Cashmere Crypt

Dealing with Criticism

  • planted on: 09/05/2023

How to Deal with Negative Critique

Struggling to share your work? You aren’t alone! It’s important to know how to deal with negative criticism as an artist. This will help you to feel more prepared when putting your art out there into the world. While positive criticism is a useful tool, harsh or unwanted critique is both toxic and painful. Here are some ways that you can create that boundary with others and keep your peace of mind to keep sharing your creativity with the world. My Experience with Negative Feedback

As an artist, I’ve had my fair share of unwanted feedback. I’ve been told my work is boring, bad, and ugly. I’ve also been told that I shouldn’t bother trying, that I should find another line of work, and that it’s just… “lacking”.

When I was working on this piece, I was told by someone I trusted that I was just taking way too long on it. “You’re overthinking it,” she said. “You always just keep working on the same place over and over, it really isn’t that complicated.” At the time, I took that criticism to heart and tried to hurry on to the next piece. I ended up regretting it. How to Spot Negative Criticism

  • The critique is aimed at you as a person, and not so much your work
    • Example: “This sucks, you clearly don’t know anything about art!”
  • The critique is overly general or vague
    • Example: “I just don’t really like it.”
  • The critique targets your talent or abilities, trying to make you feel less capable
    • Example: “This looks like a child drew it, anyone could make this!”

How to Deal with Negative Criticism as an Artist

1. Ignore It

Especially when posting online, negative criticism comes with the territory. If you are posting on social media, you can turn off notifications or block/hide comments with certain words in them (how to hide on instagram | how to hide on tiktok | how to hide on facebook). Try to remember that these people probably don’t feel very good about their own artistic journey, and are trying to tear you down to make themselves feel better.

2. Stay Positive

If it’s in-person, sometimes you have no choice but to listen to the feedback you are given. Try to end the conversation as quickly as possible, thanking them for their feedback and changing the subject. Their negative energy can feel so overwhelming in the moment, but it takes two to continue a conversation!

3. Ask Questions

A vague or rude comment might come from the criticizer not knowing much about your work. Rather than snapping back after the insult, you can ask them to clarify why they dislike the piece. For example, if someone says your work is childish, you might ask, “What about it gives it a childish quality? Do you see that as a bad thing?” You might be surprised at the result!

4. Critique the Critic

When sharing your art, you should also share what level of feedback you are comfortable with. Some harsh critics don’t realize that their feedback is hurtful, so this pre-sharing conversation can help guide the viewer to know your goals and preferences for receiving critique.

Some ideas to get you started:

  • I’m really new at this, so I’d like to hear what you like most about this! Positive feedback only, please.
  • I’m really struggling with _____ on this piece, can you help me figure out what’s wrong with it?
  • My goal with this piece is _____, do you think I’m headed in the right direction?
  • If you could change one thing about this piece, what would you change?
  • How does this piece make you feel?

5. Heal With Positive Feedback

I like to keep an emergency stash of some of the true positive feedback I’ve gotten on my art over the years. Sharing with close friends or family can help build you up, and it’s great to go back to those compliments after a particularly difficult bout of negative feedback. It might sound cheesy, but consider creating a log of all the nice things people have said about your work or your art. It can be anything, big or small – this will help you to stay focused on the good things and remember that your art can make a positive impact on the right people.


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