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August 17, 2010
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It’s my personal opinion that deviantART has a pretty good critique system, but what good is a wonderful critique system if you don’t know how to write a proper critique? Most of the critiques I’ve seen around here have been pretty good, but here’s a guide that I came up with just in case you need a little help. =]
Don’t forget to take this article with a grain of salt.



The Dos
  • Useful information
    • What the artist has done right
    • What the artist has done wrong
      • How to improve

A critique should be useful.
A critique should provide useful feedback on the piece that’s being critiqued. It should include what the artist has done right, what the artist has done wrong, and most importantly, how to improve.

Tell the artist what they’ve done right.
It’s important to let the artist know what they’re doing right not only because it’s useful knowing that, but because it’s encouraging. You never want to have your critique sound too harsh or discouraging.
For example, if the artist is a photographer and has taken a photo with good lighting, let them know that! When you let an artist know what they’ve done right, you’re letting them know what they shouldn’t change the next time they’re creating something.

Tell the artist what they've done wrong and how to improve.
I personally think this is the most important part of a critique, but that might just be me. Whenever I put a photo up for critique, it’s because I want to know how I can improve on them. Please don’t assume that’s because I don’t like compliments. ;D
Letting an artist know what they’ve done wrong can sometimes be a bit tricky since you don’t want to come across as a jerk.
Saying something like, “This drawing sucks.” is completely unacceptable. Instead, refer to specific technical details. If you’re critiquing a photo, talk about things such as the contrast, tones, composition, and angle. But most importantly, don’t forget to mention how these things can be improved! For example, if you’re looking at a photo that was taken at an awkward angle, let the artist know and then suggest a different angle that the photo could have been taken at.



The Don’ts
I find that there are certain things that shouldn’t be said in a critique.

Don’t ever just call a piece ugly.
Don’t ever just tell the artist what they’ve done wrong. I’m not doubtful that there are works here on deviantART that are absolutely horrendous, but they can’t be 100% horrible. Try to find at least one thing that’s good about the work you’re critiquing and mention it in the critique so that the artist doesn’t go into a depression after reading your critique.

Don’t be a prick.
I don’t know how to stress this, but if you see a bad piece and want to critique it, don’t be a prick about it. I’m sure you didn’t start off as perfect either, so don’t forget to think about how the artist is feeling.

Don't make fun of the title.
The title of a piece of often very personal. A lot of the times, the reason behind it is complicated. I know I title my own deviations with titles that the general public won’t understand, but I do it because it has a personal meaning to me. This might be a weird thing, but I feel that although the title of a piece is the name of the piece, it’s separated from the piece and has nothing to do with the actual artwork itself. I do pay attention to the titles of works I’m critiquing, but it’s something that I myself won’t comment on.

Don't critique certain things in the piece.
There are certain objects in the piece that shouldn’t be critiqued. For example, if someone has created a digital art piece of a flower and you don’t like the flower itself, don’t hold it against them in a critique. The artist obviously chose that flower as their preference and commenting on it might come across as rude since you might be insulting their personal taste in things. You can, of course, mention politely that you would have preferred a different flower, but don’t be disrespectful while doing so.
I had trouble writing this part and I wouldn’t be surprised if many of you don’t understand it. =/
The reason why I decided to include this was because when I took a photo of my corsage in a jar and posted it up on deviantART, I received a note from a deviant with a ‘critique’ of the piece saying that I received 4 out of 5 stars “because of the ugly jar”. I honestly felt that it was rude and insulting to me since I picked out the jar since it was to my personal liking. Might a different jar have produced a different or better photo? Possibly. Could this deviant have said they would have preferred a different jar over the one I had picked rather than just calling it ugly? Of course. Be careful on commenting on certain objects in the piece, but if you’re in doubt, just stick to critiquing the technical details.




Now that you’ve read this, head over to deviantART's critiquable deviations and critique something. =D
Add a Comment:
 
:iconchummy-jinx:
chummy-jinx Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2014  New member
Thanks for writing this.  I want to start critiquing, so I'll be referring back to this article for pointers.
Reply
:iconlolismoke:
lolismoke Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2014  Student Artist
Thanks you so much! :D
Reply
:icontwiggyteeluck:
TwiggyTeeluck Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
:hug:
Reply
:iconghostninjaart:
GhostNinjaART Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2014  Student General Artist
Thanks! This is very helpful!

-GN
Reply
:icontwiggyteeluck:
TwiggyTeeluck Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Very glad to hear that! :)
Reply
:iconastrikos:
Astrikos Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2012   General Artist
:nod: :clap:
Nicely said!
Reply
:iconagent-gothix:
Agent-Gothix Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012
This is really helpful. I actually ended up linking someone to this because they were being a complete prick...
Reply
:iconaeidhryn:
Aeidhryn Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2012
Thanks, that was pretty helpful.

Turns out a critique is just a review that is actually helpful. Ff.net ftw!
Reply
:iconthecandleobra:
TheCandleobra Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2010
I always ask myself first, "How would I take the Picture?".
Than I ask myself, "Why would anyone care how I would take
the picture?" Then, if I can, I turn to them and I ask them,
"do you like the way you took that picture? I mean, If you could
do it over again, would you?" If they say yes, I invite them to do
just that. If they like it, I'm not going to argue with them. If they
like mine better I'm going to try to sell it to them, Otherwise,
who cares.

Most of the time when I have taken a picture, I know that I could
redo it in some way that would improve the picture, but the process has
got so stop somewhere so why not here. I really can't stand it when
somebody tries to take my picture for me. I know I wouldn't try
to do that to somebody else, easily, unless they asked for it, and
then, only because I like saying "You asked for it!"

Would you walk up to a total stranger with your girlfriend and ask
they to critique your girlfriend? I don't know - maybe you would, but
you should apply the same standards that you do when you ask them
to critique you pictures. Remember, "You asked for it". Just be careful
who and what you are asking for. And by all means, show a little
sensitivity!

TheCandleobra
Reply
:iconbbismytwilight:
BBismyTwilight Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2010
Thank you for this! :hug:
It sure will help :D
Reply
:icondarkmonkey78:
darkmonkey78 Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2010   Photographer
This is so well thought out well done, you have summed up all the good points
Reply
:iconfallenumbrella:
FallenUmbrella Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much for posting this! This might just help me with the critiques I need to do every week ;P

Also, if I may ask, how long do critiques need to be? Do they need to be 100 words or more? If it was anything shorter than that, would it be considered a comment instead? :confused:
Reply
:icontwiggyteeluck:
TwiggyTeeluck Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
dA requires that a critique be at at least 100 words. =)
Reply
:iconfallenumbrella:
FallenUmbrella Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Ah, I see :) I just feel that my critiques in comments are too short ^^;
Reply
:iconholymane:
HolyMane Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
well,i don't think someone should get offendend that way...the same way you have the right to think the vase is pretty, someone have the right to think its ugly
but none has the right to be rude ,still ,
i don't thing" because of the ugly jar" was rude, he/she just said it .
the same way i don't get offended by someone saying
"you drew a girl with too big hips, and even though it looks right, it would be better with smaller ones"
or something like that
Reply
:icontwiggyteeluck:
TwiggyTeeluck Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
I would argue that saying "you drew a girl with too big hips, and even though it looks right, it would be better with smaller ones" is MUCH nicer than simply saying "the girl has ugly hips".
Actually, you just proved my point since part of the article is about different ways of saying things. "Could this deviant have said they would have preferred a different jar over the one I had picked rather than just calling it ugly? Of course."
Reply
:iconholymane:
HolyMane Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
well rignt xD , but i tent do suppose the best so i'd see the girl has ugly hips as that anyway :shrug:
Reply
:iconrockstarvanity:
RockstarVanity Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2010   Photographer
This is a seriously awesome news article. I hope you don't mind, but I've included it in a blog entry about the art of critiquing over at #fella :aww:
Reply
:icontwiggyteeluck:
TwiggyTeeluck Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
Aw, thank you. :aww:
Reply
:icontearyeyedsadist:
TearyEyedSadist Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2010  Student Writer
im sorry BloodPromiser
Reply
:iconvioletrosepetals:
VioletRosePetals Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
I recently wrote a journal on this very thing. Thank you so much for making this news. I submitted a photo to a group and when I asked why it was declined they told me 'I don't like the border, it's out of focus, your light source is too close to the flower, there's nothing interesting about this photo.' I guess I did ask why the photo was declined but really, this put me down for a while. People need to know how to be helpful when critiquing, otherwise it's just them being rude.
Reply
:iconhybridinsurgency:
hybridinsurgency Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2010  Student Traditional Artist
Nice work with this - very helpful tips! I hope many people read this and take it to heart.

And, just a note, I totally got the 'don't critique certain things' point at the end. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten a comment or critique that started with - Well, I don't really like this fandom/genre/media/etc. Can't you just critique the actual ART?
Reply
:iconsockstealingnome:
sockstealingnome Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2010
You've got most of it down but I'd like to add that you shouldn't make a critique sound imperative. A critique at its base is still a suggestion and the artist can choose to implement it or not. I had someone critique me once where they pointed out the mistake and followed with 'you need to fix that right now.' I know it's not really a big thing but it still comes off as rather pompous.

I actually don't like DA's critique system. I don't think you should have to rate it all so I refuse to use it when I critique.
Reply
:iconfionacreates:
FionaCreates Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2010  Professional General Artist
I hate the star rating system. because sometimes I think the artist could get more hurt because you only gave their beginner anime/photography/painting etc 1 star, than they could ever get from reading the actual helpful critique.
Reply
:iconsockstealingnome:
sockstealingnome Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2010
Exactly. I think the only thing that should be rated on a star scale should be things that are getting marketed and sold but if it's just an artist looking for help that shouldn't be there at all.
Reply
:iconfionacreates:
FionaCreates Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2010  Professional General Artist
I use the star system as a farce, it's the words I need people to read not the fact that they only gained 3 stars on technique. Critique is about where the artist is going not where it's at right now.
Reply
:icontwiggyteeluck:
TwiggyTeeluck Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
"For example, if you’re looking at a photo that was taken at an awkward angle, let the artist know and then suggest a different angle that the photo could have been taken at."
I used the word suggest, and not tell, for a reason. ;)
Reply
:icondumdodoor:
Dumdodoor Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Certainly quite useful.
Reply
:iconpommegenozide:
pommegenozide Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2010  Professional Filmographer
Nice read, those were what I normally do... being honest and technical doesn't mean that we have to turn into destructive harsh persons.
Now we can only hope that people who usualy do 'the don'ts' come across this article, spend some time to read it and most importantly, understand it.

Cheers~
Reply
:icondarkpainterdomain:
DarkPainterDomain Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2010
I have never wrote a critique, but I always try to write a critique in comment to help the artist to improve and to mention positive things about the artwork when their work needed it. :) I think everyone need to try this once in a while.
Reply
:iconnusquam-vir:
Nusquam-Vir Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2010
Well done, though the very fact that you felt the need to write this article makes one ponder the sad state of things.
Reply
:icontwiggyteeluck:
TwiggyTeeluck Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
Most of the critiques I've received have been well written. But I got the idea to write this article when someone noted me with a critique of one of my pieces. They basically just made fun of the title and called the jar ugly. And after reading it, I started thinking about what should and shouldn't be done in a critique . . . and then I decided to put it all in a news article. And then, ironically, after posting this article, I received a badly written critique on the same photo. It was basically just a ramble and then they tried to critique the title, but instead of critiquing the actual title, "carpe noctem", they critiqued "carpe diem" for some reason. :shrug:
Oh well, I hope this article helps. :aww:
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
People keep forgetting the 'done wrong/how to improve' part :no:
Just because it's long doesn't mean it's an actual critique, guys....

And yes, I wholly agree. The critique system would be better if people were more confident about/better at critiquing.
Reply
:iconpixls-ink:
PixLs-Ink Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2010  Student Traditional Artist
Dont call a piece ugly
But it's ugly.

Dont be a prick
WHOOPS, too late for that.

Dont make fun of the title
"Sexy Girl 9" is a stupid, stupid title.

Dont critique certain things in a piece
Then its not a full critique. But your example falls under "dont be a prick."

I tried to find said "Ugly vase," but to no avail, my attention span isnt that long.
Reply
:iconzombie-bionic:
Zombie-Bionic Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2010
what if a piece is ugly on purpose. . . . . ?
Reply
:iconpixls-ink:
PixLs-Ink Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2010  Student Traditional Artist
"Ugly on purpose"
No one would make something ugly on purpose, unless they are intending on getting bad reviews and critiques.
Reply
:iconzombie-bionic:
Zombie-Bionic Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2010
so all art is of fluffy kittens painted in fancy oils? There would be no such thing as art if ugly did not exist. It would also make a lot of cartoons, and tv shows very bland if all of the characters were beautiful. Like if someone did a really detailed drawing of a rotting zombie with all of it's flesh and puss oozing all over the place? Hey, it's not beautiful, but if it was well done I doubt the artist would get a bad review(given the viewer has a stomach of steel).
Reply
:iconpixls-ink:
PixLs-Ink Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2010  Student Traditional Artist
I dont find "Fluffy kittens in fancy oils" Beautiful masterpieces.

I find Many things ugly, but a piece with something that I find ugly in it, doesnt mean it's an Ugly peice.
and No where did anyone say anything about "Ugly is not art."
Dont know where you got that from.

If some one did a detailed drawing about Zombies, what makes that ugly? Nothing.

You use the word like it stands for everything unappealing.
Reply
:iconzombie-bionic:
Zombie-Bionic Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2010
I'm not, I'm just saying that some things are ugly on purpose but should not be given a poor review unless the art was not done well in whatever medium the artist used. I got the impression from your statement that people who make ugly works of art are only looking for poor reviews because it is intentionally ugly. What I am trying to say is that someone can do ugly on purpose, and they can do it damn well. In the end they can also get a good review.
when I asked "what if it's ugly on purpose" there was absolutely nothing about whether or not the viewer believed a piece is ugly. If a piece is ugly on purpose, and a viewer thinks it's beautiful, that doesn't mean it is beautiful. That also does not mean it will get poor reviews.
Reply
:iconpixls-ink:
PixLs-Ink Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2010  Student Traditional Artist
I had a whole thing typed out for this.
But I decided to make it short.

Ugly = Horrible color selection, bad linework, deformed figures, horrible composition.

What YOU think Ugly = Blood and guts, Piss and shit, etc.

If someone is INTENTIONALLY making the former, Then it is a Joke piece. (ie: a poop green and brown background with a bright pink girl in the corner of a page floating at an angle.)

Now if they are doing this because of Inexperience, then some one will correct them.

The Content matter doesnt make something Ugly or not. The execution of the skills he or she possesses.
Reply
:iconzombie-bionic:
Zombie-Bionic Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2010
Ok, I am fine with hearing your opinion, but you crossed a line when you told me what I think. First things First. YOU don't know ME. As far as I am concerned, WE HAVE NEVER MET. So unless you're my long lost psychic twin, you don't know and can definitely not tell me what I think.

As for what I THINK: I actually appreciate anyone who has the technical knowledge of the human body to the degree where they can draw it exploding (or whatever else is causing the gore). Also, Urine and fecal matter, are not ugly to me, but they are not beautiful. They are a disgusting technicality that each and every human being must face each and every day to maintain a healthy status.

And in the end all you had to say was "The Content matter doesnt make something Ugly or not. The execution of the skills he or she possesses." because those are my exact sentiments. If a piece is ugly on purpose and is executed well then the artist gets a good review. If they do get a bad review, it is because of inexperience. That is all I was trying to say.

P.S. Ok, I am fine with hearing your opinion, but you crossed a line when you told me what I think. First things First. YOU don't know ME. As far as I am concerned, WE HAVE NEVER MET. My critique is that you get to know the person you are arguing with and don't jump to conclusions. I admit I may have crossed the line myself with the whole "kittens and fancy oils" but that does not mean you had to stoop to whatever level I appear to be on.
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconpixls-ink:
PixLs-Ink Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2010  Student Traditional Artist
Then its a Joke piece, if its trying to be Ugly on purpose.
There is this guy I know who draws such things.

I dont think it means what you think it means.
Reply
:iconzombie-bionic:
Zombie-Bionic Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2010
what does it mean then.
Reply
:iconchineenik:
chineenik Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2010
thanks for the great advice :thumbsup:
Reply
:iconpandasaremine:
PandasAreMine Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2010
I agree 100% to what you've said. Once I was told my picture had dust from the lens and that it was unacceptable. Yes, I knew there was some dust specks. I liked the specks, it made the piece better.
So I can understand how you felt about the jar.
Reply
:iconfionacreates:
FionaCreates Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2010  Professional General Artist
this is why I hate taking photos and prefer to draw XD A dust speck on the lens is useful critique for next time (ie be more careful of your lens), but would piss me off because there's nothing I can do to fix it but take a new photo, and if it was not the sort of photo I could retake it would really piss me off.

I'll stick to drawing.
Reply
:iconpandasaremine:
PandasAreMine Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2010
Yeah, at first I was annoyed, but then it actually helped make the picture.
Reply
:iconrythmear:
Rythmear Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Here here!
Reply
:iconraineeluv:
RaineeLuv Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2010
All good tips. c:
Reply
:iconzoe-the-pink-ranger:
Zoe-the-Pink-Ranger Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2010
A well written article with a useful message :)
As someone else mentioned, a lot of what you wrote is common sense, but common sense is a commodity that is frequently lacking on the internet.

Though I can't officially request critiques (as I hate paying for that sort of thing) I always want decent feedback on what I draw... ok, I don't say it on every piece, but I do still want it.
As fun as adulation is, a thoughtful analysis is way more helpful.
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