I’m not sure there’s much written about this topic so here’s my view on giving/receiving feedback, when it’s needed and what type of feedback can really benefit you.
I’m a big fan of following online webinars offering artwork critiques for up and coming designers on platforms I’m a member of and on Facebook Groups where they’re offered for free.
There’s certainly a demand for this and plenty of budding designers who supply artwork for review. The format tends to be quite loose and that has its advantages so you have people of different abilities, artwork ranging in genre and the atmosphere is quite relaxed so anyone can participate and input their own feedback too. This is great and I think there’s much to learn from this for everyone.
But I also think that sometimes these sessions are not as helpful as they could be to the designer and I think that’s because the person doing the critiquing doesn’t want to be “too critical” and “hurt” the artist’s feelings/ego?? Or it might just be that they’re not picking up the things that could be raised in regards to the artwork or the concerns raised by the designer.
For this reason I think that the best type of feedback one can get is a paid for devlivered by a professional, perhaps in the form of a private portfolio review. I am contemplating going down this route and making the £100-200 investment. In exchange, you get a 1-2 hours one-to-one professional review of everything you have done to date and specific industry related questions answered. This could be something along the lines of what niche is my work best suited for? Writing a plan of action to get representation, whom to contact and how, tips of adapting your handwriting to suit a specific market or simply what to do next.
I have a growing list of established professionals that offer these services, each coming from a different part of the Surface Design industry, so message me via the Contacts page if you’d like me to share it with you.
So am I saying that I wish that the free art critiques out there were more professionally focused? I guess I am but from the point of view of the person offering their free time and expertise to an open call of designers of all levels, perhaps this is too much to ask.
As I progress in this field of work and gain more expertise myself, I think I’d like to be on the other side of the art critique giving my own honest feedback to designers starting out. I seem to get a lot of satisfaction helping people out so this could be a great new avenue at some point in the future perhaps offered in conjunction with a fellow designer. But first I need to be mentored myself and I’m very much looking forward to that! Stay tuned for a review on this experience in the near future...