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A guide on giving critiques - Started by: arshesnei
A guide on giving critiques
Posted: 02 Jan 2007, 05:27 PM
This is something of a rough draft which I may refine later if people find this info useful (this is also a crosspost but anyways)

Many times artists ask for critiques but often do not understand what the term means. I'll start off with a Wiki article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critic

Now there are many thoughts of what a critique is, one common misconception is that it is negative.

If you understand the word you'll realize you're actually supposed to look at a piece more closely and give reasons why you liked and/or disliked a piece.

"This is cool" is not a critique, similarly "this sucks," is not a critique. Neither give merit as to why after analysis of the piece you decided to give such a comment.

Critiques can be balanced, or weighted positively, or negatively. For diplomatic reasons, a balanced critique tends to be preferred, especially for artists that are emotional or sensitive to such remarks.

When an artist is asking for a critique, the artist must understand what they're asking for too.

Generally, a person will look at your work and wonder about the purpose of such a piece. If the piece was meant to titillate, you're likely to get comments about the audience's own preferences and standards of beauty and appeal. While you are drawing for yourself, keep in mind the audience you post your work to will not have the same ideals. While many can be diplomatic about such works, some may not.

You may get negative comments when someone looks at your piece. The best advice to give to artists with negative comments is to balance and weigh them against how many positive comments you also received. It is human nature to focus on negative aspects than positive ones. It is to ideal focus on what you're doing right from feedback as well as what you're doing wrong.

For Artists posting work on the forums

Please keep in mind several things

1. When you ask for a critique, focus on 2 or 3 of your best works if you're looking for an evaluation, and then post a link to your gallery following it. It is difficult for a person to give you critique by throwing in just one general url, and even more so if you have 200 pieces in your gallery.

By limiting it to your best works along with an url to your other works, this gives the critiquer a basis on style and are more apt to focus on more positive aspects of your piece because you in turn are showing your positive side.

2. State the purpose of your piece. "I just did this! critique plz" what are you asking for specifically? Are you trying to construct better creatures and need anatomy help? Are you trying to create an emotional impact on your piece? It is hard to ask people to be serious or give you thoughtful critiques if you're not going to be serious yourself.

However, it is understandable if you were creating a piece for the sake of humor.

Common Problems giving Critiques

"It's my style"

While there is some actual merit at times when an artist responds with this, both parties need to keep in mind a couple of things:

The artist: If this is your style, then it should show up on a consistent basis. If your works show much inconsistency then you cannot use "style" as an excuse. Also, people may point out their preferences or suspension of belief. If your works do not help suspend their belief, then it is something you need to take into consideration. When it comes to anatomy you must learn and understand the rules before breaking them.

The critiquer: Look at the person's gallery (provided they posted it) and see if the artist uses several characteristics in their work that is consistent with the piece(s) in question. If the person consistently draws fat thighs, commenting on how fat the thighs are may not be necessary.

"you hate the piece"

A person giving you critiques in the negative doesn't always equate to hating the piece. Just as the artist is focused on the negative so is the critiquer. While this may fuel disputes, if you keep this in mind you may be able to curb bad blood from negative critiques if you can learn to do the following.

If a person finds something they dislike, make sure you ask them why (that is if they don't explain). "I don't like this color" find out why they don't like the color in relation to the work. The trick is to learn how to disseminate the information from your audience and find out if it's relative to your work. If someone doesn't like the color or line weight, someone else may. Just balance those comments out instead of getting upset over negative feedback. Asking why also makes the person become more thoughtful, if they don't have a good answer then they're responding in a knee jerk fashion, and you'll learn quickly whether or not you find their comments of value.

Critiques are informative, those that say they don't improve with critiques -well it's a LIE! These are artists focused on negative comments, and not realizing what a critique is!


After all, if an artist is being told why someone likes their work, it causes them to strive more and continue using techniques successful in their work as well improve upon them. You get a positive critique saying you put a lot of detail in the fur and hair. Are you going to give up on drawing or do you realize you did something right and want to continue working on it?

Hopefully, there are some tips in here people may find of value when critiquing and receiving critiques.
Re: A guide on giving critiques
Posted: 02 Jan 2007, 05:42 PM
Hear, hear: It's not often you see a fully evaluated critique on the Internet. Hopefully more people will take this advice soon.

-Delta-
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