If you want to improve as an artist, illustrator, or designer, one of the best ways to make progress is to have your work critiqued... and I don't just mean making something and then asking your best friend or mom what they think. Seeking out honest feedback from an unbiased party allows you to get valuable insight on the things that your doing well and the places you need improvement (not just a "wow, you're so talented" from someone who loves you). I recently had my work critiqued by Art Prof, an online learning community for artists. The had one of the instructors, Alex, critique my Rip Van Winkle piece on their youtube channel.
I thought that Alex had very constructive and well thought-out things to say about my work. I'm going to take his feedback and use it to rework elements of my illustration (stay tuned, I'll keep you updated on my progress).
Since graduating from college, I've found that getting feedback on my work has been a lot more difficult. School gives you that built in group of 10-30 people who you see two times a week and know exactly what you're working on. Once you're out on your own, it's a lot more Challenging to find people who are intimate enough with your work to offer useful feedback and who you trust to show unfinished pieces. If you're in the same boat as me, here are some tips on places you can find critiques:
- Slack or Facebook groups: One of the first places I go when I am looking for critique is an illustration/design Slack or Facebook community group. Groups like these are great because they are normally somewhat curated so you know that the people in there have trustworthy opinions. If you put in the time and get to know the other people in the group (and offer up feedback on their work as well) they are usually very motivated to return the favor.
- Community Critique Groups: Ask around your local art community and see if there is a local in-person critique group in your area. I recently joined a critique group in my community and it has been really fun to meet other artists and share my work. The group I participate in meets once a month, everyone gets 10-15 minutes to get up, share what they are working on, and ask the group for feedback.
- Paid/Promotional Critiques: There are a lot of places you can submit work for a professional in your field to critique your work. Often times conferences or conventions will offer a portfolio review session. Many artist/educators offer paid critiques (check out ArtProf or Make Art That Sells). Sometimes people will even offer free critiques to people willing to have the critique used as content on the critique-giver's online channels (check out the futur or Artprof).
And if you want to hear more about the benefits of critique, along with some advice from industry professionals on how to make the most of critiques, check out this episode of the Three Point Perspective Podcast.