ModeratorApril 10, 2020 at 8:35 am
Since there are some people here who have experience either leading, teaching, or participating in classes and workshops where participants engage in constructive critiques and present there work for feedback, I thought I would create a topic where we could share successful feedback protocol and strategies with each other and with the larger group.
This is, by no means, intended to be enforced guidelines or prescribed procedure, rather it is a place for suggestions, and sharing of what has worked for us in the past.
I will reply below with some strategies I’ve found successful in my teaching and in my writing workshops. I encourage you to add your own strategies to this thread.
ModeratorApril 10, 2020 at 8:41 am
One strategy that I often suggest to my high schools students is the critique burger. When making a critique burger, you sandwich the criticism between praise. You offer three pieces of feedback:
- Something praising the piece or an aspect of the piece (I really like how you…)
- A piece of constructive criticism (You might want to think about changing X; working on X, etc)
- Something else praising the piece or an aspect of the piece.
This protocol makes it more likely that the criticism will be taken seriously, as you are offering a balance of praise and criticism. It also mitigates against many people’s natural tendencies to critique the negative without praising the positive. A good critique should address both the string and weak aspects of a piece. Studies show that this type of balanced critique is make it more likely that a critique will be listened to and also keeps up people’s moral within the community.
ModeratorApril 10, 2020 at 8:46 am
Another protocol that I’ve found very successful when I give feedback to my students is to begin my critique statements with the phrase “I wonder what would happen if…”
This strategy allows the recipient of the critique to consider the criticism without feeling attacked. It eliminates the negative connotation of most critical phrases. It also shows that the creator of the work still has ownership over the piece, and empowers them to be the one to consider, and ultimately decide whether or not they want to implement the suggestion.
I really like the “I wonder protocol” because rather than talking at a person, it opens a conversation, and leads to a thought process by which the work can be improved collaboratively within a supportive community.
ModeratorApril 10, 2020 at 8:52 am
Feedback is also a two way street. Consider, when posting ideas or art, to ask for specific feedback to help you with the aspects with which you are struggling. EX: Do you think the twist on pX comes too early in the story–should I put off to pY to build suspense; I’ve been working on drawing hands recently, does the gesture on page x, panel y, look natural; etc.
Don’t just rely on general feedback from the forums.
This strategy has a number of advantages:
- It focuses your critique partner on the aspects with which you may be struggling, making it more likely you’ll get the feedback you need.
- It forces you to look at your own work critically, and take ownership over what you’d like to improve.
MemberApril 10, 2020 at 9:28 am
Something I learned as a person who got feedback (school, online etc) is that pretty much 99% of what people tell you IS helpful, but you might still get upset because of your ego and the refusal to believe that you didn’t do something perfect lol. Best thing you can do it just read what people say, and just walk away. Think about it for a while. Let yourself calm down and wait until the emotion is gone and then you’ll be able to listen and apply the advice! So it’s okay to feel bad when you read feedback, just let the feeling past and don’t act on that!
MemberApril 10, 2020 at 5:15 pm
I absolutely agree with all of the above and I’d suggest to those looking for feedback (which should be everyone) to not be afraid to ask yourself, or of those being critiqued, how much feedback do you want? For example, with my Art students(HS 10-12), when I first meet them and start offering criticism, I’ll directly ask them how they feel about me giving them some suggestions to improve the piece, or at least a different perspective on how they might approach their work. The response is usually positive (again HS) and I typically use the “critique sandwich” method above to do so. As the students get more comfortable with my and each other’s criticism, the sandwich isn’t always necessary and some of my more eager students just go for the middle and ask me what needs to change.
Long story short, the key to successful criticism as noted in all of the examples in this thread, is effective communication and and an understanding that this is all built honesty and respect.
If you ask for honest criticism, please expect it. 🙂
- This reply was modified 11 months ago by andy-seabert.
MemberApril 10, 2020 at 9:20 pm
I have never heard of the terms “Critique Burger” or “Critique Sandwich” before now, but that’s a really effective method for encouragement/constructive criticism. It can be really difficult to receive criticism sometimes, and I’ve known people who took it really personally when it wasn’t intended as such, but it can be so incredibly helpful to get that outsiders perspective.
Thank you for posting these!
MemberApril 15, 2020 at 8:58 pm
I’ve been a martial arts instructor for the past 12 years and at my school it was called PCP (Praise, Correct, Praise you savages). It works because you’re letting the person know you’re on their side and want to help them. However, using the the phrase “but” after the first praise nullifies the initial praise. “This looks good BUT do this…” just makes it seem like it didn’t really look good.
Critiquing is hard to give as well as hard to take but at the same time, there are ways to avoid the other person’s ego or to Jedi Mind Trick them into accepting feedback easier.
ModeratorApril 20, 2020 at 7:40 am
I really like this thread thanks for starting it @Ari!
Something I have found helpful is to include “I” statements and a “why” for your critic. For example if you feel the story or art work is unclear, or the tone or timing is off try to be specific about why this is so. “I feel that the story gets losts at this point” or “I don’t understand what is happening in this panel because the characters’ expression is hidden”.
It helps the writer or artist to understand why you think things should change from what they have done, and they can decided to include your changes if they agree.
A point of note though, some might not agree and that it their prerogative. We are all here to help make each other better and help out, that doesn’t mean any critic or comment is manditory. So we can both take and gave critics with a positive attitude.
That’s my 2 cents anyway. 😉
Erin (AKA the Redheadeded)
ModeratorApril 21, 2020 at 4:22 am
Here is a set of protocol for feedback from the Medium humor page Slack. Slack is a humor site, so it’s written specifically about humor pieces, and they publish prose essays for the most part, but the general guidelines are strong, and can be easily adapted to what we are doing here.
ModeratorJune 21, 2020 at 5:09 pm
What was I doing during April that I missed all these amazing post! Great advice. “Critique Burger!” makes me hungry and I want to make promotional materials for this one thing! It’s extremely important to use this method – in everything – beyond just our artistry. I recently read to lead with three positives then end with the correction. However now seeing this “PCP” and “Critique Burger” method – I think that’s way better. I’ve used the 3 positives and one last corrections method a lot over my years – I always felt I was pumping up the person to be happy – then I turn into the villain- snatching their smile away. Horrible, right? But I kept doing it so I’m just as bad. Thanks guys and gals for these methods.
No longer a villain! 😂
ModeratorJune 21, 2020 at 5:17 pm
One other thing is using “we” … when critiquing my staff (graphic design/web company) I use “we” when critiquing the projects. Instead of saying “I think you should use a different font.” I’ll say “we should try a different font.”
When my team is writing sales copy, we used “I” or “You” in our writings to make the e-user feel like they’re having a real discussion.
However when critiquing I try to use we so it doesn’t sound like an attack – you could do better. You could change the color. Instead I use a “we” environment – team influence terms. Even if I’m criticizing someone that I don’t know I’ll say we from a consumer stand point – “we’d like to see the villain fall and the parachute has a hole rather then the villain getting away. Bruise the villain. Can we see that instead?”
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