Pay it forward.
#1
Yeah it's a feel good movie. But the concept is sound and a great way to spread love. 

So it recently hit me after wondering why more people don't offer or give critique that often (discounting the lack of time or inclination) people just feel like they don't have the expertise or knowledge or whatever (insert self doubt type here) to do so with any confidence for others. And fair enough. Most times the best thing is to just stay quiet if you know you don't know. 

But how's this? 
If you ever ask for and receive critique from anyone at any point in your career, it might be a great idea to "Pay it forward" and promise to match 1:1 and give someone a crit in return. 

It doesn't have to be to the person who helped you in the first instance because most likely they could be far in advance of your own knowledge, but there is always someone who can and will benefit from your help today. 

I don't know this for a fact, but it seems to me that the ratio tends to be towards the takers not the givers. Just look at any facebook group that is supposedly for critique. 1 post, 100 likes, 1 honest crit.  I believe if everyone did the 1:1 rule, this wouldn't happen anymore.  Of course I am totally dreaming, but I was wondering what you guys thought of implementing this into your lives.

Someone helps you, you spread the love and help someone else.  There is no room for excuses in this case and everyone benefits. I would love to hear your thoughts, and ideas. It isn't about keeping score, but about promoting a selfless community.

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#2
Hey Amit!

Great topic you've put forward here. I agree with you wholeheartedly and it's actually something I've recently been attempting to stay consistent with, for the sake of bettering the community and of course helping others in their journeys.

What you said, particularly about not having to critique a more experienced artist per se, but someone of the same skill level or below - there really isn't any excuse for not helping another person out. "Not having enough time" is a tricky one, but I hope people understand that by providing others with critiques such as paintovers, etc, that not only are they helping someone out, but they are also learning a lot just by talking/discussing what they have learned about a certain subject.

Anyway, this is a wonderful notion and I hope the Daggers hop on board the giving train <3

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#3
Thanks Smrr! Yes I can see several people ramping up their efforts of late. All it takes is some admin time for things to get cooking again

I don't believe lack of time is ever a good excuse, to be honest. A crit can take anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour or two depending on whether paintovers are involved. Some of us spend more time picking our noses each day than it would take to write up a quick concise crit.

It isn't a lack of time, it's a lack of inclination and a focus on self interest that I am hoping a simple rule and way of thinking about it might help people get over that selfishness hump.

Well done on your own increased engagement keep it up :P

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#4
I think it's a great concept, Amitt.

Nothin wrong with payin it forward. We recently have more people giving back in the sketchbooks area, and hopefully that becomes a long-term habit and a rule of thumb. Perhaps eventually, that will evolve into people leaving more insightful comments and crits as they develop their language skills and initiative to leave anything at all?

I don't know if the ratio truly favors the takers over the givers, but I would assume it's probably true. I'd imagine somewhere deep inside, the taker might become slightly influenced to follow by example via the giver or community? That's probably not always the case for some people, but probably for the general majority.

The selfishness for some is probably linked to laziness for the most part, which would explain why more people switch completely over to something like facebook. You rarely see anything other than likes or quick drive by comments on there. Seems more like a place to present ideas without any actual discussion, but rather just to see who agrees with you.

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#5
I think what we're having here in crimsondaggers is a community in it and of itself, theres a handful of people here I observed that had been very active this past few weeks, and those people has been the reason why CD seemed to be alive than ever before.
Theres just this other people , who regularly update their own sketchbooks here, but wouldn't takr the time to check out other ones. I understand them though theres so much sketchbook here.

And yup theres so much factors thats going on to someone , so mosyly they would just choose to shut up and get what they can through others back n forth discussions.

Right now we really need some more personal interactions , like maybe doing paintovers off of each others work like what jonesoda had been doin in his mentorship program. I trying my best to get involved in doing more detailed critiques nowadays and I hope that everyone would do the same.

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#6
I always see this all around the art community, on CD and off. When I go and comment on others' SBs, people tend to come and comment on mine, and I tend to do the same for them. Same with in real life. A few weeks ago I had a table at a con and as I was walking around the floor, I bought a few things. As I struck up conversations with the artists, they saw I had an exhibitor badge and asked where I was, and a few hours later they usually found their way over to me and bought something from me.

I think it's just something that people need to realize they need to do in order to fully be involved in the community, here and anywhere else. We're not going to get that out of everyone, obviously, but the people who are really interested in getting involved with definitely pay it forward.

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#7
Yeah Denis, faceboom is a bad example to use for meaningful interaction, though it could happen on there as well f people weren't such lazy asses, but euchhh that like button.

@zombiechinchilla, I totally get that people feel obligated to reciprocate good deeds done for them to the person who did it, that happens quite frequently in life. What I was thinking was to go a lot further than a "you scratch my back" mentality and take it a step further and help out one other person who maybe wasn't simply returning a favour out of obligation. So maybe it should be a 1:2 ratio.
If you get a good crit, return the favour, then help one other random out as well. :)

You won't get an upsurge in less selfishness overall with a 1:1 ratio, if you are starting in a deficit to begin with. If it's 1:2 take to give, then everyone will start to feel that, not just the ones interacting. I can honestly say my ratio is more like 1:100. It isn't that hard to do 1:2.

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#8
Does everyone believe that crits have purely a positive value? or can crits actually have a negative effect on a person?

How can you evaluate the value of a crit given your current skill level?

How can the person giving a crit evaluate how much they understood of the crit?

I was wondering about these things, Perhaps focusing on crits based on reciprocatory (no idea how to spell this) values is good in theory but in practice, is it a plus positive factor in your progress or a crutch to fall back on?

I think i really like this idea of helping someone else as well because it again creates a community cohesiveness.

Dennis: I think perhaps this is a point, if a forum is a place for deeper critical thought, maybe sketchbooks are not necessary for this. Because a forum is a meetingplace of ideas ever since the classical era. By Atomizing the meetingspace you are essentially diluting its power. However i think places like facebook and artstation have a great platform for promoting art i just dont see them as good places to get feedback.
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#9
I actually do commentate on others peoples sketchbook. Especially those starting out/need it the most. I may not be the most active in terms commenting, but I do so, when necessary.

Great point overall though.
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#10
@Zearthus, great job! Keep that up. :) To be honest I was never one to crit on a lot of people's sketchbooks because I found it overwhelming to follow so many. I did end up following a few here and there of course and not often the most popular ones, but for the most part I would crit in the (funnily enough) crit threads and the abandoned hideout and of course outside of CD.

@Appleseed, from what I have seen, for the overwhelming majority crits are considered and taken to be good. I have seen a few horror crits which were just attacks and non-constructive, but for the most part I would say this isn't the case. In terms of judging value well....that is for the receiver to say alone. Most of the time people will say whether they found a crit useful or not.

and Dang you gave me an idea...we need an art wall where all uploaded images get posted to it automatically...so we can have a visual library of what is going down in all the sketchbooks. Like a shoutbox but for the image uploads
:P Don't worry Dennis I know that is a lot of work, and maybe impossible for a forum cms. Nice idea though.

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#11
@Amit do you mean a bunch of thumbnails like the CA forums used to have? Pretty sure they got rid of it, maybe not, but they had a big grid of a bunch of featured works and it was pretty impressive. That could be cool, to wow guests who are visiting the forums and perhaps entice them to join. The only thing with CA is that it never changed, and maybe having all artwork up there rather than certain special works might make it less "special."

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#12
I do like the idea (however unrealistic it may be) of an art wall. Like how CGhub's home page worked? Or DrawCrowd's main page. It would be a cool way of seeing a cross section of the site at a glance and find things you might normally have missed.

As for paying it forward. I've always tried to stay at least 1:2 on my feed back. And I think most people on here are willing to help someone if that person asked them directly for specific advice. If you see someone who has a strength in an area that you admire, ask them about it in their sketchbook. Not only does it help you but others will be able to read it and get something from it.

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#13
@zombie, yes and no. Exactly like all the art sites are doing now and what ca used to do, but with every piece, every study just cycling through as it gets posted. I don't think the benefit would be to feature anyone on a site like cd, but I think it would be another way of generating chance click throughs to places you might not get to if you were just trawling through page after page of sketchbooks. Just a thought, probably more effort than it is worth.
@Adam. Sweet, so you can easily pull off 1:4 now. :p just kidding, good idea about asking people about their strengths.

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#14
I do like that idea, and I like showing everything and anything more than only featured artists like CA had. Picking and choosing only certain artists to feature like that might turn it into a popularity contest. Not to mention I think CA actually only featured TAD students, so you actually had to pay to get featured.

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#15
(06-28-2015, 08:14 PM)Amit Dutta Wrote: It doesn't have to be to the person who helped you in the first instance because most likely they could be far in advance of your own knowledge,


Just to randomly veer slightly off topic for a moment. I agree with this but also I want to point out that its important to not think you can only learn from people who are further along in their skill than you. Will Terrel has some great advice for this. He tries to learn at least one lesson from every person he meets. Everyone has something they're good at, so never let your ego blind you from learning something new. If you approach helping others selfishly as well in order to gain insight from them you can create good vibes while giving into selfishness :)

I dont mean to address this to you personally Amit since it seems like you're a pretty selfless guy. So I dont think my advice pertains to you but more to a certain mentality I see in the art community.

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#16
That's a very good point Adam. Indeed we can all learn from eachother at any time. I accept crit from people and consider it, no matter who it is from. They are offering help and an opinion, it would be rude to do anything else. Normally I see this comment that from beginners saying they feel they don't have the skill and knowledge to crit a professional, and I have one word for them. Bollocks. Also crit isn't only about technical knowledge, it can be about emotion and narrative and message, lots of things that anybody can be insightful about.

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#17
Oh definitely hear you on beginners not wanting to share their opinions. Some times the best crits can come from people who dont even practice art at all I'd say. Images are an universal language after all. You just have to cut through people not telling you what they really think and trying to pad your ego with praise.

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#18
+1 for cghub artwall
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#19
As a newbie, I'm /very/ reticent about giving critique, mostly for two reasons, A/ I can often see a problem, but don't know how to fix it, and that is simply unhelpful to the other person, and B/ I am never sure if I'm right, or if I'd be giving incorrect advice, which again is horribly unhelpful.
Yes a lot of it is self doubt, but I don't want to be handing out wrong advice. As far as I've seen in sketchbooks, mostly everyone else is working levels above me, so I don't know that I have anything valuable to say about their work except 'wow'
Maybe if there isn't already, someone could give tips on how to make useful critique without giving incorrect advice. The few times I’ve tried to help people I've ended up more confused myself because I start second guessing if I'm looking at the work right/ missing something. And when I've done it on dA I've had people tell me I'm wrong about my suggestions - I don't know if I was or that is just dA, but it's done nothing for my confidence to be helpful.

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#20
If I'm not sure about something while critting, I say so! Also, asking people questions helps -- both when trying to court a gentle crit, and when you are not completely confident in your critiquing ability.

Confidence builds one step at a time, and yeah, for a while you just need to accept the possibility of being wrong. Actually, you should always keep in mind that you might be wrong, or you will never grow yourself. Don't be afraid to make the wrong comments; if people are rude in return that's their problem -- but if they point out something you may learn in return, well, no loss!

Also, if you don't learn to look at professionals' work with a critical eye, you won't be able to understand what it took for them to get there. I highly, highly recommend sitting down with the pieces that "blow your mind" in some way or other and break them down to the fundamental elements. What are they doing right? How are they "cheating"? Where is the image the most successful? This is how you learn to crit and talk about art.

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