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  1. #1
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    Getting feedback on Conceptart.org

    I should preface this little diatribe by mentioning that I am an art director for a small team of people who produce graphic and concept art on a daily basis. I have really 'mentored' a few of them, - a lot of them were more skilled than me too! - but I know how to tune everyone's skills together to produce work that makes happy clients.

    What I wanted to say was this. This is a fantastic site. I haven't seen as much concentrated visual fun and a quick snapshot as what 'state of the art' was anywhere, other than this site, its fantastic.

    HOWEVER....

    I see a lot of people posting their work on this site - especially in the WIP section, and looking for feedback in helping make their work better. It's a good idea in theory, and there are a lot of helpful people here who will give good pointers, and an honest critique. But - there is an awful amount of crap as well. Just plain bad advice, or over-the-top critiques that are simply unwarranted.

    It's not really a problem for 'old salts', or for that matter, people who have been employed for a couple of years, and understand how to seperate valid criticism from personal taste, simply because they come up against this sort of thing every day.

    But those wanting to break into the industry, or putting together a portfolio, hunting for jobs... it might be difficult to make value judgements on critiques. Not all critiques are valuable. I guess what I am trying to say is don't just base decisions you make on the feedback you get here, or any anonymous online forum. Evaluate the critiques, learn to communicate your perspective on your art - such an underrated skill - and approach all criticism with an open mind. For the negative, and the positive.

    I imagine some of my juniors being put through the ringer here, and shudder. The young designer/artist is a such delicate little creature! But... I still direct them here! It's a great resource.

    /rant off

    /dons asbestos suit

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    Receiving critique is something that needs practice just like art.

    If you don't get bad critiques, you won't know what bad critiques are. So... they are still valuable in some ways.

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    Hmmm, lets see...
    Out of six posts for PetarB, I see zero in Studies/WIPs and zero in the Critique Center. So, if you really want to do something about this, how about you work on improving the good crit to bad crit ratio? Or calling someone out directly on what you consider bad advice, so it actually helps the original poster? Lead by example.


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    I hear you and that was one of my motivations for posting this. There really are a lot of shallow crits and what bugs me more than anything are the ones that say "Pfft. Don't listen to that other guy. This is awesome." That offends me on so many levels that if I were a CC mod, I would delete them on sight. However on the other hand, those who complain the most about the CC, including me, don't take sufficient action to improve it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PetarB View Post
    I should preface this little diatribe by mentioning that I am an art director for a small team of people who produce graphic and concept art on a daily basis. I have really 'mentored' a few of them, - a lot of them were more skilled than me too! - but I know how to tune everyone's skills together to produce work that makes happy clients.

    What I wanted to say was this. This is a fantastic site. I haven't seen as much concentrated visual fun and a quick snapshot as what 'state of the art' was anywhere, other than this site, its fantastic.

    HOWEVER....

    I see a lot of people posting their work on this site - especially in the WIP section, and looking for feedback in helping make their work better. It's a good idea in theory, and there are a lot of helpful people here who will give good pointers, and an honest critique. But - there is an awful amount of crap as well. Just plain bad advice, or over-the-top critiques that are simply unwarranted.

    It's not really a problem for 'old salts', or for that matter, people who have been employed for a couple of years, and understand how to seperate valid criticism from personal taste, simply because they come up against this sort of thing every day.

    But those wanting to break into the industry, or putting together a portfolio, hunting for jobs... it might be difficult to make value judgements on critiques. Not all critiques are valuable. I guess what I am trying to say is don't just base decisions you make on the feedback you get here, or any anonymous online forum. Evaluate the critiques, learn to communicate your perspective on your art - such an underrated skill - and approach all criticism with an open mind. For the negative, and the positive.

    I imagine some of my juniors being put through the ringer here, and shudder. The young designer/artist is a such delicate little creature! But... I still direct them here! It's a great resource.

    /rant off

    /dons asbestos suit
    Yeah that's a really good point, i think it is important for the more "green around the ears" artists to first of all work on knowing what a personal taste critique is and what a good, honest, advice critique is. When i started out here, if it sounded like bullshit, i usually just ignored it. If it was something like "here's a picture of that muscle structure, now look at yours" that's a useful critique, but if it's something like "you use too much color" or "you need to do more anime stuff" that's personal opinion, and yeah i agree, it's important for new artists to be able to make that distinction.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArtZealot View Post
    ...but if it's something like "you use too much color"... that's personal opinion
    Unless they did use too much color.

    Perhaps the image uses too high of a color saturation in both the background and foreground causing a lack of contrast and thus flatness. Or maybe everything is just super neon and it makes ones eyes bleed.

    But then again, maybe you check out the sketchbook of said critique giver and it turns out they haven't a clue what they are talking about.

    As PetarB said in his post, one should eventually learn how to sort the valuable critiques from the others. Really, everything PetarB said was good advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by PetarB
    Evaluate the critiques, learn to communicate your perspective on your art - such an underrated skill - and approach all criticism with an open mind. For the negative, and the positive.
    Of course, you can only really do that when you know what you're doing. And if you've figured out what you're doing then sorting critiques won't pose the slightest of problems.

    And if you don't know... well there's a wealth of information here to read up on.

    Oh, and on a final note. A good critique is typically more than just a few words (e.g. "you use too much color" or "drw moar Animeh stuf!"). If someone says you've used too much color and writes out a short paragraph as to why its bad and how you overdid it, that's a good critique. If they just say you used too much color and that's it, then as far as I'm concerned it's like ArtZealot said...

    Quote Originally Posted by ArtZealot
    ...that's personal opinion


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    elwell, this is a great example why i would father your children if you could bear them.


    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Hmmm, lets see...
    Out of six posts for PetarB, I see zero in Studies/WIPs and zero in the Critique Center. So, if you really want to do something about this, how about you work on improving the good crit to bad crit ratio? Or calling someone out directly on what you consider bad advice, so it actually helps the original poster? Lead by example.


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    Would this be a bad time for me to plug my sketchbook, as in desperate need of a good crit? My two main concerns are with anatomy and digital techniques, but really anything that stands out.

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    I think some people rely too heavily on crits from other people and lose focus on actually criticizing themselves.

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    Before you start busting balls on here, I suggest you take a look at some sketchbook's or people's bodies of work on here. You'll notice that this site has turned alot of young kids into people working in the industry. You're not going to go to any forum on the internet where every critique is golden, but what the site does have is advice, suggestions and opinions from all ages, skill levels and walks of life. I'm not trying to be a bitch to you, but I think it's very rude, and a bit silly for you to come on here crapping on the way a community works when you yourself have done absolutely nothing to try and contribute besides giving 5 posts of praise.

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    It's a reasonable point that I should contribute. However, three young children and work seems to eat up all my spare time these days. I wish it weren't so. I visit this place far less than I would like to. When I get the auto emails 'we notice you have not visited conceptart.org for a long time'... I'm usually up to my neck in coordinating deadlines and human assets. I even forgot my pass/email for my old account.

    But having a large postcount of body of work should not detract from the idea at hand. I know this place has produced some brilliant people. That's not the point. I saw a few semi-literate posters critiquing work in a way that I thought was counterproductive to the development of a young artist, and ruminated on that idea, hopefully to inspire young artists to consider the validity of the critique.

    Apologies for rubbing anyone up the wrong way.

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    Just as important as knowing how to take crits is knowing what you do well... This site usually provides a good balance of comments, both positive and negative, and though the balance can sometimes be skewed one way or the other for various reasons, I doubt you'll find any site even remotely as helpful.

    Being overly criticized and being overly praised are *both* harmful, but nowhere near as harmful as working away in a vacuum. And it's all just good practice for being a self-confident and productive working artist. So while I will agree that some people don't know what the hell they're talking about, if a beginner can't tell those posts from the others, then he or she knows even less and can still learn from 'em.

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    Learning how to give a good critique is a really valuable skill.
    I see many people giving crits in the Critique Center as those who are practicing this skill and hopefully learning how to do it better.

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    Beginners don't seem to understand they can and should read crits given in other threads and apply them to their own art and process. Most fundamental skills and ideas translate easily among almost all forms of art, hence the principles and elements of design. Bad crits are gonna happen, there's no accounting for taste. And the people who give good crits tire out because not many people have the stamina to repeat themselves endless to new people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by emily g View Post
    Learning how to give a good critique is a really valuable skill.
    Agreed. As an illustration junior at SVA, learning to communicate criticism constructively and clearly is a very difficult thing for me, but I love having the opportunity to practice in places like this. Critiquing others' work helps you understand art on more sophisticated levels, and the more you do it the better your eye (and hopefully the eyes of the critiqued) becomes. However criticism, like art, is a skill. We all have to start somewhere and I would rather encourage people to give bad critiques than no critiques at all. If a person is talented and driven, a few bad critiques is not going to stop him/her from getting better. We all have to learn to separate the wheat from the chaff at some point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PetarB View Post
    But having a large postcount of body of work should not detract from the idea at hand. I know this place has produced some brilliant people. That's not the point. I saw a few semi-literate posters critiquing work in a way that I thought was counterproductive to the development of a young artist, and ruminated on that idea, hopefully to inspire young artists to consider the validity of the critique.
    I've often had doubts about my own ability to critique and knowing full well that I'm more than often seen as "semi-literate" -- I can't help that english isn't my native language. I see the validity of your point, however should less experienced artists (such as myself) refrain from posting critiques just because someone might be less motivated by hearing bad(or deconstructive, unmotivating, uninspring) critique? To me, giving critique is more valuable than recieving, I feel a bit crestfallen to hear that veterans and experienced artists frown upon newbies trying to help fellow artists...

    It's just my point of view and I would like to say that I agree with what you're saying.. Even though I'm amongst the concerned.

    Ah well
    Hope to see some of your art soon!

    ~B

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    Do NOT quit critting just because you think you're too new to do it. Just think before you type. Even if somebody really sucks, there has to be something you can get a handle on to guide them out of a problem. Yeah, we've all done bad anatomy, and we've all put six fingers on our girlfriend's portrait, but DAMN...weren't those nice folds around those nice buttons.

    If you think a character's nose is where their armpit should be, say so, with some solid specifics why you think there's a problem. Just saying "your anatomy sucks" is not enough.

    On elements that could be open to interpretation, try to put yourself in the creator's shoes. Why would I use that color? Why would I make that part so "weak-looking" compared to the head? Why is the monkey wearing a tutu? If it still bothers you, say something like "I would have made his nose a bit less green," or "I keep starin' where I shouldn't be, BUT...it sure looks like she's got three boobs to me... Did you plan it that way?" Use humor if it comes naturally to you. Or if something's a bit wicky, but you don't exactly know why, make it part of your comments--"I think there's something a bit weird with her butt, but it could just be me...anyone else notice this?"

    If the piece is something you just can't get into, don't even try to crit it. If you hate manga, just say something good about the color use, or the nice shading on the hair instead of something that could be perceived as insulting.

    And if something is really bad, and the artist isn't taking to your comments all that nicely, let it go. Somebody will get the obvious through his/her over-dense skull in some fashion.... That's why they keep evil bastards like Elwell, Guggy, Fiske, me and some others around...

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    A lot of people has some very valid stuff to say about critting here.

    I do try. I also do fail. In giving proper crits. I do try to be honest though. And make sense.

    Anyway, what I just wanted to say. Actually a personal crit can give me just as much as a technical crit. Because it helps me viewing it from anothers person of view.

    Instead of going "it's SUPPOSED to look like mud city", I think "maybe it would actually be more interesting with really vivid colours". And I might even try it out just for my own measure. If it looks shit, it does. And if it's an improvement, it is. At least I learned something about audience on the way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PetarB View Post
    I saw a few semi-literate posters critiquing work in a way that I thought was counterproductive to the development of a young artist, and ruminated on that idea, hopefully to inspire young artists to consider the validity of the critique.
    If you crit a piece, you've helped at least one person. If you correct a bad crit, you've helped at least two people. If you say, "boy, somebody should do something about bad crits," how helpful is that?


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    I think that learning how to take a critique is a better skill to have than to give them. But they're both fantastic skills to have. I get scorned on a constant basis on airbrush forums for giving critiques. I'm not even very harsh. All I say is things like, "It's looking great but it would look better if you sharpened the edge of the face up a bit it would look even better." It pisses me off...

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    The OP makes a good point.

    Not too long ago I was in a state of mind when I would listen to and accept critiques from pretty much anybody - turns out half the time they were wrong.

    Get a second opinion.

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    And don't even get me started on the "mentoring" sub-section.

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    Quote Originally Posted by James Kei View Post
    And don't even get me started on the "mentoring" sub-section.
    Since I'm mentoring in there, please fire away

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    If you crit a piece, you've helped at least one person. If you correct a bad crit, you've helped at least two people. If you say, "boy, somebody should do something about bad crits," how helpful is that?
    But isn't it better that he takes the time to post this to spread awareness than just letting it alone? I mean, he's got 3 kids and is an art-director, that's gotta be taking up a lot of time. He can't be on CA constantly during his free time either. So isn't it better that he takes a little time to do this to inspire others and make people aware of it rather than not doing anything at all?

    And to the people acting all offended and defending CA like he told the whole site to fuck off: learn to take a crit. He loves this place, but pointed out an area he felt there could be problems in. Wtf is that to get all whiny over?

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    Quote Originally Posted by yoitisi View Post
    Since I'm mentoring in there, please fire away
    I remember reading some mentor on there who gave the assignment "blind contour drawing". Which in my opinion is one of the most pointless assignments in the history of art education.
    I could go on, but I think that about sums it up.

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    James Kei: Bit of a general take on the mentoring area Yes there's some people in there that probably shouldn't be a mentor, but there's some good stuff too. Teaching is a job that has its own pitfalls and difficulties and not everybody is able to figure that out I guess.

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    All I'm sayin' is that a potential mentor should apply, and that there should be a committee to decide on who will be a mentor.
    I'm grateful that there is a mentor sub-section, but a I think a filtering process would clean things up a bit.

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    James Kei: We all like committees but I agree, that might be a good idea. Not sure how it would work in reality, as we're short on mentors as it is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HunterKiller_ View Post
    The OP makes a good point.

    Not too long ago I was in a state of mind when I would listen to and accept critiques from pretty much anybody - turns out half the time they were wrong.

    Get a second opinion.
    You can also tell a lot from checking out the guys or girls sketchbook. I mean, if I tried to crit Leonardo Davinci at my skill level, I would get my balls busted open. Then again, it wouldent deture him, cause he was persistent (from what I can see from his skill anyway).

    Saying that, that can sometimes be contradicted in that even the greats make mistakes sometimes. Could just have been a bad day.

    PS: James Kei, mentors arent the all know know it alls you probably think they are, were all human and theres only so much each of us can learn. Something one person might not be strong in, another might be amazing at and vice versa. EVERYONE learns.

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  40. #30
    chaosrocks's Avatar
    chaosrocks is offline Environment of the Week Leader Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    ok
    as an instigator of the mentor forum and a beliver in education
    I have to jump in here
    It is quite clear that all mentor mentee relationships are different. but I am willing to bet that if you tried it you would discover that the mentor learns as much as the mentee . if only through organizing what he or she knows.
    I believe that teaching is valuable on what ever level and the more communal and the less regimented it is the more likely people will be to find what they need

    I also happen to believe that contour drawings done properly make you see aspects of your page that you might not have seen other wise

    by regimenting and organizing you lose the freedom to find your own teacher and level and you scare people off from trying to explain what thye do know

    as it is some people are learning a crapload
    and some friendships are being born

    I think it is a vital and valuable part of what CA is capible of

    crx

    Last edited by chaosrocks; April 27th, 2008 at 08:56 PM.
    To see the world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wildflower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour.

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