I have been doing some Mata Nui landscapes lately and their format and popularity has put me back in my own little cosy philosophical thought-bubble. It has made me think about how I work, and wondered about what my opinion on feedback is in general.
I consider every drawing/painting I release on deviantart a project that has simply been finished. Behind them there is a lot of time, work but least of all consideration. The consideration part is the main reason I put out stuff so rarely. I have a good handful of ideas in my head, but when I quickly review them in my head they seem boring and not worthy of any production time. My standards are high, simply. Once they are initiated, however, they will stay in my head, occupying all my creative thoughts, until they are done. And this happens relatively fast depending of the size of the project. The 'Mata-Nui sights' ones, for instance, take about half a week to finish from first stroke to last.
The reason behind my high standards is because I'm very aware about what might look "good" and might look "bad". However knowing that something looks bad in a painting does not simply mean I am able to change it to something better. Either because the "bad"-looking thing is there for a supported reason, or because of my limited skills. Interestingly, and honestly, it's mostly the first one.
If you've been leaving a constructive comment for me before, you'll know that I am fond of "defending" my images . But I do this for 2 reasons. #1 I love to discuss(.. well as long as I'm not deeply hurt ) but also because #2 In every case I can think of, I had already thought long about what was mentioned. This is because I always evaluate good vs bad.
I always think in both pros and cons. In everything. not just drawing/painting, but in life, relations, music, politics, food, whatever. And one is never without the other. This means, in the world of art, that no matter what Image I may be presented to, I could easily note something I find bad about it. On the other hand, It would be just as easily for me to say something good about it ^^. This applies to every Image. My own, those made by other hobbyists, non-artists, professionals or children.
This brings me to my final point which is about my thoughts on constructive criticism and feedback in general. (Keep in mind that this next bit is not about what I expect from others, but is merely my idea of how feedback could be constructed more ideally in theory):
Personally, I very rarely give criticism because I know from its cons (eh!), that though it leads to improvement in skill, it will most likely put some costs on motivation. Too much drag on motivation will kill the flow and joy of drawing, eventually stopping the creative process, which leads to no improvement in skill. And so too much of it will eventually kill its original purpose. Therefore, I consider constructive criticism a utility that should be used with care.
Everyone wants to become better though, so there are points where you can state your criticism almost painless, and you find those points by letting the artist, whom you are giving feedback, state what they want to know your thoughts about. Suddenly criticising becomes discussion and learning, with, hopefully, very dim harsh feelings. But even then, one should still be careful where to step.
When it comes to positive feedback comments, it's hard to really consider anything, because they are mostly short and created in the moment of joy. And they are lovely for that too, but If you want to leave a comment that really lets your artist know your appreciation of something, elaborate on why it seems good and how it makes you feel when viewing it. This is what I do at least, since it's what I like the most.
Again, This is not meant as a cry to the world that I want it to change, but for the curious individual who may have been wondering about the same things as me I appreciate every single comment that is something more than just a dish of spite.
You might have different thoughts on this. This may be because we create for different purposes. I can imagine professionals being stronger against harsh critique since they have decided to make their earnings through art. But If you have any thoughts, please and by all means, let's discuss.