This article will list five easy ways to make your comment constructive. What many people do not realise is that a constructive comment does not have to be as long or as indepth as a critique, and that you don't need to be an awesome commenter or an awesome artist to write a constructive comment. You probably won't have to spend more than 5-10 minutes writing a constructive comment, and it could still be helpful to the artist.
Here are the steps that you can take to make your comment more constructive:
State the things you like about the piece.Try and state one thing you like about the piece, be it the concept, main subject matter(s), how the artist has approached things, theme, mood, atmosphere, feelings evoked, etc.
State the things you don't like about the piece.After stating the things you like about the piece, state the things you don't like about the piece. Try and keep the number of things you like and dislike equal, so that your comment is not skewed to one side that is overly positive or negative.
State why you like and dislike the things you mentioned.Stating the reason why you like or dislike something gives justification to your thoughts and opinions, and may help the artist see things from your perspective. You are also explaining further and offering more clarification, which isn't something you should shy away from. Elaborating on why you like or dislike something will mean that the artist will understand more where you are coming from. Once again, it is best to keep this as equal as you can between the likes and dislikes.
State suggestions to improve the piece and explain why.This would follow well after stating the things you don't like about the piece. Suggest ways to improve upon the things that you don't like about the piece. Like the above, explain why you think that the artist should heed your suggestion and use what you have suggested to improve the piece.
End the comment differently.This is not really a core thing to include in your comment to make it more constructive, but it doesn't hurt to end the comment differently. Don't just finish the comment after following the first four steps here, but think about doing something else. Perhaps you could write something more personal, state something that will encourage the artist, list resources that the artist would find helpful, or just leave a brief sentence about your overall thoughts and feelings about the piece. All in all, there are many ways to end a comment and some ways do make a comment more constructive.
Example of a Constructive CommentHere is an example of a comment made more constructive from following the steps above so that you can see it in action:
"Hello! (A greeting never hurts)
I really like the colours of this piece (stating what you like about the piece), especially the way the green contrasts with the red! The colours really go well together to create an interesting atmosphere (explaining why). However, the way you've included the sun dead on in the centre is a bit distracting for me (stating what you dislike and why). I feel it would be better if the sun was slightly more to the left or the right (suggestion), as it would be less distracting and the composition would improve as well (explaining why). Overall, I think it's clear that you've put effort, thought and time into this piece and I can't wait to see more of your work! (ending comment differently)
As you can see above, we have turned a one sentence comment, 'This is an interesting piece!', or even a one word comment like 'Cool!' into a constructive comment. It really isn't difficult to state one thing you like or dislike, explain why, and then state a suggestion for improvement and why. The best thing is that you are not limited by these steps. There is no reason why you can't list five things you like, or elaborate more on why you dislike something, or include resources into your comment to help the artist more. Relying on natural progression does not hurt sometimes!
In conclusion, we have briefly gone over the content of a constructive comment in this article. In the following articles, we will guide you on how to form and write your comment so that it is well received, among other things.
Keep watch of ProjectComment to find out more ways to help your commenting!
Thank you for reading,
3wyl, posting on behalf of ProjectComment