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Alright. I've made this thread because I'm tired of giving critiques in the picture post forum and getting my head chewed off by by overly defensive artists. So I'm making this to show how to conduct a good critique and how to take a critique. If you agree, disagree, or want to note something I may have forgotten, feel free to comment.

How To Critique

Ready for this? Hold onto your hats, this is hard work! (not really)

*Say what your first impression is. Bad, good, or ugly, everyone has a first opinion. This is purely opinion-based so there are no wrongs here. If you think it looks terrible, let them know. If you like it, tell them.

*Analyze the art. You don't have to be a really good artist to see how gravity should work, how an arm is supposed to be, what an elephant looks like. So it's helpful to state what needs improving. Note all the ones you can, because an artist may not even know what could be wrong with their picture.

*Go into details. It doesn't help so much when a critic says "the arm looks weird". That statement only provides a little bit of information to the artist. It's best, but not required, to go into detail about why it's wrong and how it should look. This tips the artist off on not only how to improve the current picture, but how to keep from making the same mistakes in the future.

*Be polite. Granted, you are doing the artist a favor by posting you much needed opinion and advise to them, but being polite helps ensure that the artist doesn't take offence to the critique and can fully absorb your good tips. Granted, I know of many artists who get offended at any critique that isn't sugar-coated, but this makes them the immature one and isn't worth your time. my recommendation is to simply leave and avoid critiquing their art. I say this, because these types of people will not listen to you, so it would be like beating a dead horse. Best that your time is spent on an artist who is appreciative of your time.

How To Receive a Critique

So, art can be a very personal subject for nearly all artists. It's like our babies whom we have put tender love and care into. It's hard not to become attached to them. Art is a piece of ourselves. So it's no surprise that artists can be a bit defensive when it comes to their art. Every tough critique can feel like a direct attack, but you need to bare in mind that their goal is to help.

We've all had tough critics look at our art and had the most hateful things said to make you feel like you're the worst artist in the world. However, you have to ask yourself, "would they be posting about my art if they weren't trying to help? Most of the time, the blunt critic is harsh, but states specifically why they don't think it's good and how to improve. Although, there are the internet trolls who pop in to tell you that it sucks, but if they go into details, do not fret. They are trying to help you. This is how to take their critique and use it to your benefit.

*Keep from saying what your first reaction to the critique is. Really pause for a while and let what they say sink in. Keep in mind that they are helping you. Giving yourself time to cool off and think rationally is very important and keeps you from looking like a defensive artist only after praises.

*Try not to defend your work. Instead, look at your picture and try to answer why they would say that. Usually critics have a good reason for stating something specific. Maybe there was something you simply over-looked? Defending your work is like ignoring their concerns about your work and can be offending. Any art class will teach you to be silent while listening to a critique of your work. If you jump the gun and start defending, you may overlook what could be wrong with your work and important information.

*Turn the negatives into a positive. They're saying that the perspective is off and the anatomy is poor? Well congrats! You now know specifically what you need to practice. Without this information, you would probably keep practicing the wrong area that may not even need improving. The critic just saved you loads of time that would have been wasted. Many artists, without a second, fresh eye to look at their drawing have no idea what's wrong with it and get themselves into a rut. But not you, you lucky duck. You now can keep going because you got a touch critique from someone in the picture post forums.

*Use your manners. Be sure to thank the critique for their time. Being polite shows that you listen and accept the critique they gave. If bad manners are used, the critic will more than likely be offended and refrain from commenting on future works. You would have lost a valuable critic (however harsh they may be) because they would instantly think that you do not appreciate their feedback.

*Learn from the critique. Actually try to put those suggestions into practice. Maybe even do an update thread on a before and after critique. This not only helps you improve, but physically shows the critic that their words were not ignored.

*Be the better person. If the critique seems more like an attack of hurtful comments, remain calm and mature. Keep being your cheery polite self and you'll be thankful later. Others will admire your maturity and look down on your attacker and you won't be regretting yourself later for it. Instead, respond with a question of why they feel like this and explain your reasoning so they can understand. Make sure to still use those manners and thank them for their question or comment.

This is just a basic layout from reading different things online, the experience I've had in my art classes, and experiences in the picture post threads. I may come back and edit this as I re-read or realize i forgot something (which isn't uncommon for me). Thank you all for reading!

I hope you all will enjoy time spent in the picture post forums. It really is a nice place to be with the right attitude. Again, please comment with any suggestions of things I should add or clarify. If you're confused about any of the areas, please tell me so that I can make this layout better.

~Thank you all for the comments! i have revised the critiquing section, realizing the many many errors. XD I think this one better conveys what i was trying to say in the first place.
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XMegantronX
Unless traced or stolen, every picture has something good about it.

Ummm no.
The way a critic gives a critique is largely a function of their personality. Whether it's the blunt kind or the nice kind is a matter of tone and framing and as long as the critic is honest, it doesn't really matter. blunt=/=abusive, nice=/=insincere. I say this because every time someone posts this sort of topic, there ends up being an argument over this fact.

At any rate, when a piece is so bad on a basic technical level, all the other stuff about feelings and whatnot become inconsequential. Also, the people who most need this sort of advice are not going to be reading it, so you'll more or less be preaching to the choir.
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Personally I have never sugar coated or used the sandwich critique technique. I give the crit as I see it. I comment on what I see, and if I don't see anything good with the image, I will not say anything good.

I've rarely had any issues from people not liking my crits though, the few times I have they've acted the same way to all crits they've got.

And I agree with Fansub, not every picture have something good to say about it.

What people need to realize is that they are not their art. Their art may try to say something, but they are not their art.

The peice is a product, and they are not their product. Hell, best thing a person can do is to learn how to destroy a picture they love. That way they don't get too attached to their art.
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I'm going to say what needs to be said, not kiss up and tell somebody how good they are. It doesn't matter if I like a picture or not when I'm critiquing it. The point of a critique is to find mistakes and expose them so the artist can understand how to improve.
XMegantronX

*Note you're first impression of the piece. There are no wrong doings in this area. When you first saw this, what did you think of it? How did it make you feel? This is purely opinion based.
No wrong doing, hm? Well, this is where people flip the ******** out and don't read the critique. If your character drawing looks like a broken heap at the bottom of the stairs or a horrible traffic accident captured in animu-vision, I will tell you just that. This is where everyone complains about me. ESPECIALLY the people who produce spit shined turds.

Quote:
*Analyze the picture. Go back to your first impression and note why the art made you feel this way. Maybe comment on a specific technique, color choices, elements, etc. What holds your attention in the piece? What do you think of the materials used to create the piece? Make sure you thoroughly describe the "whys" of the first impression you had.
Impression has absolutely no place in analysis. Analysis is analytical and what you think or how you "feel" should be as far removed from that as humanly possible. It should remain an objective deconstruction of the piece. Giving anything besides the facts (and something to back it up) results in bullshit. (Fun little coincidence: Analysis, analytical, and analyze all start with the same word. Imagine that.)

Personally, I find it pointless to consider materials. What you use doesn't overpower fundamentals and principles. Those are the things (and lack of understanding of them) that cause the problems one sees. It happens as a chain reaction most of the time. Often, there is just one underlying problem that causes all of them when someone is at a point where they know what they're doing already. If you can point that out and help the person understand how to avoid or correct it, then you've just helped them improve their entire body of work going forward.

Quote:
*Interpret the piece. What do you think the artist is trying to say in this picture? All art is about something. Try and figure out what this is. This helps the artist see if what they were trying to convey is what the art is saying.
This happens as part of the first impression for me. I interpret the piece but I also share my interpretation of the artist, their habits, their thought process, and anything else that pertains to what results in their work. You can see all that in one piece and you can also predict the overall look of their body of work. If I'm wrong, then the artist and I discuss what they were trying to do. This kind of thing is hard to do, but with some practice, a piece of work telegraphs it all for you.

Quote:
*Give a final evaluation. After writing all this, ask yourself if your first opinion has changed at all by the time you get done analyzing and interpreting. If it has, state why and in what way.
All of my impression is first glance. The things I focus on in my analysis are things I saw at first glance. Maybe it's just me, but I don't see how there would be any change of impression by the end. The observations are exactly as they were because the piece is exactly as it is. If the artist changes the piece, that's a who new critique.

Quote:
*State your final judgment. Ok, this is where a lot of artists can get mad at you. The last step is to give a summary of what you really think of this work. What can be improved on? What should the keep doing? Should there be editing? If so, what needs to be edited?
What's the point in repeating yourself? If you did a decent job explaining your analysis and evaluation of the work, it's not necessary. Be concise to begin with. If you can't be more than vague on a subject, then you shouldn't cover that at all. Hell, if you haven't proofread and adjusted for clarity and concise explanations, you're not done with the critique.

Quote:
Your critique shouldn't make the artist feel like they should just quit.
If the artist feels that way, it's their problem, not mine. At the same time, you need to consider the artist's level of understanding, level of confidence, and overall sense of purpose. Since the work telegraphs it, there's no excuse for ignoring those things.
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Fansub
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Unless traced or stolen, every picture has something good about it.

Ummm no.


yes. there is something good about it as long as there was an honest effort put into it. might be the concept, original idea, etc. just gotta try
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-2o
The way a critic gives a critique is largely a function of their personality. Whether it's the blunt kind or the nice kind is a matter of tone and framing and as long as the critic is honest, it doesn't really matter. blunt=/=abusive, nice=/=insincere. I say this because every time someone posts this sort of topic, there ends up being an argument over this fact.

At any rate, when a piece is so bad on a basic technical level, all the other stuff about feelings and whatnot become inconsequential. Also, the people who most need this sort of advice are not going to be reading it, so you'll more or less be preaching to the choir.


well, you always have the option to not post a critique if you feel it's so bad the person won't listen to you. and i agree, critiquing can reflect the personality of the critic, so the first impression can be a bad one too, but inserting a small thing you like about the picture doesn't hurt. all i was getting at is some people focus on the bad to the point where the artist feels worthless and that's not the goal. just like it's equally bad to do nothing but praise the artist and call it a critique
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Personally I have never sugar coated or used the sandwich critique technique. I give the crit as I see it. I comment on what I see, and if I don't see anything good with the image, I will not say anything good.

I've rarely had any issues from people not liking my crits though, the few times I have they've acted the same way to all crits they've got.

And I agree with Fansub, not every picture have something good to say about it.

What people need to realize is that they are not their art. Their art may try to say something, but they are not their art.

The peice is a product, and they are not their product. Hell, best thing a person can do is to learn how to destroy a picture they love. That way they don't get too attached to their art.


well, that's your prerogative. i created this to make a basic outline to give a balanced review of a piece. i know people will do what they want.

and yeah, people do need to view their art as something not personal, but writing a really harsh review may start arguments in which nothing is solved. but then again, that's why i posted the second half about taking critiques.
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Kefkaroth
I'm going to say what needs to be said, not kiss up and tell somebody how good they are. It doesn't matter if I like a picture or not when I'm critiquing it. The point of a critique is to find mistakes and expose them so the artist can understand how to improve.


i never said anything about kissing up to the artist. and that is the reason for a critique, however it's always reassuring to add even just one little thing you like or they did well. even the gaia's own "how to critique" thread mentions that saying any compliment can make the artist want to keep drawing. if you let all hell break loose in your critique, they may not listen to you and go on the defensive.
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XMegantronX
Nathaniel Mea
Personally I have never sugar coated or used the sandwich critique technique. I give the crit as I see it. I comment on what I see, and if I don't see anything good with the image, I will not say anything good.

I've rarely had any issues from people not liking my crits though, the few times I have they've acted the same way to all crits they've got.

And I agree with Fansub, not every picture have something good to say about it.

What people need to realize is that they are not their art. Their art may try to say something, but they are not their art.

The peice is a product, and they are not their product. Hell, best thing a person can do is to learn how to destroy a picture they love. That way they don't get too attached to their art.


well, that's your prerogative. i created this to make a basic outline to give a balanced review of a piece. i know people will do what they want.

and yeah, people do need to view their art as something not personal, but writing a really harsh review may start arguments in which nothing is solved. but then again, that's why i posted the second half about taking critiques.


To be honest though, most of the regs here know how to both give and take crits. Hell most of us have had teachers tear up our art and have professionals tear into our art. We say what we say because that is reality, that is how a critique works in a professional/student setting.

There are no worthless flowering of words or ridiculous fluff used. sure, they can tell you why something works, but they also add why it works and why it works and the rest don't. That is, if they find something that works. I've had many of my images rejected full out by editors or commissioners because the image was wrong or not what they wanted. And believe you me, they will let you know why it is s**t.

Making a guide/guru thread in this forum is a great risk, especially with a subject such as Critique. We are all Students, Serious Hobbyists or even a few Professionals. We KNOW how to give and take it, it is after all part of why we are here in the first place.
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Quote:
Your critique shouldn't make the artist feel like they should just quit.
If the artist feels that way, it's their problem, not mine. At the same time, you need to consider the artist's level of understanding, level of confidence, and overall sense of purpose. Since the work telegraphs it, there's no excuse for ignoring those things.


don't hold back. never said you shouldn't. just bare in mind that you're there to help them, not make them feel like s**t for trying to draw.

so let me ask, how would you change this layout of critiquing? i would like more comments on how you would change this rather than comments on "i'll just critique how i want" which i assumed i would get anyways XD
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Nathaniel Mea
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Nathaniel Mea
Personally I have never sugar coated or used the sandwich critique technique. I give the crit as I see it. I comment on what I see, and if I don't see anything good with the image, I will not say anything good.

I've rarely had any issues from people not liking my crits though, the few times I have they've acted the same way to all crits they've got.

And I agree with Fansub, not every picture have something good to say about it.

What people need to realize is that they are not their art. Their art may try to say something, but they are not their art.

The peice is a product, and they are not their product. Hell, best thing a person can do is to learn how to destroy a picture they love. That way they don't get too attached to their art.


well, that's your prerogative. i created this to make a basic outline to give a balanced review of a piece. i know people will do what they want.

and yeah, people do need to view their art as something not personal, but writing a really harsh review may start arguments in which nothing is solved. but then again, that's why i posted the second half about taking critiques.


To be honest though, most of the regs here know how to both give and take crits. Hell most of us have had teachers tear up our art and have professionals tear into our art. We say what we say because that is reality, that is how a critique works in a professional/student setting.

There are no worthless flowering of words or ridiculous fluff used. sure, they can tell you why something works, but they also add why it works and why it works and the rest don't. That is, if they find something that works. I've had many of my images rejected full out by editors or commissioners because the image was wrong or not what they wanted. And believe you me, they will let you know why it is s**t.

Making a guide/guru thread in this forum is a great risk, especially with a subject such as Critique. We are all Students, Serious Hobbyists or even a few Professionals. We KNOW how to give and take it, it is after all part of why we are here in the first place.


lol, i don't mind if i raise controversy. i'm interested in what people think so i can get a better idea of why people spew hateful comments while critiquing to make the artist want to go home and cry or why, when given a critique, artists either put up their fists or ignore. i think i posted the little line about saying something good because i had to in college critiques and even though it was a very small part of the critique, it gave me strive to continue through all the mistakes i still had to deal with.

so should i omit the part about making a nice comment?
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XMegantronX
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Nathaniel Mea
Personally I have never sugar coated or used the sandwich critique technique. I give the crit as I see it. I comment on what I see, and if I don't see anything good with the image, I will not say anything good.

I've rarely had any issues from people not liking my crits though, the few times I have they've acted the same way to all crits they've got.

And I agree with Fansub, not every picture have something good to say about it.

What people need to realize is that they are not their art. Their art may try to say something, but they are not their art.

The peice is a product, and they are not their product. Hell, best thing a person can do is to learn how to destroy a picture they love. That way they don't get too attached to their art.


well, that's your prerogative. i created this to make a basic outline to give a balanced review of a piece. i know people will do what they want.

and yeah, people do need to view their art as something not personal, but writing a really harsh review may start arguments in which nothing is solved. but then again, that's why i posted the second half about taking critiques.


To be honest though, most of the regs here know how to both give and take crits. Hell most of us have had teachers tear up our art and have professionals tear into our art. We say what we say because that is reality, that is how a critique works in a professional/student setting.

There are no worthless flowering of words or ridiculous fluff used. sure, they can tell you why something works, but they also add why it works and why it works and the rest don't. That is, if they find something that works. I've had many of my images rejected full out by editors or commissioners because the image was wrong or not what they wanted. And believe you me, they will let you know why it is s**t.

Making a guide/guru thread in this forum is a great risk, especially with a subject such as Critique. We are all Students, Serious Hobbyists or even a few Professionals. We KNOW how to give and take it, it is after all part of why we are here in the first place.


lol, i don't mind if i raise controversy. i'm interested in what people think so i can get a better idea of why people spew hateful comments while critiquing to make the artist want to go home and cry or why, when given a critique, artists either put up their fists or ignore. i think i posted the little line about saying something good because i had to in college critiques and even though it was a very small part of the critique, it gave me strive to continue through all the mistakes i still had to deal with.

so should i omit the part about making a nice comment?


I don't really care what you do, it was just a warning.

and to be honest, I've never had anyone hate my crits. As I said in my first post, the only few times I've had, they have been acting the same way with every other crit they've received. I don't have problems with harsh crits myself. I find them refreshingly honest and to the point. If you post on a place like the PP, where posting means you want a crit, then you will have to be able to take them, no matter the flavour. If you only post there to get a**-pats then the PP isn't the place for you.

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