interest in your work will dwindle if you continue to do the same thing over and over and over again.

As for this post. Well I do believe the online art world is still in it's stages of infancy. There is still a nebulous cloud of unformed guidelines/unspoken rules on dealing with each other. It has been polished to a great extent, but there are still some rough edges I see now and then. I mean after all, art has endured for thousands of years in very small closed off circles. Today we have the privilege to interact with artists not only all around the world, but instantly as well! One has to come to that with some sense of respect for the process itself, imo.

Date: 2010-04-07 08:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes, I completely agree.

Date: 2010-04-07 01:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I have a love-hate with critiques online.
I love when they are the good, bad and HOW TO IMPROVE. People focus on good and the bad, rarely state how to fix or improve on the next image/project.

I pretty much ignore completely negative unless they have useful tidbits rooted in them. Like stating I drew shoulder off I will focus next time I draw a shoulder but still I won't interact with someone that does what I call a 'drive by critique'
It's like someone screaming an insult at you in a car driving by, you can't retaliate or ask for more information since rarely are the completely negative willing to TALK they just want to knock you down a peg or state an opinion and that's the end of it.

In school I discussed the critique with the reviewer often a peer or teacher. It was the discussion that opened my mind to the error (or errors I make)
When I came online I was frustrated at the lack of discussion.

I also feel areas like DA people are extremes either praise or completely negative like another comment, I agree with about attitudes being snarky and people trying to prove how negative they really can be. Like most all comic/webcomic reveiers online do this it's like proving how snarky they can be insulting someone instead of stating how the project can improve as well as separating THEIR OWN TASTE AND PREFERENCES.

I rarely give critiques few times I do it's over historical clothing when a person has asked me specifically to look it over.
Otherwise I just presume artists is content showing their art or selling it, which is fine I display old art to sell prints/ect too.

Date: 2010-04-07 01:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Likewise! I would love helpeful critique from folks, but I've learned in my years online that really opening yourself for critique is almost like a 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' situation. If you request criticism, the bulk is useless and not in the least bit helpful with a smattering of just plain hurtful comments under the guise of concrit. And if you disagree with the criticism offered or in some cases simply don't comment back (or apply the suggested changes), then folks get upset with you and hold it over your head. Alternatively if you discourage criticism, people assume you are high and mighty and think so highly of your art that there is no room to improve.

As I mentioned in several comments, I have a small jury of artistic people to whom I go for solid artistic input. These folks won't sugarcoat things for me but will also not make me feel like all my effort is futile. How is making someone feel small constructive? Now I agree one should have a healthy dose of humility about their work and if you are seeking to be a professional, should be open to criticism. However, it's really not hard to give criticism that doesn't border hurtful. After all, art is not a science, it cannot be approached purely objectively. We all stake some emotion in what we create, that is a part of the creative process! Hence we are bound to have some sensitivity here and there!

Date: 2010-04-07 05:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think crits are helpful - I got my full share of them in college, and here at work I HAVE to change things to be the way my bosses want. You have to have a certain amount of "thick skin" to make it in the working world.

When I do things for work or for private commissions, I really try my best, and I want my bosses or clients to be happy. And even if they like it, if I am not happy with it I'll re-do it! I also always try something new with each piece, and I try to learn as much as I can along the way. Never stop learning!

However, there are times when I post stuff and I don't really care what others think; it's just for *me*. And I'm not looking for ass-pats (if I was, I'd post everything I draw as soon as I draw it, to every art archive I could find); I think sometimes people think artists are ALWAYS looking for praise; nope, sometimes we just want to share what's going on in our heads, is all.

I think crits are great and helpful, and I agree with you about them - great post! :D :D :D I like the dA feature that lets you know if someone wants critique or not; I think it's great Otherwise, I rarely offer critique; I don't agree with the idea that just because someone posts it, that they should expect it to be ripped apart. Sure, crits are GREAT and helpful if done well, but I figure there are lots of negative people out there, so I'd rather, in the big scheme of things, be more of a cheerleader.

Date: 2010-04-07 08:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"However, there are times when I post stuff and I don't really care what others think; it's just for *me*. And I'm not looking for ass-pats (if I was, I'd post everything I draw as soon as I draw it, to every art archive I could find); I think sometimes people think artists are ALWAYS looking for praise; nope, sometimes we just want to share what's going on in our heads, is all."

Absolutely! I think for me sharing used to be a positive re-enforcement process. Not one of having my ego stroked in so much as it was, the energy of people's words can urge you to continue creating. Not only that but in sharing you do expose your vulnerable areas, ie areas that you know require work, and so it nudges you to keep trying and expanding your own horizons.

Secondly, one of the main reasons I made this entry was to differentiate between different types of art and artists. Like I said, some people create simply for the sake of creating and sharing, others create in an effort to revolutionize thoughts, ideas or simply impact the world on some level, still others create to make it in a commercial industry (and of course some are combinations of the above). There is no right reason to create art but I think one should consider why said artist created it before going into deep critiques (Ive seen many critiques given to others where it seemed unnecessary and ..bordering on rude. Like for example walking up to someone you don't know, who maybe doesn't have the best clothing coordination skills, and telling them their shirt doesn't match their pants and they look dumb. That's often how a lot of critique guised as constructive comes off to me. And for that matter I think a LOT of people don't even know the true meaning of 'constructive criticism'.

I get a lot of critique with pro work, and a lot of critique from good friends with my personal work and private commissions and I always take them in stride and with the mindset that they will push me to improve. I hope people didn't read this entry as saying 'I' wasn't open to critique as that wasn't the point I was trying to get across x:!

Date: 2010-04-07 09:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"Absolutely! I think for me sharing used to be a positive re-enforcement process. Not one of having my ego stroked in so much as it was, the energy of people's words can urge you to continue creating. Not only that but in sharing you do expose your vulnerable areas, ie areas that you know require work, and so it nudges you to keep trying and expanding your own horizons."

That's it, yeah! Sometimes it can be like a big sketch party/art jam, where the excitement of creating with other artists is a wonderful spark to get you going; you're not looking for praise or crit or anything, you're just enjoying the process. And yeah! - different people create art for different reasons; even the same artist can have different reasons for making art (like you said, some are for private commissions; some are for pro jobs; some are for exploring new media; some are to express personal things; some are just for fun, and so on) - and I try to keep that in mind when looking at art. I think some people who think artists only want praise (though undoubtedly some do, I won't argue that), or think all art not only can but SHOULD be critiqued, perhaps miss that point.

"Like for example walking up to someone you don't know, who maybe doesn't have the best clothing coordination skills, and telling them their shirt doesn't match their pants and they look dumb. That's often how a lot of critique guised as constructive comes off to me. And for that matter I think a LOT of people don't even know the true meaning of 'constructive criticism'."

Yes and yes! I agree, often it comes off to me the same way. It would be incredibly rude to just go up to someone and say, "your hair is funny!" or "your nose looks weird!", yet it is okay to do the same thing, relatively speaking, to someone's work just because they've posted it publicly? It doesn't make sense. The anonymity of the internet is not an excuse for lack of etiquette. As for "real" critiques, there is so much "oh, that looks weird!" but no explanation why the person thinks it looks weird, and so on.

On the other hand, though I know there are some, and probably many, artists who only want praise, and/or who only see good things in their work and nothing bad, there are ALSO a lot of us who are just trying our best, yet still see flaws in our work and keep trying to improve; however, should we along the way get praised for our art, some people see that as us "getting full of ourselves" or "thinking we're so great", and they use that (incorrect) thought as an excuse to do a harsh crit to "knock us down a peg" or something. X_X I see that happen to a lot of artists who actually are quite critical of their own work if you actually take the time to get to know them.

"I get a lot of critique with pro work, and a lot of critique from good friends with my personal work and private commissions and I always take them in stride and with the mindset that they will push me to improve. I hope people didn't read this entry as saying 'I' wasn't open to critique as that wasn't the point I was trying to get across x:!"

*nods* I understand, and me, too. For my paid work I try my best, and ask for help or a fresh eye; for my personal work, though, it's a break, a way for me to relax, or a glimpse at how my mind works, not something I need a crit OR an ass-pat for. Again, I think some people don't understand that. And I don't think ANYONE will think you aren't open to critique! You've always been very open and honest about your work. :) I'm so gad you have shared your art AND your thoughts! :D Thanks! :D

Date: 2010-04-07 09:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

I always try to give concrit:
1) To people that wanna hear it. Why bother if they don't?
2) In "sandwich" form. A layer of good, then a layer of crit, then a layer of good again. That way they start and end on a good note :)

Date: 2010-04-08 05:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Critique is a thread of taboo.

What you wrote I agree pretty much in general ;) however..

As how much I observe critiques, receive crits and watch them. Yes, we are talking about online critiques- I came to conclusions that critiques became a trendy thing. Mostly that people who critique artist's artwork usually think they are "gods".
I mean, critiques in this era became... a good weapon for trollers/haters (althrough hate is too strong word but usually people who feels jealovus or uncomfortable with certain artist.

Since I'm just a lurker on dA, I've met many unnecessary, however on big scale dramas and wars started between trollers (well.. smart trollers) and well known artists. That's how very often there are stereotypes of "popular artists cannot take critique because they think that are gods".

Yes, sadly critique became very often more as weapon to hurt someone than some good intention.

Like, I've seen trollers made pretty hurtful and bashful but well written critiques to certain artists. One of artists, in calm replied on this critique as in defending with good arguments but then that troller suddenly went all: "omg how annoying.. stop making excuses, SIMPLY you CANNOT take this critique."
And of course with this reason, put on their journal by calling people on this issue begin all "omg lookit, they cannot accept crit" and all people were on troller's side- because they didnt look on the facts but on THAT stereotype "all crits MUST BE ACCEPTED". No matter what's your defence.

Big matter with critiques are stereotypes *which* are usually wrong (like all crit's must be accepted, well known artists with high audience cannot accept crits cuz they think're gods in art etc.) and they are used for egoistic goals.

Honestly, my art was built up in half with critiques in real life, I was pretty positive on them but since I've experienced this and it totally thrown me away me with critiques in general for some time... so now I have specific distance to them.

It's said the best effect of critique is when an artist ASKS for it.

Date: 2010-04-09 05:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That is a good writeup. It felt pretty balanced from both sides of the critique table, and a lot of what you wrote doesn't just apply to art. Good food for thought. Heck, there are a lot of non-art professional critiques I've seen that could benefit from your advice.

Giving good constructive criticism is hard. Not only in presentation ("sandwiches", etc) but also in content as well. Not just in art, but in all things, people can see things differently. Different styles, experiences, habits, and it can be tough to try to put into words the nuances that make something seem not-quite-right. Even when a problem is obvious to everyone, explaining how to fix it is not always easy either.

Accepting criticism is also hard, especially when it is something you've created and poured yourself and your time into. When you're that close to something and so heavily invested, criticism can feel like a personal attack, even when there are no internet trolls involved. No one likes to be beaten up on or attacked.

You did a good job pointing out that anyone getting critique should try to step back and try to accept criticism in good faith. But, I think you let critique authors off a bit too easy. :) With a well thought out or detailed critique, the author has themselves made a creation that they could be just as invested in as the creator of the work they are criticizing. Maybe the person they criticized chose not to accept all or part of their comments. That, in itself, is a return criticism of their creation.

I think a lot of people that spend their time giving critiques get so caught up in giving feedback that they expect their work to be praised and accepted as perfect in it's original form. It is ironic, because that expectation makes them fall into the very same trap they complain about in others.

Date: 2010-04-11 03:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think you have a point there. To volunteer criticism, in and of itself is a gracious act of creation. I think it is a delicate system that can get all too personal all too quickly..and people on both sides of the fence should try to step back and be more objective. It's a hard thing to do when such personal creations are involved...but in the end a mature person should be able to accept and give critique with courtesy, respect and humility.

I think I mainly addressed this entry with the aim to point out that not all people create for the same reasons and hence not all criticism is appropriate all of the time. I believe that the online art world..and well online social networks of any sort, are still in an adolescent age where the ground rules may well be established already, but the subtle nuances of behavior and etiquette are still being refined. With art especially having operated for thousands of years in closed off small social networks, suddenly being faced with a worldwide audience and artist community that can interact instantly...well it's a new phenomena relatively speaking.

I think it is important for people to share such entries..though Im usually not brave enough to do so for fear of stepping on toes..or worse having my message widely misconstrued due to poor choice of words on my behalf. But things like this help polish the subtle etiquette of internet interraction. I'd just like to see people treat each other as they would face to face. Its much easier to be a jerk with anonymity as your doesn't make it right though.

Anyway sorry for yammering at ya XD! Thanks for the alternative perspective!

Date: 2010-04-11 04:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Interesting discussions are definitely not yammering, not that there is anything wrong with yammering. :)

Really good point about some people not doing stuff with the intent of getting critique, though your guidelines for giving critique are definitely applicable outside the art world as well.

You have an interesting point about the adolescent age of the new online social networks too. Though, if people treated each other online like they would face to face, like you wish, I think a lot of "new social rules" stuff would go out the window as unnecessary. We have perfectly good social rules, we just need to use them. ;) With just text, you sometimes have to be a little more explicit and precise, since you don't have the non-verbal cues you'd get in person, but that problem is totally solvable.

Date: 2010-05-09 02:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Commenting on your latest journal to tell you happy birthday, you. :U

Hope all is well, you've been inactive.

Date: 2010-05-09 10:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you for the well wishes! Ive been buried in deadlines and real life stuffs so Ive been really scarce D:..haven't even had time to do any personal art and that's driving me batty now! But I had a lovely, and even sunny, birthday yesterday :D!

Thank you for taking a moment of your precious time to send me some kind words, very much appreciated! I hope you have been well...and staying cool in the no doubt already crazy warm tx weather (which I miss xP )

Take care sweetie!
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