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Don't Take It Personally: How to Make Critique Work for You - Full article by Monika Zagrobelna


Recently, I've been reading some articles, and between then, I found the one in the link above, which was among another equally inspiring article which encouraged me to learn to draw.

Yeah, I finally took courage and decided to do it, however, I'm still in that one stage of preparing myself emotionally to such "quest", since I'm one of those "emotionally scarred" people who have their feelings walking on a wheelchair after being "crippled" by the ones you were supposed to "trust". Not a pretty image to imagine, I suppose.
All in all, I believe some people's "prayers" have been answered. And no, don't expect me to post those drawings anytime soon. I'll post the ones I like when I feel "ready" to post them.

And by "prayers" I mean:
A ''Thank You'' Message to You...A journal dedicated to the following people:
:iconstuck-in-suburbia: :iconsky-of-dust: :iconcrazylaura64: :iconmirz123: :iconin-the-zone: :icontawadi: :iconstamptrove: :iconwolfshadowxd: :iconbubblebabylover: :iconsilentkitty: :icondark-skater-girl: :iconredsakuramanga: :iconpocky-o-clock: :iconmizumisan: :iconviollence: :iconfrostphoenyx: :iconxxhotstuffxx: :icontineaus: :iconraptorbane: :iconquelance: :iconlolicantdraw: :iconsaragardner: :iconesemese: :iconfallenumbra: :iconclefairykid: :iconsanpasazzaro: :icon3lda: :iconzetsu-0-sakura:
Well, I was searching for stamps around dA when I read your comment...
Your words entered into my heart and made the difference. Your words encouraged me to not be afraid to be myself, to try new things, to not be so insecure, to risk more, to not be so rigid with myself, to go on and put an end on the empire of the "fear" in my life.
You...Yes, you...You really "saved" me.
You may be dumbfounded for this declaration and a


However, I 've been lurking on websites such as Horrible Deviantart Drawings and I noticed a pattern in some artists who get "featured" there. So, I dedicate this article and journal to you:

>>> Who closes the comment section of your deviation if it ever gets at least one criticism or "trolling";

>>> Who has "rules" on what people should or shouldn't comment in your gallery and "regulates"/"manipulates" the contents of their comments;

>>> Who has their block list on the same size or larger than Schindler's List, full of "trolls" and "haters" who "wronged" your drawing style and "dared" to say something "wrong" about your art;

>>> Who answers criticism with sarcasm, mockery, "hate/troll" art of said person, flaming, ignorance, arrogance or the classics "Let's see you do better"/"You have no right to criticize me since you never [insert any artistic expression/job here] in your life, did you ?" straw man argument;

>>> Who shield themselves in the description section of their respective arts, asking people to not judge/criticize your art because of "n" reasons;

>>> Who gets "triggered" when your art is "featured" on the likes of Horrible Deviantart Drawings and The Bad Webcomics (and yes, this include your fans too);

>>> Who goes down to the point of closing your whole account because a "bad" comment or "bad" exposure ruined your day, if not, your whole life;

>>> Who are afraid of accepting your flaws and tries to hide them ASAP. And by hiding them I mean hiding those "pesky" negative comments;

>>> Who attaches your self-value to your art. As to quote the article above: When you open your mind with "tell me it's good so that I can feel good", it will also work with "if you tell me it's bad, I'll feel bad".

>>> Who lives like a "caged animal" in a Zoo, only drawing fanart or drawing what people like the most in order to achieve fame, glory, pageviews, fortune and praise from their fans or to be a "people pleaser" in order to compensate their lack of self-love, self-confidence and low self-esteem;

>>> Who is an "art thief" because you're afraid to suffer major "rejection" because "I can't draw"/"I don't know how to draw"/"I don't have time to draw"/"I wish to be like artist "X" but I don't have the means"/"I'm not talented like them"/etc.;

>>> Who lacks the self-confidence to expose your unique art style and decides to rely on tracing and bases to "mimic" famous deviants;

>>> Who got discouraged of drawing along the way because you think you'll never reach your favorite artist's level of "awesomeness" and realized that the one artists you adore sucked one day and drew some horrible, "cringeworthy" art themselves in the past;

>>> Who, like me, are still not "ready emotionally" for this "carousel of emotions" you'll face along this journey. Remember: life is about the journey, not the destination, so take your time;

>>> Who, like me, thought for a long time that for either drawing or writing you need to have "talent", this "supernatural" ability which makes people incorporate artists like Van Gogh, Picasso, Da Vinci, Akira Toriyama, Matt Groening, Stephen King, Machado de Assis, Paulo Coelho, John Green, Stanley Kubrick, George Orwell, Douglas Adams and other great artists from the past, present and future; allowing one to draw these superb pictures which get a ton of "Daily Deviations", pageviews and favorites or write those amazing books which become instant "best sellers" and are adapted to Hollywood movies.

As result, we grew jealous of them until we learn that drawing, as well as writing, like everything new you want to learn, is a skill you acquire, not a "superpower" or a "gift" given by gods, deities, aliens or what have you. This is real life, folks, not a TV Show! Drop the "Comic Boo-Koolaid" already.
;

>>> Who learned to "compete" in life not with other people or supposed "rivals" but with yourself and your past in order to become a better person each day.

Below I'll post some samples of her article in order to "tease" you and hopefully convince you to read her article.


But first, allow me to suggest you some websites which helped me deal with things related to self-esteem along the years, since I believe this is a topic that can really get really psychological and emotional to certain people:


- WikiHow - For obvious reaons.
- TinyBuddha - Great website. Very helpful.
- Lonerwolf - Helped me to learn to self-love, improve my self-esteem and find out more about my shadow self and embrace it.
- Lifehack - For obvious reasons.
- Quora - They actually do have some interesting questions there about self-esteem and self-improvement. Also, there's this question about loneliness which I liked a lot and helped me to cope with my own loneliness. Thanks Mark Doi.
- Design Tuts - From where I will learn how to draw.
- Scott H. Young - Specially his articles Don't Be Yourself and The Critical 7 Rules To Understand People
- Reddit - Yup. Reddit. They have some interesting communities there: r/SelfImprovement and r/TheRedPill are two of them.
- deviantART - Why, yes! The very site you are in can provide you pearls of wisdom like the journals below:
Pageviews and Popularity - The real deal.Be an artist, not a number.
Many members of the artistic community here on DeviantART were shocked by a recent popular news article about how to become popular. I won't link to it because that would be foolish - but the mentality behind it was pageview orientated and made a 'mockery of all that deviantART stands for'.
So - to spell it out for everyone on DeviantART whos ever wanted more pageviews, I went to my nearest and dearest ' popular' artists and asked them what they thought about popularity and statistics.
The answer? They don't give a damn...
Your page views won't help you progress as an artist, and that is what you should be on this art site for.. the art..
Page views can be a feel good thing - I won't deny that - but it does not reflect how much your actual art is viewed, how sucessful or popular your art itself is, or even how popular you are.
Using cheap tactics as described in the article it is easy to generate high numbers of page views even with an EMPTY gallery.
  Pageviews, Watchers, and Popularity on dA I know this horse has been beat to death (and by beat to death, I mean guides have been made on the subject) but I feel the need to insert some words of compassion rather than to simply say “you shouldn’t care about becoming popular here, it doesn’t matter” or “follow these steps and you’ll be dA elite overnight!”  The fact of the matter is we all long to be loved and liked in just about everything we do. We all want acceptance and validation from our peers. And when that acceptance and validation is nowhere to be found, the feeling is really not great at all.  We all know that feel bro.
I tend to believe what most people longing for popularity on dA are really after validation and friendship. TanyaSimoneSimpson beautifully wrote about the subject of popularity on dA (or rather the desire for it) in her essay “Popularity…A Refreshing View” check it out here:
  Activity vs. Community    When combining millions of artists working with different media, style, experience level, etc. being here can become overwhelming and finding your "place" can seem almost impossible. Throughout the last few weeks I've noticed more and more people asking "how can I be more active?" and "how do I get involved in the community?"
    These are both the same question and completely different questions at the same time. Though the answers to both are quite similar if not the same the difference between activity and community is huge! We're going to cover the answers and difference to both of those in this article.
The Basics
    There are three basic ways to being active on dA and getting involved the community. Everything after this will actually lead right back to these three things.
gray heart bullet  Commenting: is the best and most effective way to particicpate in our community becaus
  Awesome artists which criminally low pageviews!So I'm doing a feature (even though it might actually get very few views cuz I'm a terrible deviant... anyway...)
It's official DA is one of the toughest crowds to break into. I recently found these awesome artists with freakishly awesome art and freakishly low pageviews, below 10,000 pvs this is a crime people! (9 ene)9
So (at the cost of embarrassing myself) here I go:
:iconstrenerus:
Check out his awesome art:


And 
:iconzombiram:



And
:iconlimsh:
(Okay this one has 16k pvs but that's still pretty low because their art be like this-



If this feature gets no views, I hope that at least you three will have found each other... wow that sounded artistically romantic er e-e) 


So, finally I'll post some samples of the following article I linked at the beginning:


There are two outcomes of the process of judgment: fact and opinion.

  • Fact is just a description of observed situation/object. "The fruit is poisonous for humans", "the animal is very aggressive during mating season". Facts are observations confirmed by many people—everyone who doubts them can go and check themselves. The result will be the same (and if not, it was never a fact). A fact exists objectively and it doesn't need to be described to come into existence—deadly nightshade is poisonous for humans no matter if the human is conscious and able to judge;
  • Opinion is a fact with a personal value added. "This pizza is delicious", "this is the most beautiful forest ever". The value is created in the mind of the observer and doesn't exist outside it. When many people share the same opinion, it may look and be treated as a fact ("strawberries are tasty", "roses are beautiful"). 
Why I'm quoting this part specifically ? You'll see soon why.

Do you remember the first time someone judged your work positively? That euphoria felt great! And the first negative judgment? Maybe you even stopped drawing for some time (or forever!) after this. No doubt judgment is very powerful, but where does this power come from?

The answer is simple—we are the source of it. An unconscious being doesn't care about judgment, simply because it's not able to care at all. When you care, you let something into your mind. When you post a drawing, you care a lot! You've spent a lot of time on it, you love it, and you want others to feel the same, so you open your mind to their opinions—ready to receive positive energy from them. Unfortunately, negative opinions use exactly the same channel, bringing negative energy. One negative comment may overcome ten positive ones because it's so unwelcome! 

Alas, you can't draw energy from positive comments and ignore negative ones. As I said, they use the same channel, and you can either open or close it.


As to quote Drake: "See, the power of mind is not a joke". In the end, it's all about us, conscious beings, who uses our abilities and skillset as a base for our self-worth, creating this "artistic hell" as we go, however, this can be a dangerous path, as you'll see soon.

We cheat ourselves a lot. In drawing it manifests a dangerous belief "an opinion becomes a fact once it's said aloud". Of course, it's not true, but this kind of thinking opens the channel to draw a lot of energy from every positive comments. They mean so much because with every positive opinion the picture becomes—in fact—more and more beautiful!

Few people draw for themselves, some draw for money, but the vast majority draws for praises. It feels so good when others appreciate our work! Unfortunately, the better it feels, the worse it gets when a negative comment comes to play. A positive opinion gets you high for a few minutes, but a negative one wrecks your day and undermines your self-confidence.

That's how we reached the important conclusion. The less confident, the more prone you are to treat opinions as facts. It's because a person with low self-esteem values opinions of others higher than theirs. You like your picture, someone comes and tells it's ugly, and suddenly you feel bad—the person destroyed your satisfaction of the picture with a simple opinion said aloud! And that trembling when you post a picture and don't know how others will take it? It's as if it was kind of voting and the value of the picture was at stake!

Opinions are pieces you use to build your self-confidence from. However, it's not very solid construction. If you take everything from others to build it, sometimes you'll be fetched a log, and sometimes—a burning torch instead. When you believe everyone but you is right, you can't choose the material—you take what they give you, because they know better. One torch given instead of expected timber will easily destroy everything you've built so far.

Once you give the steering wheel of your life to someone else and stay sit on the "passenger seat" of your life, your life doesn't belong to you anymore but someone else. Period.
And if it crashes, you'll have no one to blame but yourself. So, this is why you should take ahold of your life as soon as possible by relying on you yourself to value your art, and take people's words as advice. Don't understand it ? Check this out.

"So what, am I supposed not to listen to them at all? Praises are what drives me to draw!". This approach is very dangerous, too. When you draw for praises, your goal isn't to be better—only more appreciated. It may go hand in hand, indeed, but there's a risk you'll take the path of least resistance and copy/trace, draw fan arts only, or stick to one, well-tested style. Because development is a path of trail and error, and errors are something that you, praise-junkie, can't stand. You'd rather draw another pony for your fans and get a lot of positive feedback than post an experimental piece—maybe better in technical sense —and receive a faint reaction.

Yes, praises are addictive and drawing for them only is an addiction. Imagine that someone, a complete stranger, tells you something like this:

"Seriously, you're one of the best... no, THE best artist I've ever seen. Your style is totally unique, not so boring like others'. I can't stop looking at your works, you put so much effort in them and all of them say something about you. I don't know how to explain it, but I can see your personality in them. I can't wait to see more!"

What do you feel? Adrenaline, euphoria, a sudden boost of motivation? Do you feel more alive than a few seconds ago? Is your heart beating faster? It feels good, doesn't it? The better it feels, the more likely you'll fight to get a chance to feel it once again. That's how psychological addiction works—the praise becomes a drug for your brain!

There are many "brain drugs". Without them we wouldn't do anything at all! All the actions beneficial for survival are pleasant to induce us to repeat them, but not all the pleasant actions are beneficial for survival. Drawing for praises may, in some cases, make a great artist out of you. After all, we all start with this! However, there must be a point when you realize what's going on with you—you must set a new goal and forget about what your fans expect from you. 

There's no future for a praise-junkies. They will always crave for attention, for positive comments, more views, more signs of admiration. And at the same time, one negative comment is enough to ruin their day. They'll defend themselves from them, trying to convince you your opinion is invalid—"it's my style, you can't judge it!", "what do you know, you can't even draw!", "yeah, because you know how dragons look"... 

"But if I stop listening to them, why would I draw?". To be a better artist. To find a job that will make you fulfilled. To feel satisfaction of your own self-development. To have a purpose in life. To value your art yourself, and not to depend on others to make it valuable. After all, comments have only as much power as you let them. It doesn't mean you should stop listening to everyone who tells something about your art. Listen to them and pick the meaning you need—an advice how to be better.

This remembers me from LonerWolf's article Involution; Inner Transformation and Self-Love + the book "No More Mr. Nice Guy". You spend time after time pleasing a lot of people around you wearing "smiley" masks while your self-esteem goes down the toilet. In the end, you forget to please the person who really needs the most: you.

I myself will learn how to draw in order to show myself and my self-esteem that even I can be as good as the artists I watched.

One more samples for you:

There are many less or more formal definitions of critique, but let's create one based on what we've been talking about. Critique is an opinion based on logical facts. There are also opinions looking like a critique, but in reality they're based on very unstable beliefs. When you decide to abandon praise-addiction and use comments for your own development, you need to learn how to distinguish them.

There's a base behind everything we say. We aren't robots, we've got emotions, what makes the transfer of information complicated, and the actual meaning—ambiguous. To understand what someone really told us, we need to take a deep breath and move emotions aside. It may not be possible in the heat of the moment, so if the comment is really "hot" to you, take a break and come back later. It's easy when the comment was written, but with a spoken one you need to relax at the same moment. Don't be defensive, nobody can hurt you with words unless you let them. 

That's what we need to do—dig, and dig, and dig, until we get to the very base of the opinion. We need to find the fact and see if it's worth paying attention to.


We tend to think that positive comments are default, then there's a critique that's not so nice to hear. However, there's no difference between good and bad comments—they're all made by judgment. When you say "that's just a practice sketch, please don't judge it", and then respond with "thank you so much!" to every positive comment, you're cheating. It's like you said you don't want any guests that day, and then honestly welcomed those who came. There's a twisted reasoning behind it!

Why wouldn't you want positive comments? Because when you wait for comments to validate a value of your art, even lack of them is some kind of feedback. It's something between "not bad" and "not good". If usually you get a lot of nice comments under every picture, and suddenly the viewers stay quiet, there must be a reason behind it—probably they have nothing nice to say, so they don't!

When you say "no critique please" and because of that get only positive comments, you may start to believe your work is flawless. It works on unconscious level, so you can't fight it. It's because lack of negative comments usually means there's nothing negative to say about it. It's what's hidden behind "don't judge me"—"don't say it's wrong". "No critique" can't be a shield not to hear negative things about your art!

Judge-positively-only attitude is clearly visible in nude art photography. "She's so hot" is a good comment, but "She's too fat" is met with an defensive response. Why is first opinion right and the other wrong? They're both about judging the body of the model instead of the photo. There's no difference between them—and no need to say "thank you" after any of them.

One more thing: negative comments are usually played down by suggesting that the commenter doesn't have the knowledge to judge the art. Surprisingly, no knowledge is required to comment positively! How is it possible? Now you should know the answer.

I hope I "tempted" you enough to go read that article. Now press "Home" on your keyboard and go for it!

Remember:
- It's about the journey, not the destination. You'll always have space for improvement, and that's a good thing.
- There will never be "enough" unless you say so.
- "Perfection" is an illusion.
- We all started somewhere. Even the pros were "newbies" once.
- "Talent" will never replace hard work, skills and determination.
- You are the solely responsible for your life, happiness and self-esteem. Not your mother, father, sister, brother, friends, girlfriend, boyfriend, fans or anybody else. It's you, and you only.

Well, have a nice week, everyone.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconmina-fox:
Mina-Fox Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Very explanatory. Critiques are when people give words of advice on how an artist can improve on their drawing skills. An artist should always look at handy tutorials on how to draw anything, because structure is important. And when it comes to coloring, they need to have some highlighting and shading in order to stand out. Mixing in colors is important when it comes to details. And the interesting thing is when Core members have that "Advanced Critique" feature which has a rating system based on the critic's viewpoints.
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:iconcourage-and-feith:
courage-and-feith Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2017  Student Writer
Once someone stop taking things too personal and see that it's about the journey, not the destination, the improvements will show themselves along the time. No one is perfect, and that's ok.
I felt the need to make more people aware of this article since it appears certain artists have serious issues dealing with such stuff, which really "hits close to home".

Thanks for your input. :) I'll try remember them once I learn to draw.
Reply
:iconmina-fox:
Mina-Fox Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Right. People should never take someone's words too personal. Advice is advice. And if someone says they accept critiques, then they need to act like they do.
Reply
:iconcourage-and-feith:
courage-and-feith Featured By Owner Edited Mar 26, 2017  Student Writer
Yeah. After all, they are talking about your work, not how much worth you are.

Happiness depends on us, not on other people or things.
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:iconmina-fox:
Mina-Fox Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yes. And what I need more is artistic motivation, especially when I get busy with things.
Reply
:iconcourage-and-feith:
courage-and-feith Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2017  Student Writer
Just focus on improving yourself each day instead of comparing yourself with other people and you're good to go. ;)

Also, seek those holidays and weekends as opportunities to learn, which I'm attempting to do.
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