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Why, what, how, when?
This is a guide to getting the most out of giving critiques.
Since this is a fairly new system to deviantart, i know there are a lot of people wondering how to write a critique and how to respond to critique they get.

how you should respond to critiques is another subject, i just wanted to make a quick guide for giving.

I am a photographer, and therefor this might be best suited for photographers, but i will try to write it so that everyone can benefit of the information.
but i have no skills in drawing or painting e.t.c so the example will be photography.

I know that the staff Currently has a news article about the subject, and it is good, but no harm in a second.

There is no absolute answer to what is wrong and Right, but this is my view and hopefully some of my tips are helpful.

English is not my main language, so don`t throw rocks at me if you see spelling mistakes.

Giving Critique

First things first, why should you spend over 100 words on a another piece?

You give that artist valid feedback that will help the deviant develop his/her artistic skills, and you have a greater chance of getting feedback in return.
But the main reason is actually that you learn a lot by giving and reading critiques.
When you analyze and looks closer at a image, you notice what you think is great about the image and what you personally would have done different and think could be improved.
When it comes to Art, it is a class that never ends, we can always learn and try out new ways.
i am saying this based on my own experience.
Years ago i joined a lot of critique sites to give and read Critique, and it made me look back at my own work and notice what i would improve and do different next time i made an artwork.
It is not about having the perfect recipe, but it is about getting that extra input that makes you develop your skills.

How do i write?

A lot of people prefer not writing critique, since they are not sure how to write what they define as pro.
Having some basic skills on the type of image you comment ( photo, painting, drawing ) e.t.c is a must.
You have to understand the basic of the medium and the type of artwork to be able to give a in-depth comment.
At least for me it seems strange to give technical comments on artwork you never tried.

Lets start with the stars.
You can give a total of 5 stars , where 5 is best.

Here is the dA description on the different star aspects:

* Vision: How well does the artwork present or reflect a point of view,
theme or idea?

* Originality: Is the artwork fresh or new in its style, execution or  approach? Is it something you haven’t seen before in its particular genre? Does it surprise you?

* Technique: Was the artwork skillfully created? Does the artist exhibit advanced knowledge of the medium and/or bring special focus to the craft of the medium used?

* Impact: Does the artwork resonate with you or evoke strong emotions? Does it make you think? Does it blow your mind?

The Devious rating sums up the stars and gives a rating based on what you given.
You should give stars based on your honest opinion.
The stars should also reflect what you write. If you write that the piece is perfect in every way and give an average of 3 stars, it is misleading.


Here is a photo i gave a critique to, i will explain why i gave the stars i gave and why i wrote what i did.

Little Sparrow by teyasaveleva

Not easy finding any areas to critique on this shot, it made me hold my breath, just stunning.
The Bird is in the "golden" area of the image, and it makes the composition perfect. If the bird was in the middle, the impact of the image would be much weaker, but now it is surreal and sort of abstract.
The tones of red and brown is in both the foreground, the bird, and the background, it makes it very interesting to look at.
the depth of field made the background out of focus, and the bird stand out.
Some color grain and dust in the background that could be removed, but that is me being very picky.
This is the opposite of a bird snapshot, it is including the bird in the surroundings and making a artwork out of it.
Well done!

Start with a personal and "non-pro" comment, it is a nice way to open up and start the critique.
That the shot made me hold my breath and that it is stunning, was my opinion, and it was the first thing that hit me.

I then explained what i thought about the composition of the shot, why i thought so, and how it would have been if it was different.
the same way, if the composition in my eyes was weak, i would explain how a different composition could strengthen the shot and why.

Then i commented on the color/tones and what impact they had on the shot. over saturated? to weak color? good color blend?
many things to grip on to.

the depth of field, what part of the image is in focus, does it work well or would it been better to include more or less of the background?
in this shot the out of focus background made the bird stand out.

Then I critiqued on what i thought could be improved all in all. in this case i noticed some grain and dust that i would have removed if it was my shot.

I finished with my final thoughts on the artwork.

*Stars i gave*

Vision: 4,5. it gave a special view because of the tones and the composition, and it made it more then just a bird-shot theme.
Originality: 3,5. Bird with background is not something new and fresh, but the interesting approach made it more then average in originality.
technique: 4. Sharp where it should be, great composition, tones. close to 5.
impact: 4.5. The artwork made me think, evoke emotions in me, and stood out from the crowd.
Devious Rating: 4

Might sound weird to some, but i did actually learn something here.
Not something i can put word on, but i will take the view with me the next time i take a photograph, in terms of color, background, noise e.t.c
A image gets more inspiring when you looks closer at it.

Some other photos you can read my critique on:
laundry is my playground by mohdfikree :thumb120037618: 291. by Sathoro


I hope this was helpful, all feedback is welcome.
And if you have any Questions i will do my best to reply.

Other news articles i written:
photography guide:…
how to suggest a Daily Deviation:…
Add a Comment:
switch-sgfx Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2009   Photographer
Sounds like good advice to me, nice work. ^^
Norbert2009 Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2009  Professional General Artist
This is very good .... you explain very well, how to use critique... I would give you a 4 stars for your explanation, 3,5 stars for your positism. :P
AmyKollarAnderson Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2009
Very inspiring!
damien-c Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2009
Very helpful.:) And again thank you for your critique on my work and for featuring it here. It was so kind of you, Master Sortvind.
twilightxmoon Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2009
i love your feedback it actually makes me see the little things in a photo that could be fixed that i would have never noticed
neodium Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2009  Professional Artist
Nice work ;)
MehreenFreed Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
This is good,helping out others.
It's appreciated.
simoneyvette Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2009  Professional General Artist
Can I include this in my DA webzine? It's called DEVIANCE, and will be uploaded 1st May.

This is really great stuff, I'd like to include it (it will be about 30 pages, of sections devoted to all things DA). You'll be credited of course.

Sortvind Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2009
As long as you link to this article and don`t take credit for it, sure :aww:
simoneyvette Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2009  Professional General Artist
No probs!

I'm not 100% sure if I'll be able to fit it in yet, but will try.

khrisjuhlin Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2009   Photographer
Nice one Steel. I like how you explained it - I always critiqued a bit (when had time) even before this system came. Yet I become intimitated knowing that it will come in the message centre of my watchers :O_o: but I do it anyways! :D

Anywhoo, good article :)
teyasaveleva Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
This is very helpful, thank you. It helps to organise thoughts and reminds of some points to mention in a critique.

And... I was suprised to see my work :blushes: Thanks.
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Submitted on
April 22, 2009


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