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 Giving and Getting Critiques

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Posts : 1233
Join date : 2009-11-21
Location Location : St. Louis, MO USA

PostSubject: Giving and Getting Critiques   Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:44 pm

On Giving and Getting Critiques

Giving Good Critiques
Where to start? A popular critiquing method is to "sandwhich" your criticism between positive comments. For example:
Bread > You've really captured the feel of a storm over the ocean
Meat > The water looks a little flat compared to the rest of the scene. It could use some more variations in color, and some indication of waves/white caps.<
Bread > Over-all, well done, the sky is especially realistic.

As you're thinking about what to say, keep in mind specific requests by the artist. These can help you determine just how much of a critique is expected. If the artist says he's new to painting and just doesn't know if the painting works or not , you could (gently) point out issues with perspective, proportion, color mixing - specific items that can be corrected. Keep it positive and encouraging. A more experienced artist might ask for more specific feedback. If she says she's really happy with the portrait she just finished, except for the buttons on the blouse, she's not looking to hear that the background doesn't work and she ought to re-do it! In the middle, there a many artists who are open to comments and suggestions on just about any aspect of their paintings. One still needs to be respectful, and give a helpful - not hurtful - critique. Offer specific suggestions rather than vague comments. Example: "The eyes look weird." < much better! Do not make useless, mean comments such as "that sucks". Try to recognize deliberate styles verses painting flaws, and keep your personal style preferences out of the critique. For instance, if abstract isn't your style, comment on color usage or composition/balance; no need to point out the apples are square instead of round!

Finally, before you post, re-read your comments to make sure your critique is clear and helpful, presented in a positive manner, and that it addresses any specific issues brought up by the artist. If you're at a loss for words, either don't say anything, or offer a brief comment on a positive aspect of the work ("the flesh is well done, she glows!").

Getting a Critique
Stay positive and remember: it's not personal. You're still a good person even if your trees look a little wonky! So far, none of us are professional critics and we're all at different places in our artistic careers. All forum members can participate, so some critiques may be more in depth, others might miss the mark - just keep an open mind, take what you find helpful and disreguard the rest. Be aware that text can come across very different from a face to face critique where facial expressions, tone of voice and body language all play a part. Try not to let a lack of confidence color how you read others' comments.

To get better critiques, offer some information about what you're trying to accomplish. Examples:
> I've never painted people before, I'm having problems mixing good flesh colors.
> Are the shadows/highlights reading right in this still-life, is there enough contrast?
> My portrait doesn't look like the reference, what do I need to change or re-do?
> This is only my second painting, what could I do or change to improve it?

A little information from you will help others to form critiques based on your level of experience, and how in-depth you want to go. If you have a unique style or way of handling certain subjects, mention it so others will know not to comment on that aspect of your paintings. Example: "All your people have elongated necks, but everything else is in proportion." Someone unfamiliar with your style doesn't know for sure if this is deliberate or not.

Don't forget: not all members have English as their first language. Be patient and don't get upset over something that might just be a well-intentioned effort to participate in the forum!

If you do feel that someone is deliberately trying to cause trouble, please do not respond - just use the Report Button. A moderator will address the problem.

We want everyone to enjoy themselves in the forum, and hope we all can be friendly, helpful and considerate of others' feelings.
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