Wouldn’t it be nice if we could create a work of art and then simply release it into the world, perfect and ready for the public eye? We could, I suppose, but that painting or drawing likely wouldn’t have reached the level of excellence that it’s truly capable of, at least, not without some help from an “outside eye.”
Including the step of having your art critiqued before you consider it finished is an easy drawing practice you can implement. It’s not always easy to your ego, but I can promise that you’ll learn at least a little by getting advice from your peers. You might be so close to your work that you don’t see it objectively; this is why many artists advise that you take a break from specific pieces to distance yourself from it a bit so that you can see what needs to be improved.
And when you find yourself being incredibly flattered (“I wouldn’t change a thing!” “That’s amazing!”), then take it with a grain of salt. My practice is to try to receive compliments as neutrally as I would criticisms. This helps me keep a level head in my creative endeavors so I can use laser-precision focus on what’s working and what can be improved.
In Drawing 365: Tips and Techniques to Build Your Confidence and Skills, Katherine Tyrrell addresses how to obtain constructive criticism with the following tips.
3 Peer Assessment Tips from Katherine Tyrrell
• Join an art group or society
National and local art societies are two extremes. The hobby artist often dominates local art societies, whereas members of national art societies tend to be professional artists. It’s worth finding out if the art societies near to you tend to take drawing seriously and can help you progress. It is often possible to find tutors, art groups or educational organizations that run regular life-drawing sessions.
• Develop the ability to critique
The first rule of critique is to avoid commenting on another person’s drawing unless asked. Remember that not everybody wants a critique. If asked, identify something positive to say first. Talk about something you like about the drawing. Then identify an aspect that you like less, and ask the individual why they think that might be. Finish with a comment about an aspect that shows promise and has the potential to be improved.
• Find a critical friend
Uncritical compliments are unhelpful. Develop your own peer assessment group, making sure these are people who are knowledgeable and who you can trust to be honest, and discuss your drawings with them. ~K.T.
Tyrrell includes daily tips, drawing basics, and easy-to-follow lessons in Drawing 365, so you can find inspiration and instruction each day for a full year. Use the tips from today’s blog post to find someone you can trust to help you discover what you need to do to further your art.
Always looking to improve,