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On giving and taking critique

#1 User is offline   Griatch 

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 11:27 AM

Posting your art - be it a sig, a photomanipulation, a digital painting or anything else - on a public forum like gimptalk is implicitly inviting people to give comments on it -- critíque. I thought I'd put down some ideas and suggestions on this subject.


For you getting critique:

First of all, if you don't want critique you must mark that directly in your post. This is fine and should be respected, but don't expect too many people to comment -- people don't like censorship. But you should really remember is that critique is always a good thing. Critique means a person have really looked at your work, taken it in and formed an opinion about it. They might not like what they see, but at least they are not indifferent to it, it's the difference between having an audience and having a group of people just passing by. Heeding critique is also - by far - the fastest way to improve your art.

Things to think about:
  • Try to properly address the constructive critique you get. If a person spent time writing detailed points of critique for you, you should reply in kind with a detailed response. You certainly don't have to agree with any of it, but then you should say so and why. Critique is a dialogue and also the one giving critique must feel the effort they made at least registered with you. If you don't take this time, chance is that next time they won't bother.
  • This is a collaborative place; there are real people behind those nicknames who spent some of their time writing feedback for you. Always thank people for their feedback. Always. Also if the critique is jarring. You asked for feedback, you got it. Even better, go give feedback and critique on their works in return.
  • Also a simple one-sentence "That's great!" or "Nice!" is also a sort of feedback. A lot less useful than real critique for sure, but worthy of a thanks too.
  • If you feel people don't comment enough on your work, start posting critique and feedback on the work of others, they will hopefully reply in kind. If everyone just waits for others to comment on their work, noone will get any responses, ever.
  • Don't get defensive. If you get (negative) critique, you must take it for what it is -- an opinion of your latest work. It does not judge you as a person. If you feel personally offended, you have failed. Take a step back, take a cup of tea and return when the feeling subsides.
  • If you do get flamed with a clear non-constructive personal attack ("This sucks, you suck and you could just as well stop doing art altogether"), ignore them for the trolls they are and report the post to staff. Schmucks like that do not belong on GT anyway.


For you giving critique:

Few realize it, but giving proper critique is an art in itself. And I'm not talking about knowing any fancy artsy terms. No, the art lies in delivering your critique in a way that actually helps the artist, not just brings them down or makes them defensive. Critique is a sensitive thing. The artist has probably spent much time and put a lot of love into their work, it's not easy to hear it's not perfect, to have the flaws pointed out.

Things to think about:
  • Never forget that your goal is to help another person to get better. If you want to be critical just to be mean or to show off, don't post.
  • There is a real person behind that artist nickname. If the artist becomes defensive and feels attacked, you have failed. No one will heed your advice if you do not respect them. The artist is the master of this particular piece of artwork, not you. It's their work, their choice to hear you out or to reject your advice. Deliver your constructive critique in a respectful way, making it clear it is just your personal opinion. It will give the artist a chance to "save face" if you will, to accept your advice without having to swallow any pride. It's simple human psychology.
  • Sometimes the artist don't agree with your citique. Accept that. People have different opinions and it's their artwork after all, at least they now know others see things differently.
  • Critique do not only mean negative feedback, but also positive. If you like something, say so. Artists are not mind-readers, there is no such thing as "I don't need to comment because they already know it's good".
  • Any feedback is good feedback. A one word "Great!" is better than not responding at all, but you should really try to at least get together a coherent sentence on why you thought it was 'great'. On the other hand a one-word "Bad!" is not acceptable at all -- if you give negative feedback you are supposed to explain why.
  • If you give negative critique, make it constructive. "I don't like the right part of the image" is an opinion, but it does not help the artist at all. What is the problem? Is it the colour? Should there be something more there? Is the image too wide? If you can't put your finger on what's wrong ("it's just a feeling..."), say so, but don't leave the artist hanging with just a loose statement.
  • Of course flames and personal attacks are not acceptable at all. As the guidelines say, if you feel the urge to flame, just don't post.
  • There is always something positive to be said about any piece of art. Even if you have a lot of negative feedback to give, always try to squeeze in one or two things that were well done, even if they are trivial.



If you have more ideas and thoughts around this issue, post them!
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#2 User is offline   MNM 

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 12:08 PM

Sticky!
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saulgoode said:

(we want our image to be "gimped", not "photoshopped"; the difference being one can't tell when an image has been properly gimped :) ).
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#3 User is offline   Kiba 

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 01:03 PM

Good post Griatch.

I try to follow these guidelines, especially the last one, I normally finish off with some positivity.
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#4 User is offline   saviourking120 

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 02:52 PM

Yeah, great post Griatch! More people should follow this. Definetly deserves a sticky.
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#5 User is offline   areneeb123 

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 03:57 PM

Good post! I always try to say at least one good thing and one thing to improve in each Cnc I do. This should be stickied.
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#6 User is offline   FSX 

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 06:26 PM

This is a good post since I find it difficult to give good critique. :)

And this post should be stickied.
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#7 User is offline   inspectra 

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 05:53 AM

MNM said:

Sticky!

+1!

Great topic Griatch, it'll help get some more sensical reviews for sigs. Every point there is good, thanks. Especially this one:

Griatch said:

[*] If you give negative critique, make it constructive. "I don't like the right part of the image" is an opinion, but it does not help the artist at all. What is the problem? Is it the colour? Should there be something more there? Is the image too wide? If you can't put your finger on what's wrong ("it's just a feeling..."), say so, but don't leave the artist hanging with just a loose statement.
I got "the right side is bad, but the left side looks great" a lot for my Mario sig, but I didn't really understand why.

Once again, thanks.
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#8 User is offline   Griatch 

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 07:49 PM

Glad it was appreciated. :D

I guess I'll sticky it for now then.
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#9 User is offline   Digital Image 

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 08:13 PM

A great post. I know I am guilty of giving negative feedback. But we all make mistakes. I try my hardest though. A great post!

A thing I think artist need to remember though, is that many times, people who Comment and Critique on a signature is done in their own time, and because they want to, so it's always good to at least say thank you. I know I try to do this.

:)
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#10 User is offline   Griatch 

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 11:10 AM

Digital Image said:

A great post. I know I am guilty of giving negative feedback. But we all make mistakes. I try my hardest though. A great post!

A thing I think artist need to remember though, is that many times, people who Comment and Critique on a signature is done in their own time, and because they want to, so it's always good to at least say thank you. I know I try to do this.

:)


There is nothing wrong with giving negative feedback per se, as long as it is constructive negative feedback. And it is true that one should always thank for feedback, as mentioned in the list. :)
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#11 User is offline   inspectra 

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Posted 01 June 2009 - 11:33 AM

You know, this thread should be duplicated and instead, stickied in both the Sig and Digital Art forums. That way it's more visible to critiquers.
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#12 User is offline   Griatch 

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Posted 09 June 2009 - 02:29 PM

@Pixelated:

Good idea, I did just that!
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#13 User is offline   Bythmark 

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 10:21 PM

I've noticed that lots of people lately (especially new ones who need it the most) have been complaining about high view counts but no comments. I think there should be a suggestion for if you see a post with a lot of views and no feedback that you should post something, even if it's an ambiguous, "I can't put my finger on it, but..." or "I can't see anything wrong with it, but the piece just doesn't have anything that stands out."
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#14 User is offline   BnBGobo99 

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 06:16 PM

I know this has already been made a sticky, but I'd just like to throw in my comment that this was a fantastic post! It's good advice I hope to follow during my time here at GT. :D
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#15 User is offline   jackson86 

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 12:45 PM

Hiii..totally agree with you.. really critique is always a good thing by this we realize that person really look our work..I try to follow these guidelines..gud job
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#16 User is offline   NBNS 

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 04:06 PM

very nice.
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