So this is another one of those artistic taboos we're never suppose to talk about, apparently. The idea of giving back positive feedback to an artist. It's seen as "coddling" as "babying" as "inflating the ego" and has such intense negative associations. It seems to be generally accepted that the only way to critique someone's work is to point out ONLY the negative parts. Any attempt to point out anything positive or something you liked about the work is seen as being unhelpful towards the artist's growth.
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?