Jun 13, 2012

Critique and advice (in online art communities)

About a month ago I decided I wanted to go back to the conceptart.org forums, because I thought this would be useful for me, to learn and get critique about my work (since I decided again that I thought concept- and game art was something interesting for me). I thought that forum was a motivational and useful place.

But it wasn't.

Already on the first day and one of my first post some guy (with apparently x years of experience which made him a sort of  'god' on the forums) came with a harsh and snarky comment, when I didn't even reacted on what he said in the first place. Since, you know, I came to learn that the internet is a place full of sensitive people and communication isn't all that perfect...so I try to be polite and friendly.
After I became a bit angry about it (it was really uncalled for), someone said I should just let it be. And I did, ...just after I came back there, I left again.

I thought I was the only one thinking that that forum is a bit of a harsh place, where people want to fight instead of just going to a process of learning and drawing together. To me, it's not a place where I can get motivated or get useful advice. I could learn yes, but to me...people that tell me 'I'm just not good enough', aren't constructive and useful at all. But apparently I'm not the only who thought it wasn't that of a nice place, I discovered someone else feeling the same and I guess there are more people alike.

Well, here's the thing: some people don't really think about how they can bring their message the best way, some people just spill it out the way they want it. And that's no problem, I mean, we're not always thinking of others, sometimes we have to think about ourselves (and especially on the internet it seems easy).
But when you're dealing with critique you should always be careful what to use and what not. Not every critique or advice might be useful for you. And sometimes it might not be useful at all. Some people might like environments where people are brutally and honest and say "this sucks", but in my opinion, it would be better if someone said "this sucks, but you know it could look better if you gave more attention to this and this part". And then there are people who are really sensitive about their art, even when they want to learn and get critique, who rather appreciate it if you use the sandwich method of also pointing out the good things...for some people that works best.

In the end I think as an artist or illustrator you learn to deal with all sorts of critique and advice, seeing as that I got already lessons by very different teachers. So I think that the best way to deal with it is to filter it out, take what you think is useful to you, and always try to see it positive: you could learn from this. It might help to write out the things that you think are useful and let the rest be (but at least think about it). And if you don't really understand what someone is saying, just try to ask (politely) what they meant with that.
And then again: don't be afraid to ask for critique and advice, ...you can learn from it and become a better artist as well as a better person. You know...especially when you're being a starter you should remember that you're not perfect, you are still learning. And that's ok. It's ok to make mistakes, because you learn from that, so don't be afraid to just keep on going!