While technical critique is all kinds of awesome when it's wanted, it is absolutely, definitely NOT the only kind of feedback that's valid or that an artist will appreciate! If you're nervous about leaving comments on people's art because you're worried your feedback won't be in-depth enough or technical enough, please don't feel that way. There are ways to respond to an artist's work that have nothing at all to do with technical critique, and that's what we're going to talk about today.
Before we get into the main body of the article, I'd like to make one thing really clear. It's very important and it underpins everything else in the article. Ready?
So, you've found some art you enjoy and you'd like to leave a comment that isn't technical critique, but you're stuck. Don't worry. Here's an approach that will work for almost anyone!
Focusing on what you can talk about
For example, what did you like best about the piece of art? What immediately captured your attention and inspired you to click on the thumbnail for a closer look? What interested, intrigued and fascinated you? What made you smile? If you're stuck with describing precisely why you adore something in deep and meaningful terms (we all have those days), you can almost always express that feeling in a simple way. This doesn't require any technical knowledge of the medium at all. You can know you love the shapes in a fractal or the colours in a hand-made dress without being able to explain the underlying theory that makes those particular shapes or colours beautiful to you. You can just appreciate them in your own way, then share that appreciation with the artist.
Crossing language barriers
If you're moved to comment on something and you don't share a language with the artist, check out online translation tools. Of course they won't always offer an opportunity for the most eloquent comments, but they'll help you to say something short, simple and to the point, like, "I love the colours" or "This picture is beautiful". If all you can manage is to leave a comment in your own language, do it anyway. Include an emote to show your general feeling. Just go for it. At worst, the artist will see a positive emote and know the comment was positive. At best, they'll translate it and reach something closer to the full meaning. Those are both pretty great outcomes!
Detailed commenting without technical critique
If you want to go more in-depth with your comments but for whatever reason aren't equipped to get technical, you can still do that and it will still be appreciated. One of the most incredible things about art is how it sparks emotions and reminds us of experiences we've had. Perhaps you can't explain exactly why the composition of that picture is great, but you can explain why it reminds you of a holiday you took with your family when you were five or gets you excited for winter, for example. Put yourself in the other person's shoes. How would you feel to know you'd brought a treasured memory to the front of someone's mind or made them think about their favourite season?
There is a beautiful spectrum of joy and emotion in the world of comments between detailed technical critique and "nice pic". It's an amorphous, inspiration-filled place of experience and wonder. Never underestimate the value of simply telling someone why you enjoyed something they created. Use your words in whatever way you can. Be honest. Be real. Say something. Say anything. Connect. Isn't that what we're all here for?