The 5 Best Ways to Critique Artwork

The 5 Best Ways to Critique Artwork

It’s not uncommon to be asked by artists, friends, and peers to critique their artworks. Hopefully you’ve had a chance to check out our posts on creating networks and promoting yourself to get yourself in touch with other artists who want to branch out who they share work with. This post is designed to be a jumping off point for giving criticism in a way that is actually directed and concise. I’ve asked for advice from a series of artists and art school lecturers to compile the tips below, which are a common thread of advice I was recommended over and over again when I asked; how can we best give critique of artwork?

1. Be kind, not nice

This motto was passed onto me by an artist lecturer who stressed the importance of being kind when giving critique. Being nice can get conversations stuck in unnecessary and awkward beating-around-the-bush exchanges, in which people sometimes get caught up in not offending anyone by not really providing any critique at all. If you approach being asked to give critique with a mindset that you are being consciously kind, but not sickly-sweet-nice, it will make the process of giving feedback much more relaxed for everyone involved.

2. Serve An Honest Shit Sandwich

This is an oldie but goodie. Word your criticism so you first make a statement or remark that is positive (the top piece of bread of the sandwich you’re making), followed by a statement of straight up blatant negative criticism (the shit part in the middle) and finish off your sando with a positive and encouraging bit of feedback (the bottom bit of bread). It may sound entry-level to be so contrived in how you present feedback, but it really does work to reinforce that two out of three points you’re making are lovely pieces of encouragement. One of the best things I learned during critique sessions at art school is that if other artists are ready and willing to accept criticism then they’re already well on their way to improving. Showing up and making, discussing, and bettering artwork is more than half the battle, so a shit sandwich with nice bread is always a good move.

3. Always offer an out

Similarly to step 2, this point was passed onto me by an artist mentor of mine. Always offer an “out”, or some kind of gracious solution to negative critique. When you’re giving hard and honest feedback, for example, confronting feedback like telling someone you don’t think they’ve been spending enough hours on one particular skill, giving an out might be empathizing with why they haven’t been spending time on that skill. Volunteering compassionate statements about why the point you’re criticizing may be occurring will create a safe and inclusive space where you can both chat as artists and speak freely.

4. Be in it for the long haul

If someone has come to you and asked for your opinion on their artwork, make sure you have the time to actually do their question and your answer justice. Ensure you don’t have to bail five or ten minutes into a conversation and are set up to look at their portfolio or be in their studio. If you can’t be in it for at least a decent conversation of 20-30 minutes, re-schedule if you can so you can make the proper time for it. Every time I’ve seen a damaging or traumatizing critique being haphazardly dished out at art school was when someone had to rush off and leave the dialogue early. If you can try and form networks with other artists that you will know for years so you can develop together and have an ongoing dialogue of feedback and ideas. This also goes for the infamous blog comment section or social media reply. Put some thought into your feedback. Don’t lash out. Don’t insult. Don’t make it personal. Remember, we’re all human, and we all have feelings.

5. Know the limits

Giving your opinion on artwork can be really challenging, and often it feels like there is a pressure to make the artwork “better” for the artist. If you can both re-frame your thinking to see there’s only so much that can be achieved in a 30 minute chat, you can play around with practical ideas. Suggesting how the artwork might be re-designed or re-crafted to be tried in another way is a great way to start, rather than suggesting your friend look at re-inventing their entire artistic style. Critiquing one artwork at a time and talking about how that particular work relates to other themes or challenges the artist is facing helps too. Starting small and seeing the conversation for what is can be is the ultimate goal. Feedback sessions can be amazing and rewarding, but they should also be pointed and hyper-reflexive about where you’re both leading the conversation.

Do you have any advice for giving feedback and critique on artwork? What has worked for you when giving or receiving honest advice? Please let us know in the comments.

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**Attention Readers**

**Attention Readers**

Make no mistake, the purpose of this page is to raise consumer #awareness of the discrepancies in the work claimed to be by Candy, to serve as a platform for the inquisitive voices silenced on the “Candy Waters Autism Artist” page via mass deleting and blocking, to advocate for the non-verbal autistic child central to the operation, and to provide resources to victims of the art scam and/or real life harassment by the parents of “Candy Waters Autism Artist”.

Many here are parents to autistic children, professionals in the #autism and #art communities, and/or autistic adults. This is *NOT* a campaign lead by hate but rather one in the pursuit of truth. Bullying will not be tolerated. Critique, as with art, does not fall under claims of cyberbullying. Furthermore, there is no evidence of any bullying towards the child, or autistic individuals as a whole, or further still to those with disabilities. In fact, many of those who have come forward fall under those same terms.

We are also #victims of the #scam, of the parents #bullying#hate and #harassment.


That Was Fast…..

Well, that was fast.  Thank you #WordPress.

Yes, that blog was removed too.  But there are so many people that think the Sandy and Robert Waters are innocent and not bullying people.  How is that when there is so much black and white evidence provided by so many pages created by so many different people and groups?

Anyhow.  Here is the evidence; it was removed for a Terms of Service violation.

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That Was Fast…

Obsessed People

Obsessed People

As predicted Sandy & Robert Waters created yet another blog.  We will see how long this one lasts.  Please report it as abuse.  This is nothing more that stalking, cyberbullying and harassment.  Same post over and over and over.  Just like Ground Hogs Day – the movie.

There is not hate smear campaign of Candy.  The hate smear campaign is against Tina, her business and back on Alice, again.

They need serious help.

Sandy Waters and Robert Waters did not learn.

#TOS #WordPress

That makes this THREE TIMES this was removed on TWO different servers now for #HATE SPEECH in LESS THAN 24 HOURS.

Yes, you are the #Bullies.

Too bad you didn’t listen to the Cease & Desist that was posted a long time ago to you both.  You both will wish you did.

We are starting to feel bad for you.  Oh wait.  Nevermind.  You both deserve everything you get that is coming at you both legally.

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Sandy Waters and Robert Waters did not learn.

But the Waters’ Are Innocent. 

They are not stalking any one.  They are not telling anyone to file false reports.  They are not cyberbullying.  They are not doxing.

Or are they?

(Please note our sarcasm.)

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Instructions plus the name.  Nope, they are not harassing anyone.

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That was fast.  New blog on a new WordPress page.  Nope, not cyberbullying or anything like that.

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Now this just says OBSESSION.

But The Waters’ Are Innocent.

Lost For Words.

This was Robert Waters godson.  He committed suicide.  Why the hell would Sandy Waters comment on this memorial imagine for him with that?

With her past blogs on her true thoughts and current thoughts of “Candy being suicidal”, it really does concern us that is was not all deflection.  It really is concerning.

What are your thoughts?


Lost For Words.

More First Person Posts.

How odd that there are more first person posts supposedly written by Candy. Candy can not use the computer. So how is it all the sudden these posts are coming up looking like Candy posted them. More deception.

“I am talking about my daughter’s kind of autism. She is unable to talk or write on the internet and is in diapers.” -Sandy Waters

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The blog where that quote was found.

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Look at the edits.  It tells the whole story.  This was in July 8, 2016

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Posted September 25, 2017


There is a clear and intentional pattern of deception.  How long are you willing to let Sandy and Robert Waters get away with it?  How long are you willing to let them take advantage of Candy Waters Autism Artist?  Is Evan Waters Artist next?

More First Person Posts.

First Person Post. Candy Types?
We wonder why first person speech is used here, when we all know that Candy Waters Autism Artist is not really on Facebook, and can’t type, let alone speak according to her parents, Sandy and Robert Waters.
Odd…. Where is the Candy anyway? No birthday pictures.. nothing since last year, really.
Perhaps she is not at home?  We are just speculating here but inquiring minds would love to know.
This also looks like an old picture.
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First Person Post. Candy Types?