Comment Support #1 - Lack of Artistic Experience

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ProjectComment's avatar
My name is _______ and I am a commenter...

Well, of course you are! If you are reading this, more than likely you are a commenter, and what commenter doesn't have concerns, problems, issues or more with commenting?

That is why ProjectComment has formed a Comment Support Group to help people with commenting. To be utterly honest, we can't improve your commenting skills for you, but we can help you improve only if you want to improve.

Both commenting and improvement are individual processes. It's up to you to become a better commenter, but that doesn't mean you have to go it alone!

We are here to foster a group where commenters feel safe, where commenters feel they have the right to share their thoughts, feelings and more about commenting, where commenters have the right to open up, seek advice and get the support they deserve.

None of us are here to make fun or criticize. We are here to encourage commenters to share, discuss and, most of all, challenge ourselves. It won't happen overnight, but if you take baby steps with us - one day, one week, one piece, one deviation at a time - we hope you will become the commenter you are meant to be.

Should I provide a constructive comment if I don't have artistic experience/skills in this field?

The short answer is always yes (so much yes).

Because we are all unique individuals, we have different approaches to art. Two people may say, 'the nose is off' - but one may say the shading doesn't match the light source, while the other may notice the nose isn't centered quite right. Yet another may see incorrect proportions and suggest the nose should be resized.

The main thing is, even if you don't have the same level of experience or skills as the artist, you are fully capable of noticing these details.

It is through commenting and analyzing others' art that you train your eye to spot these details, eventually improving your own artistic skills and developing your own artistic experience. Here's a personal example:

I realized something was off when I was commenting on this piece. Due to my own lack of experience/skill in anatomy, I couldn't quite define what was off. So, I googled for a photo that resembled the pose, ultimately creating this redline. During the creation, I discovered a logic to the placement of facial features that I had never noticed before. I applied this new knowledge to the artwork I was commenting on, as well as to my own art, thus effectively improving my visual skills.

So what does this mean? How does this apply to me, you may ask yourself?

Fact is, you don't need to have a high degree of artistic expertise to give useful feedback. If you are open to learning and you have the urge to improve, you're already there. Wanting to help and support others is also useful. ;P

The commenting process, in itself, can be a personal learning experience. Not only do you improve your artistic skills, you improve your commenting skills as well. As you analyze art, you may suddenly get hit by a massive...

...and a solution to a problem you were having.

Know that you are not alone. We have all been there: feeling our art is mediocre at best, thinking we have no place to comment on another's art, on a work that far surpasses our own in skill, experience and more.

Honestly, that's okay.

You have a right to feel and think as you do. What is more important is what you do with that feeling or thought. Does it keep you away from learning, improving, commenting, or does it drive you to do all of those things?

Art is not just something you make; it's an expression of who you are. A comment is not just something you post; it's an expression of your thoughts and feelings.

No one can have the same expression, or thoughts or feelings. Your experience/skills may be small, but they matter nonetheless.

If you enjoy making art, posting comments, learning and improving, take the time now and again to enjoy the process. Give yourself credit for what you can do, instead of beating yourself down for what you can't do (yet). Take into account, you're not the only one suffering from self-doubt. There are many more out there...

So, the condescending artist who rejected your feedback may have had their own art rejected for years, which makes them unable to handle any kind of constructive feedback. Or perhaps they have forgotten what it was like when they started, themselves, with few skills and experience. Or maybe they simply don't know you well enough to appreciate your intentions to help and support them.

As a result of just one person's (or a few people’s) negative reaction, does this mean you should not comment? Does this mean you should stop commenting overall?

No. No matter your level, if you think you have a valid point to share, share it. We all have different, unique points of view that can help another artist forward.

Sure, we don't always find the right words, and sometimes we don't explain ourselves correctly – and that's okay! You almost always have a chance to resolve this (if not with the artist, then with yourself and your future).

Don't be afraid of another artist's level, and don't doubt or beat yourself down because of your own. After all, it is through regular practice that you improve over time. It doesn't happen overnight, but if you keep at it, you will see progress - on your art and your commenting.

This is a skill that we all must develop with time and experience. And before long, you may have far more skill than you initially thought possible.

The key is to believe in yourself. Even if it is only a little - a little can go a long way if you are open to learning, improving and supporting others. Don’t cage yourself within the first step, the first second, by doubting yourself.

With that said, it is now time to move on to the second part of this session: Practice (and experience)!

Practice Time!

For this session, choose one artwork below and provide one constructive comment about the artwork in this journal.

1. 2.

Take your time in analyzing the piece, observing the details, taking everything in... Really let the artwork sink in.

Done that? Good.

Onto the challenge, in your constructive comment:
  • Point out one flaw in one piece above that you (think you) do as well. Why is this a flaw? How do you resolve it?
  • Point out one strength you already have and/or think you can achieve. Why is this a strength? How did/can you achieve your strength?

  • :star: Bonus points if you can make a comparison with one of your pieces and link this piece in your comment. Can you tell us why you picked that one, and how the pieces compare?

There is no defined length to your comment - short or long, what matters is you try. Try to find out what you are capable of as this first step to improving both your art and your comment.

Ready to take up the challenge? You have one week to post your constructive comment in a reply to this journal! :la:

Go, go, go! :eager:

...but what happens next?

After you have posted your comment in this journal, it is on to discussion! A response is guaranteed, as we address your concerns, provide guidance and suggestions and, more importantly, support you and your commenting.

Next week, we will mention you with a follow-up, coupled with some insights from fellow ProjectComment admins. Not only that, we have a special offer for you to take us up on...

So, don't hesitate to ask questions if you have any! We are all here to improve, whether it's on our art or comments. You never know, you may have some advice or experiences you would like to share with your fellow artists! :love:

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CraftyToons's avatar
Here's my attempt at #1:

I have to say that I really admire this piece of fine art.  I like how you added a purplish color to her hair and the way you included some shade to it.  Personally, I think it gives a bit more depth to it since I can see that some parts of her hair which are positioned behind her head and neck are blocked from the light coming from the front.  This is a strength of mine too in which I usually add shading next to the outline of all parts of the body.          

Now for the critique: you didn't add any creases to her index and middle finger.  If you take a look at palm side of your hand, you can easily see that there are two creases on each finger.  You included a crease under her thumb and next to the tip of her ring finger, which is good, but there are none on her two other fingers, and this does not seem to be fitting overall.  I would make them have the same thickness as the crease you've included that is under her thumb.