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I cant help but notice a lot of review posts tend to wane towards generalized comments or a pat on the back. I think a lot of people have trouble giving useful feedback; but its not hard at all when you know how to start.
This is my view of a well-written critique:
step1: Name 2 things you like about the piece, and a maximum of 3 you do not like.
Categories for this include, but are not limited to:
anatomy, proportions, pose, gesture, light& shade, composition, (use of) colour, use of line and/ or fields, contrast, technique, draughtsmanship, the feel of the work, the message it tells you.
(Bai fan's thread here explains some of these categories in depth)
step2: Be specific: dont's just say 'There's issues in anatomy', say: 'The elbow joint is now pointing up and to the left. It should be jutting straight at us'.
step3: If you know a way to fix the problem, state it. Like, when a face feels skewed, dont just tell a person it's skewed, advise them to mirror their work a few times when drawing.
step4: Paintovers =roxxor.
step5: If you happen to have an idea of something useful for a person to study, name it. But again, be specific. A link is nice.
Last edited by ashess; January 7th, 2009 at 07:50 AM.
Putting a cap on how many things you can say you dislike wouldn't make for a very useful critique. It's generally most helpful to point everything out if possible.
As for issues with anatomy, you need to keep in mind that most of the time when someone says there's an issue, they aren't talking about one or a few local problems. The human body's a very complicated machine with all the parts working in tandem with each other. If you get something wrong- especially if the figure is moving, when you need to pay attention to a plethora of things- chances are you screwed up something else as well. To put it more simply... you can know all the muscles inside out, but if you don't know how they work with each other, how they connect, when they contract and relax, the figure will look wrong. Thus generalized anatomy comments.
putting a cap on how many negative things to say is a given when teaching art. as they explained to us when in school, there's only so much things a person can work on at once. also, flooding someone with negative feedback tends to slow them down rather then inspire.
as for anatomy working as a whole, this is true. but that still doesn't excuse generalized feedback. the example I gave was just an example. when a piece is structurally flawed it can be so flawed at different levels. the problem can lie in perspective shortcomings, or at bone-level. or, as in you just pointed out at a muscular level. and in that again there's layers; a person may indeed just place muscles in the wrong places, or he can not understand what happens as they bend and turn on each other. I'll agree with you the difference isn't always obvious. at least not when viewing only one piece of work. you can make an educated guess though.
:p cut and paste crit did not cover what I wanted to say here..
this thread you just got outta the mud does though:
Two good things about this thread are:
- I really like your consistent use of punctuation.
- The language of this post is very easy to read.
Three possible areas of improvement might be:
- Proper use of capitalization.
- A good attempt was made at clean organization, but you could push it a little farther by bolding the steps.
- Remember that your school experience with critique will not be the same as everyone elses.
Personally I think that the "pat on the back" comments help keep artists, especially newer ones, motivated to continue and provide a nice counter balance to the more serious critiques.
heh. see? useful already.
but as for school experience, I realize everyone else will have varied experience. but I don't think a lot of people here have followed an art education with the aim of becoming an art instructor, and I did. as far as I know the system I was taught -of which this is derived- is pretty much the established system for art education, at least in Europe.
that being said, it does focus on teens and students. and it has its shortcomings. A heartfelt comment wont usually be phrased like this.
but following these rules does provide a simple way in which anyone can provide a meaningful critique on just about any picture. agreed, though. a pat on the back can be nice. but I think even the newest amongst us will notice that the 'that's nice!' comments dont really contribute much.
If there are five visible things wrong with the pic, then I firmly believe in stating 5 (not 3) things that are wrong with the pic.
The artist can't fix everything at once, no. But if you give them all the information, then they can make an educated decision on which part THEY want to improve, instead of you deciding it for them by limiting your critique.
Otherwise, I agree with your points.
'Cuz life is full of your regrets, and I should be one...
I think this could be a good way for people to look at critiquing a piece. I also like Chagan's way by stating everything that needs to be done. It is really all about personal preference I guess.
I tend to prefer talking about the most pressing / easiest to fix problems first in hopes of getting those out of the way and then move on to more refining after those problems are fixed.
Working large to small, general to specific... much like how an artist should approach making the piece. I think that the OPs method would be a good approach when dealing with inexperienced artists new to getting critiqued, but as I have stressed in a number of other threads, I think in the long run we should work to where they are unnecessary.
I agree, from both sides. I like critiquing as part of the process. That means however that the artist would have to show updated works, and that frequently doesn't happen here.
I agree; a good review needn't be as static as this. its an easy starting point though.
I also agree that returning for critique is real important.
I find myself having difficulties with this though. by the time I want to recheck someones thread I either cant really remember in which I actually posted a crit, or have to spend ages skimming through the many sketchbooks etc.
I find myself searching for my own name to see if people answered anything to what I said. its the only way I find anything Oo!
there is, ofc, the subscribe option. but that would just mean getting more mail that I don't read- sorting through that inbox is as much work as skimming these boards.
it would be nice if you could have a personallized page listing all the threads you are prescribed to.. or maybe even all the threads you posted in the last few days. oh well.