Why do we bother? Or more importantly, why dont we bother?
This guide explores the thoughts that we may have, the excuses we make, and, hopefully, a few thoughts to encourage you to comment, not just with a few words and that's it, but to really give a fellow artist a constructive comment that they deserve... that we deserve.
What is mentioned below is by no means accurate or complete and it does not apply to everyone. It was written by ProjectComment as a Group, by deviants, for deviants and we sincerely hope you enjoy reading this.
A massive thank you to annajordanart, catadescour, katdesignstudio, Jenniej92 and xblackxbloodxcellx who all contributed in the making of this guide. Their efforts are much appreciated and they really deserve more recognition.
Many of us do not have the time to constructively comment on deviations, even though we want to. As a consequence, we and run, we write a couple of words, or something else that takes less than a minute to do.
Is that it? Are our pieces reduced to only something that is worthy of one minute of a person's time?
How many of us browse the galleries, on deviantART, clicking on random deviations? How many of us see so many deviations that have next to no comments, or comments that only contain a few words?
One could argue that it is their own fault for not being more active and supporting other artists. Surely if they were more active, they would receive more comments, and that... that is true to some extent. Regardless, it should never stop us from commenting and giving people feedback on their pieces. The majority of us are artists, striving for the same goal, so why not help someone in the same position as you as us?
If you don't have time to comment, that's fair enough, but for those that have the time, why not?
"Commenting on other people's work is a great way to expand your own knowledge of different variations of art. It's also a key factor to an art community - conversing and interacting with other artists creates the 'studio environment' that many artists work to in their jobs.
Commenting also shows a bit of your personality, or even that you are an open person. If you leave comments on people's work they are more than likely to leave comments back - its like an ice breaker." ~ annajordanart
"Commenting helps you not only to give your opinion or viewpoint, it also lets you receive feedback on whether you understood a piece of art correctly. Moreover, you can learn from other cultures and become more open-minded." ~ catadescour
"There is always a point to sharing your thoughts on a piece, even if only to exercise your observational skills. DeviantArt is a community site and you should feel comfortable giving feedback." ~ katdesignstudio
Fear is a factor that prevents some of us from commenting when it shouldn't: "I think most people are a bit afraid to give a deep comment, or just don't know what to say, or are afraid the receiver will be mad." ~ Jenniej92
Have you asked yourself, "What is the worst that could happen?"
You might get flamed/trolled/etc., but you are not forced to reply and you are not forced to see or read the comment. If the comment bothers you, delete it, never look back and move on. Your self-esteem/confidence/ego may plummet a bit from the encounter, but you have only conversed with one artist. Not all artists are the same and there are many out there who would appreciate any feedback at all, which leads us to...
...the excuses we make.
My comment won't make a difference and won't do much, anyway, because there are already loads of comments and it's quite obvious the artist doesn't need their ego stoked any more. Thus, any comments made means nothing, and there is no point.
Although there could be many comments, really look at them and see how many just contain a few sentences. Are all of the comments constructive? If not, your comment still has a chance of impacting the artist, especially if your comment is in-depth. If your thoughts are parallel to those that are already said, then there really is no point in reiterating it, but many artists still like to receive feedback, no matter how many comments they have.
"Even if you point some "weak spots" out, but you're kind, the artist will surely make use of your comment and will appreciate your honesty." ~ xblackxbloodxcellx
Generally, though, "Artists appreciate and thrive on any and all feedback on a piece. It is doubtful that the artist would leave the comments option "on" if they didnt seek feedback. " ~ katdesignstudio
katdesignstudio goes on to say, "Pretend the artist and the "already knows their piece is amazing" feeling doesnt exist. Just look at the piece for what it is. This is kind of a reverse Zen technique where instead of being acutely aware or oversensitive at the loads of comments, we are only looking at the art piece for what it is. Then write the comment, look at it objectively to ensure it is balanced for critical and constructive criticism, and post it."
The deviation is not inspiring, does not interest people, people cannot connect, etc.
If you find a piece such as this, what more of a better reason than to comment? You can suggest improvements to be made, give general feedback or anything else to help them progress as an artist. The critique template with sections such as, 'Vision', 'Originality', 'Technique' and 'Impact' can greatly aid in the making of this comment.
"Art is individually experienced and should not immediately be dismissed as 'uninspiring'. While there may be design reasons for it to not be emotionally compelling, just look at the piece objectively." ~ katdesignstudio
The medium of the piece is unfamiliar and I don't know what to say, because I am out of my comfort zone and depth.
You don't have to have specific knowledge of the medium to convey what you feel, think and see. Some artists are fine with just having feedback, any sort of feedback. Our guide How to Comment - Pointers and Examples lists all the things you could mention (General Pointers for All Categories) that can apply to every art out there.
"If youre really stumped, at least write about what you feel from seeing the art. All art evokes a feeling all humans experience art at very least on an emotive level." ~ katdesignstudio
I cant actually think of anything constructive so no comment is better than a non-constructive comment.
xblackxbloodxcellx has pretty much summed it up brilliantly:
"Take a deep breath and look at the piece again. Name three (or more) things you like most and try to think why you like them. Write them down. Then try to look for a couple of things you don't really fancy and again, think why they don't attract you this much. Write them down. And you've got a decent comment!"
Some people believe that if they have nothing worthy to say, then they shouldn't say it. This does not apply to everyone. Although you may feel like that yourself, try and empathise with the artist and think how they will feel. You may be pleasantly surprised that people may want a non-constructive comment.
If a comment is made, it makes me sound like a douche, people bite my head off, its not appreciated, people will call me names, etc.
If your comment is not disrespectful, rude or 'flame-worthy' matieral, then the majority of people will only be like that if a, they are trolls (in which case, stay away from them or if that is too late, delete the reply and move on), b, the comment you type is destructive (particularly focusing on tone, content and phrasing) or c, it's neither the above, in which case, it's best not to pay attention and take what they say to heart.
"Besides, there's a saying in my country, "nunca quedas mal con nadie", which refers to those people who avoid saying anything because they don't want to get in trouble with anybody." ~ catadescour
Is that what everybody should do every single time they get a negative reply? Should we skulk around in silence, scared that the same things will happen again?
NO! Take a stand, respect the artist for the path they have chosen (even if they don't respect you), and keep on believing that not everyone is the same. Try and comment on 10 random pieces and see if the replies you get are all negative. If you get one negative out of nine positive, doesn't that prove something?
"If you're kind writing the comment, it's highly predictable that the artist will be at least as kind as you were." ~ xblackxbloodxcellx
When the artist doesnt reply to the comments, it could suggest that they dont appreciate it, cant be bothered etc.
The majority of artists have a reason for not replying to comments, don't take it personally. It doesn't mean that they don't appreciate every single one, though, and it doesn't mean they won't be read. Sometimes, time can be a major factor, as our lives outside dA are more important, the artist wants to save the comments in their message centre because they feel the comments are helpful, or they just don't want to reply and thank everyone generically.
The comment won't be read
That really is not possible unless the artist just deletes your comment from their message centre without even looking, and if they do that, why enable comments in the first place? The fact that a comment won't be read and that a comment won't be replied to are two separate things.
"Its also really tough to tell another persons message reading habits if you are not the other person. Just have confidence! If youve left a comment, your objective at giving constructive feedback has been fulfilled, and you should be proud that you have participated in a group effort to make DeviantArt a more enriching place." ~ katdesignstudio
The fact that all there is in the Artists Comments is ' '
Some people feel that they shouldn't need to explain their piece, that it is all there up for your interpretation. Some people speak a different language and cannot portray what they want. Some people are in a hurry, or just don't want to distort your perception in any way so that you give your genuine impression.
Either way, it shouldn't deter you. It doesn't necessarily mean that you won't receive a reply. If a piece is beautiful and has "..." in the Artist's Comments, would it put you off from commenting more than a piece that is not quite so beautiful? Regardless of their skill, pieces shouldn't be judged in a way that one piece receives a comment over another that doesn't.
I comment, comment and comment, but I receive nothing. Whats the point? Why should I bother?
Selflessness, and the want to spread the love, to inspire other people to comment. It sucks when you do so much for other people and yet you receive nothing in return, but... look deeper. Do the people thank you for what you have done? Do they hug and smile at you? If yes, then that is its own reward.
Not only that, but keep hold on to the belief that what goes around, comes around.
Continue to be active, support other artists for just the support and the act of giving, and it will be reciprocated sooner or later.
Hopefully this guide has given you a few things to think about. There are a lot of deviations out there with barely any comments, and deviantART is such a massive place, surely we should help as much as we can?
The most important thing to think about is to comment because you want to comment, to spread the love, to inspire others to do the same, or anything else that is selfless, not selfish. Set yourself a target to constructively comment on one deviation every day, or to comment on a deviation that has no comments at all.
Most of all, though, comment for art's sake.
Guides by ProjectComment
A Guide to Commenting
5 Tips to Maintaining and Gaining Watchers
An Observation of deviantART
How to Comment - Pointers and Examples
How to Write an Artist's (or Author's) Comments
A Guide on (Offending) Comments
An extraordinary group you should check out
"We all know of deviants who need help from time to time. Sometimes it is in a monetary fashion - Like donations for causes, paying for a bill here and there or something else.
Other times it is a simple hug, a friendly hello, a newbie who needs a guide or the promoting of an event.
And who doesn't know of someone offering or looking for commissions?
Need advice on your work? A critique perhaps?
This is what Project-Pay-Forward aims to do: Help those in need, however possible. We all have our talents, and we all have things we would like help with. This project hopes to bring together the two and get things done."
Thank you for reading.
3wyl, posting on behalf of ProjectComment