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Submitted on
August 17, 2010


3,811 (283 today)
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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:
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.
lolismoke Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks you so much! :D
TwiggyTeeluck Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
GhostNinjaART Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks! This is very helpful!

TwiggyTeeluck Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Very glad to hear that! :)
Astrikos Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2012   General Artist
:nod: :clap:
Nicely said!
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...
Aeidhryn Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2012
Thanks, that was pretty helpful.

Turns out a critique is just a review that is actually helpful. ftw!
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

BBismyTwilight Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2010
Thank you for this! :hug:
It sure will help :D
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