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March 19, 2010
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Nearly all of us, if not every single one of us, have come across a deviation that just has a disappointing '...'. Conversely, some of us have even come across a massive wall of text.

Whether we are the people who ask ourselves, "Is that it?", or whether we are the people who ask ourselves, "What can I say?", this guide will hopefully provide you with some insight in how to go about writing a good description for your deviations, a.k.a. your Artist's (or Author's) Comments.


IIIXII has already written a beautiful guide here. He mentions a great point and that is that your artists comments are the only thing that might motivate a reader or viewer to comment your work

How many of us want constructive comments, critiques and, most importantly, feedback on our pieces?

Thus, is it only fair that if we want something back, we have to give something as well?


Background

:bulletblue: Inspiration. Did you seek inspiration from something? Were you inspired by a place or a person? If yes, let us know about it! There is no shame in telling us what you were inspired by, whether it is your next-door neighbour's dog or the clouds!

:bulletblue: Feelings and thoughts. Do you remember what you were feeling when you were creating your piece? Was it happiness, anger, sadness, frustration, or something else? Can you remember a thought that kept going on and on in your mind when you were creating your piece?

:bulletblue: Creation. Describe and explain the process it took you to create your piece. Did you use many tools? How long did you take? Was there a particular bit that you had to do over and over again?


Feedback

If you want specific feedback, ask a question. Even if nobody comments on your pieces, ask it anyway, because some random person may just happen across your piece, see that you are an artist wanting to improve and help you along your way.

Encourage people to comment. Things such as "I'd like to know what you think" or "Comments are much appreciated" can create a great effect. If you invite someone and give them a nudge in the right direction, some people will seize it.

It also illustrates how open you are to other people’s interpretations and opinions as well, which will increase their want to comment, as they will feel their thoughts will be taken into account.

Additionally, there is no harm in analysing our own pieces too, as long as it is constructive. A few sentences explaining what you dislike and like about the piece, what you had most and least trouble with can lead to…


Relate

…How we relate to the piece itself! (As it is a two way relationship) Not only can we explain how the piece relates to us on a more personal and emotional level, but it will help other people relate to you as well, thus, securing a connection between artist and … well, artist, really. We are all artists here, aren't we?

If one artist is provided with an opportunity to relate to another artist, it can bring on a friendship where both artists can support one another.


Length

Don't keep the Artist's Comments too short, but don't write masses and masses as well! Too short, and we are left disappointed. Too long, and we are easily overwhelmed. You don't have to describe and explain everything, but a little bit helps in helping us relate to the artist.

The key is to write something that let's your own individual feelings and personality shine through while still leaving some interpretations of the piece to the viewer. ~ amaira515

If you get carried away and you can’t cut down once you go back and read it over, try and separate your comment with paragraphs and spaces.


Language

Language might be a barrier for many of us, but that doesn't mean we can get away with just putting "..." on our pieces. Even if it is a sentence or two, it is better than nothing!

Nevertheless, if nobody can understand what you are saying, then it is basically the same as putting "...". If English is not your main language and you have a few errors in grammer and spelling, that is fine! Text speak, however, is a no-no. :no:


Links

If your piece is one of a series, feel free to link to other pieces within the series, too. If a person likes what they see, the quick access will mean less trouble for them. However, make sure that the artist’s comments isn't filled entirely with links.

There is also a brilliant Group on deviantART dedicated to increasing artist's exposure through the use of a "Linking" system:

"Link another artists submission in your artist's comments box. It helps everyone's exposure and finds undiscovered art." ~ dALinkSystem


Protection

Many people have deviations that have a massive paragraph full of text to try and protect their work.  

However, there's no easy way to say this: this is the internet. If you don’t want anything stolen, don’t put it up here.

IIIXII’s guide explains what you can do to the Artist’s Comments in terms of protecting one’s own work, so there is no need to repeat it here.

Nevertheless, do not just fill your artist’s comments with information about copyright and the use of your piece (unless it is stock). If anything, look at it like a scale. Three quarters of your artist’s comments should be about the piece itself (if not all), and the other quarter should include the information that, theoretically, protects one’s own art work, if you utterly insist for it to be there.

Nobody wants to look at a mountain of information if they just wanted to look and comment on your art in the first place.


Final Note

Hopefully, you know a bit more about what to put in your Artist’s Comments. Even though they appear to be small, they can actually mean and express a lot.

This guide is by no means complete and it does not apply to everyone. It was written by ProjectComment as a Group, by deviants, for deviants.

I would like to thank the following who contributed: amaira515, Iluvocnj2006, xblackxbloodxcellx and Scarlesaur. Their efforts in the making of this guide are much appreciated, and they deserve to be recognised.

Feel free to :+devwatch: ProjectComment for more guides! A couple that will soon be posted: 'A Guide on (Offending) Comments', 'How NOT to Comment', 'Why Comment in the First Place?' and more!


Thank you for reading. :dalove:

3wyl, posting on behalf of ProjectComment
Add a Comment:
 
:iconvampiralady:
VampiraLady Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is so interesting journal! I got many new pieces of info and advices. Thank you! :hug:
However, I have to tell about something. I watch some people on dA and I'm sometimes really surprised, how other people comment under their works.
For example: you said, that we should appreciate every single comment and always reply it, showing our attention. So, I saw some deviants who have a lot of comments under their works, and they NEVER reply them. It usually happens, when an artist is very popular (and he says 'he doesn't have time or possibilities to answer all comments'). Hmm, but people still comment under his/her works. It seems he 'doesn't care' of them, because don't reply every comment, but still people like, fav and comment his works. Strange :confused:
Another example: I've seen really a lot of works, which have nice descriptions (or, as you said, 'an author's comment'). But... nobody next comments these works! They have '0 comments'. Sometimes I really feel pity about these people. It usually happens (but not always!!), when works are... hmm, not drawn well, or very unknown, or not popular. People just are not interested in them. This is sad. But sometimes even great works have 0 comments (plus great description!), and still nobody comment it. This is also sad! :(
Reply
:iconilikadachocolate:
ilikadachocolate Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2013  Student Writer
Thank you heaps for writing this. :iconletmehugyouplz: I'll follow this advice in the future.
Reply
:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:hug:

Go with what works best for you, while keeping this in mind! It's not full-proof by any standard. ^^;
Reply
:iconxxemi-angel-chanxx:
xxEmi-AnGeL-chanxx Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
*feels embarrassed as often used 'u' and 'ur' and other conjunctions unless writing an actual story*
Reply
:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Aww, it can be a habit? :O
Reply
:iconxxemi-angel-chanxx:
xxEmi-AnGeL-chanxx Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
It probably is ;P
Reply
:iconitklivry:
itklivry Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2011  Professional Artist
That's all very well and good, but how do you remove/edit a comment that you've already made on someone else's work? If anyone can tell me, please e-mail me at itklivry at yahoo dot com.
Reply
:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
You can't. :shrug:
Reply
:iconsanu-chan:
SANU-CHAN Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you, very helpful. I shall remember this. :P
Reply
:iconhatta-san:
Hatta-san Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2011
Thanks this is very helpful :D
Reply
:iconfreckleonmypalm:
FreckleOnMyPalm Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2011  Professional General Artist
Haha when I write my artist's comments I always feel like I'm writing so much but then I preview it and it's a lot shorter/easier on the eyes then I thought XD I always try to explain any important reasons behind things in my pieces and such like to make the pieces a bit more engaging for folks.

Anyway, this is a nice set of guidelines, I really hate seeing a beautiful piece with the '...' or a piece of any level with what looks like a short novel written about it.
Reply
:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Ah... that's cool then! :D

I get what you mean... If it's too long, others will be put off and all of that. :shrug:

:hug:
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:iconblah-27:
bLah-27 Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2010
Alright! I'm going to change all my deviations from "." to what 3wyl suggests! Thanks for the helpful advice XD
Reply
:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
:lol:
Reply
:iconretrooutro:
RetroOutro Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2010  Student Digital Artist
" However, there's no easy way to say this: this is the internet. If you donít want anything stolen, donít put it up here. "

You think a generation made up of pirates and 'How I what it when I want it for the price I want it' attitudes towards commercial works would understand this concept easier.
Reply
:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Ooh, yes! O.o
Reply
:icongosangoku:
gosangoku Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is magnificent advice. Nowadays, I don't often utilise elipses. I do attempt to write a sentence or two at least, although I do occasionally find it difficult to express myself in an Artist's Comment. I never know what I'm expected to say! As such, this guide is quite helpful. I'll definitely remember it for next time I submit a deviation. Thank you for your time and effort!
Reply
:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm glad it helped! :hug:
Reply
:icongosangoku:
gosangoku Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
:manhug:
Reply
:iconmanwathiell-stock:
Manwathiell-Stock Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2010
Very well written and so true.
You made me want to watch the group, and I'm going there!
I found this article featured on Artistic Maneuvers' Blog.
:clap:

:wave:
Reply
:iconcherrypopz:
Cherrypopz Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2010
Hey, thank you very much for this guide. It's very well written and so helpful!
Reply
:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm glad you think so! :hug:
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
Fantastic Article, very useful too! :) And look! You got two rejections. TWO it must be great! :P
Reply
:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
:lmao:
Reply
:iconthe-photographicpoet:
the-photographicpoet Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
:clap: Excellent report
Reply
:iconscarletspy:
scarletspy Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2010
When I find a deviation that I really love and am interested about, I get extremely disappointed to find that the artist comment only consists of '...'. If a deviation has an inspirational and original concept that I've never seen before, I always like to know how the artist came up with the idea. ^^
Reply
:iconmwaters:
MWaters Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2010  Student Traditional Artist
ok, well the artist's comments is just as personal as the art itself. there shouldn't be any rules involved.
Reply
:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
There aren't any rules. :)

These are just a couple of prompts for those that want to write something but don't know what... and it also increases the want for artists to give feedback, but it depends if you want that or not. :shrug:
Reply
:iconsamblob:
SamBlob Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2010
I am very happy to see this guide available and equally happy to realize, after reading through it, that I didn't really need it myself, as I already do most, if not all, of that. However, it will be of help for many others. :nod:

The person I watch who gives the "..." comment the most is a car photographer, and it's a bit frustrating when I've never heard of the car. He usually comments on one-offs or really rare ones, though.
Reply
:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
:highfive:

Hmm...

I guess, ultimately, it's left up to the artist. If they feel they need to explain, they will, and if not, they won't. :shrug:

It's just... there are so many variables and levels with Artist's Comments, that you can never hit it completely and fully, if that makes sense?
Reply
:iconsamblob:
SamBlob Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2010
Yes, it does. :nod:
Reply
:iconshirei-shou:
Shirei-Shou Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
My fault often to write too long artist comment
thats why I separated it now into some part. So people can choose they want to see "About art", "Concept" or only want to know "the tools" lol
Reply
:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Indeed!

That's quite a good way. :nod:
Reply
:iconhoatzins:
hoatzins Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2010  Student General Artist
Straightforward and very helpful. :D Thanks for posting.
Reply
:iconheysawbones:
heysawbones Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2010  Professional General Artist
Ha ha, it is hilarious that someone needed this guide!
Reply
:iconandrah:
andrah Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
this article was very helpful for me. I sometimes have difficulties in writing an artist's comment, too. thanks a lot! :)
Reply
:iconnoko-87:
noko-87 Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2010
interesting :), good advices.
Reply
:iconjeysie:
Jeysie Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Amen to this. I hate it when I see a great bit of art and want to know why the artist was inspired to create it, or how they got the idea, or where & how a picture was taken, etc. and all you get is "..." -_-

Although I'm guilty of giant Comment Essays sometimes. >_> I like to explain my full thought process on my works... or, since I like a lot of obscure things, explain what the heck I'm drawing/writing about.
Reply
:iconretrooutro:
RetroOutro Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2010  Student Digital Artist
There are some of us who really like reading the longer comments when we have time, though it means we might not look at it the first time it's in our inbox, we don't just delete it either.

I think it gets kind of annoying only when people explain their characters whole story under the picture thoughm, instead of the work process. I have one friend who I love to death who does this on every sketch, and I'm like 'just write the damn novel already wommin.'
Reply
:iconjeysie:
Jeysie Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Heh! I'm guilty of that last one too, sometimes, at least in the sense of giving a character's bio... probably because I tend to find how I got an idea more interesting than how I drew said idea (probably comes from being more of a writer than an artist...)
Reply
:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Hmm...

I think it might just be finding a balance to everything. Write about the essentials, but leave enough open to the interpretation of others so that they can ask questions as well. :nod:

Understandable. :P

I post a few abstract things as well, but... I like to ask a question and not impact anybody else's thoughts and interpretations of the piece, so I don't say anything about it. ^^;
Reply
:iconjeysie:
Jeysie Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Not abstract (my creativity doesn't lend itself to abstract things)--obscure. As in, I tend to like things/characters nobody else has heard of. :XD:
Reply
:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
I understood what you said, I'm just trying to relate myself, as I do abstract and not obscure, although both are somewhat on the same plane... depending on how you see things.
Reply
:iconjeysie:
Jeysie Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Ah. Well, I can see not explaining if it's something abstract, as you'd want someone to interpret it themselves. Obscurity is just a lack of knowledge, though.
Reply
:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Hmm... Perhaps. :nod:
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:iconjeysie:
Jeysie Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Plus I usually want to pimp the obscure thing I'm excited about. :XD:
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:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
:lol:
Reply
:iconthefulkrum:
TheFulkrum Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2010
Comments and artist comments are very often overlooked and their importance under-rated, so this is a good piece here.

One excellent suggestion:

"If you want specific feedback, ask a question"
I'm going to try that. Simple enough.

Thank you for this. :)
Reply
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