And frankly I think that's a bunch of hogwash.
Speaking from my own experience, I rarely ever get anything positive said about my work in a constructive way. I might get a lot of "good jobs" or people talking happily about my comics because they made them laugh, but I rarely if ever get any comments that go into detail explaining WHY I did something right. On the flip side, the amount of negative criticism and nitpicking is almost hilariously rampant, not just on my artwork but on the entirety of the web. We're so quick to point out the flaws we don't really ever talk about the positive things done right in a work.
And I can tell you that that's very vital information being kept away from the artist. Yes, I drew that hand wrong, yeah I made that arc a little wobbly, yeah the color here isn't exactly perfect but... what did I do right? What about this work makes you smile or laugh or do you enjoy?
The thing is, we do this with pretty much all other media. Movies and films are critiqued in such a way to point out both the flaws and the positive aspects. A fair critique for a film will detail all the good and bad things and then weigh a review based on the balance between the two, either recommending or panning it. Same with books, and TV shows, and pretty much everything else... except art posted online.
I've often talked about the idea of a critique sandwich, but it usually gets shot down. So many people are against the very concept of giving back any sort of positive feedback to an artist, to the point that it's almost expected that artists shouldn't have any sort of ego at all. But here's the thing... an ego is just a representation of your "self." It's egoism that is the negative trait of being self absorbed and full of yourself. It's not bad to have an ego. Egos are important to our very being.
Artists should feel pride in their work. They should feel accomplished and happy that what they're producing, while it might be flawed, is always a step in the right direction and that they will get better. I can tell you first hand that constantly getting nothing but negative feedback can seriously bruise your ego just as much as getting too much positive feedback. It can make you feel worthless, or unaccomplished, or wrong, or unable to improve. It can feel defeatist and depressing.
Of course what I am saying is not to just stop giving negative feedback at all and only give positive. That would be ridiculous. It's kinda like food.... Everything needs to be in moderation. Too much of anything, healthy or not, is bad for you. Likewise, too much negative feedback can be detrimental to your growth, as is too much positive. If anything I just want there to be more open discourse and people less willing to always give the negative side to everything. Tell us what we're doing right every once in a while. We need to know that all our effort to stamp out the negative is working.
One last thing before I end this journal. There are people out there who actually thrive on negative feedback. They WANT the negative feedback so they can continue to keep improving their art and getting better. But that's not the only way to encourage someone and I want to stress to those individuals that just because it works for YOU, doesn't mean it works for EVERYONE. There are many classifications of artist and we can't all be hardened thick skinned automatons. Be sensitive to the person's needs and don't be a dick because you think you're "helping" them, alright?
I love it when people like my work, but on the other hand, it needs improvement because I'm not exactly "amazing" at art, so I always ask for constructive criticism, even if it has to be negative, at least it's telling me what to improve on and how to improve it. If somebody who doesn't exactly have the best style gets tons of praise like "Amazing!" or "Cute!" with no criticism, they'll probably be convinced that their art is fine and needs no improvement, and just stay in sort of a rut.
But yes, learning artists and even those who have learned everything about art do need a good mix between praise and constructive criticism. I personally prefer more of the latter, but nothing is wrong with a compliment or two. ^.^
Praise is good as long as you don't let it get to your head. I'm not saying critiquing is wrong either, but there needs to be a balance between them, like so:
"I can tell this artwork was worked on very nicely, if I may, I would like to suggest a small fix with..."
That way you acknowledge the artists dedicatin, and still give constructive feedback.
And having self esteem is not bad either. You can't just go around all the time saying you aren't the best, because that's in the eyes of the beholder. To one you could be the worst, but to another you could be a god.
Running someone into the mud DOESN'T help them, even if they claim it does. People are people, treat them accordingly.
You get flames from their "friends" ... yeah, totally not them on another account *rolls eyes* about how bad a person you are because you were the one person to actually try and show them how they could change for the better.
It get's deterring if you know what I mean.
I've grown to prefer the straight truth over sugar coated dung because of these people.
The problem with the internet is you can't really tell the true intentions of a person unlike a face to face confrontation.
I agree people should do the critique sandwich when they are critiquing but sometimes it's not the commentators duty to be changed but the person receiving the comments and critiques. They need to learn how to receive in this age when it's hard to understand due to lack of visual face what is being said.
Very true. It's not just in art, though, it's also in writing. I've seen more negitive critiques in lit here on dA than I've seen in visual art. Anyone who shares a concern about their work, whether it be fearing if their plot will be stolen, their lit being posted to another site without their consent, or just wanting to know the good rather than all the bad, is veiwed as having an inflated ego.
Not to mention that some critiquers seem to do more disciplining, like who they're trying to 'help' out is a disrespectful adolescent, and calling them out as being the ones with the ego, rather than actually doing any good to help build the writer. This happened to me with a 'popular', published writer here on dA not too long ago, and it still infuriates me. She was mad at me for being misled by information, as if I had offended her, rather than being upset with the misleading information itself. and of course this is someone who thinks there's only one way to critique someone or the highway. Look whose book I'm not reading now.
Sorry, vent moment there....
Enough with my sob story though. In my critiques, I like to start off with positive feedback, giving them first with a sense of enlightenment. Then I'll go into what wasn't so great, not be a dick about it, and then finish off on a positive note. with this method, I've never gotten backlash, and both parties are happy in the end.
I try to critique in a way to show the artist, what he/she did right in my opinion and in what areas there needs to be a bit more work. And I judge what I can judge, I can't judge modern art (Picasso etc.) but I can do so with character design in certain drawing styles... I think.
So far for my two cents.
In slightly less purple prose, I agree wholeheartedly with you. I have several times, early in my digital days, nearly given up art because of the lack of praise, and MOST of ALL, because of the INCESSANT nitpicking. Nowadays, I know for myself that I am doing solid work in the digital field, and so don't need the positive feedback quite so much as I once did, and have developed a bit of armour against the pickers of nits.
Still, I am currently going back to school to learn traditional painting (I know, I'm insane to go learning a far less forgiving medium), and have a very rough time with the negative criticism which seems to be all that the vast majority of people, (especially my fellow students) can bring to the table.
Recently, I found myself in tears, becaue I had done a bad job on something and knew it, and received harsh criticism on it from someone else, and felt (for a moment only, thank the Force) the impulse to just walk away, and quit all of it. I had a cup of tea and a cry instead, and realised part of the problem is that many artists are insecure, and to the insecure, harshly criticising another artist is their way of protecting themselves against competition, which they see as a threat. Similarly, praising an artist encourages that artist, which means encouraging someone who might threaten their sense of position.
This is all poppycock on their part of course, but it naytheless, has real world consequences for the rest of us. Thank you once again for this journakl entry, which I hope is read far and wide.
If I knew the right person to recommend this to, I would recommend it for a DD (BROAD HINT to anyone who knows the proper person to recommend this to for a Daily Deviation, because this is very much deserves a DD.)
I totally agree with this... but apparently artists have to be emo and hate their art so people are happy about them. As soon as an artist say he/she is doing a good job everyone thinks he/she's being arrogant. I do know of artists being arrogant. I got blocked by one once when all I did was actually to say a compliment. That person used to draw stuff that I normaly don't like so I was all like "omg... how can you draw this like this? ;A; Now even I like this drawing! Why you do this to me? ;3; " and instead of seeing it as a compliment (cuz it was) she saw it as an insult and decided to just block me cuz apparently she had so many fans that getting rid of one person was no biggie ¬¬ Oh, she deactivated her account later xD
I've also seeing artists being accused of being arrogant when all they did was simply not wanting to listen to trolls so they just blocked the trolls. It's pretty much what you should do but you are sometimes too kind, Mr. Preston o_ò Which is not a bad thing but can make bad people hurt you too much u.u
"How can you draw this like this?" does not sound like praise, It sounds like outrage, and sounds as if you think they drew something wrong.
"Now even I like this drawing." No one likes a backhanded compliment, which is what this is a sterling example of. I fully recognise that you were attempting to communicate your happiness at the beauty of their work, yet there are far better ways to do it, which I will illustrate momentarily.
"Why do you do this to me?" Of COURSE this is going to be seen as an insult. You are asking her why she is affecting you so strongly, but you are doing so in a way which is almost exclusively reserved for people who have been undeservedly hurt by someone else's actions.
I realise that English is likely not your first language. Thus I would recommend that you stay within formal English and NOT informal or colloquial English.
A better way to phrase your compliment back then, would be the following:
"WOW! This is amazing! How did you learn to draw so well? I am not normally interested in this subject, but your work brings out a hidden beauty in the subject. I am haunted by the beauty of your work."
If you wish to give an artist a compliment, THAT is how to do it.
For example, the artist drew the hands a bit too large in a drawing but they chose really nice vibrant colours in a work and the person critiquing it doesn't point out their colour choice being good. Then for their next submission, they chose saturated colours that blinds the eyes (you would commonly see this palette in older versions of MS Paint before Windows Vista) and then possibly the same person who critiqued on their anatomy will critique about their choice of colours afterwards.