Every two weeks, we will be interviewing commenters and volunteers at #ProjectComment
, specifically revolving around their life on deviantART and, the purpose of #ProjectComment
, constructive comments.
We sincerely hope you enjoy reading the sixty-first interview of this series with =astarayel
! If you have a spare moment, feel free to
the news article
, too. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m Lauren, a recent university graduate, movie aficionado, book-lover, and music addict. If you’re into Middle East relations, the Avengers
, Michael Crichton, or classic rock, we’re probably going to be good friends. And if you’re not, we’re probably going to be good friends anyway, because I just like people. Why are you on deviantART?
Initially, I joined deviantART as a way to get exposure and feedback on my own art—I’m incredibly shy about showing people my work in real life, so I felt like having a virtual space to do that would help me become more confident in my abilities. And it has! As time has passed, I’ve found that I’m just as interested in community relations as I am in sharing art: deviantART has been a great place for me to get exposed to new ideas, and make new friends!Why do you regularly give constructive comments?
There’s something inherently wonderful about receiving a constructive comment: it tells the artist that someone took the time to really look at a painting, think about it, and put thought into responding to it. I love receiving those kinds of comments, and so I want to make sure that I’m giving other artists that experience as a way to show them I appreciate their work.What about giving constructive comments do you most like and why?
When I give a constructive comment, I feel like I spend a great deal more time looking at a work of art and discovering the little nuanced details that an artist has included.In a world where the Internet captures our attention for milliseconds rather than minutes, it’s refreshing to stop and really delve into an image rather than bypass it with a hit-and-run favorite or one-word comment.How do you stay motivated when it comes to commenting?
I’d be lying if I said that I always feel like leaving a constructive, lengthy comment whenever I run into a piece of art I find. Sometimes I just don’t have the time, and sometimes I just want to gape stupidly at how awesome it is and don’t have words.
But I try to make sure that the majority of my comments have at least some substance to them—even if it’s just an emotion I felt, or a theme I noticed, or a question I have. Overall, I want my comments to convey how truly grateful
I am that this artist is sharing their talents, visions, and ideas with people. It’s a big deal for people to do that, as art often conveys intimate things about a person, and a little show of gratitude and admiration goes a long way.Do you use a specific technique when commenting? What are some key things you keep in mind when giving out comments?
Something I learned from experience, as well as #ProjectComment
, is that the best approach to constructive criticism is a balanced emphasis on what the artist is doing well and what they can improve on. I try to “sandwich” my criticisms between things that I really enjoyed about or that are really unique to the piece; I think that helps reinforce the good intentions behind constructive criticism. And if I’m critiquing something, like anatomy, I try to offer up resources or suggestions on how to improve. It’s one thing to say “This is wrong.” It’s a completely different thing to say “This isn’t quite right, but here’s a way you might be able to improve!” That can drastically change the artist’s reception of your comments.What is the difference between a constructive comment and a critique for you?
Oh, that’s a tough one. There’s a lot of overlap between the two for me: if I were to break it down simply, I would say that constructive comments are more casual and critiques are more formal. That’s a pretty arbitrary classification, but in my experience the addition of the star/rating system combined with the fact that critiques are requested and provided deliberately makes them seem weightier. That said, I’ve had excellent constructive comments that have taught me just as much, or even more, than a critique would!Have you had any particularly good and/or bad experiences with commenting and how did that turn out?
I've had way too many fantastic experiences with commenting to count--people are always so sweet! But the best experiences have usually been when I give comments and in the process discover new artists to watch or new styles and techniques to try out.What kind of feedback do you prefer?
I love getting feedback in any form! But I think the most meaningful feedback for me is a combination of watches and comments: if someone watches me and then leaves regular, supportive comments on my work, I know that they’re really paying attention to my own progress and trying to help me along.Do you struggle with giving comments sometimes?
Oh, definitely. I tend to shy away from commenting on artistic forms I’m unfamiliar with because in my mind a lack of knowledge translates to “There’s no way anything I say can help this person.” And that’s just not true! As I’ve commented more and more, I’ve realized that even in situations where I’m not 100% familiar with the medium or technique (like fractals), if there’s some aspect of the piece I can focus on (like use of color, space, or composition), then that’s where I direct my attention. These kinds of examples are also great learning experiences, because it gives me a chance to ask the artist a question, such as “I’m not too familiar with this program/technique/medium, how did you make/learn/achieve this?”What is your biggest pet peeve about commenting on deviantART?
Hmmm, that’s an excellent question. In general, I’d say that people just get lazy about their comments, especially on popular works. A lot of deviants say this, but whenever the first 10-20 comments are just “Cool” or “I love it!” or something equally short, I feel like it buries the comments of deviants who really try to connect with the art, or ask questions, or give serious feedback. It doesn’t take much to leave a thoughtful comment behind, so it would be great to see more deviants doing just that!Are you doing any projects at the moment, offline or online?
I feel like there’s rarely a time I’m not
doing a project! I have a pretty
awesome habit of making lists of things to draw or paint. Right now, I’ve got a couple of collaborations and art trades that I’m particularly excited to finish, as well as a long list of requests that I’m slowly working my way through. The biggest thing I’ve been working on this year is probably my Marvel Women A to Z
project, which has been loads of fun. Aside from that, I’m also working as an admin in several groups, which is a fantastic experience.What advice would you give to commenters?
Practice, practice, practice! It seems rather cliché to say it, but you really can’t know how to compose a well-written comment until you’ve wrestled with a few, made some mistakes, and tried again. For me, I started with the forums, offering constructive feedback to people who posted in the Thumbshare section—it exposed me to even more artists on deviantART than I could discover on my own, and gave me the challenge of giving original, thoughtful, and constructive feedback on a really diverse range of art.Finally, is there anything else you would like to add?
Make a random deviant’s day today: leave them a constructive comment on one of their pieces of work!
More than anything, I want other members to know that I’m here to help them out in any way I can! If I can offer feedback, or if you’re interested in a collaboration or trade, or if you just want to chat about life, drop me a note or pop by my profile! I’d love to get to know you.
Thank you =astarayel
Interview 01: Lumysaara
Interview 02: SaphyreMelodies
Interview 03: JulietCaesar
Interview 04: Iroken
Interview 05: Tanzchai
Interview 06: Greybird007
Interview 07: Willigenburg
Interview 08: namenotrequired
Interview 09: Maithiran
Interview 10: arcturus17
Interview 11: zipgirl
Interview 12: whatonearth
Interview 13: bunniangel
Interview 14: frequentmiracles
Interview 15: Christianonfire7
Interview 16: GILLIGFAN
Interview 17: aque-mizuhara
Interview 18: prismpower23
Interview 19: joshlama
Interview 20: birdf
Interview 21: leoraigarath
Interview 22: Morpheusdream
Interview 23: pursehappygal
Interview 24: Blackwitch31
Interview 25: SilkAssassin
Interview 26: Miss-TayaEmily
Interview 27: AnayaDeath
Interview 28: Evangeline-Louise
Interview 29: Zophirus
Interview 30: mild-wave
Interview 31: XxspeemotheemoxX
Interview 32: NodLupetianWolf
Interview 33: FeenaTheCute
Interview 34: TenaciousDee
Interview 35: Katara-WaterTribe-14
Interview 36: CRAM1990
Interview 37: CommanderEVE
Interview 38: DTKinetic
Interview 39: Collateral-Damage666
Interview 40: AspiredWriter
Interview 41: writeinshiningarmour
Interview 42: SanguineEpitaph
Interview 43: catie1301:
Interview 44: Marios-Tri4ce
Interview 45: CountryGirl957
Interview 46: CartoonWhore
Interview 47: SierraParagon
Interview 48: Ouijaplayer
Interview 49: VinceJay
Interview 50: Draconasaurus
Interview 51: MissMaliceAlice
Interview 52: Aimyee
Interview 53: Exoro-Comics
Interview 54: KodaRiver
Interview 55: Terlia
Interview 56: Ithilloth
Interview 57: hefeigal
Interview 58: NotenSMSK
Interview 59: nonecansee
Interview 60: Infinite-Heart