One of the best things about creating “art” or “work” or “stuff” is getting feedback from fresh eyes. But how do you get that fresh perspective to be able to objectively, critically evaluate your own work in progress? How do you know when it’s ready? How do you challenge yourself to keep improving?
Using your knowledge? Being honest about… art? Or true?
Today’s Post is about critique: if you’ve been making… an creative… craft for a time, you’re probably aware that it’s quite easy to critique another artist’s work, while it’s difficult to get a objective idea of our own. Personally I am quite too hard with myself and keep overworking a work when it was just fine hours or days before. Other artistic personalities overrate their work – ignoring the fact that it is quite amateur, and thinking that if it’s marketed well, there is much money to be made. The rest of the “craftsman-women” fall somewhere in between the two extremes.
Look At Your Work Objectively
We’re all different in our approaches to creating. Some plan, do thumbnails and sketches — others just go for it, working from start to finish without hesitation. There’s no sense in comparing yourself to others. What works for you IS what works for you. Accept your approach and grow with it. But when it comes down to a final self-critique, before you upload your work on the world wide web or get it to an gallery, it’s important that we use a set of principles to judge our work by.
Trying to take your feelings out of the process is recommended, because feelings aren’t always accurate and can change from day to day but perhaps that works for YOU. I sincerely believe that this point is almost impossible to achieve…
Here are some of the techniques and principles I use to critique my own work:
Stand back from your work every so often. It helps to work standing up sometimes; otherwise I tend to get lazy and resist taking a look from a distance.
Turn the work upside down and sideways, look at it in a mirror, or photograph it and flip it backwards in your computer’s photo-editor. You’ll be amazed at how different the composition looks, and furthermore, problems that other viewers would see (because they’re seeing it for the first time) will become quickly apparent. Look for balance; if it’s a landscape a crooked horizon line will easily show up.
Look at your work with both eyes partly closed in an attempt to see more clearly the masses of colors or lights and shadows… or take off your glasses… its the same…
Value masses: Great painters of the past knew that a strong composition with 4 or 5 main values were eye catching. When value shapes are broken up with too many light and dark spots, the composition will appear like a polka dotted dress from a distance.
Your center of interest (not all works need one), should have a great deal of contrast, more saturated color, and a harder edge. In fact one edge should be harder (meaning easy to see when your eyes are half-closed) than the rest of the images’s edges. Some edges should be soft or completely lost. If you’re a photographer hardcore realist who applies the focus to everything in the picture in postproduction try to apply that focus only at the focused part of the capture…
Plan for accent lights and darks. Ideally, your composition will have one accent dark, also called the darkest dark. If you make all your darks the same value, your viewers eye will have no stopping place. The same goes for the lightest light. By the way, value is more important than color because our eyes and brains are designed to see value more easily than color – that’s why we can enjoy a black and white photography or drawing.
Color: this is such a complicated topic. I can hardly scratch the surface here in a blog. But for starters, make sure your work is primarily warm or cool in temperature. Usually, it is the color of the light source that determines the coolness or the warmness of the light on objects…
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