Sunday, January 29, 2012

Soliciting Critique

Most people do their best to avoid criticism. A comic artist thrives on it. Art criticism is vital to the artistic growth of a creator, and its important to get feedback from a variety of sources. While critique from willing friends and family can be good, critique from working profesionals is even better, as it can really zero in on weak areas that others may miss.

Theres a number of ways one can get such criticism; attending editor reviews at conventions, attending art school and hounding your professors for feedback, taking advantage of opportunities like workshops, comics art forum, and editor's day. Its important to keep soliciting such criticism and helpful take notes. Critique can be overwhelming, so its helpful to take notes, both for retention at the moment and for future reference. Keep an open mind, and dont try to justify everything you've done, but do ask questions for clarification.

On Friday, Heidi, Alex, and I drove the four hours to the SCAD Savannah campus. We spent the night so that we could attend Sean Gordon Murphy and Eric Canete workshops held by their sequential art department. I have a post all about the SCAD Atlanta campus in the works, so I wont focus on that in this post. We attended both workshops (notes on that soon), and the portfolio reviews afterwards.

My critiques and portfolio reviews have mainly focused on the positive aspects of my work lately, so I requested that they really let in on me. I got a lot of great advice and insight, and instead of being upset that I have so much work ahead of me, I'm excited about the challenge.

It takes awhile to build up a thick skin, to utilize criticism instead of being defensive, and the best way to do it is through practice. Dont wait until something is finished or perfect to get advice and feedback. The earlier in a project you get feedback, the easier it is to change, and the better the final product will be. If you wait for perfection, you'll be waiting forever. Ask for examples and elaboration, if you walk away confused, you've wasted your time. Dont be disappointed if you get a lot of negative feedback, comic craft is a journey. You havent gone backwards, they've just removed the scales from your eyes. You now know what to work on.

Takeaway tips:
Be polite- they're giving up their time to help you improve.
Dont argue, no matter how much you disagree, its their OPINION, and they are entitled to it.
Explain your work, if they know what you were trying to do, they may know a more efficient way to achieve that goal.
Take notes.
Thank them for their time.

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