How to Nourish the Artists by ArtistsHospital How to Nourish the Artists by ArtistsHospital
"I have an artist friend, but s/he is having trouble,
I am not so good at art, I tried to cheer him/her up... "


First you must understand the principle of "everyone has a child inside" no matter how grown or talented the artist, their basic social needs is still the same as a baby, if you only praise, you will spoil the child, if you only criticize, you will kill the child's confidence, every child needs a balance of nutrients, so is the artist whom you care about.

What an artist needs:

1. Acknowledgement: They need to be acknowledged for what they do, no matter what style or level of artwork they have, giving them the acknowledgement is important.

:bulletred: Give them the "appreciation" of them sharing their art, just being an artist, being the emotional ones they are, and what they do.
You can say: Thank you for sharing your art, or other words of appreciation.

2. Respect: All humans want respect, so even if their art is not your taste, look at the effort they put in and make that count.

3. Praise accordingly: Don't praise all the time, but also give them a thumbs up when you think they did a good job or really out done themselves, that would make them really want to move on and become better.

:bulletred: Don't tell them you are "the best artist" I have ever seen.... because if they believe you, you just made them cocky, if they don't believe you, they would feel uncomfortable with themselves.

You can say: "You are one of the best artists I know."
Put them in a group, acknowledging others who are also great, that would make them more comfortable.

4. Encouragement: When they feel stuck, or have an artist block, when they are tired, just encourage them without giving them pressure.

Say things like: "I really enjoyed this and that artwork for ____ and ______ quality"

Or tell them what their strengths are in their work: "You are good at ________ and ________"

Or throw some ideas to them: "If you do this and that, it will be so fun! But it's up to you to decide"

Even give some kind of expectations: "I am looking forward to see more updates."

5. Critiques that gives directions:

Avoid nit-picking: "Legs too short, arms too long, eyes to big and the head looks weird."

---ok, this is usually what people give, this is what I call "Nit-pick critique" it helps, but the help is minimum. Before you give nit-pick critiques, measure your own strength and understanding of the art terms, and give this kind of critiques carefully.

Good critiques are critiques that give directions to work on, the more ideal would be critiques on bigger categories, such as lighting and shadow, compositions, or use of colors.

if you see an artwork that has room for change, give the tips and suggestions according to the room available to change.... if the artwork is completely finished, just suggest what can be done for future works. Usually the artist wouldn't like to go back and work on the same artwork for too many times.

After the critique, leave room for them to disagree and decide, say things such as: "This is just what I see..." or "but it's up to you to make the decision" that would make them feel more at ease with your critiques.

Neglected artists' problems: Usually neglected artists will easily become depressed, feel their work is unimportant, if one or two person just care and encourage them, they can move on. It's best for this kind of artist to first find a group of friends to keep the interest and art making going, and encourage one another, then slowly grow to become developed artists.

Popular artists' problems: Popular artists can feel lonely, like the neglected artist, because when there's too much praises and attention, they would feel having "less of themselves" and become more of a "product" that must maintain their popularity. They can easily build their own identity on their popularity, this is why you see a lot of depressed and irritated popular artists.
They can become very defensive on their work, because alot of popular artists tend to get bashed more often than the normal ones as well.
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IndigoWizard Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Mc-Ryan Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I feel I need nourishment. I'm a rather neglected artist who just can't get anyone to see my work...with a brother who's art is way more popular than mine.
Divine-Angel-Heroine Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
This opened my eyes very clearly.. Millions of thanks. Beautiful. :") Really appreciate this info.
AuroraWhite Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
haha~ I have a sweet artist friend. Still there's one thing, the influence of an experienced artist :)

A well known artist has the power to literally shape other artists. For one example, my friend is a pro artist and is well known all around. She saw my work and is secretly impressed with it but hides the feeling. Instead of a compliment, it's replaced with an insult and that brings me down up to the point where I might even quit doing art all together. Though this might be something small and dramatic to most BUT some artist take what their heroes/idols say seriously.

I have no idea how to straighten out what i'm saying but the idea's there :D
Thanks to this guide, I managed to get my friend out of her depression state and now she's back to doing art and being happy with it.
Kyranth-Wolfen Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2010
I'm reading all these little things, and I'm being helped a lot, but one thing in this article (because that's kinda what it is to me) really stuck out. It was your last point: Popular Artists' Problems. I dunno, it's just, ever since I've been on dA, even on different accounts or just lurking idly, I've been ever so jealous of some of these really popular artists. At some times I'd give anything to get a reply from them or to be like them. Because I've never had that much popularity, myself. It really kinda changed my view on that subject... and they make a good point. :) I guess maybe I should work on that, and remember that it's not always good to have the spotlight on you.
faithknight Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2010  Student Digital Artist
thanks for this, you help me by doing this and it means a lot to me...
Onigamegeek Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2009
Finally someone who understands!

Praise accordingly, all high school and middle school teachers should go by this, I was getting sick of being overly praised. Thus it led to a few "I'm gonna destroy art work" tantrums, but my mother nearly beat the hell out of me when she discovered I ripped up my First place piece in painting that was in a High School Art show. Thank god she didn't find that I ripped up and destroyed the Best of show and class piece I did in middle school. Then I would've really been dead.

Also, avoid going to art competitions for a teacher when every time he talks to you on improving some thing, he keeps mentioning the word "competition". Then calls your mother as a last ditch effort on the last day to get registered just so he can have another warm body in the VASE competition (he yelled at my class for so few of us going, I would've yelled back if it weren't for the insubordination clause).
ArtistsHospital Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2009

:wow: A teacher like that must have been so crushing, so stifling! Plus you don't even have the dignity of arguing.

I'm glad you're still drawing in spite of that. From your gallery, it looks like you're doing well. =)
Onigamegeek Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2009
I took a one year break from Art Class my senior year in high school due to he pissed me off that much. During that time I actually improved my drawing (probably because all the pressure was gone) and I still am. I would've argued if it weren't for the insubordination rule my high school had. But he did it in a way, to with the rest of the class he seemed nice about it.

Thank you, I've been trying to improve my style to be semi-eastern (manga) and semi- western. I try to give character's emotions without overdoing it on detail or on the emotion. I like balance. So far my Omega Red sketch is the only recently progress I've scanned ( I have a couple of other, but i haven't finished them yet), I'm trying to draw my other characters to were all of them have an initial design. I've created a lot without a good full body sketch. Only head shots... I've been an evil creator to my characters.
ArtistsHospital Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2009
Well, have you been able to take a life drawing class? That really helps with drawing full body shots. =)
Onigamegeek Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2009
Nope, I'm actually trying to learn on my own.
Sansaii Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2009
"Avoid nit-picking: "Legs too short, arms too long, eyes to big and the head looks weird."

---ok, this is usually what people give, this is what I call "Nit-pick critque" it helps, but the help is minium. Before you give nit-pick critques, measure your own strength and understanding of the art terms, and give this kind of critques carefully."

I disagree... I think in order to give an artist direction, they need to see that their viewer sees everything that could be better in their work. I don't understand how this detailed critiquing would be detrimental to the artist.

Most of the rest of this, I agree with, though.
The-Yuri-Canon Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I find I don't give out a critique unless someone really asks for it because half the time they get angry. I start with the good points then say what I think might need some work and offer help in that area, even give tutorials, but many times I get angry remarks back that just stress me out and I'm told by my wife and doctors to just stay out of it and keep quiet. I like to help, but this bloody stress problem gets in the way. *sighs*

Nice advise by the way. I wish more would listen to this kind of advise. I just got a comment from someone who said something was wrong with my art and left it with no explanation. After prompting him to tell me what he complained about general anime things, stating that eyes don't have shine on them. Here I was expecting something informative and not someone who had a problem with the anime style. *sighs*

Sorry to ramble.

Demonchild1988 Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2008
This is really sweet and helpful.
Suprspr0de Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2008  Professional Filmographer
Well done!
Mirabel-chan Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2007  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I started on an official czech site about manga, but now, the people there are just nit-picking O_o Thats the reason almost all of talented czech artist went off to other sites like deviantart T__________T next time someone annoys me with his comment, Ill direct them here, to understand what is wrong :)

This is really beautifully written X333
Ryoko1389 Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2007   Digital Artist
This is amazing. I definatly fav'd it.
People think that drawing is just.. a talent and nothing more. It has everything to do with emotion, mood, experience, memories, and alot more. Alot of inexperienced people (Mostly, who aren't artists) just see the artist drawing something "cool" on a piece of paper, when the artist is actually pouring their emotions out. Like writers and authors do. Not only are they creating a scene, and a story, but they're putting emotion and effort into their work.
We have a different way of getting emotions out. We get them out on canvas and paper.. So, people should definatly acknowledge that. Artists get better, and feel better about their work with the right insight. :)
Intergrativeone Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2007  Professional General Artist
This is a stimulating way to comment on anothers art. Critiquing is so personal, and so important to the life of the artist and life of all the pieces he or she creates. Such an individual task. Your suggestions are wonderful and give me pause in some areas where perhaps I would have gone to far, or not far enough. I do agree that respect is hughly important. Respect creates confidence and I happened to think that is what it is all about. Great piece... most helpful...thankyou.g
ArtistsHospital Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2007
Now that I read it again after I wrote it for such a long time... it is pretty good. O>O Thank you for the complitment. I think I can become more detailed than that right now.
blondierule Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2006
Urgh yeah I hate crits that tell you "this is wrong" and don't even try to help or give ideas how to fix it, most people who crit like that, don't care about the artist or want them to improve - they just like to feel high and mighty and clever by pointing out flaws in peoples work, who are often better than they are!

I think the expectations point is a good one! I think it's always nice to know a person wants to view your work, that's very encouraging.

Also the best artist thing, that can easily sound like fake praise the person just throws out whenever they see a half decent piece. It's nicer to hear "you're one of my favourite artists" "you're getting to be a great artist- your work will become stunning someday" or even just "you inspire me"
ArtistsHospital Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2007
Good points made. I appreciate the feedback. XD (Didn't read it until now... oh boy)
ArtistsHospital Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2006

Yes, some artists really suck with that attitude problem but you can never win them all.

I usually don't care much on what they think most of the time, usually I drop by at their page and see if their work is better than mine and most of the time it's bad. I'm not naming and shaming but I'm not fussed because I know for a fact that there's always room for improvement in mine work and others (everyone) too.

In your case, (checked gallery) I see nothing much of a problem really, so... I guess those people don't see your quirks/style in your drawings, meaning that they don't like your drawing because it's not like hugely influenced or even close to famous artists. E.g. HTK. So I guess you shouldn't bother with them.

But sometimes being harsh can push to you to do more better or work harder, if no-one is there to support/encourage you. So... it's pretty much a two-sided answer that I look at it. :)
blondierule Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2006
Yeah, there's always room for improvement, I am not even near happy with my work.

I just don't like pompous people I guess lol. I don't get so many people like that comment, but I see it a lot with my friends, and it annoys me. (Especially when they give WRONG crits too!)

And I prefer critiquers to have good art because anyone can point out flaws, but only people who are good at art, can give you tips to improve and tell you how to do so.

I've never really had a problem with HTK and similar art, etc fanpeople, though I know they exist, mostly on go-gaia :S

For me harsh words don't encourage me, I want to improve so much all the time, and it's not just good enough to be one of the great artist, I want to be better! And some day I will get there, but not without a lot of hard work.
ArtistsHospital Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2006

Well... you can't do anything I guess if the negative comments are to your friends. But, it's pretty much a path of ups and downs... so I guess it should prepare themselves what peoples opinions are, whether good or bad.
RocMegamanX Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2006  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I just hope I can be one of those people who can help other artists. Too bad I don't comment on as many pics as other people.
ArtistsHospital Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2006
Its good to have a heart first, later you can read other people's comments and develop the skill to comment yourself. ^_^
RocMegamanX Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2006  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
But how do I make popular artists feel better about themselves?
ArtistsHospital Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2006
Easy, just treat them as humans, not some sold out snob, usually they aren't. They are just doing things to please their audience at most times, like most would want to do.
If you recongize their skill level to be higher than you, support them with encouragement for development, such as "I would like to see more of _______"
Don't give them subjects to draw unless they asked for it. Know that they usually don't like getting picked on for critique because they tend to get more of those. A critque that involves with appreciating their work is the one they like, they will lose the brain for short quick praises, they all sound the same after a while. ^^ I hope these helps.
iyami Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2005
i Really wish my freinds would read this :confused: i get So many bad responces to being worried about my art

they say "well your not great.. but your only 15"
im thinking: (thanks for the compliment, and what does my age have to do with Anything? ._.')

they say "oh come on, i wish i had your tallents, you alot better than me"
im thinking: (you dont care about art, ive been working by butt off sense age 9, how can you compare us at all?)

they say "get over it, you just in a bad mood, so stop acting emo"
im thinking: (-bad words- you better leave befor i -bad word- slap you >__< you meanie!)

ive learned Not to openly nbe upset about my art around my freinds o__o they usually make me feel even worse!
i'm half niglected and half.. somethig else >.o

i think theres another type of artist you hadnt listed, becuase im not really either type
i always worry "what if i cant get any better, what if im in a perminant slump?" like.. a self-conious artist i always feel like i cant get any better, no matter what i do ((of course this is Not true, i can actually improve faster than most artists can [im not cocky its just x_x my brain, sceince stuff, you dont wana hear, its boreing], i know im improveing, i just dont feel like i am))

i dont Think thats the same as a neglected artist is it? becuase i know there are poeple who love my art <3 (gotta love art-lovers :D )
ArtistsHospital Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2007
*For some reason I did not read your comment until now...I would have replied. I guess this has to do with several admin checking up things.

Yes, I agree. I can go more detailed on this article. In fact I put artists into:
1. Neglected artist
2. Developing artist - insecure artist listed under this category.
3. Matured artist

Three major categories... under developing artists, there are very wide range of variety depending on personal enviroment.

For your feedback, I will edit this article accordingly to make it better.
Archercaptain Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2005
These are incredibly helpful and insightful comments. Thanks soo much for opening up this group, it's really a wonderful idea and I hope the rest of the dA community cathces on very soon. :) I found this a very good read and helps me understand other artists better, as well as a general idea how to critique effectively. I find that though it's not hard to critique on dA, doing so in person makes me feel very awkward and shy. :P
ArtistsHospital Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2005
Glad you find this helpful. I hope to write up something about how the artists should manage their emotions as well.
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