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Submitted on
July 25, 2013


214 (who?)
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?
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MateoGraph Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2014  Professional Artist
Personally what  interests me, is  criticism ( positive or not) because it is bound  to the analysis .Beyond of the emotion, it can raise questions, points of view and it is constructive! (The pure judgment, connected to the ego, without arguments is sterile...superficial, but i don t forget that DA is not open only to professionals)

People only looking  for glory and praise on D.A would better buy a mirror to masturbate (or maybe create a facebook account , lol^^)
Fireninjastar Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Everyone gets on my ass when I even say one nice thing about you.
TomPreston Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2014
That says a lot about the people you hang around with, doesn't it?
Fireninjastar Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
In some cases.

Everyone previously on your page targets me.

Stupid Internet rule #2056:

If you say one nice thing about Andrew Dobson (Tompreston), you can't take criticism, have the worst art in the universe, and deserve to burn.
Dappleswirl Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I don't think I've said it before, but your artwork had improved greatly over the past years.
I was cleaning out a picture folder where I found a collection of your earlier comics that I saved because I liked them. It was hard to see at first, but it hit me how much you've improved by those earlier comics.
You've increased your panel numbers, have better shading, a ton more details, and your characters have better expressions and much more depth
Your lines are even smoother and everything looks really professional!
Even your humans, who were already pretty good, have improved greatly.
Each panel is like a work of art now and it's fantastic! ^^
ladybugotaku Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
that reminds me a lot of what happened with me the other day. i was checking out a cool alice pic and i read through some comments until i saw one of those critiqing ones. he was criticizing the dude about all the wrong things about the pic and didn't say what was so great about it. i had to butt in and critque the other guy's critique about what the artist did right. when i was done i just felt good. idk why, by the fellow deviant needed some praise. it was a good pic and it didn't need to be turned down like that.:-)
Rainiila Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
If I, say, found a portly written FamFic I my archive, I would review it with ConCrit.
No matter how badly written it is (as long as the author was actually trying to the best of their ability, and not just trolling), I'll go out of my way to say something nice about it. "I really like how you describe Black!" Or "That fighting Sven was the BEST! You give us enough detail to visualise it, without explain every single cut/stab/blow etc."
Then I'll burst into "You could improve this by...." Stuff.
Then at the end, I'll say something like "Once more, I love your fighting scenes/describing paragraphs. I just think that a little more description/whatever would be helpful!"
I find that works, and just pointing out the wrongs gives the writer a poor opinion of you, and they're likely to get upset. I find telling them what they did RIGHT and well helps drive in the 'I'm trying to do this to help you, I'm not a bully' thing.

Just my opinion, which I know will be riddled with incorrect grammar and typos.
Gundaam Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
No, praise is bad. one of the many rules in art is never have a high self esteem because you own a huge fanbase of loyal fans that dont realize what are the do's and donts in art. If you wanna be successful in both art and life, follow advices from the experts and always take any sort of criticism, even if its negative.

GeneralEagleEye Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
That's a bit warped mate. Imagine if you drew a painting, worked hard on it for a good period of time, and you displayed it and you were very happy and satisfied with your work, and not a single soul even acknowledges it, and blabs about what could be made better.

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.
Tetra-007 Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2013
I think if people remembered (or knew) the first rule of critiquing, the overt negativity wouldn't happen. For every negative comment, you should also say what they did well! Not everyone's as good, some people are more sensitive, etc.  Especially on the internet, you should remember people ought to remember that they don't know this person personally. And if you did, and you were their friend, how would you treat them? Even when we're critiquing our friends, we usually say something positive too.

Running someone into the mud DOESN'T help them, even if they claim it does. People are people, treat them accordingly.
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