Monday, August 17, 2009

Constructive Criticism vs Being Cruel

Its true that not all people are going to like your art, trust me I know first hand but that does not give anyone the right to be down right cruel and mean to you weather its to your face or behind your back. There is a difference between constructive criticism and and having someone say to you that “you just suck.” It also doesn’t make any sense to me for someone to say that they think someone’s art sucks just because they don’t like the artist’s style or type of work (ie: manga style, cartoony style, hyper-realistic style, pencil sketch, ink sketch, quick sketch, color sketch, etc.). Something like that is simply preference and not a reason to tell a artist that there work is terrible or awful.

Its funny, about 3 years ago during the summer when I was on break from Kubert school I had gotten my very 1st commission. I was so excited and honored that someone thought I was good enough to pay me for something I love to do. The commission was for a Sequential Page of Blackcat where she transforms to a centaur. I worked really hard on this project and was very proud of myself. The client was very happy with the final result and so was I but I still wanted to get a critique on it. I knew just because I thought it was my best work thus far at the time it didn’t mean that there were not problems with it such as anatomy, backgrounds, etc. (You can see the image below, its from 2006. Please excuse the poor scan.) I posted this particular piece on a forum to get critiqued, I was ready for the good points as well as the bad points. When it came down to it no one bothered to give me critique accept one person. And that one person did not even give me a critique at all other then saying that He or she thought the overall drawing was basically awful.

At the time that comment didn’t bother me too much because I know that everyone is entitled to their own opinion but now when I think back on it it does bother me a little. That comment was just mean and pointless and was not a proper critique. Who are they to say such a thing? Are they even a artist not that it matters? If the drawing was so awful then why not say why and how I could correct the problem with the drawing. Why not give a good point for every bad point of the drawing to balance out the critique. Constructive criticism is telling a artist where you see a problem with a drawing and giving them a suggestion as to how to correct that problem. The drawing couldn’t have been all that bad if the client was happy with it as well as countless other people who “favorited” the deviation on deviant art.

I’m not going to get down on a past experience like that but the reason why I started to remember that situation is because I see similar scenarios with other artist all the time where collectors, “fan boys”, and other artist are just down right mean and cruel to some artist and it bugs me. Its even worse when some one criticizes your work in public and then expect you to produce “so called” better work. Why not speak to the artist privately about their work in a professional manner?

Basically one of 2 things can happen when you get criticized for your work, you can throw in the towel and give up or brush of your shoulders and get back to the drawing board. I recommend the latter of the 2 choices. I’m pretty sure any artist you will talk to will have had experienced something like this. There is people out there who wouldn’t mind helping you out with a constructive critique and there is others who are just basically a$$holes for what ever reason. Who knows, maybe they are just jealous? It happens. You know what your capable of with your drawing skills. If you feel like your ready to push you art to the next level then go for it. If you feel like you need more practice with anatomy for example then do your research. If your not sure what you need to work on or not work on with your art and feel like you want a honest yet good critique then try to get one from a respectable source, maybe a teacher, or your favorite artist, etc. Surround yourself with positive people and with artist. If you don’t have artist friends in your area then there is plenty of artist online who would be more then happy to share ideas with you, give critiques, etc.

I’m going to close for now, thanks for stopping by! If you have questions or comments please feel free to let me know. These blogs I post are my own personal opinion but I do believe strongly in them. At some time I will discuss getting portfolio critiques at conventions by artist in the industry.



  1. Well I forget all what I was going to say now! But anyways I have a policy on dA to never say anything negative. That's not why I'm there. If something is ugly to me than I leave it alone, others will enjoy it. Not being a drawing-type artist I don't have any credibility anyways, as far as that goes. Then too, I prefer to lavish praise on something that may not be all that good compared to Bobby Chiu, say, but the person is a young artist and will continue to grow with a little encouragement.

  2. Very nice comment, thanks for your feedback ^_^

  3. Great article and I completely agree! I'm of the opinion that every piece of artistic work has some merit. I may not like it, but there is something good that's worth pointing out. Also, real people wrote/produced the work and real people have feelings. If one feels so bad that they need to tear someone down, then they have issues. That or they have no compassion for other people. I got some poetry critiqued today; basically one of the panelists insinuated that I didn't belong in a fancy art school. How do you like them apples?

  4. Thanks alot for reading :) I totally agree with you. I mean you might not like a piece of art but you can't say that the artist didn't work really hard on it. Its weird how opinions vary from person to person as far as art (all kinds) is concerned.



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