Commenting Workshop #4 - Research

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ProjectComment is a Group that provides Guaranteed & Constructive comments for the DeviantArt community. By discussing what makes a great constructive comment, we aim to support the awesome commenters out there through a workshop where, twice a month, we will be conquering the challenge of commenting.

Welcome to our fourth commenting workshop on research!

Knowledge is key. When giving a constructive comment, commenters should have some knowledge about the artwork.
  • How much is known about the medium?
  • What is the concept behind the piece?
  • How much is known about the style?

Both technical research and conceptual research can be done before commenting. If we, as commenters, are not familiar with a particular technique, style, concept or more, we could do some research to provide us with greater clarification regarding the artwork. This can then affect our comments, as well as our overall knowledge, to benefit both the artist and ourselves as commenters.

How can research help this comment?

"You should shade the skin with realistic shading because I think it looks better than anime."

There are numerous factors that we can look into to further our understanding:

  • Read the Artist's Comments. Although this may seem long, unnecessary or even meaningless, reading the artist's comments may answer some of our questions regarding the artwork. We may come to a fuller understanding of why certain things are the way they are in a piece. By reading the artist's comments, we aid ourselves by not repeating things that the artist already knows about.

  • Ask questions. If the artist did not answer our questions in the artist's comments, ask them in a constructive comment! The artist is usually more than willing to answer any inquiries about their work. What is the concept? What was the artist trying to achieve? What technique did the artist use? The many questions that we don't ask could reduce the amount of confusion between the artist and the commenter. We can also avoid antagonism by not making assumptions or implications that the artist did not intend.

  • Find examples. Often, some form of a particular aspect has been done before. Look up examples of those aspects to understand what the artist may be trying to emulate. These can serve as an additional resource for the artist to learn from, if you believe the artist could benefit from the examples.

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Consider the Concept

If you believe that a particular aspect should be altered or removed, first consider the significance and effect of that aspect on the concept or piece overall. Sometimes, the solution is not to alter or remove a particular aspect, but to find an alternative to improve the artwork as a whole - if it needs to be improved. As a commenter, put yourself in the artist's shoes and consider why the artist may have done things a certain way. Is it with purpose and meaning? Is this purpose and meaning clearly conveyed?

Perspective vs. Perspective

It can be easy to give a constructive comment in our perspective and specifications. However, if your intention is to help the artist improve, it is important to consider what the artist would prefer, not solely what you would prefer. Your perspective may be slightly different to the artist's perspective, or vastly different. If your perspective is slightly or vastly different, your comment can still be useful for the artist, but balance this out by considering the artist's perspective of their own artwork. What is the artist trying to achieve? You could suggest many ideas, but imposing a change due to your personal preferences or perspective may come with negative consequences.

Limitations and Boundaries.

If you do not know enough about the medium, technique, concept or anything else in an artwork, it is fine to move on to a piece you are more comfortable with or more knowledgeable about. Know when you lack the knowledge and are unable to comment on a piece, and do not force it! However, also consider the impact this may have. Rather than consenting to your limitations, push your boundaries and do some research. Get some insight, knowledge, experience so that in a year or more, you can come back and say you have learned as both a commenter and an artist.

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Don't think that because you are not familiar with a certain aspect, you cannot comment or do anything about it.
When we do our research, whatever it may be, we can gain the knowledge, experience and more to be able to comment on aspects of art that we were previously unfamiliar with.

Milla Kresnik by May-May-Meow
craftsbyblue, Jan 3, 2016:
While I am not familiar with this character, I think you did an excellent job with the coloring and shading in this drawing. The metal of her weapon looks realistic, and the way you colored her skirt and sleeves gives them a voluminous appearance. The lance's design, and the pattern on her clothes, are really detailed and beautiful. I also like her piercing gaze, and the way you combined the green shades to give depth to her eyes. Overall, the character looks really fierce and powerful.

One thing you could improve in the future is shading the character's hair and skin to give them more depth. For the hair, try using a minimum of three colors if you're using copics (not sure if you're using it here) since the blending will help give the impression of depth, and probably four or more if you aren't - a darker shade for the shadows, a medium shade as the main color, and a lighter shade for highlights. Example:…

For the skin, perhaps try experimenting with two colors that contrast with each other more. Again, I'm not sure if you're using copics here, but here's an example of some color combinations you could try:…

Another thing to watch out for is your line art. It's very clean and polished in most areas, but there are some places where it's not properly closed (like the ends of some of her hair strands), or there are double lines (see the metallic parts of her dress). The leftmost ruffle on her dress is also too sharp, as are some of the folds in her sleeves.

Hope this helps, and keep up the nice work!

When you are not familiar with something in an artwork, what do you do?

What are your limitations? What are your strengths?
How do you challenge yourself to learn more as a commenter and an artist?

Check out our other Commenting Workshops!
:bulletgreen: Guidance
:bulletgreen: Balance
:bulletgreen: Resources

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craftsbyblue's avatar
Lots of great advice and tips here :).
P.S. Thanks for featuring my comment ;)!