Forum > General discussion > How do you deal with critiques?
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"How do you deal with critiques?", 2 days ago, 12:55 PM #1

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I used to think I was open to constructive criticism but lately I've been getting a lot of it and its usually worded in a rude way and its making me want to give up. I know my comics aren't perfect, but how do I come to cope with hearing what I'm doing wrong?
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2 days ago, 1:01 PM #2
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Oof, I hear you. Well, over the years, I’ve used two rules to decide how to deal with criticism.

1. Intent. Is the person genuinely trying to help you, or are they just poking fun at you? If it’s the latter, you can ignore the comments as they don’t have your best interests in mind.

2. Usefulness. Are they giving you honest suggestions, or just saying “this sucks lol”? One thing I do is I imagine applying the criticism to my own work, and I think about if that would help or hurt my work.

Worst criticism I ever got is someone telling me my entire premise was bad. Like… thanks, man. What am I supposed to do with that?

Anyway, if you’re passionate about comics, keep your chin up and try to parse through the comments to maybe find a nugget of wisdom.
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2 days ago, 1:02 PM #3
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I've never really had people giving unsolicited critiques here. One comment on webtoons but otherwise nothing.

I think I'm too far in with what I'm doing to change. Maybe if they suggested skme rational, well thought out stuff I would keep it in mind.

One time somebody critiqued Inferno and talked about what a wasted opportunity it was not to do really dramatic lighting, since the main character had flame powers...and I agree...and I keep it in mind...but at the same time I don't know how to dk that and I'm really busy + already in so deep.

It's like they get what they get.
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2 days ago, 1:09 PM #4

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Personally, I'd ignore rude critique altogether. It's never okay to push someone down like that. Good critique has both the positives and the negatives present, but like Shannon said, comments like "this sucks lol" are not really critique, they're just mean for the sake of being mean.

Perhaps you could put up a disclaimer that says you're only looking for critique if you yourself ask about it first? Or ask people to not leave critique altogether. It's valid to not want critique, it's your work and your feelings matter!
2 days ago, 1:14 PM #5
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I guess in my case, it’s something I got used to and more comfortable with over time. I can’t pinpoint exactly when it changed, I think having to ask for some crits helped.

Then it’s just a matter of if it’s in good or bad faith. If someone’s just being a jerk, learn to ignore them. If someone has a genuine point, even if they’re a little blunt, i recommend the benefit of the doubt. I thank them, think about whether their advice is useful or possible, and get on with what I’m doing. It may not feel good, but I think it does make it feel better to respond maturely (replying politely or ignoring is fine) and do your best to keep improving on your journey. It makes me feel good about myself and my progress.
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2 days ago, 1:35 PM #6

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I'm pretty sure you're referring to your comic Arf! when you ask this and I'd honestly recommend turning off guest comics for some amount of time or just quietly deleting those comments. Those use the thinnest veneer of constructive criticism in my opinion and chiefly serve to make you feel like crap. I think everyone else in this thread is answering in a very general sense, since there are cases when a reader wants to give you feedback in mostly good faith, but those asshats on Arf! are clearly just trying to make your day worse vs legitimately trying to help you make your work better. The real question you should be asking is how to deal with trolls, because that's what I'm seeing when I look at those comments.
2 days ago, 1:42 PM #7
Venture Capitalist
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AthensTG:quietly deleting those comments


^ this

they want you and your reader's attention, they don't deserve attention, don't give them attention

I have absolutely given unsolicited critiques to other authors for very selfish reasons--but I never use the comments section, I use PMs
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2 days ago, 1:52 PM #8

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There's a difference between critiques and people trying to flame or demean you. If their words are just vitriol, I wouldn't give it any mind. There will always be people who don't like what you do for insignificant, petty, or opinionated reasons.

You can always delete or moderate comments if you're worried about that.


If it's actual criticism, then what I do is I read it, and I set it aside for a bit, then I come back to it a day later and look at it through an eye of logic.

I ask myself what actually applies. What I do need to work on, and what is just them assuming or wanting me to tell my story in a different way.

In the end, only you know the direction of your story. Things you put in there may not make sense to others, but be important to your plot or characterization. People who assume they know how those things will be will suggest outcomes or make critiques on hypotheticals.

You know what your story is and what is and isn't supposed to be in it. You know how your plot, worldbuilding and characters work and it's important to distinguish suggestion and absolute.

A long time ago, someone gave me this advice on a writing forum when I used to be super bad at taking criticism and it's been a very helpful point of advice.
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2 days ago, 2:27 PM #9

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Definitely not with six hours of sobbing on the toilet!
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2 days ago, 2:32 PM #10
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Honestly I'd take it a step further and say that most unsolicited criticism is... Kind of rude regardless of the person's intent.

Like if they're gently trying to let you know something in your work is hurtful that's about my only exception.

Some people like and are open to grammatical help. These people will usually say so.

Some people are open to art advice. These people will usually say so.

But usually a lot of us will ask for it when we want constructive criticism and "the pages are already up" is not usually an appropriate time for a stranger on the internet to be offering it.

And a lot of people KNOW this and offer unsolicited criticism anyway because it's a good cover to be a troll.

So yeah if this is a regular thing right now turn off guest comments.

--and if it IS all guest comments, and from the sound of it all comments that are less constructive and more criticism, there is a nonzero chance that it's all one person who's decided to be a jerk, so that's even more reason to delete the posts.
2 days ago, 2:53 PM #11
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ok yea unsolicited critiques are different than dealing w critique anxiety. we're all hobbyists here like people need to chill. on top of it, this just kind of sounds like people are being asses. admittedly i havent seem the comments, but this doesnt sound in particularly good faith to me.

i'unno, man. exposure therapy helped me with SOLICITED critique anxiety (getting ur shit table read and then getting dragged for 45 minutes every week kind of forces you to learn to deal w it) but unsolicited, id probably just ignore them or quietly delete the comments yea
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2 days ago, 3:10 PM #12
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Yeah I took a quick look and the comments on Arf! are not constructive in the slightest. It's called 'constructive' criticism because the idea is that you are given advice on how to build upon your skills and improve. Someone just saying "learn anatomy" isn't doing any of the constructive work of leaving criticism. It's just criticism.

E: In which case I would also turn off guest comments or just delete them
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2 days ago, 3:11 PM #13

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Since most people have given the more obvious suggestions I have a suggestion for how to cope with those feelings of doubt because even deleting comments won't really get rid of that doubt.
Take some time to compare your old art to where you are now, find the things you've improved on, and try to use that as a reason to continue. Because as long as you keep going, you'll always improve. No one's perfect, and the people who expect you to be probably aren't even artists to begin with so they likely don't understand what it actually means to draw something from passion.
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2 days ago, 4:02 PM #14

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I'm not the right person to ask as I don't handle criticism well
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2 days ago, 4:20 PM #15

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It's very important to distinguish between a valid constructive criticism and just mindless hate. There's a big difference between saying 'I think you should put a bit more work into lighting, as it seems to not be clear enough when you're drawing evening scenes' and 'your art is shit'. One points you in the direction of improvement, the other is there to simply make you feel bad.

I tend to focus only on criticism that actually allows me to make my work better. Sure, even constructive criticism can sound very harsh, but if you can get some value out of it, then it's still good. I ignore mindless hate, as life is way too short to give haters any attention.

Try not to agonise over every comment, good or bad. At the end of the day it's your art and you shouldn't allow others take your joy out of creating it with their mean comments.
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2 days ago, 4:28 PM #16
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Actually I'm going to do my usual thing and go against the grain here.

You should rebut them and be insulting. Cause a storm, get eyes on the drama. Think how much fame and possibly money (if it was monetised) could have come to works like Sonichu.

If you become notorious for receiving negative comments with a combative style, arguing etc the numbers will come. Rappers have known this for years.

If you've got the stomach for it then let the flame war begin, because you know, when people are reading your comic they will be privately makimg up their own mind. Even if they came for how supposedly bad it is and the controversy.

There's so many notoriously bad works that, reasonably speaking are perfectly acceptable and have people genuinely reading thanks to some stupid controversy.

People told me Star Fighter was so problematic and cringe-worthy. Like, do not read this comic! It's so bad. I loved that shit, man. There must be so many people who go to see just how bad this pariah must be and end up fans.
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2 days ago, 4:28 PM #17

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Dealing with non-constructive critique is hard, especially when the person giving this "Critique" insists it is fair to give, especially without you even asking for it. I've had such bad experiences when I was just like 13 and didn't know how to write stories or draw or any of it, and so I've been there. The good news is, like everyone has said, that it isn't critique to me if it's without constructive help, OR if it's just...You never asked for it.

I think what helps me, aside from the advice everyone has given, is taking any comments like that with a grain of salt. Like...If it's true something of my art isn't how I meant it to look, maybe a pose is awkward or something, step away for a bit to relax my anxiety...and when I come back, I'll look over what they said was weird. I'll see whether I genuinely agree, now that I had a chance to stop panicking or feeling upset, and see whether they had a point. Usually, they don't, and if by some chance they had advice hidden in their ridiculous comments? Well, hey, MAYBE I'll work on that anatomy issue in later pieces. Maybe...Or maybe I'll say I like how it looks, and keep doing it. Who cares? Not their art, not their problem. Especially not if they're gonna flame you about it.

(Mind you, I say this when applying to hateful "critique", as in rude comments as you describe, OP. When it comes to constructive critique or requested advice, then it's obviously not always the best idea to claim it's fine just because you think it is. EG, I was politely told once that I drew a dark skintone way too ashy, so I changed the palette there. I was grateful for sure! My advice is solely referring to "this person made me feel bad, and I need to remind myself they're just being a jerk.")
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2 days ago, 4:33 PM #18
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Having looked at some of the comments on Arf! now I feel the need to reiterate that this is almost definitely one person using the anonymity of guest commenting to make you feel ganged up on.

Your anatomy is fine and your coloring and line work are fine, this person is just upset that you're comfortable making a comic about a sexy thing they're not into and they've decided to make it your problem because they're an ass.
2 days ago, 4:39 PM #19
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It's never an easy thing to hear that someone else's view of your work isn't as shiny as your own - and this is for solicited criticism. It's even harder to figure out whether to heed or discard advice that comes in out of the blue.

The posts above are definitely correct when they say that trolls abound, and some people are just out to hurt others. This is why I admire anyone who does what we do- you're putting yourself out there, in emotionally dangerous territory, to tell a story- an often thankless endeavor.

However, I gently disagree with the notion that all unsolicited critiques should be ignored, or should be assumed to be offered in bad faith unless proven otherwise. I'm of the opinion that if you put your work out there for the world to see, then the world is free to comment on it. If you expect to go through life getting nothing but praise for your words, actions, and art, then you're going to be sorely disappointed.

This in no way excuses trolling. It's good to develop a sense of how criticism is intended - and as far as the mean stuff is concerned, to develop the ability to shed it. This will serve you well at school, at work, and in your relations in general, not just online and at conventions.

So what to do? The posts above have touched on some excellent guidelines- look at the source, look at their expertise, look at their intent, as far as you can ascertain.

One thing to think about is the recurrence of themes in comments. If one commenter says "I don't get page 38, what the heck is going on?" or "The pose in panel five of page 46 looks stiff." and this is the only occurrence, well, then maybe it can be ignored. But if multiple people are all saying the same thing, then you might want to take a look at it. If it leads to you telling a better story and getting better (and faster) at your work, then why wouldn't you use it?
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2 days ago, 5:04 PM #20
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There’s constructive criticism and then there’s whatever the hell you’ve been getting. I’ve seen the comments that people have left and they’re not okay. Someone is just being a plain douche by hiding behind anon comments to make you feel bad. Luckily you can turn off anon comments so they won’t be able to bully you as easily. Feel free to delete the comments as well. They aren’t worth keeping online.

As far as real constrictive criticism goes, as in the type you consented to because you asked for feedback, remember that it’s just someone’s opinion at the end of the day. Take what makes sense to you and leave the rest. Sometimes their advice doesn’t jive with what you want. One time I had a critique in college where someone wanted me to move away from cartoony horror because it was “too commercial and derivative”, which was a nonsense take imo because cartoony horror is my bread and butter and I love to draw it. They never told me what it was derivative of, either, which made it extra confusing. However, there was another time when someone told me that they couldn’t tell where the light was coming from in one of my paintings, which got me to start working on light sources and values more.

Remember that people who are giving you well-thought-out constructive criticism (that you asked for and consented to!) are not actually trying to insult you, so don’t take it personally. It can be hard not to, trust me—I know, lol. But if someone is gonna be mean about it, it says more about them than it does about you.
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Forum > General discussion > How do you deal with critiques?
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