A comment on comments and crits

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lifelibertyland
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A comment on comments and crits

Post by lifelibertyland » Sun Oct 23, 2005 3:50 pm

Lemme just start by saying the illustration and comic forums are excellent, I probably browse them atleast every other day.

But I've noticed a lot of the really nice work that's being posted recieves a lot of comments with the gist of, "it looks great." Not to say this is bad or that I haven't seen plenty of great comments and crits, but I feel as an artist this can sometimes be a bad comment to get. Somone who's told thier work is great has no reason to push thier work to newer levels. And when good work is posted it's hard to come up with something constrictive to say.

It's almost like when you see work in a gallery you don't feel like you can critique it because if somone was good enough to get into the gallery, what's wrong with their work? I don't think it's that something is wrong, It seems like a lot of people see critiques as negative and think something is wrong with their work. Especially after working so hard on a piece a criticism might be a bitter pill to swallow, but if it's constructive you can take it and help your next work.

I dunno what my point is but it's hard to give really good comments and criticisms of somone's work. Somone I went to school with to graduated last year said one thing he missed a lot is no one gives him critiques on work, he just gets a lot of the same old, "it looks good" kinda shuff, which never helps.

I'm curious how other people think about this?




Comments and crits on works is hard work I think.
"Everything in my shop is the best," replied the butcher. "You cannot find here any piece of meat that is not the best."
At these words Banzan became enlightened.

trick
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Post by trick » Sun Oct 23, 2005 7:11 pm

Yes, I've noticed the same thing (I only recently registered here, but I've been lurking on and off ever since the forum came up). As an artist (hah), there's nothing as useless as a "that's great" comment (well, except the "me too" comments) .. It may give you a warm fuzzy feeling for a while because someone out there actually likes your work, but it tells you nothing about why they think your work is great, or what's not so great, or what could be improved. Constructive criticism is much better in that respect.

I almost always try to give some myself, although I'm not exactly the best artist around -- but crit'ing someone's work doesn't just help the one you're crit'ing, it also helps yourself. You examine the work, find flaws, describe them, and in doing so you become more aware of them yourself so that both the crit'er and the, er, critee, has an enlightening experience (well, potentially, anyway). Everybody wins! :)

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lifelibertyland
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Post by lifelibertyland » Sun Oct 23, 2005 7:32 pm

About giving crits I don't think you have to be the best in order to make you worthy to give a good critique. I mean most movie critics probably have never made a movie in thier life but they criticize them for a living!
Though in some respect being an expert on a specific medium may lend itself in a crit to cite specific technical errors you could then correct.

I don't always give great critiques myself either but I agree it helps you as much as the person you're critquing just to talk about work and help yourself understand what makes certain things work etc...
"Everything in my shop is the best," replied the butcher. "You cannot find here any piece of meat that is not the best."
At these words Banzan became enlightened.

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Nick
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Post by Nick » Sun Oct 23, 2005 11:37 pm

Hmmm, this has cropped up before. Now its not that I disagree with what you’re saying but I have to point out that the onus is not necessarily on fellow posters to even reply.I think the ratio of replies to viewings is quite a lot higher on this site than most. I think in part that it falls down to the fact that when people browse Flight they might be on a lunch break and time is sparse. There are a lot of busy professionals on this board; they might not have the time to go into in depth analysis of the working of a particular illustration, but still want to say something about it. Now a lot of people on this site are professionals so if they say something’s ‘great’, chances are the poster of the work is doing something right.

Now like I said, I don’t necessarily disagree with what you’re saying but as an artist we have to make informed choices and it’s up to us to join up the dots and to come to our own conclusions. It’s also good to have more than one source for your feedback; chances are the posters here are also a member of a great number of other forums. Flight on the whole is quite chilled out and I don’t think a lot is going to change. Lead by example. :)
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Joe Shig
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Post by Joe Shig » Mon Oct 24, 2005 1:21 am

I'm more on Nick's side here. Don't get me wrong, constructive crits are like food for an artist, but I don't think there's anything wrong with people just posting "awesome", "kick-ass" or "I dig the colours". If a poster is really looking for some crits, he/she can always ask explicitly for just that, and I've no doubt he/she would get some. But the thing I love most about these forums is the laid-back nature of (almost) everyone here. It's such a non-threataning environment, especially for inexperienced artists/illustrators. "I dig the colours" could mean a world of encouragement for some.

But that's just my buck-fifty. :)
Last edited by Joe Shig on Mon Oct 24, 2005 2:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by The_Noik » Mon Oct 24, 2005 1:33 am

Most pro's are rather busy, I think...

I think it's totaly not a problem to get some crits from people that don't draw.
Sometimes they directly see whats not right in the drawing.
And...Art isn't only for people who draw, it's made to impress everybody.
So, why not let it check by...everybody. ;)
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Post by Kazu » Mon Oct 24, 2005 2:00 am

What Nick and Joe said. :D

I think encouragement at an early stage is much more important than any harsh crits. Crits are effective, but only when you get the advice from people who really do know what they're talking about, and only when the artists being critiqued are open-minded enough to take them in (therefore it's important to pick and choose your critics wisely).

I also feel the most effective learning method is in figuring things out yourself. I never took art classes because I loved studying other people's methods and the craft itself so much that I didn't want anyone to tell me how they feel I should do it. I'm all about positive reinforcement, and in doing it yourself. Besides, like Nick, I imagine many of the folks coming through here are full-time workers who get "constructive crits" all day long, and would like for at least one place in the world they can go where they can just be encouraged to be themselves.
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Post by The_Noik » Mon Oct 24, 2005 2:04 am

So it's wrong what I said?...Oops... :? :lol:
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trick
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Post by trick » Mon Oct 24, 2005 3:35 am

That makes sense. I guess I won't crit unless explicitly asked for, then.

I never said I don't draw, btw :) (Here's one I think turned out nice, a few years ago ..). I don't draw anywhere near as much as I'd like to, though.

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Joe Shig
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Post by Joe Shig » Mon Oct 24, 2005 4:04 am

trick wrote:That makes sense. I guess I won't crit unless explicitly asked for, then.
I think you've misunderstood. There's no problem whatsoever with giving someone a handful of constructive criticism. In fact, I'd say it's a necessary component of any artist's worklife. But that's not to say that 'light' comments such as "good work", etc. should be at all discouraged. I think there's a place for both forms of commentary and I'd assume both are appreciated by most of the artists displaying their work here.

However, if an artist feels that they're only getting 'light' comments, and want a little more, they can always ask for some crits ("be harsh", "show no mercy", etc.), and I'm certain they'd receive them.
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Post by jdalton » Mon Oct 24, 2005 4:34 am

Joe Shig wrote:However, if an artist feels that they're only getting 'light' comments, and want a little more, they can always ask for some crits ("be harsh", "show no mercy", etc.), and I'm certain they'd receive them.
It's true. That's what worked for me the last time I posted here. I got lots of great advice because I asked for it.

When I respond to posts I usually try to give a bit of constructive criticism, I guess it's the whole "Do unto others" philosophy because that's what I would like for my own art, but even though I think sometimes this forum could use more constructive criticism, I wouldn't want to push for it too much. This is a very nice forum and a welcome change from some others I've been on that I won't go back to.

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lifelibertyland
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Post by lifelibertyland » Mon Oct 24, 2005 8:18 am

The issue of people having little no time to post crits is perfectly understandable. In my honest opinion though if I have nothing to say other than I think it looks good or whatever I won't bother posting.

And I'm not saying the forum has to change but enforcing more crits or anything like that. I like this forum and think it's a nice place to discuss things and show work. I was just making a general comment, I think it's more than likely the lack of constructive crits are found on other forums, in class, and in the workplace too, so it's not specific to this forum.

As for the positive encouragement idea... I dunno why people think a crit is such a negative thing or something to take offense to, I feel a good crit can be positive encouragement. I think people should be honest, if you don't think something is right let them know. Seeing something you honestly don't think is working as a piece explain why and how it might be better, even if you're not a professional it's ok! I mean most people who read comics aren't pros anyway. In my opinion to just say it's good might encourage someone to keep working but not necessarily evolve thier style for the better... if that makes sense?
As I said before after working long and hard on something a crit might feel like a slap in the face at first. But you can't be so defensive, these are just opinions, and aren't we entitled to our opinions? Take what you like, and leave what you don't, but I'm just saying be open to people crits. I mean I've seen people ignore a crit and thank the other people on the thread for giving them a compliment!
"Everything in my shop is the best," replied the butcher. "You cannot find here any piece of meat that is not the best."
At these words Banzan became enlightened.

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Daedalus
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Post by Daedalus » Mon Oct 24, 2005 10:10 am

Until this question arose, I didn't even notice a critique and criticism problem because I see C&C all the time here. Plus, when C&C is given, I never seen anyone take offence to it, so I don't think it's the "hard pill to swallow" theory. Just look at Aaron with that Halloween party thing, or the RAW art post. Even my first ever post with the critters was critiqued. S'all good, it happens when it needs to. People understand.

Joe mentioned above, this place is "laid-back", and most of the posts are just "Look at this dream I had" or "Posting, just for the hell of it" and it's all good. I think that sometimes telling someone to "keep at it!" is just as good as a critique because it will motivate that person to continue and get better naturally. It happens with practice. Another example is with monsterbird car. Jason asked for crits if we spotted any. So far, none to be given.

BTW, no pun intended, but great post! I love the discussion!

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lifelibertyland
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Post by lifelibertyland » Mon Oct 24, 2005 11:08 am

I don't think there is a crit problem, it's more or less just an observation on the whole. I was just curious of how other felt about crits etc.
And I wasn't saying there is no crits, because there are a lot, but there's also a lot of the "it looks good" comments. Which I guess I've learned can work on some level here (though personally I'm still against it :?)...


and on the comment about the "raw" thread in the illustration forum that's a good example of what I was talking about. Here somone has asked for a critique, and of over 80 views only two people replied... I think it says something about people not wanting to critique work, or just not wanting to show support of work they don't think is good without posting why. And I can tell eople might not think it's good ebcause it doesn't have 10 or more posts saying something along the lines of, "that's great, keep it up." This is one example and can't be applied to the whole forum, it may just be an exception. but since you mentioned it I felt it fit in to the discussion and made an excellent point. :)
"Everything in my shop is the best," replied the butcher. "You cannot find here any piece of meat that is not the best."
At these words Banzan became enlightened.

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Nofret
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Post by Nofret » Mon Oct 24, 2005 11:13 am

lifelibertyland wrote:The issue of people having little no time to post crits is perfectly understandable. In my honest opinion though if I have nothing to say other than I think it looks good or whatever I won't bother posting...
Ah, but that could be a double edge sword!
I have a friend who stopped posting at another board because she was hardly getting any comments. Her art was ok, and she did get crits when something was off a bit. But that was it. Sometimes, just a little "nice work" is enough to give encouragement to continue.
Another touchy thing: sometimes, it is hard to explain what is wrong with a drawing, unless one goes and redraws over it. That can take more time than try and make a toughtful comment, and the poster may even get angry to have someone draw over their art (though it would get the point across easier).

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