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Why Critique? by sonofsanta Why Critique? by sonofsanta
You've probably heard the word critique being bandied about quite a lot recently, and more than likely read a :bulletblue: couple :bulletblue:of :bulletblue:tutorials on it. You've learned all about how to do them, but there's a big piece missing still: why?

I guess the easiest way to persuade the majority is popularity, as depressing as that may be. Now, you can follow the :bulletblue: usual route to stardom, or you can follow the satisfying route. Fact is, there's thousands of deviants out there who just drop by a piece, glance at the preview image and +fav it. After a while, they stop meaning anything. If you want an artist's attention, you need to stand out from this crowd, and the best way to do that is to try your best to help them. Especially when it comes to the more popular artists, they might not have time to stop by everyone who gave them a favourite, but you can be pretty certain they'll take the time to thank you for actually appreciating their art. Even better than that, it gets you worthwhile visitors. Instead of having a link to your page in your signature (by the way Sherlock, we can get there by clicking your name anyway) that will get randoms drifting by, put the effort into the comment and you'll get artists coming by. As the art is why you're here (of course), that can only be a good thing.

Leading on nicely from popularity is friends. I've met many people on here just through critiquing, and had the good fortune to be come friends with several of them. I probably met at least half of the people in my friends box (and you can be sure that friend means friend there) through critiquing on their work. I don't think I need to justify having friends to you, do I?

Critiquing takes time, that's a given. You can't take a quick shifty at something and write half an essay about it, you need to really look at a piece, I sometimes just space out and stare at something for a good ten minutes before I think of anything to write. Why do I want to waste my time like this? Because it's not a waste. There's some incredible art on this site, often with hours of work poured into them, and you can't appreciate it all within seconds. When you critique something, you really get to know it. You spot little subtle things that make it what it is, you get to understand how the artist's mind was working, you see how they've worked their craft.

Know what the best thing about that is? You learn how to do it too. I've never had any kind of tutelage in photography (I know, it shows) but I've learnt. How? By thinking about what makes certain photos good, I've learnt to make mine better. Once you start appreciating the colour, the composition, the focus in other works, you can start looking for it in your own, and start putting it into your own. Art is meant to be a dialogue - the artist puts everything into it, and you can take whatever you want from it. Thinking about other art forces you to think about your own.

After a while, as well, once you have your Clique of Critique (sorry, that was terrible), you'll start receiving them back, and you'll really start to appreciate them. It would be nice if you could appreciate them beforehand, so you know what a useful thing they are, but sometimes you need to bite the bullet and make the first move.

Personally, though, I'm only really in this for one reason: the gratitude. Nothing nicer than getting a genuinely heartfelt thankyou.

I'm not expecting this to convince you all, because we're all here for different reasons, we don't all have the time, and there are probably some that just don't want to, which is fair enough. All I know is that I want to, I love to, and it's the reason I'm still on dA.
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Mind-of-wings Featured By Owner May 17, 2007  Professional General Artist
I sometimes love sometimes hate critiquing, it can be a drag if i feel the piece is a great piece but do not feel connected or attatched to it in any way, I feel to get people started on leaving a good critique first of all they need to cut out the :( :) :P ;p :D :hug: on every single line, as it makes the writing stop flowing, really annoys me when people do that, its like . . . oooo i left an emote therefore i need not write no more.

but yeh, maybe we should have a good critiquing almost form thing on da which newcomers (or people who have never really left long or well thought out comments) can use, which will tell them to talk about (for e.g. traditional) use of shading, the materials used, whether you like the style, why / why not, what could be improved?, What does this piece mean to you, do you feel it leans more into abstract or . . . . blah blah blah

like then maybe people would begin to learn how to do it without the feeling sick sensation of now knowing what to write.

sophie x
jaakobou Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2005
Clique of Critique ... oh dear :fuzzydemon:

nice words... maybe the last paragraph and a half weaken the messege a bit
you can't expect everyone to symphatise with your own reason on why to crit.

i crit because it makes me become better [noticing stuff blah blah]
plus it helps me become more articulate ... :ninja:

cheese plate

p.s. u killed me with the saved by the bell new class thing >.<
sonofsanta Featured By Owner May 6, 2005
I guess at the time that I was thinking the personal note would end it well, but this does need a re-write really. I think I was writing it late at night when I had the idea, so it wasn't really planned or anything... lol.

Saved By The Bell: The New Class killed a small part of me as well :upset:
GoblinQueeen Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2005
Some good points raised. I would have to say though that I'd rather people did it purely because of their interest in the work they are commenting on, not just in hopes of getting attention, but I suppose that's part of the DA atmosphere as well ;)
sonofsanta Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2005
Exactly, popularity is a sham on dA as it is, most of the popular artists I know hate it and run off too quieter accounts. The grass is always greener though, and I'd rather people critiqued for the wrong reasons that not critique at all.
polarix Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2005
I try to just feel works I'm looking at, and talk about the feeling I'm getting.

Formal critiquing kind of puts me off. Then again, I often wish it was done to my own work.

In fact, I wish either of them were.
sonofsanta Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2005
haha, it can get frustrating sometimes. the one favourite I have on this is from someone who faved and left, just to be ironic...

I tend to go for a mix of the two, formal critiquing helps me learn as well as the artist, while actually thinking about a piece and responding to it lets me enjoy it more. I might not always do both, I might think a deviation is perfect and simply go into what it makes me feel, and some deviations just don't make me feel anything, but each one is unique. For the same reason, I never have a structure to my comments either, because that can be limiting; I'm all about the stream of consciousness, baby B-)

However you prefer to critique though, nobody loses ;)
zerocomplex Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2005  Professional Photographer
Click of Critique.. CoC. "Once you have your CoC.."

I'm glad you took the time to write this up and most of all, submit it.

It got me thinking a bit on how deviantART relates to an art school. Here at dA, we have our handful of true artists who are here to learn and improve their craft. An art school is filled with the exact same type of people, and it's also rife with non-artistic people who just want to hang out with artists. That, to me, explains a good bit of the people on dA who may not seem very passionate about the art of art. Let's face it, artists can be amazing people to be around. True talents are put up on a pedestal by society, and who can say they wouldn't like to know and hang out with such a person?

I see dA as an art school now, and less of a community. Those who are here to learn surely will, and those who are here for alternative reasons.. well, they'll do as they will.
sonofsanta Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2005
It was our conversation last night that sparked off this train of thought, actually, so give yourself a pat on the back. Ring a taxi first to take you to hospital though, dislcoated shoulders are awkward.

That's probably the best analogy I've heard for dA so far. It's long been obvious that many people are only here because it's "cool" :no:
zerocomplex Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2005  Professional Photographer
I'll just have my girlfriend pat me on the back instead. Save myself the dislocation. ;)

I've noticed a flipside to the people who are here because it's "cool" and true artists are "cool" people. I haven't spoken with a single non-artist here who I've found to be worthwhile. They all seem to be irritating fanboys and fangirls for the most part.

Just wait until they graduate, man. Then we'll have this whole place to ourselves.
sonofsanta Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2005
Alright for some, innit?

I have a feeling that once they graduate, we'll get the new class. And if Saved By The Bell is any indication of real life, The New Class will scare us off within the month :|
dyssynergia Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2005   Photographer

I bet if you made this into an audio recording, you would have people actually listen to it.
You know how I feel, and blah blah blah yadda yadda yadda.

I feel, that coming here means interracting with other artists.

The hard part for me?

Finding other artists.

Once I find one, I grab em, talk to em, listen to em, critique as best I can, and so forth.

other people can fuck off. I care not for them, I care not for popularity, I care not.

blah blah blah ya know.

I feel fine now though, I have a great group of friends who CRITIQUE my work, even if that only means three people or less, thats three heartfelt honest opinions, and I would take that over 1,000 favs blah blah.

instead of clicking the fav button, I can just tell you how I feel.

People say dA sucks, thats its getting horrible, I don't think that, I think if you find your fellow artists lurking, its all that matters, the people who whine in their journals, are the people who are too lazy and egotistical to do anything here.



I love myself.
sonofsanta Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2005
Maybe I could translate it into easy diagrams for the lazy ones. Perhaps just a picture of someone surrounded by a sea of friends with a wad of cash and amazing art would get through, but I'd probably just get a "lol cool" :roll:

I can't say I've really noticed this supposed decline, y'know. There's bound to be more of the younger deviants arriving because the site is growing, and we all know their priority is popularity and not necessarily art. It's what being teenage is about. The people complaining about the quality of dA now are just not looking hard enough, really, and I've certainly not seen many of em trying do do anything about it either, so sod 'em. You can't expect everyone else to do the work for you, if you wanna bring the community up, it's gotta be done as a community.
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Submitted on
March 22, 2005
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