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ProjectComment is a Group that provides Guaranteed & Constructive comments for the DeviantArt community. By discussing what makes a great constructive comment, we aim to support the awesome commenters out there through a workshop where, twice a month, we will be conquering the challenge of commenting.

Welcome to our first commenting workshop on guidance!


What do we mean by guidance? As an artist, when we receive constructive comments, we want to improve our artwork and further enhance our skill. As a commenter, we analyze artwork to learn how to improve technique in both our work and others' work. But, to be able to learn from a comment, we need to be guided with the next step (or steps) to take, and we need to offer guidance to be able to help others through constructive commenting.

For example, how could we improve this comment?
The picture looks washed out and the horse you painted looks off. Try using tutorials next time.

As artists, we are left with many uncertainties:
  • What is meant by the picture looking 'washed out'?
  • What is 'off' about the horse?
  • What 'tutorials' should I be looking for?
As commenters...
  • What have we noticed?
  • Have we analyzed the artwork and found specific aspects that need to be improved?
  • Have we made the same mistakes with our own work?

Is it possible for us to improve from a comment given to another?

Being more specific and placing more emphasis on guidance not only helps artists, but helps commenters too. Explaining and elaborating on our own thoughts and feelings helps clarify matters for both the commenter and the artist.

:bulletgreen: Explain and specify the aspects that need improvement in detail. For example, instead of using more general terms such as 'picture' or 'washed out', specify the aspects in the picture and explain what you mean by them being 'washed out'. Try not to use more general terms such as 'background', 'anatomy', etc. Be specific with yourself and the artist by considering the parts of the background, or the aspects of the anatomy. Keep asking yourself what and why to clarify matters for both you and the artist. As an artist, we don't necessarily know what a comment references unless otherwise indicated, and we don't necessary perceive things in a similar way to commenters. If only general items are stated, an artist may try to alter everything without targeted focus on a specific part that needs improvement.
"...The head is really short which makes it look like a youngster - too young to be ridden on. The front legs are quite thick, the belly line is wavering and getting bigger towards the back legs, and the back legs are also quite thick. Horses are notorious for being quite tricky to draw, here are some tutorials that may help you:
fav.me/d9q60z
fav.me/d1j42ja ..."
:bulletgreen: When writing a comment, ask yourself questions by using why and how. We may not be experts on every subject, but we have an advantage by being outside observers. As an observer, our fresh perspective gives us an advantage over the artist who may have become so absorbed into their work that mistakes may be 'normalized'. We have 'new' eyes to look and analyze a piece; we can notice what was overlooked. An artist may not be able to do the same, so guide them to see things the way you do by explaining why and how something is the way it is. For example, if something is 'off' about the horse, why is it 'off' and how is it 'off'? Without explanation or elaboration of your thoughts and feelings, artists may not be able to fully comprehend or follow you, your comment or your perspective. Clarifying this for the artist helps clarify the matter with the commenter so that everyone can see why certain techniques or aspects are more crucial and effective than others.
"...However the overall 'gradient' shadow from left to right doesn't make sense to me because having a horse in the picture indicates that they are outdoors and the sun doesn't throw lighting that way? Unless maybe they're by a thicket?"
:bulletgreen: If you have advice, give and guide freely! Following after the above comment, what steps should an artist take to improve? For many of us, advice can be used to give us a starting point for our next piece. Some good advice can set the foundation for artists to take the first step towards improvement, and, as commenters, we can give advice that we can use ourselves, especially if we learn by teaching.
"...Try putting your light source a little higher so the shadows are thrown downwards instead of straight across..."

What is your goal as a commenter? If your goal is to help others improve, guide them on that path so that their next piece can be even better.
KokoKiero, Dec 19, 2015: "These two look like they're out of a story, right in the middle of an action scene. The expressions help to sell this with the horse looking uncertain at the human and the human seemingly gloating at someone/thing. I like the way the rider's coat and hair are floating back and up due to the movement, along with the horse's tail. I think making the mane have the same movement would help make it look like they're moving at high speeds or just contacted the ground - laying flat like it is doesn't evoke much movement.

The white background leeches the colour out of them and, to me, takes away from the dramatic moment. I think even a solid colour would help with this if you didn't want to do a background. Additionally I would crop the image so that there isn't so much empty space around the two characters.

I really like the lines and shading in the horse's tail. However the overall 'gradient' shadow from left to right doesn't make sense to me because having a horse in the picture indicates that they are outdoors and the sun doesn't throw lighting that way? Unless maybe they're by a thicket? Try putting your light source a little higher so the shadows are thrown downwards instead of straight across.

The human looks pretty good here. The horse's anatomy needs some work. The head is really short which makes it look like a youngster - too young to be ridden on. The front legs are quite thick, the belly line is wavering and getting bigger towards the back legs, and the back legs are also quite thick. Horses are notorious for being quite tricky to draw, here are some tutorials that may help you: 
fav.me/d9q60z
fav.me/d1j42ja
fav.me/d6k7ko1
fav.me/d6p6a49

Overall, I think you captured a nice action scene here that makes the viewer think of the story going on around them. You have some movement with the beautifully drawn tail and the clothing and hair, and I'm not sure if it was intentional or not but the shadow underneath them looks like a moustache and I think that's awesome. Keep up the good work!"


If you look at the first and last comment, which one would help you more?

How does it help you, as both the artist and the commenter?
If you were to receive this comment, what would you do differently on your next piece as a result?




Check out our other Commenting Workshops!
:bulletgreen: Balance
Add a Comment:
 
:iconpawcanada:
pawcanada Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I've had comments like the example before and they are infuriating.

For a long time people were telling me my poses were "stiff" but then, as if they'd get a chocolate for every time they used that word, walk off with no explanation. Naturally that left me confused, especially - as a friend once put it - pictures often capture a moment in time. When I finally asked someone what they meant, they don't really have a valid response for me, or at least one that wasn't ground breaking enough to explain what made the pose "stiff" and how to fix it. Now I find myself asking if all my poses are stiff. If I draw someone doing a ninja flip onto a destroyed wall while throwing knifes at people, is there a chance that could be "stiff"?

Likewise I recently had someone tell me I really needed to look at tutorials but didn't really elaborate on which, implying I would be better effectively starting from scratch.
Reply
:iconincognitoartist:
IncognitoArtist Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
When they simply use a single word, like "stiff," there is no way to understand what they mean by such statement. And when they simply say to look at tutorials, you have no idea what tutorials to look at or what kind of tutorials to look for.

If someone were to be able to elaborate on what makes the picture stiff or what you may need tutorials for, it would be way more helpful. Whether it is the pose, the anatomy, or the lighting, you would not be able to know without further elaboration.

I am sorry you received such vague and unhelpful comments, but hopefully with the release of this commenting workshop series, we may be able to help commenters give better comments and you can receive better comments!! ^^
Reply
:iconpawcanada:
pawcanada Featured By Owner Edited Jan 24, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
To be frank, I've always felt "Your pose is stiff" or "You should look at a dozen tutorials" as having a some degree of smug arrogance. They sounds more to me like the artist is patting themselves on their back because they don't make those mistakes or don't need as much guidance as me, and so feel better about themselves by pointing out the flaws in someone else's art but without the courtesy or manners to properly explain and elaborate on the issue.

As you said, going into more detail about the problem, helping me see where I have gone wrong and how to avoid that mistake. The same goes for tutorials; saying one or two I should focus on is a lot more helpful than a "shotgun" approach.
Reply
:iconincognitoartist:
IncognitoArtist Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I definitely get that. With the wording of such a vague statement, it can capture an arrogant tone, even if the artist doesn't mean for it to.

Reply
:iconpawcanada:
pawcanada Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I've yet to speak to an artist who provides feedback like that and doesn't come across like an arrogant git :/.
Reply
:icontaintedtruffle:
TaintedTruffle Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Nice, very useful
Reply
:iconkokokiero:
KokoKiero Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2016
:blush: Thank you kindly for featuring my comment in this workshop! I am forever grateful for the commenters that took the time to help guide me in my pieces, who gave me ideas for workflow and techniques as well as pointers for specific parts and links to tutorials so I'm happy that I can turn around and do the same for others now too. 
Reply
:iconincognitoartist:
IncognitoArtist Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
We are glad to have great commenters such as yourself who are so helpful to the other members of the groups through their commenting!!
Reply
:iconvirtualdesignervixen:
VirtualDesignerVixen Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I agree with PioneeringAuthor, comments like this are very helpful. Even though I don't draw and I'm not an artist, I still create things. I do graphic design and graphic design is taking props, images, text and some other things to make a new image, so it's a lot different from drawing. Even still, graphic designers have to make sure things their props make sense, or the shadow is placed right etc.

At the end of the day, whether your a photographer, artist, or graphic designer, we all want feedback on our works. To improve, to grow and to learn. When I give constructive comments, I will try to be more specific.

Happy Creating everyone!
Reply
:iconincognitoartist:
IncognitoArtist Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That's something, I feel people don't always realize. We can use feedback on everything; in every occupation!! Feedback is not just used in art, and learning to give great feedback and what you can learn from it can help you and any field, whether it is studio art, graphic design, or calculus! ^^ Scientists use feedback to validate data and processes, teachers use feedback to improve the technique. We are all trying to improve and the more feedback and assistance you can receive, the more you will grow!

:heart:
Reply
:iconvirtualdesignervixen:
VirtualDesignerVixen Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is very true and well put :).
Reply
:iconpioneeringauthor:
PioneeringAuthor Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh, you have no idea how helpful a comment like that is to an artist. Okay, it looks like you do, but to everyone still in doubt, believe me, I wish I got more comments like that on my work so I could learn how to take a more artistic photo or draw my ponies better or whatever. I would try my best to take their advice, that's for sure!

Anyway, thanks for the workshop, it is wonderful!
It did have a few spelling errors, but I'll forgive that. :heart:
Reply
:iconincognitoartist:
IncognitoArtist Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Definitely!! And sometimes, I feel people who have not seen such an extensive comment such as that are not aware that it is possible. It is sort of like asking someone to build something and saying that it is a sculpture but not tell them what it should be like. With the Workshop, this one and future ones, we hope we will be able to help guide people on what makes those phenomenal comments that artists love so much while also explaining how it is beneficial to both artists and the commenters!!

^^
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