How do you deal with feedbacks/criticism that contradict each other?

  • From different people or even from the same person. And how do you decide which feedback/criticism to take on board?

  • SVS Instructor Pro

    Good question. Contradictory feedback can be at best confusing, and in some cases debilitating.
    But it highlights why it is so important to know what kind of feedback you are looking for. And even more important to communicate that to your potential critiquer.

    When someone (a student or peer) asks me "So, what do you think?" I always immediately ask "What are you trying to do?"

    Maybe you just want to know if a hand is drawn anatomically correct. Maybe you want to know if you've stylized the hand in a way that is consistent with the rest of the figure. Maybe you want to know if the pose of hand looks "excited" or "relaxed"

    My example above is of a fairly specific and limited drawing but you can imagine how much more complicated a critique becomes when you aren't just talking about a hand but of an entire scene, or even more so, an entire book.

    If you know what you are trying to accomplish with a particular piece (be it mastery of a technical skill, the communication of a narrative or to elicit an emotion), and you communicate that to your mentor, or critique group, or peer you are now in the position to cherry-pick the feedback that reinforces that intent. Any feedback that contradicts your intent you can politely thank them for and then politely ignore.

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