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As a portrait artist and photographer, I know how "hard up" some people are for a little critique. To help re-assure artists (and non-artists) that critique is nothing to fear, I will speak with none other than experience.

When I was around 15 years old, I was drawing wolves. A scarce human or anthromorphic animal, but dominantly wolves. I was on a website called Animation Source (at the time, just Balto Source & Lion King Source). There, my work was worshiped by the members. I would just trudge along and doodle wolves, scan it, post it, get praised for it. It was a matter of time until one of my favorite artists (an artist I'm in frequent contact with, even today) approached me on MSN. I had just finished the line art to what I called a "realistic" drawing. At the time it was my favorite -- pride and joy, my baby. When Kate (the other artist) brought it up, I beamed, thinking, "She must like it!"

She then proceeded to tell me how terrible it was. (Click here to see the image, drawn in 2008.)

Typically, I spent the next day or two moping. If one of my favorite artists hated my work (but everyone else loved it), what was the point in continuing? I was obviously talentless. But for some reason, around the 2nd day, I thought: "Kate's not destructive, she was trying to push me to improve." From there I began to study realism, anatomy, motion, and behavior of all my subjects. My improvements came in leaps and bounds, improving dramatically from picture to picture. I played with style, didn't like it, learned portraiture.

From this, I went from here to here, and beyond!

I never asked for critique on that drawing that Kate "tore me open" for. But you know what? I got it anyway, and it helped me to improve. A little critique ("I really like ABC about this, but D looks strange compared to the rest of the image") can go a long way.

For those of you afraid to give thoughtful critique because of an ill-won response for the artist: oh, well! You told them what you saw. If they refuse to see any flaw or point to improve on, let them continue in their rut until they figure it out the hard way.

Which brings me to another point.

FEEDBACK
I'm not the only artist here who's suffered from very little/no/brief feedback messages.

Forum-goer, nothing means more to us artists than hearing your feedback. While a quick "this is great/great work/amazing!" is nice to hear, we really enjoy the thought process behind those few short words.

What do you like about it? What is it about our art that makes you come back for more, "like" it, etc.? I've done this with other artists, and have gotten a response that was surprised and appreciative that someone put thought into their comment after an influx of comments not exceeding 5 words.

However, I've been guilty of leaving short comments, too! When I do this, it's basically a "cannot improve on perfection" response to a piece of work that I enjoy. But you know what? The artists next piece may get some more feedback where it's needed!

I'll also speak from experience when I say that no feedback dampers the spirit of the artist. Not long ago I posted Equines in Pixel, expecting at least some feedback (as I had when I first started to post my art here). The response was disappointing.

So artists, your critique means the world to other artists. Even "less skilled" artists may have something new to bring to the table.
Members and artists alike, your general feedback helps us artists keep doing what we're doing. Don't give up on us now!

Personally as an artist, I love to make people smile with my art... the only thing I love more is knowing they're smiling.
 

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Hear, hear!!! I agree en toto to all you have said , especially this:

Personally as an artist, I love to make people smile with my art... the only thing I love more is knowing they're smiling.


I love hearing what sort of emotional reaction people have to may work, since I tend to paint from emotion. But, I am also sometimes astounded at how perfectly blind I am to faults in my artwork that other see right off the bat. My husband helps me in this respect, but it's nice when people see things and are willing to point it out. Yes, maybe they know they could not do better themselves but that doen'st mean they cannot see where improvement can be made. I often critique riding videos and give advice, knowing full well that I , personally, could probably not ride any better than the subject. But that doesn't mean I dont' know what needs to be done.
 
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