As a professional creative one must live with the ‘redlining’ of our work and thoughts. We must edit, and move on. It is part of the evolutionary process of ideas. Artists may be more sensitive to judgement and not open to comments because they are not willing to change their work.
When are these comments considered criticism? When is it a critique? When is it advise?
First of all, if you produce commercial work, you probably know that the end is a successful product. It will be judged by many. It may take many modifications to get to that final point, and it has to be done quickly. Many times, comments are ruthless but the intent is to help the product evolve quickly and meet deadlines. It’s not personal.
Having been a commercial artist, a fine art artist, and a consultant, I have had the opportunity to experience all of these and this is how I see it:
1. Criticism. Typically, it points out what is wrong. This may be from the ‘client’ or the customer. They may be experts or not. If delivered well and accepted well, the criticism can be productive and help us enhance the product or service. Some products never evolve and die. For this reason, many creatives or companies pay to hear from their customers to enhance their product and continuously evolve. Once the criticism is, we must then figure out how we will identify what to change to make the improvement.
2. Critique. It points out to what may be technically unsound. Critique comes from peers or experts. It may be invited or recommended. We can accept it or not.
3. Advise. It comes from an expert. It points to what is wrong or unsound and also provides the means or recommendation to make the improvement. Few people take the time to provide this commentary because it requires giving of their time, wisdom and experience to identify what is wrong and solve the problem they identified.
Let’s learn to accept comments and to take the time to contribute to make improvements by providing what many understand as “constructive” criticism. If we accept the challenge to continuously improve we can set aside our ego and focus on the positive evolution of our work.