Taking & Giving Critiques
As artists, of any kind we all know about Critiques. Basically it's someone pointing out the good, the bad, and how you need to improve on your work. Or sometimes it feels like people saying,"I can do better" ... Learning how to take a critique in a positive way and give a critique in a positive way are both important as an artist.
Taking A Critique...
Taking critiques can be hard, especially for those of us who have low self esteem. You read it and start to feel the entire thing was pointless, you did it ALL wrong! When in all cases that's not true at all, critiques can be harsh... but as long as a good critique was given, it's kind of like tough love.. it's for your own good.. or in this case to help you improve your art.
Even knowing this critiques are extremely hard to take, I've had trouble with it before but later think about it for a minute am ok again... here's what I do to take a harsh critique:
- First off take a deep breath!
Doing this a few times can calm you down enough for your head to start working clearly again.. the trauma of having someone point out how you messed up so much on your art can really get your blood moving, your heart pumping incredibly fast and let me say heavy breathing if you breath at all!
I love Chris Rice's song "You Don't Have To Yell" A line from it is "If everyone would just take a breath, back away and count to ten... we wont have to yell."
Well, a lot of feelings can be hurt in giving and commenting on critiques so remember to keep a cool head. Take a few deep breaths and look at the situation, then you may return to it.
- Read the critique carefully.
Especially if it's a long critique you want to make sure that you read it carefully and completely... our minds are funny things, (more funny if we are stressed or afraid) and you can actually sometime read things that aren't there.. or take something that was said in a bad way the wrong way. You don't want to do this, even if your not replying back to the critic. Not only can it lead to accusing but also can lead to more pain for you if you do "miss-read" something.
- Remember it's to help you
Even harsh critiques are to help you... keep that in mind. When critiquing the person can seem unattached and have no concern for your feelings. While a good critique should be able to not bring you down to far a lot of people are not sure how to be helpful AND friendly at the same time. The person needs to be unattached from you other wise their care for your feelings can get in the way of them critiquing... it's nothing personal!
Tying to keep a positive attitude after reading a critique is crucial! Smiling is always a good way to do that, as much as I wish it was it's not always easy to keep a clear head and not take to it personally... so smiling and WAITING before you reply back to a critique is one of the best thing you can do. :)
My final tip is, if you are going through a hard time or don't feel you can handle a critique then DON'T!! No one says you have to ask for one, in fact you can state you don't want one.. and there's nothing wrong with that. :)
Giving A Critque
Giving a critique can be like playing with some one's emotions... or it can just be plain helpful that depends on the person, so here's a couple of general tips to help give a good critique!
First tell the person what they did right, what do you like about the drawing? Anything good that stands out in the drawing? Check things like the shading, details, overall lines, etc for good things to point out... being able to say I love the texture of this drawing rather then saying this drawing is good... gives the artist a bit more to go on if you know what I mean. :)
Next off, point out some of the mistakes, the things that don't quite sit right.. but seriously don't call them mistakes!! EX
- Here's one mistake, the right eye isn't level...
- A tip to make your drawing look better next time is to make sure the eyes are level...
See the difference? Which one would you rather read? Keep this in mind when pointing out "mistakes."
- Next if you can write out some ways they can improve upon the areas you pointed out. If you have any helpful tips, put them here. Tips on how to improve and suggestions are usually wanted more times then not.
- Now give them a general of the drawing, basically you are going to say all of what you just said but in a shorter version. EX "I love the drawing, the texture is great... look into what I said about the eyes though ok?"
- Ending with a line that they should keep it up, or to keep practicing is always good!