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    General Art Questions to the Community.

    Not sure if this belongs here or not, but seeing as this is about Art, i'll assume it can go here.

    So a little while back i had a lengthy conversation with an individual on another art forum. I was recently reminded of this person when i tried to critique someone on DA (it didn't go down so well). Anyhow, we had a conversation about critiquing overall, his argument being.

    Unless you're a professional, you have no place telling someone what is wrong with their art piece. Since you don't know what you're doing in the first place.

    A few of the points he/she brought up were.

    -Improper critiquing might lead someone to adopt "stupid" techniques, therefore only an art teacher or industry professional should do it.
    -Unless you're noticeably better than the other person, it's rude.
    -It's part of the person's art style, you can't critique uniqueness.
    -Books such as Loomis, Hogarth and Bridgman are not helpful unless you have a similar art style.
    -The Egyptians, Romans and many ancients have countless examples of exaggerated art, it's not necessary to learn real anatomy.


    So my questions to the community are:
    Is there a way to actually give someone a critique that would hinder their progression? Do you agree that only Professionals can critique properly?

    What's your stance on a Scrub(check out my SB, heh) providing critiques to someone who is noticeably better?

    When does art style actually come into play, and how do you tell if someone is using it as a crutch?

    Assume someone has a very cartoony style. Is it worth his time to study anatomy, books by Hogarth, Loomis and Bridgman etc.?

    Romans, Egyptians, etc. exaggerated art (at least according to him) does this mean learning real anatomy is pointless?


    Last edited by Ixallus; April 10th, 2011 at 05:19 PM.
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    You don't have to be a master chef to know when the food sucks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nezumi Works View Post
    You don't have to be a master chef to know when the food sucks.
    I just snorted up so much milk, lmao.

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    Good questions...we've had a discussion or two on critique in the WIPS as well. This thread by sone one evolved into a discussion on critique: Critique Discussion

    My thoughts:
    1 - Yes - it is definitely possible to offer critique (or more often advice) that is detrimental. Of course poor critique and advice can be ignored but artists who lack experience may not be able to differentiate. No, I don't think only professional artists can offer valid critique, but...

    2 - I don't believe it is the place of an artist with less experience and skill to offer critique to a more accomplished artist (even when right) - unless asked, have a particular ability in the area in question, if they are friends, or it is offered in a very respectful and humble manner. It comes down more to etiquette and manners to me. I think a good approach is to ask the more experienced artist if they would be open to critique...plus the junior artist better be right an be able to back it up.

    3 - Style doesn't come into play very much at all...and it is easy to tell.

    4 - Yes.

    5 - Of course not.

    Last edited by JeffX99; April 10th, 2011 at 05:31 PM. Reason: Add link
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    Is there a way to actually give someone a critique that would hinder their progression? Do you agree that only Professionals can critique properly?
    I don't think couple bad or useless crits will hinder anyone's improvement permanently.
    If you're subjected to a really bad teacher for a long time, that might cause problems in the tender beginner stage, but if one random crit (and I'm talking about a critique, not a scathing "you suck and you'll never learn anything" flame) slows progression considerably, there might be some fault in the artist too.

    What's your stance on a Scrub(check out my SB, heh) providing critiques to someone who is noticeably better?
    If your critique is actually useful, I have no problem about who it comes from. If your "scrubness" prevents from giving useful or advanced crits.. Well, I'm not gonna die from that either. I might ignore it, but...

    When does art style actually come into play, and how do you tell if someone is using it as a crutch?
    Depends... if they are extremely unwilling on giving up the style to experiment anything new.

    Assume someone has a very cartoony style. Is it worth his time to study anatomy, books by Hogarth, Loomis and Bridgman etc.?
    Yes.

    The Ancients exaggerated art (at least according to him) does this mean learning real anatomy is pointless?
    "The Ancients"... Cthulhu? Stargate, what? Well it's not pointless in any case. You're not The Ancients so you have no excuse to not learn.

    Last edited by TinyBird; April 10th, 2011 at 05:20 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TinyBird View Post
    [I]
    "The Ancients"... Cthulhu? Stargate, what? Well it's not pointless in any case.

    Ya probably should have typed that out better, edited... lol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    2 - I don't believe it is the place of an artist with less experience and skill to offer critique to a more accomplished artist ...
    Crap, I'd better stop doing it then.

    As to the actual questions, style counts for very little. Style is the icing on the cake, a cosmetic layer that goes on once the rest is taken care of. You can pretty easily tell when someone's tried to use it to gloss over a lack of structure beneath.

    As for anatomy, your dA artist is an idiot. Those with cartoony styles need real anatomy and life drawing more, not less. Take a look at this, and ask yourself if it's possible to do that without an intimate knowledge of how the body works. And yet, it's rough and cartoony as hell.

    Is it possible to give bad critique? Sure, if you're giving the sort of "advice" this idiot on dA is tossing out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nezumi Works View Post
    Those with cartoony styles need real anatomy and life drawing more, not less.
    Also, a style can look bad and not work too. People seem to think that if something is stylized, it automatically must mean the style also looks good.
    But a badly constructed style that's not unified can look total crap. So you can also critique the style itself.

    ALSO THERE'S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN "STYLIZING" AND "PREFERRED CHARACTERISTICS"!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nezumi Works View Post
    Crap, I'd better stop doing it then.
    Self quote *fixed*:

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    2 - I don't believe it is the place of an artist with less experience and skill to offer critique to a more accomplished artist (even when right) - unless asked, they are Canadian, have a particular ability in the area in question, if they are friends, or it is offered in a very respectful and humble manner.
    Zumi - you're excused! I've NEVER seen you offer poor critique or advice. EVER! I've also never seen you offer critique to artists with more experience than yourself. Besides...if you did don't you think I'd have called you on it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ixallus View Post
    Unless you're a professional, you have no place telling someone what is wrong with their art piece. Since you don't know what
    you're doing in the first place.
    Insert the chef comment from above

    -Improper critiquing might lead someone to adopt "stupid" techniques, therefore only an art teacher or industry professional should do it.
    There certainly is a bunch of bad information.

    Unless you're noticeably better than the other person, it's rude.
    Critique, even the most humble of critique, by nature is rude. You're telling the other person s/he is wrong. No matter how that is done, it's still rude. The critiquee, if open, should be able to handle that sort of commentary... and sort out what does make sense and what doesn't.

    It's part of the person's art style, you can't critique uniqueness.
    Mistakes aren't style.

    But while there is no absolute artistic standard by which accuracy of drawing can be judged, as such standard must necessarily vary with the artistic intention of each individual artist, this fact must not be taken as an excuse for any obviously faulty drawing that incompetence may produce, as is often done by students who when corrected say that they "saw it so." -- Harold Speed

    Books such as Loomis, Hogarth and Bridgman are not helpful unless you have a similar art style.
    Not true; related to the above comment.

    The Egyptians, Romans and many ancients have countless examples of exaggerated art, it's not necessary to learn real anatomy.
    People misunderstand what the Egyptians were doing with simultaneity. The Egyptians offered the most representative view of each part. For instance, the most representative view of the eye was from the front; the most representative view of the head was profile; the most representative view of the shoulders was from the side. It's a pre-cursor to Cubism, which is also mostly misunderstood.

    Point is, those "styles", if you will, still have artistic merit. It doesn't help one's argument to refer to the art of the Egyptians or Cubists when supporting a belief that you don't have to understand anatomy to draw representative art.

    So my questions to the community are:
    Is there a way to actually give someone a critique that would hinder their progression?
    It depends. It's all up to the student.

    Do you agree that only Professionals can critique properly?
    That depends on who is critiquing.

    What's your stance on a Scrub(check out my SB, heh) providing critiques to someone who is noticeably better?
    If they're right, they're right. It's up to the student to take that information and process it correctly.

    When does art style actually come into play, and how do you tell if someone is using it as a crutch?
    Very complicated question; it presumes that a lack of "representality" in art is just a style. Sometimes that is the case, but you have to understand when that is. Good, non representational and even abstract art can be difficult for the beginner to spot because s/he doesn't know what to look for. But the big difference is that non-representational art, if it is to be called "art", is always always done deliberately.

    If it is done out of a lack of understanding, as with some of the folks on DA (beginners), the chance of what they're doing of being art is about the same chance as you taking a tub full of random words, throwing it in the air, and having them all land in one spot forming a novel. Creating art is a deliberate act, not an accidental one.

    Assume someone has a very cartoony style. Is it worth his time to study anatomy, books by Hogarth, Loomis and Bridgman etc.?
    Very much so. Disney animators study anatomy heavily.

    Romans, Egyptians, etc. exaggerated art (at least according to him) does this mean learning real anatomy is pointless?
    Answered above.

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    Is there a way to actually give someone a critique that would hinder their progression? Do you agree that only Professionals can critique properly?

    Needlessley harsh critique can be offputting which could potentially hinder someone if they were just starting out, I suppose. That's more a matter of how it's delivered rather than anything though. A lack of any critique is more of a hinderance - if all you get is total praise then you might not realise how much you need to improve things. No, you don't need to be a professional to see a flaw: a lot of art is made to be seen by the public who are just as entitled to opinion and criticising as any pro.

    What's your stance on a Scrub(check out my SB, heh) providing critiques to someone who is noticeably better?

    I'll admit I'm hesitant to offer critique to any artists I think are better than me unless I know them personally enough to guess how they'll take it. Aside from that, if an artist is going to get hostile and say their work is better than yours so your opinion is somehow invalid - well, that's an overly personal reaction and shows they'd rather focus on something else when a flaw is being suggested. You might not be able to paint an anatomically perfect figure, but you can still tell when something is obviously 'off'.

    When does art style actually come into play, and how do you tell if someone is using it as a crutch?

    Sorry, I can't think of much for this.

    Assume someone has a very cartoony style. Is it worth his time to study anatomy, books by Hogarth, Loomis and Bridgman etc.?

    Yes! Study the human body and draw from life, at least. You need a relatively decent understanding of anatomy to stylise it well. I'd say the same for anything real being rendered in a cartoon style.

    Romans, Egyptians, etc. exaggerated art (at least according to him) does this mean learning real anatomy is pointless?

    Same response as above really. I've never studied them too forensically but statues from ancient Rome seem like they've been made carefully to be realistic. And not to insult the artists of ancient Egypt, but I think the stuff painted on tombs and caskets is cherished more as a colourful relic of history than it is for its artistic skill. What was valued a couple of thousand of years ago is not the same as what is valued tody.

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    First off, I generally recommend not giving crits on DA unless you know the person actually wants crits. Not everyone does, and some people get awfully pissy when they receive unsolicited crits...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ixallus View Post
    Is there a way to actually give someone a critique that would hinder their progression? Do you agree that only Professionals can critique properly?

    What's your stance on a Scrub(check out my SB, heh) providing critiques to someone who is noticeably better?
    It really depends on the nature of the critique... If a noob is trying to offer advice that's just plain wrong, that won't be very helpful (and may even be detrimental to other noobs, spreading bad practices through cluelessness.)

    However... Even non-artists can spot if something looks really wrong, or if something is incomprehensible. I value the impressions of non-artists to find out if my pictures are communicating clearly, after all most people who see my stuff won't be artists. So if a non-artist looks at something of mine and says "I don't get it," then I know I did something wrong.

    Or worse, if they completely misunderstand the picture, that's a good sign I screwed up... "It's a nice picture of a hat?" "NO, it's a snake eating an elephant! Argh! Back to the drawing board..."

    When does art style actually come into play, and how do you tell if someone is using it as a crutch?
    Oh lord, the "it's my styyyyle!" excuse... You can usually tell if something is intentionally crude or stylized. If it looks like a mistake, it probably is. Or at any rate, if it "looks wrong" that's a sign the "style" may not be working well for that picture.

    Assume someone has a very cartoony style. Is it worth his time to study anatomy, books by Hogarth, Loomis and Bridgman etc.?
    Yes. The more you know about how things really look, the more effectively you can stylize them - AND - the more flexible you can be. I mean, come on, would you rather have the ability to draw realistically AND in any style you want? Or would you rather be stuck with the ability to draw only in one hyper-stylized way for the rest of your life?

    Romans, Egyptians, etc. exaggerated art (at least according to him) does this mean learning real anatomy is pointless?[/i]
    Wait, what, the Romans had exaggerated art? Last I checked they were rather famous for their realism and accurate anatomy...? And the Greeks even more so? (With some idealizing, yes, but within plausible limits...)

    And the Egyptians also were capable of realism, when they stylized it was for very specific reasons that were part of their culture and part of the function of the art... (for example, the sculptures tended to be very blocky and simplified because they were meant to last forever; and a lot of the murals were meant to act more like a narrative to be "read" than as realistic scenes to be looked at, so everything is stylized for symbolic and narrative clarity.)

    Not that it matters, we aren't ancient Romans and Egyptians last I checked.

    Anyway, when someone is consciously stylizing for a reason, and the stylization works with the piece and/or makes the piece work better, that's all fine and dandy. But if someone is stylizing everything because that's all they know how to do... that's just lazy.

    Last edited by QueenGwenevere; April 10th, 2011 at 06:28 PM.
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    Is there a way to actually give someone a critique that would hinder their progression?
    no. is there critique they possibly dont benefit from? yes definitely.
    in the end noone can tell what the right words/concepts are for
    someone specific. learning to differentiate crit that helps you and
    opinions that dont is part of the process. even if i donot agree with
    a certain critique i appreciate it alot, because someone has put in
    the effort to do the thinking and typing with the intention of helping me.

    Do you agree that only Professionals can critique properly?
    no. professionals (what a questionable term ) more likely have
    more knowledge at their disposal than amateurs though. its a personal thing.
    some people are better with words than others and one might be producing
    awesome pictures but is retarded if it comes to putting this
    knowledge into words, and the others pictures might not yet show the
    understanding he has, but knows how to put it into words.
    anyway... if someone crits my work, whom work i admire, ill definitely pay
    more attention, because even if its badly worded it can turn out to be
    really valueable bits of wisdom.

    What's your stance on a Scrub(check out my SB, heh) providing critiques to someone who is noticeably better?
    i think its perfectly fine to do so. i personally shy from it though since i
    fear the risk of beeing challenged without backup ^^. and theres always
    the possibility he did it on purpose and i just dont get it yet. its like an
    insider joke (you know, darkest darks are hot...hahahaha). dont say its
    bad just because you dont understand it. i dont like to be the fool that
    ruined the party, because my knowledge was lacking. on the other hand,
    if you got an idea on how to make it better... say it!

    When does art style actually come into play, and how do you tell if someone is using it as a crutch?
    when he is using the term "style" to describe his artwork and goals in art,
    its a crutch.
    style is just a label applied to someone by a third party. its not the
    palette of possibilities an artist can choose from, like it sounds.
    whats called style by others, most often is just the most natural way to
    express himself, for any given artist. and most artists i know of, dont
    appreciate having "their style", which we, the audience admire as much.
    style is not something to strive for, you cant avoid it anyway, (as much as
    you might hate it ).

    Assume someone has a very cartoony style. Is it worth his time to study anatomy, books by Hogarth, Loomis and Bridgman etc.?
    every bit of knowledge is going to be in your pictures. is it worth it? dont
    know ... you are the artist.

    Romans, Egyptians, etc. exaggerated art (at least according to him) does this mean learning real anatomy is pointless?
    dont know if roman and egyptian "style" art sells well today... its rather
    pointless and kinda smartass to bring that up.
    first off, the conclussion romans didnt care for anatomy is fundamentaly
    flawed and uneducated. also look at point 2) ... there might be solutions
    in their art you donot agree with, but before getting yourself into trouble,
    investigate if it aint a lack of knowledge on your side rather than theirs.

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    cartoon/anime style is fine as long it respect reality in simplified form. Thus, understand anatomy and break it down into whatever you like and stick with it.

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    I think lavish praise that isn't deserved can be damaging to someone's progress. Likewise, savage criticism that isn't deserved can be demoralizing.

    I've seen lots of critique I didn't agree with, from professionals and non-professionals alike (on other people's art, so it wasn't anything personal). I've seen many professionals I didn't think were very good (and some amateurs who are very good). I've seen many people who can't give good critique, regardless of skill level.

    But in general, I like to see some work from a critiquer, and I weight criticism higher based on skill level.

    I was at art school for almost a year before the annual faculty exhibit. Seeing which of my teachers was good and which weren't very good was a real surprise. It bore no relation to those I liked as teachers.

    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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    Is there a way to actually give someone a critique that would hinder their progression? Do you agree that only Professionals can critique properly?

    Definitely not. A lot of problems are caused by the artist overlooking them, like making the one hand longer or other noob mistakes that everyone does. You don't need much knowledge to see when something like this is wrong, but the artist may not notice it until someone points it out. As for more advanced critiques regarding values, composition, if someone is not good at it he can't really give a critique regarding these elements. He won't even bother, so no real danger there. I think the benefits are far bigger than the inconveniences. In the end of the day you don't need to follow every single critique. Sometimes it is a matter of taste.

    What's your stance on a Scrub(check out my SB, heh) providing critiques to someone who is noticeably better?


    As I said, some mistakes are easy to point out, even by someone who is not interested in art. As long as the critique is not "lolz this suxzs" every opinion can be useful.

    When does art style actually come into play, and how do you tell if someone is using it as a crutch?

    I think it's easy to see when there is a stylization and when there is a lack of skill. I can't explain it, but it's like comparing a karaoke singer with a rock star on a big concert. You kind of notice the boldness when someone has style.

    Assume someone has a very cartoony style. Is it worth his time to study anatomy, books by Hogarth, Loomis and Bridgman etc.?


    Yes. No way around it. As simple as that. Maybe not to such a great extend, but basics are basics. You can't skip them.

    Romans, Egyptians, etc. exaggerated art (at least according to him) does this mean learning real anatomy is pointless?

    Tell this person to look at Greek and Roman statues and tell me they didn't know anatomy. I dare him to do so. It's pointless to learn real anatomy. If you wanna suck. (If you are interested in drawing people of course, if you draw only landscapes and nature you obviously don't need to study it... that much)

    Last edited by Vari; April 11th, 2011 at 02:50 PM.
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    Is there a way to actually give someone a critique that would hinder their progression?

    Yes, you could give someone bad information/tell them to do something wrong/stupid. This is the most common problem with the unexperienced offering advice to the even-less-experienced. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

    Do you agree that only Professionals can critique properly?


    No, there are "professionals" who don't know what the hell they're talking about, too.

    What's your stance on a Scrub(check out my SB, heh) providing critiques to someone who is noticeably better?


    If you think you have something to offer, go ahead. Worst case is, you're wrong, somebody explains why you're wrong, and then you've learned something.

    When does art style actually come into play, and how do you tell if someone is using it as a crutch?


    If it looks good, it's good. If it looks bad, it's bad. Taste and expertise come with experience.

    Assume someone has a very cartoony style. Is it worth his time to study anatomy, books by Hogarth, Loomis and Bridgman etc.?


    Depends. "Cartoony" is a really broad word. So is "style." Sometimes anatomy/perspective/etc matter, sometimes they don't. There's nothing wrong with not being able to draw "well" if that's not what you're trying to do.

    Romans, Egyptians, etc. exaggerated art (at least according to him) does this mean learning real anatomy is pointless?


    Bad examples, false syllogism. Egyptian art had it's own rules and conventions (as does all art of all cultures), if you want to work in a particular framework you would do well to learn as much as possible about it. Roman art was extremely naturalistic, "real" anatomy (whatever that means) was very important to them.

    Last edited by Elwell; April 11th, 2011 at 03:34 PM.

    Tristan Elwell
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  25. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ixallus
    Is there a way to actually give someone a critique that would hinder their progression?
    Ofc. I can tell you something that isn't true but dress it up like I actually know what I'm talking about. If you believe me and use that poor advice in your work, who knows how long it could take for you to find out it was bad advice. And it doesn't have to be malicious; I could believe that what I told you was true because I heard it from someone else. There is always misinformation being spread around, so you should double-check the advice you receive and try to read about it from other sources rather than just accepting what you are told.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ixallus
    What's your stance on a Scrub(check out my SB, heh) providing critiques to someone who is noticeably better?
    I think it's important to note the compared skill level in the particular area of the critique. For instance, if you have spent a lot of time learning about animal anatomy and find an artist who is more experienced than you in general but is very new to drawing animals, I would think it's obvious that you could help this person if you see them making mistakes that you know how to correct. If that person were to react defensively and become annoyed, well, they're not worth your time. Just ignore their response and move on to someone who is interested in making progress with their work.

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    Very insightful words from everyone, glad i found this place =)

    My Sketchbook!This scrub needs your guidance

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post

    2 - I don't believe it is the place of an artist with less experience and skill to offer critique to a more accomplished artist (even when right) - unless asked, have a particular ability in the area in question, if they are friends, or it is offered in a very respectful and humble manner. It comes down more to etiquette and manners to me. I think a good approach is to ask the more experienced artist if they would be open to critique...plus the junior artist better be right an be able to back it up.

    Why not? Is it just a cultural thing, or is there a clear benefit from this kind of deference?

    Last edited by Robotus; April 11th, 2011 at 11:11 PM.
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  28. #21
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    Going back to early posts..

    You don't have to be a chef to know that the food sucks, but it's only a fairly skilled chef who is likely to be able to tell you exactly what you did wrong. "You added the garlic on too high a heat, garlic gets bitter when it's overcooked!!"

    (insert athlete, golfer, weightlifter analogy as you see fit..)

    Anyone can crit something as "wrong", an experienced art monkey can suggest "why" and more importantly how to fix it.

    I'd therefore weigh their opinion higher than an "enthusiast" , "critic" or whatever.

    Last edited by Flake; April 12th, 2011 at 12:03 AM.
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    "Romans, Egyptians, etc. exaggerated art (at least according to him) does this mean learning real anatomy is pointless?"

    It's not pointless if you want to draw realistic things. Different artists have different aims.

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