Guide To Critiquing 2011-05-20 13:52:42
When it comes to art, you always have to give artists critiques, right? Well, a lot of people are slipping on their manners when it comes to critiquing art, so here's my guide on how to critique art, and how NOT to make yourself appear hostile towards an artist. I am writing this guide, because it has everything to do with art, since the reviewer is looking at art at the time of following this guide.
STEP 1: You look at the art carefully, preferably while you're writing your critique, so that way you can go back and edit your critique when you spot something you missed. For example, go to my page and go to 'reviews'. Go down to 'art reviews' and look at my latest critique. I gave the user a 5 / 10 for good reason, and I listed exactly what was wrong with the picture, and how it can be fixed. However, while I was writing, I spotted a few nit picks here and there and edited accordingly.
STEP 2: Start out with the positive. Proper critique authors always start out with what they like about the picture. For example, in my review, I liked the central character of the piece, and made it evident to that end. Also, STEP 2 can apply throughout the entire critique, as your words of encouragement inspire the artist to improve on his or her work, if it is not of top quality. When your tone is positive throughout the critique, you seem approachable as a judge, and it makes the artist take the pain a little easier. The artist has feelings, too. You're not the only one that matters in the critique, and it's best you consider the artist's feelings as well.
STEP 2.5: Be friendly throughout your critique. Remember, you are talking to the artist in your review, so it is wise to be approachable and to use mild to no profanity (damn is pretty much the only acceptable curse word, AND it can only be used when describing positives, without coming across as making you, the reviewer look like a jerk) in your review, if you so wish to do a critique of an artist's work. Again, I cannot stress this enough that the artist's feelings are important as well as your own, but try not to let your anger get the best of you when reviewing. Unfortunately, I have fallen short on this a few times. Still, I try to be as positive as possible. You should do the same. Also, it is very important to JUDGE THE PIECE, NOT THE ARTIST! On the internet, you do not know anyone, and no one knows you, so instead of starting a flame war, try to judge the piece ONLY. Try to be as respectful as possible when reviewing.
STEP 3: Point out the negatives in a nice, friendly tone, as if you were giving someone advice in a less bitter manner. However, you can be completely honest with the artist. You can be blunt if you wish. For example, you could start like this:
"I like the fact that you tried to come up with something different, and not the norm. I can always appreciate originality. However, there are still some things that need to be fixed, and things that can really turn off the viewer. For example,..."
Honesty is ALWAYS the best policy. It does not matter how a person on the internet acts; we are not here to judge one another unfairly, you know.
STEP 4: After you're done with the negatives, come up with some words of advice. Encourage the artist to grow and develop his or her style. Use words of encouragement like, "You have potential.." or perhaps, "You can do better next time..." or the immaculate, "I really want to see how you grow as an artist, and look forward to seeing how you do next time." The third one is the real charmer, and gets the artist off of their ass and immediately into practice. Third phrase is the ultimate phrase of encouragement for an artist. They may spend days coming up with a new idea, or practicing and sketching, or maybe they're right in the middle of their next project and immediately apply new ideas to it, and using your advice to their advantage, IF AND ONLY IF YOU HAVE BEEN FRIENDLY THE ENTIRE TIME! I cannot stress enough how important it is to respect the artist's feelings and to encourage them. No growth will ever come out of being harsh or telling the artist to go die in a hole or saying things like "I bet you've never had a girlfriend before; your art probably turns them off. Why even bother?"
FINALLY, give scores fairly and reasonably. Unfair scores will only anger the artist, especially if they're like me and have been trying to become a more likable person.
I don't expect anyone to be friendly when they see this, but this is something that needs to be said, and it needs to be done. I hate seeing fellow artists being disrespected for personal grudges. NEVER let your feelings about someone get in the way of how feel about their work. That is a surefire way to start a flame war, which by the way is unacceptable.
Thank you for taking the time to read this guide.