What is critique?

Problems and solutions for artists and critics

Let this be my official announcement not that I'm leaving, but that the role I am going to play will be much smaller in the future. We're a growing sub and it is getting nigh impossible to try and keep up with every post. For this reason I'm planning a large number of guides.

As people often hear from me critique is a conversation so I am going to approach this guide from both sides. From the artist's perspective and from the critic's.

Problem 1. Too many submissions

For the Critiquer: Not enough time!

You have a life and the sub isn't all of it. This is why I'm trying to create all the guides. So that the same problem that comes up in artist after artist can be more easily addressed with a simple link instead of a redundant long and hard to make comment.

and we need more critics in general

I encourage everyone to write their own and suggest improvements on and points that need expansion to the guides. We're trying to build a nice self sustaining school and for that we definitely need to ease the burden on critics. A guide gives you quotes to pull from, links to make and the beginning of the conversation. You can always tailor your critique to suit the artist, but a guide makes a good undersketch.

For the Artist: No one is critiquing my work!

Well, someone probably is, but it isn't what you wanted, or it feels shallow and you have no idea how to improve. Same solution, we have the guides!

However it goes a bit deeper for the artist. It is your responsibility to come to the conversation with your questions, concerns, frustrations and things you want to learn. Simply putting up a work is saying "look what I made" and gives no foundation for your critic.

Problem 2. New Users

For the Critiquer: Another new person needs to learn the culture of the MLPDS...

This is supposed to happen. New people aren't magic.

We need more magic in the sub.

Now we have a brand new guide here to introduce new peoples to the sub.

For the Artist: I'm brand new, what's going on?

To help you on your way we've got a large number of guides here, start at the guide above, move on to DON'T PANIC and go from there. Explore the guides and ask any questions that come to mind.

Problem 3. Giving and Receiving Advice

For the Critiquer: Artists that don't understand or aren't paying attention?

You've told the artist something before and they are either refusing to do it or haven't done it or don't understand and this is frustrating to you. For this... redundancy is about the only solution. Copy and paste from old comments or try to rephrase things a new way. This may help your understanding of art more than the artists. If you don't have an answer it is okay to say "I don't know".

For the Artist: Vague advice and walls of text

Critics here aren't perfect and text is a far from perfect medium to talk about art. Ask questions and try to be specific, but sometimes you just have to trust your critics, or mistrust them. Be open to the fact that they can be right and wrong, but be assured that they have experience and always try new things.

Problem 4. Bad grammar and no comments

For the Critiquer: Artist uses bad grammar or doesn't seem to care about critique

There are attention seekers, yes, but give your artists the benefit of the doubt. Do your best to aid, but point out the obvious. If you feel they aren't taking critique, tell them so. Politely.

For the Artist: Critics aren't commenting on the posts

This can be an issue of timing. If there have been a large number of posts at once (particularly if they're all yours) it can be tiring to critics. Also, give back to the community and they shall give to you. Critique! How? Well we have a how to critique guide as well.

Problem 5. Defeated artists

For the Critiquer: Defeated artists

An artist thinks themselves incapable of a technique, a process, or an improvement. I have no idea how to truly help in this situation from the critic's point of view. Pep talk? Maybe. Art is hard and it is one of those things you have to decide to do for yourself.

For the Artist: Art is hard

Yes, it's hard, but quitting doesn't yield improvement. It's easy to dwell on day-to-day progress, but to be honest, it's probably not going to be much. It may not seem like it right now, but you will improve, and it will get easier, but only if you keep at it. There are amazing things ahead, but anyone can do it. Talent is an illusion made by time, study, practice and effort.

Problem 6. Unending conversations

For the Critiquer: Unending conversations

Some artists just want more feedback. Give all you like, but don't exhaust yourself. This isn't a job, but rather a chosen responsibility. Again, it is okay to say "I don't know" or "This is something you're going to have to try" or to link to a guide.

For the Artist: Unending conversations

Art doesn't end. There is always more to learn and always a way to improve. Try out what the critics have recommended or work on the anatomical errors they have pointed out. You may have infinite curiosity, but you don't have infinite brain room. One step at a time.


If you have more problems let me know and I'll be sure and update the guide!

This didn't really turn out how I intended it... darn.
Now I have another critique guide to make.