5 Steps To Prepare Yourself For In-Class Art Critiques
If you're an art student, one thing that is inevitable in your time learning is the in-class critique. They're intimidating at first, sure, but they really don't have to be! Hearing criticism about your work not only helps you as an artist, but if you become comfortable critiquing the work of your classmates, you'll be able to make better critiques when going into galleries and museums and seeings the work of professionals.
I've organized five steps that I find pretty necessary to remember when it comes to an in-class critique day. Hopefully, these can be helpful to those of you who really want to become more comfortable with the critiquing environment!
1. Before you go to class, go and do something that makes you happy. Go get ice cream, visit your favorite cafe on the way to school, or listen to your favorite album in top volume and have a one-person dance party. It's important that you start your day off feeling positive! It'll really help you to absorb the constructive criticism you receive.
2. Give yourself credit. Pat yourself on the back! Art is a neverending learning experience, and as long as you do your personal best, you'll continue to grow and push your own boundaries with your work.
3. Detach yourself from the picture. This is just one work out of an incredibly vast collection of works you'll be able to create in your lifetime, and it is by no means the work that defines you as an artist. (And further, the comments aren't about you as an artist, just the composition!)
4. Open your ears! In my experience, I know how easy it can be to simply brush off every comment people made just hunting for the interspersed moments of praise, but take these opposing perspectives into consideration too! They'll help you grow and become a stronger artist in the long run. (Bonus points if you record it or take down notes on what the students are saying!)
5. Remember your message. Most artists really know what they're trying to convey when they make their work. Compare the comments the other students have made (aka what they're seeing) with what your message is (aka what you see), and try to figure out how to better convey that message the next time around. (If this requires much more technical experience than what's in your skill set, don't worry! You're in art school! You're bound to learn and get better!)
I hope this advice makes it a little easier to deal with criticism. Remember, your fellow art students know exactly how difficult the situation is and how much work you've probably put into your composition. They're only here to help!