The Four C's of Critiquing

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ali-is-colourful's avatar

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Being Constructive: The Four C's

A little something I learned when studying at the Missouri Fine Arts Academy that I think everyone should know!


When critiquing someone's work, the four c's should be followed! What are they, you may ask?

The First 'C': Clean Notice
A clean notice is not your opinion on something, but simply an observation of the piece being critiqued. No opinion is valid when giving a clean notice. This is the hardest 'c' to do for most people.

The Second 'C': Compliment
This is when you can start to give your opinion. You just tell the audience about what you like in the piece, and why. Stating why you feel however you do is very important from here on out when using the four c's.

The Third 'C': Criticize
Tell the audience what you don't care for in what you are observing, along with a good explanation. When with a group of people, the 'criticizing c' can get heated, so be sure to respect everyone's opinion.

The Fourth 'C': Correct
Correct what, you may ask? Whatever you criticized, of course! Why would you criticize something in a piece that you couldn't alter to your taste? Here is where you let the audience know how you would fix whatever you don't particularly care for. You can correct something that you like, but think could be better.


Now that you are familiar with the four c's, let's give an example! We will be using one of my own pictures for this. The URL is:

Here we go!

'C' 1: Clean Notice
The model has a stud on her nose.
The model has blue and blonde hair.
I interpret the model to be sickly, due to pale skin and dark red circles under her eyes.
The model is outside in the snow.
There are trees in the background.
The model has blue eyes.
Some of the model's hair is straight, while other parts are curly.
The model is wearing a jacket.
There are buttons on the jacket.

'C' 2: Compliment
I like the blue in the model's hair; that specific blue appeals to me because it is quite vibrant.
The model's eyelashes are pretty, they appear to be thick and long.
I enjoy the the overall composition of the photograph, it's calm with an eerie sense to it.
The model's eyes are a nice colour, a unique blue-grey with the yellow ring of traditional blue eyes.
I like how you can't see all of either of the model's eyes, it brings a mysterious feeling to the picture without trying to hard.

'C' 3: Criticize
The model has an odd-shaped nose.
The picture would look better if the model were thinner, as I interpret the model to be sick.
The photograph's quality could be better overall.
The trees in the background could be darker to add a little more contrast.
It would be nice to see the full shoulder on the right (when looking at the photo, left shoulder of the model's).

'C' 4: Correct</i>
Edit the model's nose to be less round at the tip, or make the nostrils stand out.
Use a better quality camera to help the quality of the photo.
Edit the model's jawline and make her cheekbones stand out to help her appear more sickly.
The trees could be edited to appear darker, or a different camera setting could be used.


Now that you have (hopefully) grasped the concept of the four c's, try it out next time you want to give someone a constructive opinion! Remember, this doesn't have to be restricted with art. It might be anything that someone wants to know of what you think of it.
If you would like to practice in fear of wrongly using the four c's, feel free to use the picture that I used, and leave your four c's in a comment and I will help you.

Enjoy :D
Ever wondered how to tell someone the correct way to improve their art? Well, here's how! :D

the picture i used as an example: [link]
© 2011 - 2024 ali-is-colourful
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wastedbrains's avatar
That's a good way to give critique.
Maybe if/when I start giving constructive critiques to others I'll probably do it this way. :)