Constructive criticism can be a powerful learning tool. As a Professor I've spent many hours evaluating student images. Whoever criticizes an image needs to have an open mind. Every person is different and their images are different. That's a good thing. A good critique covers what is positive about an image and what could be improved. A well done critique should excite the artist to do more art. A good critique should stimulate the learner to be creative and take a few chances.
The person receiving the critique should also have an open mind. They should be willing to listen to and think about the suggestions (a good critique should be suggestions, not demands) and consider how to apply them. They should embrace the positive aspects of the critique and not be afraid to ask questions about how to make the improvements. If there is something they are unsure of or don’t understand they should be sure to ask for further explanation.
It’s important to remember that a critique is an interaction between the reviewer and the person being reviewed. The dialog has to flow both ways. I like to critique by using questions. I ask the learner how he or she could improve the image. (I don't say "fix" or "correct" the image, that infers that there is something "wrong",) Their replies usually lead to more questions and more give and take. This way the learner learns by discovery instead of being dictated to. When a student learns by discovery, retention is 100%.
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