Comment Support Group #3 - Constructive Praise

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Intro

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.

Praise: How to Use It Constructively?


“Omg! Your art is sooooo awesome!”
vs.
“I like the contrast of colours - how they are vibrant and fit the overall melancholic atmosphere…”

We all like to receive praise. Come on, admit it. Getting great praise can make your day brighter.


But there comes a point when 'Omg! You’re so gooood!' and 'I wish I could do art like you' simply don't cut it anymore. You start hungering for more. You want to know what, specifically, you're doing effectively - how and why, exactly. You want to get some substance. You want the commercial to replace reality.


Admit it, the left one looks way better.

And it can. It all starts with you.

What is the point of praise? Sure, praise can stoke an artist's ego, it can lend an artist more confidence, but does it truly help an artist improve and progress onwards? An artist may be awesome at drawing or writing - that’s pretty cool, but why? What, specifically, reinforces an artist’s awesomeness? Why? What is it that, as a commenter or art appreciator, you find most appealing?

Why did you take a moment out of your life to comment on their piece, to praise the artist?

Just because it’s awesome, or it’s pretty, or it’s cool? No, that’s not all. There is something about the piece that drew you in, that encouraged you to comment. Something made you go wow, whether it’s the artist’s style, the way the artist depicted the subject, the unique portrayal of the concept, the details, or something else completely that made you stop what you were doing to comment.

Maybe you came for the intriguing subject, and you stayed for the glint in the character's eye, or a specific detail that you hadn’t noticed at first. You may even read the artist’s description and fall in love with the fact that this character looks like a succubus but, in reality, is a dream faerie transformed by an evil wizard, bound to him by that specific detail that you hadn’t noticed at first.

What do you think the artist would enjoy more? “So pretty, if not sexy! :eyes:” or the numerous details above, for a piece that doesn't exist (yet), but that drew you in because of its substance?

That's what you should be aiming at. Anyone can say 'Wow, so amazing!'; being able to explain why and how you find it amazing is the filling, frosting, whipped cream and cherry on top of what would be a very bland cake otherwise.


Who doesn't like fancy cake?

The thing to remember with praise, as with criticism, is to ensure that what you say serves a purpose, because it doesn’t make a lot of sense to post a meaningless comment. If you’re asking what ‘purpose’, that depends on why you are commenting.

If you’re commenting because you want to express your thoughts and feelings, don’t sell yourself short and come across as someone who doesn’t have the time or ability to explain and truly convey appreciation.

If you’re commenting because you want to help the artist, whether that’s helping the artist understand their strengths, or weaknesses, then help them by guiding them. There’s nothing wrong with saying a bird’s wings are spectacular, but if you can say it’s because of the contrast in colour, the shading that make it look more realistic, the artist will have a better sense of what, exactly, they did right, why it’s right and how they can apply that to future works.

As with finding weaknesses, analyzing and understand what an artist did well will help you on your own artistic way. You may discover things you didn't know, such as the correct proportions of a face or a hand, or just how to get that composition to look more dynamic. You may even discover an art style you fall in love with, that will influence your future works – and you'll be able to understand what, exactly, you love about it, why you love it, and give yourself the credit you deserve as both a commenter and an artist.

So, let’s share some of that enthusiasm with your fellow artists! For this session, we will have a number of artworks submitted by other participants.

Practice Time!


Pick an artwork below that is most appealing to you. Analyze it - you'll want to focus your attention on the points that attract you the most. Then, post your constructive comment as a reply to this journal.

1. :iconpawcanada: 2. :iconiamnohere:
3. :iconstettafirezero:
4.

Take your time, observe the details, take everything in… really let the artwork sink in.

Done that? Good.

Onto the challenge, in your constructive comment:

  • Point out one strength, something you think thje artist did well. Be specific about what you like about the piece. Try and explain your perspective in as detailed a manner as you can, including the why and how.

  • :star: Bonus points if you make this a full critique and find one detail about the artwork that you like but think could be improved, and making suggestions as to how the artist can improve it.

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!

...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.

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!

Many thanks to pawcanada, IamNoHere and Stettafire for providing artwork for this week’s session.
Would you like your artwork featured here? Then take up the challenge and score those bonus points! :eager:


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IamNoHere's avatar
I've chosen no.4:

What I really like about this piece is the lighting. The brown background complements the bluish glow and lets the light to stand out.

The eyes are impressive. They remind me of a night sky with something mystic in it, maybe a haunted forest or a cemetery – but not a dark theme. Because of the white among the blue, it actually looks quite optimistic.

What would enhance the piece if done better are the teeth. Now it looks like the Cheshire cat – but if I know right, it has many, many more teeth. If you could make them thinner, blade-like, it’d add some creepy feeling. I don’t know if you went for it, but now it doesn’t look scary. Unsettlingly yes, though.

The piece is well done. I’d like to see more of this type of art. It has something that just catches the viewer and can’t let him/her go.

Keep up your eye for atmosphere! Good luck!

I hope I'm not too late with it.