Coffee with Art: On Criticism

Going over the Loomis method… really like these proportions a lot better!

Merry Christmas Eve… eve!

I did do my morning coffee with art, but I got busy with last minute Christmas shopping (today I learned that the nearby craft store isn’t busy the day before Christmas eve! Yay!) So, now I’m posting right now.

After that, I did a lot of drawing… working on commissions.

Okay! Story time! Yesterday, I posted my portrait on Instagram. Another portrait artist commented asking if I would like some feedback. I looked at his page, turns out he made beautiful portraits, so I said, “Sure!” Not only did he tell me that my noses tended to be too long (what he said exactly was “I think you have the habit of placing too much space between the nose and the eyes” but yeah, I make my noses too long), but that the Loomis method for drawing portraits was super helpful for him and it would be worth checking out! Never heard of the Loomis method, so I told him I’d check it out.

I eagerly went to check it out and turns out I actually DID know about the Loomis method, I just didn’t know it was called that (basically, it’s the classical base measurements of the face. The corners of the mouth line up with the pupil of the eyes etc). But, nevertheless, I always fall back into my old habit of drawing noses too long, so it’s always good to retrain yourself.

This morning, I started off with following a YouTube video on the loomis method and I really like the proportions much better.

Criticism is a funny thing- and definitely a very important part of art. I don’t think I can think of a more perfect example of criticism than what I saw. First of all, he ASKS if I want feedback (which, I don’t think should be necessary, but there’s a lot of sensitive souls, so I guess it can’t hurt to ask before giving criticism), second, he frames my habit in the NICEST way possible, and third, he directs me directly to a method which gives clear directions on how to improve my art in this direction.

Honestly, if that’s not perfect criticism, I dunno what is. Like that’s the kind of criticism that lifts you up, makes you feel like you learned something. It’s not like you get 9 people saying your work is great but that one person says something is slightly off, and you can’t stop obsessing over that one comment and feeling bad about the fact that you were even born in the first place!

But, as we all know, not all criticism is this amazing. Sometimes people are jerks and will actually make fun of your art, make personal attacks at you, or, even worse, they don’t MEAN to be harsh, but because this is the internet and so much communication get’s lost in translation, somebody might say, “The face is off. I don’t know how, but there’s something off about it.” And since they’re not there in person, and turns out they actually mean it in a friendly way, but our stupid hypercritical brains imagine in a cold way.

Honestly, I don’t know the best way of handling criticism. Every body is at various levels of sensitivity when it comes to their artwork. And the fact that our brains jump to the worst case scenario, or we let ourselves internalize criticism so much is probably based on a millennia of evolution (imagine two cavemen that both hear rustling in the bushes. One is nervous about it, the other one says “eh, it’s probably nothing. Nervous guy lived. Easy-going guy was eaten by a tiger hiding in those bushes.)

All I can say is, criticism in all forms is inevitable. If you keep choosing the route of dwelling on negative criticism- or not figuring out which is legit and which is just trolling- then you’re just gonna go crazy.

I think the best thing to do is think a little bit every day on how you can’t control other peoples’ opinions about you and your work.

Don’t take criticism from people you wouldn’t take advice from.” -a smart person. Not sure who.

Also, if you suspect that one of your “critics” is actually a jerk. (Especially if you look and their content is much worse than yours, they don’t offer helpful advice on how to improve, and they make personal attacks) Laugh at them! It’s so pathetic and SAD that they have nothing better to do than make fun of strangers on the internet! Their opinions. Do not. Affect you.

Once again, hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!!