Critiquing Strangers?

5 min read

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K-Koji's avatar

 I had a thought while I was painting ( first time for everything! Derp 8D ).

Often on Deviantart, through the piles of thumbnails we all are exposed to, I find myself in a random persons gallery. A person I have never interacted with, and who probably wouldn't know me if I came through their monitor and bit their face.

" lol Hai, I'm Koji :crazy: *CHOMP*"..the horror."

And while looking through their artwork, I see the same "mistakes" ( to my eye anyways) like a glaring sign, over and over.  For example, I happened upon someone's gallery and I realized all the noses they draw look like lion noses ( no, they aren't drawing furries ;P ). They're drawing humans, and attempting realism. Thing is, this is a very easy fix. In fact, if they just moved the bridge of the nose in on their work, it would all look a LOT better. Their drawings would receive more attention, and overall it would be positive.

I'm not talking about stylistic things either. It's not subject matter, it's not the type of art- It's just something, if only they had added a cranium on that person. The art would look pretty good- but they just need to draw that ONE line further out D:

Do you say something to them?

I almost never give critiques. I don't think I'm very good at them. I'm not good at eloquently writing a long paragraph or anything, and often I can't explain myself very well. I'm someone who can only put a piece into Photoshop, and draw a diagram of what I mean :XD:.

But so many people on Deviantart get insulted by a complete stranger posting on their work, saying something even teensy that is truly designed to help them.

See, usually Deviantart is filled to the brim with awful critiques. People have told me "OMG I don't think he should look like that!!11 I envisioned him differently! So it sucks and you failed >:[ *raaggggeeeeee*"

..and then you tell them, that it's fine if they don't like my interpretation. They are free to draw their own, and I get:

" OMGAD u r so stuck up you horrible human >:[!!11 U cannot accept critique!!"

I think it's made a lot of people a bit timid when it comes to asking for opinions here. When you ask for a critique on Deviantart, I feel you are very brave. Because it's like playing russian roulette, except the gun has 5 bullets in a 6 bullet chamber :XD: . As for myself, I usually only ask opinions of people I know, talk to and trust their eye.

SO all this had me wondering now-  if  it's a scenario like what I said initially, where you come across an artist who's art could take a giant leap forward if they just did a very easy fix-

Would you tell them?

Would you want someone to tell you something like that about your work?

Would you get offended because you don't know them?

 I was just curious what people think of this, because I always opt out LOL. I always just think, nah. And stick to my own stuff and do my own thing.

random jazz hands~~~ :iconfabulousplz:

© 2014 - 2021 K-Koji
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DoomWinter's avatar
Hey, since this is on the subject of critiques, I have a suggestion for all those non-core members who wish they could get a critique too:
In the description, write in caps (and maybe put emotes on either side of it) that you are requesting critique. Make the request noticeable somehow.

Then, for the people who notice the request and want to give a critique, do so and say what you wish (Provided that it is constructive of course). You could even arrange this as you wish to make it look more like a critique than a comment, and use emotes for the 5 star system. You can get creative with this!

So, I hope this suggestion helps some of the non-cores out there. ^w^
FatalSystemCrash's avatar
I would like someone tell me where are my mistakes :c I'm beginner so I really need it XD obviously, A critic in a kindly way ^^
EpicNinjaArtist's avatar
I love it when people make meaningful comments about my work, pointing out their favorite parts, and things i could fix, because it means they really got into it, and seriously are looking at and analyzing my work.
Anybody can say nice job, or that looks cool
but it doesnt really mean much to me, no matter how hard i look at it .-.

I prefer it when people really look at my work, instead of just brisking over it.
But in such a vast community, its hard for people to come and take the time to leave meaningful comments when they can just say "cool" and move on :XD:

Ive only had one person bluntly say my work sucked, which seriously offended me at first (given it was my very first hate comment. Im so proud of myself :'D ) but then i just ignored it and moved on. Because why waste my time on something like that? Not saying that my artwork deserves a mass of compliments or anything, but something a little more in depth then "its f*cked up* would be nice XD That isnt a critique lol.

But if someone has something to say about my work i will gladly listen to any suggestions :) Lol, i actually find critiques a  compliment XD
So hardcore, know =u=
jk, im pretty wussy QuQ but i do appreciate critique a lot. They actually care enough to help me get better :iconcraiplz:
forest-of-fire's avatar
I actually came on deviantart for tutorials and advice, so I would be very happy if someone gave me a hint about something that I should improve, but I also want an explanation why is that thing bad, otherwise I will ignore the comment. and I would like to request critique, but I'm not premium member :(
but I don't write critiques, because I'm not good enough and also because I sometimes unintentionally insult people when they ask me for opinion (till now they were only my schoolmates, but I won't risk spam on my account)

my real problem is not getting any comments except of few ''Nice job!'' stuff instead of stupid haters comments.
Tuckwoo's avatar
I personally wouldn't get offended if someone critiqued my work, in fact, I'd love it if they did, so that I would be able to improve it!! I really wouldn't mind any critique
(I actually sometimes critique strangers myself but I always try to be as polite about it ss I can)
Hoshigetsu's avatar
I wish people would tell me what is wrong so I could fix or. I wish I could request critiques but that's only an option for members.... :( 
DestatiDreamXIII's avatar
Personally, I like critiques. There are many people that write terribly immature critiques, unfortunately, but I really do appreciate the ones where the person genuinely just wants to help/give advice. Sometimes I don't follow the advice because I end up preferring how I was doing things before, while other times they really help me notice something I should work on.  Overall, I'm grateful for any and all well-intended critiques I may receive, but also either decide for myself or test out the advice before deciding if it's a piece of advice I want to take to heart. 
topcat-sama's avatar
Somehow I find myself critiquing strangers a lot :o

It just happens while I go through my watch stacks and I see something that could have been good or is almost really amazing but just isn't because of an elbow or something.  I usually use the sandwich method while critiquing, where I complement there art but "xxx" looks a bit wrong and might look better if you tried "xxx". And then I follow up with another complement that way I'm usually guaranteed to not sound harsh to the person I'm critiquing.

As for when I am critiqued, usually I try to take everyone's advice regardless of artistic ability but I would definitely hold someone's advice with more weight if they were more artistically inclined. 
Spudfuzz's avatar
It really depends. I'll usually communicate I have some kind of issue with the work and my usual watcher base/ friends that comment and interacts with me on a regular basis are mature, and I trust their judgement. Even if they don't really hit the target with it I still appreciate it because they tried. Because I know them I take their feedback in higher regard than some other random person's, unless said random person is really good. The other day though someone said to me offsite;

"By the way I looked through your gallery and you're always "it's not good enough", "it's not the best", blah blah blah, stop that already ;)"

I double checked to look through my gallery and I couldn't find what they were talking about. Maybe it was on my super old art, I don't know. But it kind of pissed me off because the only reason I voice discontent with my art is to communicate to my audience that I understand it's not perfect and encourage feedback, and I most certainly don't do it in that whiny - lack of self confidence mentality like they implied. If someone critiques me and I feel like what they said is just stupid or completely off base, I'll ignore them. Sometimes, rarely but sometimes they'll step over the line and illicit a very asshole response from me. If I'm going to critique some random person's art though I'll look through their profile page or artist description. If they don't indicate or outright state any willingness for feedback I don't bother. If they're a beginner though and it's obvious they're trying, drawing all kinds of subjects and never sticking to one comfort zone there's a very good chance they'll take critique well.
K-Koji's avatar
 Hmm, maybe that person was just trying to be nice, or are exaggerating. Like, maybe they heard you say something like that ONCE and not actually a lot lol.
 Or maybe they mistook you saying you're always moving forward and striving to get better as " complaining its not good enough".

 I've said things about my own work, usually; " It's not bad. I like this part, but this could be better". And some people have interpreted that into " Omg why do you hate all your own work?" .

 People can be odd that way lol.
Spudfuzz's avatar
They probably think they were trying to be nice but it still got under my skin because people who actually do the whole "haha my art sucks" in the description genuinely annoy me. Like if I say it's bad I will at least say why I think it is and nit pick flaws. I didn't really respond to them anyway because I know there's a change they didn't intend to come off that way, but I don't want to get into a debate and be perceived as someone who can't handle a critique.

" Omg why do you hate all your own work?" .

Eurgh I've had that too sometimes. I think my response to people saying that would be to ask them the same question. Do they genuinely like all their art 100%? If no, why? Then there's the answer. 
 I think it just boils down to not understanding the concept of perspectives. As I keep improving I'm going to keep holding myself to higher and higher standards because it's the only way I'll get anywhere.  What looks crap to me in my art might look great to them but I'm still not under any strange divine obligation from the pearly gates above to agree. :v
KeanKennedy's avatar
great journal, echoes many of my thoughts.
The other day someone was asking about perspective in his drawing, and I drew a diagram because I thought: if you just see these lines you'll get it.
But he'd specifically asked on the forums. I've never actually thought of explaining stuff to random people before- probably because most of the time it isn't just one glaring thing or whatever, there are a bunch of issues.
I definitely agree about the nonsense critiques. It's not just about difference of style, it's like people go into a mode where it's more about the act of critiquing than having any actual wisdom to share.
They call out random stuff, sometimes the best bits of the image... really frustrating to read people getting misguided advice, often from those less skilled than themselves. -.-

It's a funny thing though... compared to other disciplines, art is a weirdly solo learning experience for most.  People end up making mistakes that can be corrected easily- because they see art books that are densely packed with info and balk. I wanna say we should teach each other more often, because then people get a steady flow of bitesize information as opposed to a fat textbook on their desk... but I will still feel awkward about randomly giving my opinion, and still probably won't turn on critique requests on the offchance someone will actually say something helpful lol.
K-Koji's avatar
 I've done that before here and there for people on the forums. It always feels like a gamble.

 And yeah, I agree with your observations about critiques here on DA. Some people truly think critiquing means trying to find something wrong, then pointing it out. I've had people say to me " I've looked at this so much, and usually you're stuff is so good, but I finally found a mistake!!" . And then that "mistake" is merely a way I interpreted something that differs from their vision.
  My stuff is filled with things that could be better, as is a lot of artwork. But people zero-ing in on some small leaf in the back isn't helpful lol.
 I've seen people give "critiques" where they basically flame the artwork. It's that school of thought that you have to break the artist down. Then they tell them tips, but the tips were horribly wrong., and its usually done by someone who doesn't have a high skill level, and who has no business acting like an art God :/
artratene's avatar
I would not tell them unless I knew them, and I wouldn't want a stranger to crit my work, because I don't know what kind of background they have in art, or how many years they've been doing it, blah blah blah.  I kinda would get offended, depending on the situation.  If I asked for a crit, then okay.  but if some stranger just randomly came up to me, with me knowing nothing about their background in art. ,I Would be offended. But I can always look on their dA profile.
silvermoon442's avatar
It depends on who they are. If I'm just a random person, it'd be odd. And I'd never criticize someone who has better artistic skills than me- that would be hypocritical! But if you came along and critiqued my work, I would take it as the word of God!
BumpyTheShroom's avatar
I tell people when I see stuff, and likely BECAUSE I would be thrilled if someone would do that for me. X3 In example: Someone pointed out that I should break up my line work, it did a world of difference for my work. I am a happier camper because of that.
LadyJuxtaposition's avatar
I had to critique in my art drawing classes, because we were required to, and I know what you're saying. My classmates are strangers to me even after getting to know them. I'm not good at critiquing as well, but whenever I do, I try to bring out a positive out of a comment. For example, looking at a charcoal piece that lacks achromatic value, I would say, "You need to get darker in some areas that needed it so you can get the brightest lights, but at least you got great gradient smoothing techniques and the perspective is precise and convincing."

There is no need for harsh criticism unless they are respectively constructive and helpful to improve artists' skills. I take them every time and use them to my advantage, and I just ignore the negative and disrespectful ones that I could even care less.
K-Paro's avatar
As long as the criticism is constructive anyone who is serious about getting better at drawing should be happy to receive it. Personally anyway, it bothers me when people who could help me better my drawing just say 'oh yeah it looks great' to avoid hurting feelings.

Exception being if something is done deliberately because it happens to be part of their drawing style (ex. Someone purposely giving people longer legs) as I imagine getting criticisms constantly on something you like and are doing intentionally would get old.
muslacrima's avatar
Personally, as long as you're not being really rude, I would really appreciate critiques.
As long as you don't end up with a laundry list of really, really specific (and maybe useless) things that need to be fixed (then again, that would probably take a lot of effort on the critic's part as well), I'll definitely take the advice into consideration.
ZauriArt's avatar
I like to receive critiques. I try to think the good advise beyond it, even if its a destructive critique (and sometimes people gave me that, but I just try to reply politely and apreciate what they didn't like if it's a real mistake).
To give a critique... is more dificult for me. I always want to help everybody talking about their work in a constructive way, but for that I need to express myself in a hole big paragraph. Sometimes I don' have the enough time to write it, and to decide to write it or not I look at the artist actitude. If I see her/him open-minded, I don't hesitate to tell them my opinion.
LamiaeBlackstone's avatar
I feel that anyone that posts their work here should be prepared to receive critique. I post my writings on here hoping for such a thing, I want feedback to know if I can write well enough to get fans or if I still need to work on it. I accept any critique that I can get, even bad reviews can be helpful.
I critique people all the time on their stories, I tell them if they made a grammar mistake or if a sentence is jumbled and doesn't make sense, I get a lot of hate mail for doing that, but I'm not doing it to be mean I am just trying to help them. I think what helps people take criticism is when you comment on the good parts as well.
GrnDrgn's avatar
If they ask for it, give it, if they don't on most occasions they really don't want it.  I understand your generosity and I love your art and kind heart but people are generally shallow by nature and don't like the truth.  If you give them advice do it subtly in a way that shows the solution vs criticizes any particular piece of work.  Good luck on your dillema. 
morikun-rinari's avatar
To me it all boils down to the kind of art that is being critiqued. I'm more open to feedback on a drawing assignment that's focused on building technical skill because, in the case of an academic setting, that's when I see it as an opportunity to get some advice from my peers and the instructor. In more personal cases such as my original character drawings I'm not so much open to it since it is drawn from my imagination. In addition I'm pretty stubborn over my original work since I have to go through several layers of research and rely on personal decisions for my project(s) to progress.

When I'm lacking in skills such as human anatomy and strongly aware of it, I have to work with what i currently know and try hard to make it look "correct". Since I'm aware of errors somewhere in my drawings, I don't really need anyone to point it out for me. Additionally, there's a lot of back story and other work that happens "behind the scenes" of my artwork. A thorough, well written critique on my personal work/project should take things such as characterization and general motifs associated with the character into consideration.
A comment such as "the raven thing looks so cliche/stupid/emo/overdone" doesn't help.
Overall, when it comes to character illustrations, the only feedback I'd really need is constructive criticism and/or their impressions of the character.
Rina-ran's avatar
I've seen the type of people you speak about, but haven't really ran into them myself. If I did, I'd probably just shrug pass it cause so very little really phases me.

If I see the mistake often enough, yeah, I sometimes do say something "Hi random stranger. [Critique]. [but what I do like]" and I'm out of there. No long paragraphs are needed. Someone did that to me out of the blue on several of my pictures in the past. I didn't agree on some of the things, but thanked them anyway.
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