Critiques can come in two forms, wanted and unwanted.
WANTED: If you ask for critiques of your work, be sure that’s what you really want.
Getting critiques from other artists (especially those working in your medium) can be a wonderful resource!
Artists who have been working in your medium for many years know tips, tricks, techniques that could improve your work. They have more experience, they’ve been there, and they want to help. A helpful critique is one of the best things you can get!
Asking for a critique can be a bit nerve wracking too. You can’t anticipate what others will see as “wrong” in your work and you might be surprised by what gets pointed out for improvement.
Don’t ever be angry when you ask for a critique and get one! You need to seriously put your feeling towards your work on hold and look at it subjectively and be critical of your own work if you want to improve.
Critiques from other artists may occasionally sting, but can be just what you need on the road to improvement!
UNWANTED: These are the “critiques” that you never anticipate.
More often than not they are presented in a rude manner. An unwanted critique can make you catch your breath and knock you off your feet.
You’ve posted a finished piece that took hours, days to create. It turned out better than you imagined. You’re incredibly happy with it and post it on social media. Among the likes and comments there it is, a mean spirited critique of your work.
It’s like getting punched in the gut. That one comment can literally take all the good feelings you had and replace them with doubt, frustration and a feeling that you’re not worthy to be called an artist.
You need to stop right there. STOP. Hear me?
You cannot let one rude comment ruin not only how you feel about your finished work, your entire day or your entire existence as an artist.
Unwanted critiques are like a slap in the face. While no artist is perfect and we’re all striving to become better at our craft, we can’t allow rude, negative people control how we feel or how we feel about our work.
A constructive/wanted critique will build you up. They will point out your strengths as well as offer suggestions for improvement.
Unwanted critiques tend to be hyper-critical and downright rude. They usually aren’t really about your artwork, but stem from jealousy or insecurity on the part of the person giving it.
Sometimes you will come across people who only feel good when they are tearing down others. You cannot let them get under your skin. You cannot use their comments as an excuse to stop creating.
You can also remind yourself at this point that art is subjective. What one person sees as a beautiful work of art, another person will see as trash. You simply need to find the people who appreciate your art.
In the end what matters most is our motivation. Why do we make art? Is it to please others? Is it to gain praise from other people? Or do we create art because we need to? Because something deep down inside us needs to be expressed by creating?
When those hard times come, and they will, remember your motivation.
Remember why you create art. Evaluate it. If you’re only in it for the adoration and possibly money, then my friend you’re in it for the wrong reasons.
Just something to think about.
Until next time,