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Old 01-08-2007, 12:10 AM
Kathryn Wilson's Avatar
Kathryn Wilson Kathryn Wilson is offline
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Raleigh, NC
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
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Exclamation CRITIQUE Guidelines For The Pastel Forum

In a poll posted in the Pastel Forum in 2006 the members from our forum held a discussion about how we want to handle critiques. Generally, most people were pleased with the kinds of critiques given here, but in our discussion about how we all might continue to give more helpful and informative advice there were a few excellent suggestions that we’d like to outline here. Above all we value the connection we all have through pastels and find that the spirit of sharing is most important here. While we recognize that there are a lot of different needs, we want this neighborhood to be comfortable, constructive and nurturing.

There are three sections for you to look over, which are briefly summarized first. Below that you’ll find an expansion on the outline here:

1. How to ask for a critique and get what you really want.

•Give us the stats on your painting.
•Tell us what level you're at.
•Ask only for gentle encouragement, if that's what you want.
•Ask for a good hard critique, if that's what you want.
•Tell us what questions you want answered.
•Or tell us if you just need "new eyes".
•If you aren't seeking help, tell us you're just sharing.
•PM someone from whom you would like criticism and ask them to go in and comment.

2. How to give an effective but kind critique to someone.

•First read carefully or ask questions.
•Remember the limitations of digital reproductions, including color and size issues.
•Unless someone specifically asks for C&Cs we should not offer any.
•Use the sandwich approach: positive, negative, positive.
•If you don’t know a poster's level of expertise it’s okay to ask.
•Take into consideration stylistic differences.
•Try to give one effective critique instead of many "happy clappies."
•Remember the entire community benefits from a helpful suggestion.

3. How to graciously receive a critique.

•Evaluate what you need to respond to and what you need to simply ignore.
•Consider simply saying thank you and ignoring a comment that's not helpful.
•If upset, PM the individual and ask a question or kindly explain things.
•Moderators are here to help resolve problems, so PM them for advice.


1. How to ask for a critique and get what you really want.

We all learn from a good critique of a painting, whether it’s our own or another artist’s work. An excellent critique helps us see the already-existing strengths and the areas where a bit more help is called for.

•Tell us what level you’re at, if it isn’t generally known already. Explain where you’re struggling or what pleases you. Remember that it helps everyone out when you list the dimensions, kind of paper, and what sorts of pastels you’re using.

•When you start a thread showing your newest painting, if you really only want some gentle encouragement you might explain that you’re new to the medium, or that this is your first time painting the subject. Your thread title might give us a clue: ‘First pastel portrait’ Or ‘New to pastel-Dog Painting’, but we also suggest you just tell us your experience level and generally what you hope to learn in the thread.

•If you want a good, hard critique pointing out where you might improve the painting, ask for it. We find it’s helpful if you add this to the thread title: ‘Tree painting—help wanted!’ Or ‘Need hard critique on tree’. Tell us where you feel you need help, or what you’re struggling with, and ask for our feedback.

*Please note* that if you prefer not to receive kudos, say so, but understand that we all like to encourage one another, so if you see clappies and happy faces don’t be offended. Understand that they’re given in the spirit of encouragement. Simply try to thank the observer and overlook those responses if you don’t find them helpful.

•If you have a specific need, tell us what questions you want answered. It’s more helpful to have you note that you’re quite happy with the bulk of the painting but you want to know if one specific part looks right or not. It’s far more profitable for you to let us know that you think this sky is the best thing you ever painted and you’ve come in seeking help with the trees, so that we can respect your needs and give you effective help.

•Many of us want “new eyes” to look at the painting, searching out the minor flaws that we can’t seem to see. It’s fine to come in and ask us to generally look over the painting and help you see what’s become invisible to you. We understand that you don’t always have a specific goal in mind, but it’s best to let us know that, too.

•If your thread is receiving no response, we suggest you PM someone from whom you would like criticism and ask them to go in and comment on your painting when they have a chance. Keep in mind that when you place another comment in your thread it will rise to the top of the queue, so feel free to post a plea for help there.

• It’s really okay to mention it if you aren’t seeking help, just sharing your work. If you’re generally happy with your painting, say so. Let us know you’re sharing the painting because you’re pleased with your success.

*Please note* that most of us share our work so that we can receive feedback, so sometimes you’ll get suggestions despite not asking for or wanting them. Kindly understand that these are offered in the spirit of goodwill. Overlooking a suggestion is sometimes needed. Simply try to thank the observer and overlook those responses.

2. How to give an effective but kind critique to someone.
We all learn from a good critique of a painting, whether it’s our own or another artist’s work. An excellent critique helps us see the already-existing strengths and the areas where a bit more help is called for.

•Please read carefully or ask questions to find out what the poster really wants or needs before answering.

A critique can only be given based upon what we see on our own monitors. We must all realize the limitations of digital reproductions. The color we see is not consistent from monitor to monitor, so please take that into consideration. When offering an opinion about the colors don’t be offended if the artist explains inaccuracies or misperceptions.

We also have to understand that the size of a painting reproduced in digital form can affect what we see. When we look at a small painting, we’re seeing it at the same size as larger one. Reducing the large painting in size makes it appear farther away, while seeing the small one increased in size shows you a lot more detail. Please remember this when offering a critique.

You’ll see people using the acronym “C&C”, which is our shortcut for Comments and Criticism. Unless someone specifically asks for C&Cs we should not offer any. It can be unkind to criticize somebody's work when they aren’t ready to receive it. If in doubt, err on the side of caution and simply ask them if they would like to have any C&Cs.

•A good critique is constructive. We generally find it helpful to use the sandwich approach. Note something positive first and then make suggestions about possible improvements, finishing with another positive. Try to put anything negative between a layer of positive at the beginning and another one at the end. It makes things easier on the poster. A lot of the time people are looking for both encouragement and a serious critique, so try to accommodate that.

•Try to base suggestions on the ability of the poster. If you don’t know his or her level of expertise it’s okay to ask, in fact it can be encouraging and friendly. Feel free to ask in a friendly fashion how long someone has been painting.

Sometimes you may find yourself critiquing an artist with more experience than you have. We improve our skills by offering this kind of advice, and there are many times when artists simply want and need to know what others think. Just be sure the poster is seeking criticism and then kindly offer your point of view.

*Please* do not be offended if the artist returns to explain what was done and why.

•Take into consideration stylistic differences. We all respond more favorably to work done in a style we like, of course, but we should all try to take into consideration qualities that transcend styles, such as composition, value and contrast. If in doubt, ask the poster what style they’re pursuing in the painting before making suggestions.

•Many of us have limited time to spend online each day, so we suggest that rather than posting “happy clappy” kudos on many different threads, it might be more effective if you would consider giving a really effective critique on one post instead. This is not to discourage you from giving your encouragement to artists who need it, however offering one sharp insight or asking one well-thought out question might be of more service, both to the artist posting work and to increase your critical skills.

*Please note* that kudos are valuable and needed, so if you want to give a “happy clappy” to someone it’s certainly something you should do. Encouragement builds community as much as does criticism.

•If you find a thread with pages of kudos but you still want to offer a kind criticism, we suggest that you might PM the poster and ask if they would like you to make your comment in the thread or not. Offer a snippet of advice to see if the poster wants more. Remember that the entire community benefits from a helpful suggestion posted publicly, but in the interest of kindness it’s better to ask first.

•Please give people time to respond, especially during busy seasons of the year or times when the threads can be somewhat inactive.

3. How to graciously receive a critique.

There are also some skills we might develop regarding how to take criticism. Please understand that there are many different people from all over the world sharing here, and graciously receive what is given.

•Probably the most effective skill we can develop is the ability to evaluate what we need to respond to and what we need to simply ignore. The little "X" in the upper corner of the page will sometimes be the best tool we can use.

*Please remember* that you do not have to respond to everything that is said. If you don’t understand a critique, simply ask the poster to clarify it for you! Bear in mind that we cannot hear the tone of voice someone is using, nor can we sometimes account for language differences.

•If the criticism is not helpful to you, consider simply saying thank you and ignoring it.

•When someone hurts your feelings or otherwise upsets you, try to take into consideration that there might be a misunderstanding. You might PM the individual and kindly ask them to talk with you. However, your Moderators are here to help resolve real problems.

Please take into consideration the experience level of the one offering a critique. The opinion of the “man on the street” can be quite valuable. If it’s not a helpful bit of advice, think about simply saying thank you and moving on.

Above all we want the atmosphere of the Pastel Forum to be helpful and friendly, a place where artists of all levels of experience can come to share their knowledge, insight, and hopes with one another. Offering useful and supportive criticism is one of the best reasons to come to this community, so we hope these guidelines will assist you.

Your Pastel Forum Team

Last edited by Kathryn Wilson : 01-08-2007 at 12:12 AM.
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Old 01-08-2007, 12:16 AM
Kathryn Wilson's Avatar
Kathryn Wilson Kathryn Wilson is offline
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Raleigh, NC
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 13,459
 
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Re: Critiquing Guidelines For The Pastel Forum

I have closed this thread for simplicity sake (this is for information viewing only) - any further discussion can take place in the Poll that was taken on critiquing in our forum.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=371767
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Old 03-09-2012, 05:00 PM
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*Deirdre* *Deirdre* is offline
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Suffolk countryside, UK
 
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Re: Critiquing Guidelines For The Pastel Forum

I would just like to add that I agree...C&C should stand for Constructive Critique...not Destructive Critique. If you can't give it, don't offer it!

If you want hard critiques...go to the Critique forum!
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Regards, Deirdre (Always pleased to get C&Cs!) Don't forget - comment on other threads in the forum as well as posting your own work - also, we encourage you to post WIPs, they help others to learn as well as you.
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