Constructive Commenting: Guiding Questions

16 min read

Deviation Actions

3wyl's avatar
By
Published:
8K Views
ProjectComment believes every single person on DeviantArt can write a constructive comment, but constructive commenting is not necessarily easy for us. That is why we have produced this article of questions, written with the intention to guide you in your constructive commenting should you need additional support.

Take note that the following should be used as a guide and basic foundation for your comment, not to be used or interpreted as a checklist or minimum required by ProjectComment. The below should help you expand upon your own comment, as we do not accept comments that are itemized lists. What is a Constructive Comment?

Contents


Visual Arts
*These questions can be applied to all art.

Photography

Literature

Literature: Prose

Appendix

VISUAL ARTS


First Impressions [^]

  • Why have you chosen to comment on this piece?
  • What aspects initially attracted you? Did something catch your eye?
  • Does the piece immediately make an impact on you? If so, in what way (e.g. inspire a feeling, provoke certain thoughts, evoke a story/message)? How does the piece do this?
  • If there is a character/model, can you take a guess at their history, their personality, or anything else about them just from your first impressions of the piece?
  • Is the piece memorable, and why?

Style [^]

  • What kind of visual art is this piece (realistic, semi-realistic, surreal, abstract, classical, minimalist, psychedelic, comic, cartoon, etc.)?
  • What aspects of the piece contribute to this kind of visual art? Why is this important and what is the overall effect?

Themes, Concepts, Subjects [^]

  • On a conceptual level, what is your interpretation of the artist's piece? Or is the piece open to interpretation?
  • What themes appear in the piece, if any? Is this important to the piece?
  • What is the main subject of the piece, and does it appeal to you?
  • Does the piece feature original themes, concepts and subjects? Or is the portrayal and representation less original?
  • How creative is the theme, concept, subject? Are these portrayed with mediums that were used creatively?
  • If the piece has an invented species or original character, is it believable? Do certain characteristics (pose, body features, etc.) say anything about the character?
  • What do you think is the artist's intention, and why? How does the piece convey the artist's own feelings and thoughts?
  • Has the artist succeeded in portraying the main theme, concept and/or subject matter? If so, how?
  • If the artist has written something in the Artist's Description, does this influence your perspective of the piece?

Technique [^]

  • How well was the art created? How well did the artist handle the medium?
  • Is the piece coherent, as though it is one whole, harmonious, or is the piece divided, in contrast and contradiction?
  • If several techniques or mediums were used, do these all blend in together? Creatively or not creatively?
  • Are the lines straight, curvy, diagonal, flowing, delicate, simple, bold, thick, thin, the shapes natural, curvaceous, geometric, angular, elongated, the textures rough, uneven, fine, smooth? What effect does this create?
  • What is the viewing angle or perspective? Is this the best viewing angle or perspective? How does this help to convey depth, if at all?
  • If there is shading, is this consistent and fitting of the light source? What is the light source and is the light source flat, strong, contrasting, etc.?
  • Is there any negative space, and is this effective?

Atmosphere & Colours [^]

  • What kind of atmosphere/mood/feeling do the colours, contrasts, light, tones, shapes, etc. create? Is it profound (deep), poignant (moving), dramatic (intense), peaceful (calm), muted (subdued)?
  • What tone is created from the colours and contrasts? Is it more cold, or warm, and what effect does this have?
  • Are the colours and contrasts bold, vibrant, subtle, pale, naturalistic, etc.?
  • Do the colours, contrasts and tones fit the overall theme, concept, subject of the piece?
  • Do the colours complement one another, create effective contrast or something else?

Details [^]

  • What is the overall level of detail? What effect does this create?
  • What specific details create an impact, and how?
  • Do the details complement each other or detract something from the piece?
  • Does the piece feel rushed, completed or something else? Is the detail consistent throughout the piece, or do some parts look neglected?
  • Does anything look out of place, and if so, how and why?

Closing Thoughts [^]

  • Are there specific aspects of the piece you particularly like or dislike, and why?
  • Is there anything the artist could do to improve, and how?
  • If there are no faults, do you have suggestions or alternatives the artist could consider?
  • Is there anything else you would like to tell the artist? Do you have any questions?


PHOTOGRAPHY


First Impressions, Themes, Concepts, Subjects, Details, Closing Thoughts
also apply to this category.

Style [^]

  • What kind of photography is this piece (surreal, abstract, conceptual, people and portraits, photojournalistic, still life, urban and rural, etc.?
  • What aspects of the piece contribute to this kind of photography? Why is this important and what is the overall effect?

Main Subject & Focus [^]

  • What is the main subject of the photograph?
  • Did the photographer connect with the main subject, and if so, how?
  • What kind of story does the photograph or main subject tell?
  • How does the main subject work with the background? Does the background highlight the main subject or do they not work together?
  • Is the depth of field enough to capture the subject matter?
  • Would the main subject be better captured through a different focal length?
  • What is the viewing angle? Is this the best viewing angle?
  • Do you think some parts need to be focused and some not? What effect does the blurriness convey? Does it help drive the viewer's eye through the piece?

Colour, Light & Exposure [^]

  • Is the photograph coloured, or black and white? Do you think this has a more significant impact on the viewer or on the overall concept?
  • What kind of atmosphere/mood/feeling do the colours, contrasts, light, tones, shapes, etc. create? Is it profound (deep), poignant (moving), dramatic (intense), peaceful (calm), muted (subdued)?
  • Are the colours and contrasts bold, vibrant, subtle, pale, naturalistic, etc.?
  • Do the colours, contrasts and tones fit the overall theme, concept, subject of the piece?
  • Do the colours complement one another, create effective contrast or something else?
  • What is the light source and are the light levels effective for what the photograph is showing? For example, are all important details properly visible?
  • Is the lighting natural, harsh, soft, etc.? Could it be improved, and if so, how?
  • How well exposed is the main subject matter? Are any areas overexposed or underexposed? Was this intended or not?

Model [^]

  • If there is a model (or two), how effective are they in portraying the concept? Are they the main subject?
  • Are their outfits and makeup fitting of the overall atmosphere, theme, etc.?
  • Is the model positioned obviously in the piece, or do they blend into the background and become something greater? What effect does this create?

Composition & Framing [^]

  • How well is the main subject positioned in the piece, and framed by the camera?
  • How is the overall composition of the piece in terms of how everything is positioned and framed? Is it balanced, does it use rule of thirds, etc.?
  • Is cropping necessary, and if so, how should the artist crop?

Technique [^]

  • Shutter Speed: Can you distinguish whether the shutter speed was long or short from simply looking at the piece? What effect does it create? Should the shutter speed be changed?
  • Post-Processing: What post-processing has the photographer done, and is this effective? Could the post-processing improve in any way?
  • Negative Space: Is there any negative space, and is this effective?
  • Dust: Is there dust in the photograph, or other technical distractions? Was this intended or not? What could you suggest to remove the technical distractions?


LITERATURE


First Impressions, Themes, Concepts, Subjects, Details, Closing Thoughts
also apply to this category.

First Impressions [^]

  • Why have you chosen to read and comment on this piece?
  • Did the first sentences and paragraphs inspire you to read on? Did the opening effectively lead into the rest of the piece, or were you put off? If so, how?
  • Does the piece immediately make an impact on you? If so, in what way (e.g. inspire a feeling, provoke certain thoughts, evoke a story/message)? How does the piece do this?
  • Is the piece memorable, and why?

Language & Style [^]

  • What kind of literature is this piece (prose, poetry, script, fan fiction) and what style is it written in (prose: chapter, flash fiction, novella, etc., poetry: free form, haiku, sonnet, etc.)?
  • What aspects of the piece contribute to the kind and style of literature? Why is this important and what is the overall effect?
  • Are there specific literary devices (imagery, metaphor, simile, alliteration, hyperbole, allegory, etc.)? What effect do these create? How do these aid you in interpreting the piece, or not?
  • If this is a poem, are there specific poetic devices (rhyme, rhythm, repetition, assonance, etc.)? What effect do these create? How do these aid you in interpreting the piece, or not?
  • Is the language simple or complex? What tone (happy, sad, sarcastic, hateful, humorous, etc.) does this create?
  • How well do the words set the mood, setting, etc.? Does the language enhance the atmosphere?
  • Could certain phrasing be improved? How well is the concept conveyed in the language and sentence/line structure?

Detail & Description [^]

  • How elaborate and detailed is the piece?
  • How well are certain aspects described (setting, characters, action, etc.)? Can you picture things clearly or are some parts blurry?
  • How much detail and description are there? What effect does this create?
  • Are there any areas where the description slowed down the pace of the piece?

Narrative [^]

  • What is the point of view? Does the narrative come from a omniscient, limited, etc. viewpoint and how does this affect the piece?
  • Who is the narrator? A character in the piece, or the author themselves?
  • Is the narrator impartial and objective, or personal and subjective?
  • Can you relate to the narrator, or is the narrator detached from the piece?
  • Does the choice of narrator influence the pace and style of the piece at all?

Structure [^]

  • Is there a specific structure/layout/presentation (prose: letter, monologue, etc., poetry: prayer, prosaic, etc.) and does this influence the piece at all?
  • How does the structure/layout/presentation make you feel and think?
  • Is this effective in conveying the artist's intentions, concept, etc.?

Spelling, Grammar & Formatting [^]

  • Are there any glaring mistakes, typos, etc.?
  • Are there areas where the grammar is technically correct, but still comes across as odd or unnatural?
  • Is punctuation used effectively?
  • Is there specific formatting (italics, bold, text alignment, different font, etc.) and if so, is this effective? Could anything be changed, and if so, what and how?


LITERATURE: PROSE


First Impressions, Themes, Concepts, Subjects, Details, Closing Thoughts
also apply to this category.

Characterization [^]

  • How are the characters portrayed?
  • Are the characters effective in setting the scene and introducing the story?
  • Do the characters have consistent personalities throughout the text?
  • Do we understand the characters well? Can we sympathize/empathize with them? If so, which one(s) and why?
  • Are any characters irrelevant to the story?

Plot [^]

  • What are the main events of the piece, and do these events follow on from each other smoothly and believably?
  • Is the plot well planned and developed? Are there any twists or complications within the piece?
  • Is the plot engaging or boring? What makes it engaging/boring?
  • At certain points of the piece, where did you think things were heading?

Technical [^]

  • Dialogue: If there is dialogue, how effective is it? Could something else be said, or perhaps something could be phrased differently?
  • Flow: Does the language create a flow (for poetry, is there a meter) and is this consistent? How does this flow reflect the concept, atmosphere, mood, tone of voice (choppy, aggressive, smooth, etc.)?
  • Pacing: Do certain passages feel rushed? Are there important scenes or information missed out? Are certain aspects unnecessary?


APPENDIX


Useful Phrases & Words [^]


Definitions [^]
  • Saturation- refers to the brightness of colour
  • Geometric – refers to the shapes such as circles, triangles, squares, etc.
  • Organic – free flowing or rounded
  • Symmetry – meaning it is equal on both sides
  • Asymmetrical – unequal proportioned elements
  • Negative space – the space around the actual form of art
  • Depth – the illusion of space
  • Focal point – the spot that stands out in the artwork


Things to Note [^]
  • Unity and Variety
  • Balance (symmetry, asymmetry)
  • Emphasis and Subordination
  • Scale and Proportion (weight, how objects or figures relate to each other and the setting)
  • Mass/Volume (three-dimensional art)
  • Rhythm
  • Function/Setting
  • Interior/Exterior Relationship

Many thanks to Nocturnaliss, simbalm, Sparkleswords, Tuntalm for contributing to this guide.


© 2016 - 2023 3wyl
Comments76
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In
Odd0ccultist's avatar

Added to favourites, thank you for creating this detailed document 📝.