Welcome! - Information for Artists and Critics Posting in This Forum

IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator Mod Emeritus
Hello, welcome to the AC.

We have two forums dedicated to visual art, The Artist Corner (AC) and the Art Assignment and Resources forum (AAaR). Unsure of what kind of post goes where? Let me break it down For You.

The AC is dedicated to posting your own artwork in the hopes to receive constructive criticism. The goal is to continue to build a network of artists and art lovers who help each other achieve their artistic goals and improve their skills.

The AAaR is dedicated to providing a place to share resources and accumulate knowledge making it easier to punctuate critiques with helpful reading. It also houses long term assignments and activities to help you build your skills.

Threads In the AC.

There are some different threads in the AC.

[Doodle] Thread : You can post artwork here with more casual intent. Note that everything in the doodle thread is still up for critique, but its less focused on each in
[Chat] Thread: This is our section for chit chat, check it out and get to know the AC members.
[Questions, Discussion, Tutorials] Thread: Quick Q&A for general questions

The AC is a visual artist heavy forum, but we do allow for other types of work. We have a few general threads to keep our less represented media from getting lost in the mix.

Wood Working Metal Working Ceramics Pottery

Photo thread:

Music Makers Thread:

Note that the forums have a blanket ban on kickstarter links. We don't allow for advertizing, so be sure to have images to post inline. Check out the rules for more info.

If you are unsure if what you want to post would be appropriate, please contact a moderator first and they will gladly help.
Current Mods are: bombardier, Angel_of_Bacon, DMAC, Grifter, Iruka

What is constructive criticism?
Constructive criticism is a response a person has to your work. Typically, this is advice that they feel would improve the piece, or would help you improve your skills.
It is NOT "hey i think this sucks."
It is also not "hey i think this is great, you're awesome!"
It is advice catered to your skill set and your goals to help you improve.

More examples of criticism that are not at all constructive:

"You are so hopelessly amateur, that nothing I can say to you other than read lots of Loomis books will help."
"Stop drawing anime."

Help us cater to your artistic needs and goals.
  • Tell us what your goals as an artist are.
  • Are you a hobbyist looking to learn to draw landscapes for fun?
  • Are you putting together a portfolio to get into art school?
  • Are you currently a professional looking to further refine your skills in a certain area?
  • How long have you been practicing this form of art?
  • Who are some artists or styles that you admire who you strive to be like in your own work?

How do you respond to criticism?

There are a lot of ways you can respond. Generally, it is polite to show that you appreciate that someone took the time to give you crits on your work.

It is important to know that when a person is critting your work, they are not taking shots at you as a person. They are not even really taking shots at your work. They are trying to help you see things from their point of view, or give you guidance based on their expertise and the mistakes they themselves have made in the past.

You should not feel at any time like you are being personally made fun of, and if you do feel like someone is being offensive to you and not giving constructive feedback on the work you do, use the "Report Post" feature located at the bottom right of each post and the moderators will be notified.

If you want to get the most out of this community, read the crits, and then go back and look at your work to see if you can see it from the point of view of the person who was critting you. If you can see their point, and see that it would improve the piece, then edit it, or keep it in mind for the next piece that you do. Thank the person for being helpful.

It is important to note that you do not have to accept all criticism. It is simply advice. You can choose to take it or not. If a piece of advice does not line up with your goals as an artist, then don't bother with it and thank the person and move on to the next one.

Arguing with the person is not really a good idea. It is their opinion based on their knowledge (or lack thereof). Think of them as simply opinions intended to help you out.

More on giving and receiving critiques:
There are so many different types of artists, styles, and methods. To provide good crits, you have to understand what the artist's goals are.

If they are aiming to be a realist painter, then crit them as such. If they are aiming to be a cartoonist, then crit them as a cartoonist. To crit someone who is trying to be a cartoonist using realist fundamentals doesn't make any sense.

That being said, learning the basic fundamentals of drawing, photography, or whatever your medium is a very good idea and will only help your more stylized work. If you draw a picture of a guy whose eyes are floating around on different levels and who has one arm shorter than the other, you can't just say "well it's my style." Style and a lack of fundamental drawing knowledge are two very different things. You can still understand those basics and apply them to the style you are using. Knowing proper anatomy, form, construction, lighting, color theory, and all of those other basic drawing fundamentals will only help your own work. Do not disregard those because you have chosen a style.

Most good anime artists, or other cartoonists have a strong foundation in basic drawing fundamentals and beyond. It's much easier to stylize the human form if you have a basic understanding of how it works.
Does that mean that you have to understand exactly how every muscle in the body works? No. Would it help you? Yes, it definitely wouldn't hurt you to know that much.

On the flip side, if someone is drawing a cartoony figure whose proportions, though stylized make sense for what it is, saying "the musculature curving on the calves is all wrong and you should have rendered it all perfectly realistically instead of using cel shading" is not a very good crit. You are disregarding what the purpose of the drawing is. They aren't trying to draw the perfect anatomically correct human form. They are doing a stylized drawing. Keeping in mind that there are more methods of drawing than the one you choose is very important.

If you do not have good knowledge of what the person is trying to achieve, then don't give detailed technical crits simply based on what you yourself are trying to achieve in your personal practice.

Which brings me to another point. "You drew a cat, but you should have drawn a dog because cats are stupid." This is a personal preference and NOT a constructive crit.

Erisian Pope gave me some great links to share:
Giving Crits: http://emptyeasel.com/2007/06/18/how-to-give-an-art-critique-constructive-criticism-for-artists/
Taking Crits: http://emptyeasel.com/2007/06/10/how-to-handle-artistic-criticism-learning-from-art-critics-artist-critiques/

Catering your critiques:
If an artist comes in here who is 12 years old and has just started to form an interest in drawing to make it a hobby, you should be critting them differently than a person who is well into their career as an artist.

Developing an interest in making art is an important stage that should not be disregarded. Coming at an artist like this with "you are so hopelessly crappy at drawing" is only going to dishearten them. It is not going to help them at all.

Part of this community is fostering and maintaining a love for making art, so keep that in mind.

If you come in here and tell us you want to be a professional artist then you are going to be treated as such. Typically, crits will be a little more picky, technical, and catered to whatever field of art you're trying to get into.

What sort of jobs are available for artists?
This depends on what you want to do!

There are tons of different commercial jobs available for artists, in many different fields, from technical draftsmen to artists for the entertainment industry.

Here is a list with links to a description of some popular types of jobs performed by artists in various fields. (Note that this is not a complete list and that there are overlaps in many of these fields. This is just sort of a starting point if you are interested in learning more about various art career paths.)

Entertainment Industry Fields:

Storyboard Artist
Concept Artist
3D artist

Design Fields:

Graphic Designer
Multimedia Designer
Web Designer
Product Designer
Fashion/Apparel Design

Fine Art:

Fine Artist

Film/Photography Fields:


Do I have to go to school if I want to be a professional artist? If so, what school is best?
Most people hiring for professional art jobs require a strong portfolio and don't really care about what credentials you have.

You can teach yourself using resources available to you such as tutorials, books, and online downloadable content like DVDs about artist's techniques etc. (http://forums.penny-arcade.com/showthread.php?t=105734). If you build up a strong enough portfolio, you can get clients and fulltime jobs without a degree. Artists on this forum have done so.

A lot of people prefer to go to school as it's a bit more focused, a bit easier to access all of the information you need, and the networking of going to a school and having your peers crit you in person is typically a big selling point.

There is no right or wrong school.

Art school is what you make of it. You get out of it what you put in. If you put in extra effort and work hard to improve above and beyond your school tasks, you will excel in whatever school you choose.

There are famous, talented artists who went to big, expensive US schools like Art Center, and RISD, and there are equally famous and talented concept artists who went to tiny community colleges no one has ever heard of. Some have even taught themselves (check out this thread for more info: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=102315

Look into schools in your area and what they offer. If you're interested in doing animation, apply for schools with animation programs. Look up the faculty and try to find their work (Google is a powerful tool). Look up past students and check out their portfolios. Try emailing some of them to see what sort of input they can give you on the school.

There are lots of people who have big egos about the schools they go to. Everyone wants to feel that the institution they are paying for offers the best education possible. It is important to remember that it's not the school that makes an artist good. Just going to X famous school does not make you an instant talented art god. Your own hard work gets you there. Just having the best professor doesn't automatically transfer all of their talent to you, you still have to work for that. Talent is earned, not bought and handed to you on a piece of paper.

Here's a list of a bunch of art schools:


The consequences of being egotistical.
Egos come with being an artist. It is just a fact. There is no such thing as an artist who doesn't have a bit of an ego. If you didn't feel at all good about your work and about producing artwork, why would you do it? The sense of accomplishment is a great feeling, and you SHOULD feel good about the hard work you do.

However, in communities like this, egos tend to get a little out of control at times. A bunch of artists in a room, each with their own opinion of what is good art and what isn't is always bound to lead to a bit of head butting.

This is a community that is meant to be friendly and helpful. Be proud of yourself, be proud of the work you do, but leave your ego at the door.

If someone crits you and you don't agree with it, don't be an ass about it. If you're going to give crits, take crits. Discussing them is one thing, but if you find a crit unclear, you should discuss it with the artist. Openly bashing a person for their crit because you don't want to accept that you're not perfect is going to create a hostile community.

As much as possible, be open to criticism from people of various skill levels. Whether you choose to use them or not is up to you, but be open to the fact that they're going to happen. If you accept them with courtesy and grace, and maybe try to learn a bit from them and open your mind, this will continue to be a strong community.

If you choose to disregard everyone who gives you advice because you consider yourself better than everyone here, then this is not the community for you.

Finally: people who post rude, off point or otherwise useless comments posed as criticism will be penalized by the mods. If you see posts such as this, use the "Report Post" feature to get the attention of the moderators.

Have Fun!
There are lots of great people around here, Join us in the chat thread (the thread that has the word [CHAT] somewhere in the title, usually near the top of the page)

There is also a doodle thread where you can post your doodles, or works in progress if you don't feel like posting your own new thread (stickied and has the word [Doodle] in the title)

We also do a monthly artist challenge! So make sure to check it out and participate in that, it's a great way to hone your skills (stickied, near the top of the page, will say "AC Challenge" somewhere in the title)

and Lastly, there is a Questions and Discussions thread here: http://forums.penny-arcade.com/showthread.php?t=105734 that has tons of information and resources and is a good place to ask any questions you have about processes, software or any other art making questions.

This discussion has been closed.