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Critiquing, do's and dont's

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 1:26 PM
So i almost always request critiques on my art, and i also get a lot of them too (thank you so much guys/galls) :D and i've noticed some critiquers have some misconceptions about critiques, their role, how to do it, etc.

Now i don't want to critique someone's critiuque, i rarely do that because people take it as being defensive about the art that is critiqued. So i'll just make this journal to hopefully inform/educate some of you about critiquing. 


-If an artist requests critiques, and you have something to say about it then do use the critique widget to leave a critique. Don't critique in the comment's section though. I know some of you are more shy, but if you're bold enough to write a critique then put it in its proper place, that's what the widget is fore. This does not apply to artists who do not have a premium and can't requests critiques through the widget.

-Do read the artists comments on the artwork first. They might offer hints on what they want critiques on such as ' i get the feeling there's something wrong with the legs, or something along those lines' If you find such a thing then try to focus your critique on that.

-Be on the look out for time spent on a drawing. Critique what could have been done better in the time they had, not if they had many hours to put in extra. If they request a critique on a sketch, don't tell them how it would look better colored etc. Many artists don't have the time to polish their artwork much, so if you see rough lines in a drawing done in 3 hours, i would suggest not critiquing that because it's just not productive. Not having enough time to polish a drawing is not 'a mistake' it's just a circumstance.

-Use a critique sandwich. A critique sandwich is when you start the critique with positive things you like about the drawing, in the middle you start adding the mistakes and things that could be improved, and then end in a positive note with what you like overall. This adds the negative stuff into a nice positive wrapping kind of like a sandwich, that the artist can easily chew on. 

-Do tell the artist how to improve on future drawings. A critique's primary purpose is to help the artist, not for you to have an outlet and vent your frustrations about a piece of artwork. While some artists might figure out on their own how to improve after reading your critique, not all of them have that kind of mindset. So simply stating the mistakes might not help anyone. 

-Do link to helpful tutorials. There's nothing better than a tutorial to perfectly illustrate a point and to show how an artist can improve in something. Words can sometime be misunderstood, unclear, we are not all native english speakers. there's a language barrier that can be crossed with a tutorial. 

-Do critique at the level that the artist is at. If an artist is a beginner, then don't ask for the world from them. Put yourself in their shoes and think how they can improve with their current skill set. 

-Do mention a recurring mistake an artist makes. This does not mean style but rather you noticed they always draw one eye smaller than the other kind of mistakes. This shows the artist that you are closely following their works and you care, which is always nice, and it also help them repair a mistake that's much more important than mistakes that don't reappear. 
Of course, if there's no particular recurring mistake, then don't look to the depths of hell for one, you might go into the pitfall of critiquing art style.

-Do look through the artist's gallery before critiquing. If you really don't know the artist and just stumbled upon the artwork and want to critique, take a moment first to look through that artist's gallery. You want to know what the drawing you're about to critique means for the artist and adjust your critique accordingly. Take these examples:
        -They might try a new style for the first time, 
        - Or the opposite they might have struggled much to get to this style you see
      -they might usually draw much worse and this was a huge leap for them, a huge improvement. 
All of these things should be taken into consideration when critiquing. So checking out the gallery is a good idea.


-Don't expect the artist to do the changes you suggest. Contrary to popular belief, artists will not do the changes you suggest. Most artists (me included) look into the future, not the past. We request critiques to prevent mistakes from repeating themselves, not to actually change the current artwork. 

-Don't critique style. I know this subject is controversial here on dA. But this is my journal and i will state my opinion on this. An artist's style is something that has developed from that artist's tastes of what they think beauty is. Critiquing style is like saying 'your taste in art sucks, my taste is better'. This can easily be avoided if you look through the artist's gallery before critiquing.

-Don't make your critique be a list of things you don't like about the artwork. Artists have the choice of not posting your critique and you might have just wasted a good portion of your time writing it just for it to be closed with a click of a button. Writing only the negative can give the impression you're bashing the artwork and the artist might be offended. 

-Don't think that if an artist requested critiques, you HAVE to find something negative to say. If you're being nit picky, you can find something negative to say about every thing that exists and ever existed on this earth. Don't go down that road. If you don't think there's anything wrong with it, then don't write a critique, write a nice comment instead. You can write it in the critique widget too of course, i personally am perfectly ok with that (even if some are not). 

-Don't think that if the artist requested critiques then they think there's something wrong with their artwork. While some artists only request critiques at artwork they feel something isn't right with, i personally request at almost everything. Every artist is different. I found this misconception a lot, people are thinking 'hmmmm this artist requested critique on this beautiful art, there must be something wrong with it.. let's look closely.. now that i think about it, what if she changed the hair from red to green?' 
This thinking makes you nit picky, which might make you pick on something completely unimportant and come off as overcritical. 

-Don't critique artwork that does not have critiques turned on, or the artist doesn't specifically say in the artists comments they are open to critiques. Artists are very sensible creatures. Our art is tied with our ego, and if an artist is not ready to receive a blow to their ego, they will not request critiques, and you should respect that. There are artists here who only draw for fun and that fun can be spoiled like this. Not everyone wants to be a pro, not everyone wants to improve. Not everyone wants to improve through critiques. Critiques are just a tool that some artists use.

-When critiquing fanart, don't dwell on the differences between the artwork and the original design. Many artists take artistic freedom, they like to try their own 'take' on a character, and not to copy how the character originally looks like. It would be absolutely boring if when drawing fanart, the main objective would be 'who can copy this style better'. No one would draw fanart anymore. Fanart is when an artist expresses their love for something in the form of art, in most cases it is their intention to put individuality in it, and that is not a mistake.

Other info:

If you don't know what to say in a critique, here's a small list of things you can take into consideration:

-expression (face expression, body expression)
-concept (what the drawing is trying to say and how effective it's saying it)

Those are the usual things i used to take into consideration when writing critiques and i still think they're a pretty complete set to use.

While i've never written a critique on a deviation, i've offered many in the past privately, as a moderator in a group i was in (which does not offer critiques anymore so sorry to dissapoint, the group is pretty much inactive now). 
So i've offered critiques only to deviants who specifically sent a note and requested one. I also looked at the other moderator's critiques and learned many things about critiques back then. So this info is not just coming out of my ass :lmao::lmao:
There will be artists who will get angry and offended even if you write the critique very nicely, as i've said, art is strongly connected to an artist's self worth. And you might just strike the wrong chord. It happens.
You can avoid that by writing your critique in a positive and constructive way. 

Also, only premium members can request critiques, however any member can offer a critique. If you're not a premium member then just write 'i am open for critiques on this piece' in the artists comments. If you wane critiques, don't wait for them to happen, ask for them. I cannot stress this enough, i have seen so many artists telling me they want more feedback and critiques and not a single drawing in their gallery had a word like 'please tell me what you think' or 'any feedback is welcome' or 'critiques are welcome' 

As i've also encouraged this, most critiquers on dA are kind enough not to critique people who do not request critiques. If you don't say you want them, you're silently saying you don't want them. 

Also, check out my journal on how to get more feedback on dA  How to get feedback on dAWe all joined this site, more or less for this reason, to get feedback on our art. The whole point of submitting art online is for people to see it and hear what they think about it. 
Now there are a lot of deviants out there who get little to no feedback and as a result ask the people who faved their art to comment or go to random people on dA and ask for them to look at their art or comment in the hopes that the person will be kind enough to return the favor. 
A message to the people who do that, you're doing it all wrong.
Sure, if you ask 20 people who faved your drawing what they thought about it, you might get 1 or 2 answers, but in return, you'll be ignored by say 10 people and you'll annoy 8 people. I get these comments and i'm telling you, begging for feedback is not the way to go, if someone didn't comment when they fave, what makes you think forcing their hand is the right way to go? 
A fav is a compliment, take it a it is. Not everyone has

Speaking of critiques, here's something funny to lighten to mood Critique O Matic Plus by Cannibal-Cartoonist

There's more to be said on the subject but this journal is getting already too long so i'll end it here. :p

A question for the artists
As an artist, what are your pet peeves when receiving critiques? (i might include your do's and don'ts in the journal)

:new: many deviantswho commented here want to critique drawings that don't have critique turned on because artists shouldn't post online if they don't want their work criticized. Here's my answer::new:

  • Mood: Optimism


Read This before sending me notes!


:bulletblue:Art Trades:Friends only:bulletblue:

Small FAQ
(for longer version go here… )

:bulletblue:Q: Can i draw your characters?
:bulletblue:A: Of course, i like to see them drawn in different ways :D

:bulletblue:Q: You didn't answer to my message, why?
:bulletblue:A: I get a lot of messages and comments and many things slip from under my radar, if you have something important to say and i haven't answered you, please send me a note instead. But don't abuse the note system either, please don't send me notes just to thank me for favs.

:bulletblue:Q: Do you want to join my project, we have no money but we'll pay you in exposure.
:bulletblue:A: I only join art books, if the theme attracts me. But I simply do not have the time to get involved in other people's p[projects when i have such little time for my own. You can send me a note and ask me but chances are high that i will decline. I wish you luck on your project though.

:bulletblue:Q: Can you advertise my thing?
:bulletblue:A: Sorry i only advertise friends. Otherwise my journal would become spamish and no one would read it anymore ^^;

:bulletblue:Q: Can i use your art in my thing?
:bulletblue:A: Yes, you may. The only condition is you do not make a profit out of it. For example if you want to use my art for a bag and then sell the bag, then it's a NO. If you want to make a school project, then yes. But please, always send me a note letting me know. I don't like things being done with my art behind my back.

:bulletblue:Q: Can i trace your art, or redraw it, or use your concept?
:bulletblue:A: Yes, but please don't claim it as your own! Say in the comments where you got the inspiration from or what image you traced. Also, send me a note with the link, i like to collect them :D



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How advanced in digital art do you consider yourself? 

1,397 deviants said I know my way around digital programs but not too many advanced things :iconseriouskipplz:
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Oct 31, 2014
8:42 pm
Oct 31, 2014
8:42 pm
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Add a Comment:
GPZero Featured By Owner 8 minutes ago  New member Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the fave and I like how your artwork looks, its really pretty and cool. :)
Carolning Featured By Owner 31 minutes ago  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the fave!
beyzayildirim77 Featured By Owner 32 minutes ago  Student Digital Artist
Thank you for the fave..!! Heart
PsychicThief Featured By Owner 33 minutes ago
Thanks for the fave! :D
Qtpi-0121 Featured By Owner 35 minutes ago  Student Digital Artist
Thanks for the favs! Hug 
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