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January 27, 2013


Replies: 22


HopelessPandora Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2013  Student General Artist
Critiques are supposed to be helpful and constructive, correct?

I keep seeing people rate pictures very high and giving them good (and rarely ever bad) points about the piece without ever trying to promote any improvement whatsoever. So I'm wondering if I just might be a harsh critic or something?

How are these deviations getting critiqued without any suggestions for improvement? Are they made on the assumption that the artist isn't going to get any better? Do people not notice the flaws or do they ignore them? Or is it that critics are afraid of hurting the artist's feelings?

If the answer the last question was yes, isn't it worse to keep an artist in this naive idea that they don't need to improve?

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Devious Comments

WilWhalen Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
There's a stage of artistic development where critique is far less important than keeping morale up. When artists at this stage ask for critique, letting people fellate their ego might help their development in the long run - giving some 14 year old 'aspiring mangaka' a laundry list of anatomical errors is just going to drive them away from drawing. Even if they ask for critique, encouraging them to keep drawing is about all I'd ever tell them. At the point where there is more 'wrong' than right in their work, just hope they start to pick up on the reality of their own skill on their own and move on.

People get stuck on the dogma of improving earlier and earlier (life drawing all the time forever!!11) but enjoyment is a huge factor in early development. Hard to get a teenager to see the future value of drawing boxes in perspective when they want to draw cool monsters and shit. If I didn't go through my anime phase, bad as it was, I wouldn't be drawing now.

I guess the roundabout point is that you need to cater your critique to the artist, and the level they're at. A beginner doesn't need the same thing out of a critique as someone on the verge of being able to work professionally. The improvement goals between artists are hugely variant as well - assumedly if people ask for critique they'd like to improve, but you never know the true motive. You just have to be the judge, and if a critique gets denied, then I guess just forget about it; writing critiques can be as helpful a learning tool as receiving one, so it's never really a waste of time either way.

(Also, semi-related, the star ranking system for the critiques here are hilariously useless, and I wish/hope that you can opt out of using them because they are relative to nothing, and have no objective meaning.)
FionaCreates Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Professional General Artist
I second this.

As a teenager in school I was doing all the colour studies and the life drawing and the boxes in perspective, and while it has given me a good grounding all I wanted to do was go home and draw Manga or try to paint digital paintings fantasy stylie. For early development it's more important to fall in love with creating no matter what the outcome, than it is to be constantly forcing yourself to be amazing.

It's like learning guitar or piano. No one wants to learn scales, people want to learn to play recognisable songs, scales come later when they're seriously trying to improve.
DelphineApollo Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Saying anything other than praise is basically grounds for getting reported on Deviant Art; honest criticism is punishable by life in prison - or at least this is the impression I'm getting from reading both the comments and critiques sections of most galleries.
I try to ask people to be as harsh as possible, compare my work to that of professionals and leave compliments behind but they just barely say something COULD be better. Then again I've been told this is the wrong place to do that. If that is true where would I go to avoid praise? Most other communities are desolate and you'd be lucky for a single other person to look at your work, let alone say something and when they do they seem to just point people at websites, books and videos (which I've been through) as opposed to actually saying anything. From years of lurking at people tend to ignore those below a certain skill level.
Where else is there to go?
misaera Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I try to ask people to be as harsh as possible, compare my work to that of professionals and leave compliments behind but they just barely say something COULD be better.

Part of this is because people are afraid they will be flamed after delivering the critique. After all, you're criticizing the artwork of a stranger whose personality you know nothing about. Who's to say that s/he won't spam hate messages after you've point out his/her artwork's flaws?
HopelessPandora Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Student General Artist
Good point. This is the only "art community" I'm part of.

Kudos to you, however, for looking for real critiques! If only others were as openminded ...
FionaCreates Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013  Professional General Artist
I don't think it's to do with the critiquer only wanting to hear good stuff as the fact that some people are worried that fans of the artist will get angry at them if they write to many negative things.

I've seen this happen a lot, someone critiques an artist of any level, and does it politely but most of the points are stuff to improve not "omg aren't you special" and they get a bunch of comments going "you're wrong this artist is amazing fuck you".

As a Critiquer it's not good putting yourself in that situation because you know people will get angry at you, even if the artist appreciates it. And I have had it happen to me with critiques before. But I personally try to remember it's about helping the artist, and if they're ok with it then everyone else is.

Personally I find a star system doesn't help. What is 5 stars? Is it perfection? In which case nothing is 5 Stars because nothing is perfect even if it seems so. What is 1 star? Is it bad drawing on lined paper? What about 2 different critiquers? They both will have different ideas as to what constitutes 3 Star Technical ability.
A scale cannot be a scale if there's nothing to measure it to. So in reality it's really about the comment not the stars.

On a honest level with critique I prefer to do it in private, either via email, or via instant messenger. With messenger you can actually engage with an artist and discuss what they were going for, not just what you think of it, so you don't just tell them what you would do, but understand how to help them achieve their goal.

Critiques are nice, but to me much more meaningful when it's a dialogue between a person and the creator only, not a person a creator and the rest of the world too. That's more like a critic's review than a critique.
HopelessPandora Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Student General Artist
Oh, I see that makes a lot of sense. I recall being very upset one day when I found that critics reviewed my favorite animated film really low. :(

But at the same time, some of its negative drawbacks became more clear to me afterwards. It's still my favorite movie, however.

I actually like being able to read good critiques, whether they are directed toward one of my pieces or someone else's. It allows me to learn about more ways to improve without me having to come into any direct contact with someone. This is because I am, unfortunately, very shy, so it's hard for me to hold conversations if I am held up to any expectations. But it's very cool that you are willing to do that for those who are seeking an honest opinion and methods for improvement.
FionaCreates Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Professional General Artist
It is a habit to mix "I like it" with "This is Good" same with "I don't like it" with "this is bad". So when we see someone writing critically about something we like we tend to get defensive.

For me there's lots of things I love that on a critical level aren't very good. From films with really dire CG to drawings with dodgy anatomy. So long as you can be realistic and accept that everything is flawed in some way or other it's not a shame to like something anyway :D

If an artist really wants to improve and I have something I can help them with and a little free time, why not try to help them? In the end it is up to the artist to improve, they might think what I say is bullshit which they are well within their rights to think, they might agree with me and try to improve on things I pointed out. Not every critique is useful after all, because someone might tell you to draw more realistically but you actually want to draw more cartoony. Their opinion is not wrong, it is just not right for you :D
Urus-28 Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's unfortunately not surprising... It's the same that all rating system, it is in majority used in a binary formed and negative feedback is seen as trolling :|
I think it is linked with the average age of the member here, something like 16...
If you search you will find some real critiques with suggestions to make better, but it's clearly not the majority.
HopelessPandora Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Student General Artist
Yeah, I've been looking into a lot of forums and there's always that one person who makes a statement contrary to what the OP says and is accused of trolling for defending his position. It's really sad. People are starting to restrict our freedom of expression, but then that has been a constant problem throughout history.

Teenagers need to grow a spine! (says the girl who just turned 18 :lol:)
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