3rd Thursday Rules ???


  • SVS OG

    I don't think ranking everyone would keep in the spirit of learning SVS seems to be about. Will has mentioned in some of his talks that it's difficult to compare 2 completely different pieces of art from different artists like that. While it is a competition, keeping a pool of winners makes it less about direct comparison against every individual participant and more about aspiring to have your work recognized as a solid piece. To me, ranking would seem to fall more into the scarcity mindset rather than the abundance mindset.

    I do however, like the idea of purchasing critiques. I was just looking at Giuseppe Castellano's site, referred on the Stories Unbound podcast, and he offers portfolio critiques for a fee. Hadn't seen that before but it is nice that it makes him accessible to people that think it's worth paying for.



  • Personally, i feel like individually ranking every piece would be pretty tedious and I'm not sure what value it would have. Plus SVS would open itself to even MORE arguments as to why a particular piece was ranked higher than another.

    I do agree that if you could somehow expand the live critiques (which I believe are occasionally available for purchase on the main SVS site) that would be awesome! More frequently perhaps?

    Whether you decide to keep the once a year win as is or change it to something else I'm fine with it. I definitely can commiserate with those who feel like their piece could have/should have won but didn't (I've been there). I know what it's like to really yearn for a crit to at least let you know why yours wasn't chosen (yes, most times you can glean info from the other crits but not always). But I still think this system is not bad.

    Assuming that it will be impossible to critique every entry maybe a compromise would be to expand the number of crits by a couple? Again, I am only bringing this up because SVS is doing some soul searching but you could probably tune up some of the "down time" before and after the actual crits to save on overall time. That way you could squeeze more in. You could possibly do the regular number of in depth crits and then a handful of quick ones (these could be as simple as: "On piece X we felt there were form issues", or "the composition was not as strong as it could be--bring this figure to the foreground and simplify the rest", etc.)


  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    Hi guys,

    I love hearing your thoughts on this topic. Ultimately though, I feel like the real issue is that people want their work talked about. This leaves the people who get their stuff talked about feeling happy, and the people who didn't get the crit, feel like they got a raw deal because we picked the wrong ones.

    I'm definitely open to the changes, but some people will always feel like we left them out unfairly. It's the nature of art contests. I am going to suggest that we crit 5 pieces that we feel have issues that could help everyone, and then just pick one winner overall per month and that's it.

    The road we are on keeps adding more and more administration and people to the crit and it seems it's just to get more people mentioned in the crit. The quick crit is a good idea, until you get a student who works on a piece for 50 hours and then gets a crit like "I didn't like the composition". Easy way to make people very mad! Of course, not being mentioned after putting in a bunch of time stings too, so I'm not sure what to do here. Maybe take the competition part out of it entirely?

    I'm a HUGE fan of the paid portfolio critique. That way it's just one on one (or a few instructors perhaps) and we can really get down to business. Another option is an assignment based topic and for a small fee everyone gets critiqued. Only people who paid would have their work looked at. So maybe a "free" contest like we have been doing. And a "fee" version capped at 10-12 people who definitely get feedback. Not sure how often we could run these, but we could make it happen if everyone wanted that kind of thing.

    Again, thanks for the feedback. I'd love to hear more about what you guys think.



  • @natiwata said:

    I don't think ranking everyone would keep in the spirit of learning SVS seems to be about>

    How so? I don't see how ranking an open competition goes against any of the "spirit" of site at all. SVS has a competition. So, a competitive spirit seems to be in direct alignment with said spirit.

    Will has mentioned in some of his talks that it's difficult to compare 2 completely different pieces of art from different artists like that>

    It may be difficult, but that's exactly what's happening.

    While it is a competition, keeping a pool of winners makes it less about direct comparison against every individual participant and more about aspiring to have your work recognized as a solid piece. To me, ranking would seem to fall more into the scarcity mindset rather than the abundance mindset.>

    I'm sorry, but this is just semantics. In order to choose a pool of winners, direct comparison is necessary and unavoidable. It's impossible to choose winners without it, by definition.

    I would welcome my work to be compared against another and for someone to say, "Here's why this work is fundamentally better." Not that my suggestion of ranking would make that happen. A simple ranking doesn't promote direct comparison any more than only announcing the winners does.Those who do not win, will still compare to those who do. It's inescapable.

    I do however, like the idea of purchasing critiques. I was just looking at Giuseppe Castellano's site, referred on the Stories Unbound podcast, and he offers portfolio critiques for a fee. Hadn't seen that before but it is nice that it makes him accessible to people that think it's worth paying for.



  • @mattramsey said:

    Personally, i feel like individually ranking every piece would be pretty tedious>

    I don't see how. Simply set them out and arrange them visually in order, from excellent to needs improvement.

    and I'm not sure what value it would have.>

    It would allow everyone to work toward achieving a goal with each contest, rather than merely win/lose. Moving up a rank gives everyone a score, regardless of outcome. That would be valuable to me.

    Plus SVS would open itself to even MORE arguments as to why a particular piece was ranked higher than another.

    Is there a problem with debate, or argumentativeness? I've never understood why there are some people who do not welcome it. I'm sure there are many criteria that are looked at in terms of figuring why one illustration is stronger than another. While I don't think an explanation would need to be given necessarily, it wouldn't be that difficult to provide, I'm sure, if desired. "This piece better fit the prompt." or "That piece's composition was superior." Fairly simple. Whether the SVS instructors realize it or not, they are likely following an unwritten "visual grading rubric" in their mind's eye, to assess each piece, over another, regardless.



  • @Lee-White said:

    The quick crit is a good idea, until you get a student who works on a piece for 50 hours and then gets a crit like "I didn't like the composition". Easy way to make people very mad! Of course, not being mentioned after putting in a bunch of time stings too, so I'm not sure what to do here.

    That was my major concern. I had to go off of what I would have wanted on one of mine that didn't get a crit. I realize that everyone is different but I found myself "desperately" wanting even just a hint of what held it back.

    But I agree with you and am not sure what the solution is--again, given the fact that it wouldn't be feasible to thoroughly crit each and every piece.



  • @Pixby said:

    @mattramsey said:

    Personally, i feel like individually ranking every piece would be pretty tedious>

    I don't see how. Simply set them out and arrange them visually in order, from excellent to needs improvement.

    and I'm not sure what value it would have.>

    It would allow everyone to work toward achieving a goal with each contest, rather than merely win/lose. Moving up a rank gives everyone a score, regardless of outcome. That would be valuable to me.

    Plus SVS would open itself to even MORE arguments as to why a particular piece was ranked higher than another.

    Is there a problem with debate, or argumentativeness? I've never understood why there are some people who do not welcome it. I'm sure there are many criteria that are looked at in terms of figuring why one illustration is stronger than another. While I don't think an explanation would need to be given necessarily, it wouldn't be that difficult to provide, I'm sure, if desired. "This piece better fit the prompt." or "That piece's composition was superior." Fairly simple. Whether the SVS instructors realize it or not, they are likely following an unwritten "visual grading rubric" in their mind's eye, to assess each piece, over another, regardless.

    I think it might be interesting for you to, just for fun, do a rank order of Decembers contestants. Don't worry if you are not a professional artist--just base everyone off of your personal feelings. I'm not trying to be in anyway sarcastic or jerky but I think you'll find that the top 5 to 10 might be "easy" for you (again, just based off of which ones you like) and maybe there are some clearly inferior pieces at the bottom, but as you get further and further toward the middle how do you rank #16, 17, 18? Why is, qualitatively speaking, #23 not #25?

    The process would be tedious. How much time should the (2-3) judges put into it? There would certainly be disagreements in rankings, they would have to most likely go back and forth on who to put in 14th versus 15th versus 16th and so on and so forth. And it's like: are we REALLY spending this much time on who is middle of the pack?*

    As far a value: If I am #32 out of #45 what does that, as an artist, tell me? What is the value? A couple of things: 1st is that I obviously need improvement and 2nd is that I'm not the worst. But I could get that info with the current system. If I'm not selected as a winner was I selected in the top half? If yes, then I need improvement but I'm close. If no, then I need a lot of improvement. Am I the "worst"? Well THAT I wouldn't know with the current system but do I REALLY want to know that?

    How does the last ranked person feel? "Wow, I'm LITERALLY the worst." But is that person REALLY the worst? Maybe he/she should have been ranked a couple higher than he/she was.

    .
    Here is the problem with debate and arguments: they can quickly engender strife and resentment. Now, debate and arguments will always go with critiques and I, for one, welcome them--to a point.

    Perhaps I am wrong but my strong sense is that a ranking system will take the already sometimes precariousness of crits/debate/and this online community (we are dealing with ARTISTS here after all--artists who have put hours and hours of work into their pieces) and blow it up. I can see it going to a really dark place--OR--people not really caring about anything past rank #10 (or so) which would somewhat negate the whole ranking system anyway and would be a giant waste of time for the judges.

    All that said, I welcome your arguments to my arguments. 🙂

    *As the judges know, if they DON'T spend the requisite time and have a GOOD REASON that #15 is not #14 they WILL hear about it on the forum. People will not be happy with: "Well it was past lunch time and we had to wrap it up so we just figured whatever..."


  • SVS OG

    I really like the idea of doing 5 critiques and one winner. That would definitely be motivation for working harder! I still like top half (yes, i like that one best) but i do like seeing all of the entries.

    I think part of the problem is you guys pick the 5 best to critique. How many times have you guys said "I don't know what to do to improve it" over the last few? Maybe give the top 5 the quick critique, and pick some lower ones to give a more thorough going over? I think we may get more from something that needs a composition reconstruction vs the little details.

    And yes, there are times i want to scream "what did i miss??!?!" ...like all of them.


  • SVS OG

    I think we're all spending too much time debating 1 person's suggestion instead of the focusing on what Will was asking. The whole ranking system was totally fine to suggest, but it didn't come from Will, and perhaps it would be beneficial to wait for him to weigh in on it before anyone gets too worked up...



  • I agree totally with @Lee-White and @Will-Terry. It is hard to keep everyone satisfied. The thing I like the most here is that everyone gets the same chances, good critiques and reviews. People are nor rated for the the best ever, but for the best they can give, and by this system, there's encouragement to grow in their work, whatever stage their in. With some adjusted rules, it maybe is more satisfying for everyone that enters the competition. Now then, I wish you all a VERY HAPPY, CREATIVE NEW YEAR! Together, lets make this '2016 thing' rock!



  • I really don't think the system needs a complete overhaul. Maybe the frequency of having an opportunity to be critiqued should be looked at, but that's really it. Maybe it is something as simple as not being able to be critiqued in consecutive months. We all have to remember that this competition is free and the SVS staff has limited time outside their paying gigs.


  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    Will and I discussed the possibility of this system:

    1. There is only one winner that is declared each month. We will crit that one lightly, but only one will win to keep things simple and easy.

    2. We will show the honorable mentions as well. People whose work was almost there, but for whatever reason didn't get the win.

    3. Each judge will crit two pieces of their choosing. These aren't "winners" nor are they the worst either. They are just images that we think we can improve that would be good value to the community.

    4. ALL work will be shown in the forum and perhaps on the website. You guys all work hard and we want to showcase it in a better way.



  • @Lee-White Perfect answer!!


  • SVS OG

    @Lee-White I like it!! I think it is an excellent plan!

    You guys are so great to take time to do this for us, so hopefully everyone will get the most out of it 🙂



  • I really appreciate all the input from you guys - it makes it much easier for us to figure this thing out. In the end we want to - 1) Do the most good for the most amount of people. 2) Make the majority happy. If our new rules for 2016 aren't exactly what you had in mind please know that we're trying to accommodate a wide variety of abilities, ages, genders, and commitment levels - AND - we can still modify 3rd Thursday again if we don't get it right. Lee has taught for many years in a professional setting as have I and Jake and sometimes we choose what we feel is best for the up and coming artist rather than what they think they want...(and even then we second guess ourselves sometimes 🙂

    I'm really looking forward to 2016 3rd Thursday - it really is the highlight of the month for me!



  • @Will-Terry Me too!!



  • @mattramsey Even if the process of determining a ranking were tedious (Let's say, for the sake of argument, it was), and? They're doing it only once month. Is it something worth investing time in, or is it something to only do half-assed? If the goal is to have this little community take the competition seriously, then shouldn't the instructors, too, take it very seriously? I personally don't think it would be tedious at all for each instructor to rank all entries on a list subjectively, for the site admin to mathematically determine an averaged, final list, and for it to be entered on the site. It wouldn't be more than a couple hours work. But, again, even if it were greatly tedious, so what? It's a monthly task, and if they want it to be taken seriously, for it to be helpful, for it to be meaningful, then effort must be made on all sides to achieve that goal.

    As for your notion that, qualitatively speaking, why is #23 not #25... the judges must do this in their minds anyway. Sure, they're only picking a top 5, ultimately. Yet, they are still separating those out from the rest. Would it really be that difficult to look at two illustrations, and, based on whatever criteria they decide, choose one as better fitting the assignment? One cannot escape the need to compare entries within a competition in which entries are judged. It is an absolute, unavoidable, necessity.

    How does the last ranked person feel? Terrible, I'm sure. If/when that would happen to me, I would too. But, no one enters a competition with the notion that everyone is a winner no matter what. That's utterly absurd. People who enter a competition should understand, from the very nature of it, that there is a very good likelihood they will lose, because there can be only one, true winner. Second place is the first loser. People need to develop a thicker skin, especially considering they are actually asking to be criticized. Why should any fallout be tolerated, when that is the very nature of the event?

    So, do you want to improve? Ask for feedback and take what's coming from professionals who have superior skill to you currently. That's the purpose of this. And, whether it comes in the form of a live critique, or a ranking, that is what's happening. It's the same exact thing.

    People are going to feel bummed-out when they don't win, regardless as to if they are ranked or not. Right now, there is just a top and a bottom. But, if there is a ranking, at least the people in the middle can feel as if they are improving, if they are able to climb the rank. For this reason, I don't agree that a ranking would be arbitrary. Giving everyone a "score" based on set criteria is invaluable feedback. There is always truth in numbers. And, if not a ranking, how about simply grade each illustration on a scale of 1 to 10 and post that list? Then, there could be several people in each spot, from 1 to 10.

    The problem with arguments is that they "quickly engender strife and resentment?" Sure, if a person doesn't have the ability to set aside emotion and think rationally, I agree. But, I don't read your response and feel resentment. I don't disagree with you and feel angry. I carefully consider your points of view, ask myself if they change my mind, and if they do, great, if they don't, dismiss them and counter. I never feel bad about it. People need to learn to set aside emotion in conversations in which it simply does not belong. Emotion can be wrong. It can be based on incorrect information, incorrect perspective. There's no place in an intelligent debate for it.

    So, I don't think ranking results of a competition would "blow up" the community. Anyone who is so deathly afraid of having their feelings hurt, can simply not enter. But, for me, I look at the work of Will Terry and Jake Parker and Lee White and all the other instructors and say to myself, "Good God, their work is amazing! It is superior to anything I have ever done, I admire it, and I want to learn to be half as skilled as they are. And, when those who have superior work tell me what is wrong with mine, I am absolutely grateful for the criticism, never resentful in the slightest. They are helping me to become better at the craft I desire to become better at.

    Thus, if one of them says to me, "Look at this other contestant's entry, it's better than yours," I would try to learn from that.

    Finally, as for the judges hearing about it if someone feels his or her work was better than someone ranked above him or her, that's silly for anyone to complain about. People are asking for the subjective critique of the judges. They should therefore blindly accept it. Period.

    Bottom Line: If the instructors don't give everyone some kind of score or feedback, they are left wondering why they were not chosen above the others. Thus, the value of a ranking, or score, clearly has benefits that outweighs the alternative of not doing that. Those who truly want to improve would gladly trade happy feelings and uncertainty for numerical feedback. It's something tangible, and I like that.



  • @Pixby said:

    @mattramsey Even if the process of determining a ranking were tedious (Let's say, for the sake of argument, it was), and? They're doing it only once month. Is it something worth investing time in, or is it something to only do half-assed? If the goal is to have this little community take the competition seriously, then shouldn't the instructors, too, take it very seriously?

    I would say: they are already investing time in it. A lot of time. I would be surprised if it wasn't already, as the system now stands, many hours of work. Ranking all (in this case) 45 entries would add many more hours.

    As for your notion that, qualitatively speaking, why is #23 not #25... the judges must do this in their minds anyway. Sure, they're only picking a top 5, ultimately. Yet, they are still separating those out from the rest.

    I just don't think they are going through each one after the top few and ranking them. It's probably more like: these 3-4 are about the same and "better" than these 5 - 6, which are in turn better than these 3-4 and so on. But it might not even be THAT in depth. It might be that after the top strong ones they, as professionals, see the rest as all needing improvement (perhaps in different areas) equally

    How does the last ranked person feel? Terrible, I'm sure.

    Ok, I agree with you as far as: this is a contest, we aren't all going to be winners. I just really feel that there doesn't need to be a last place on something like this.

    And, if not a ranking, how about simply grade each illustration on a scale of 1 to 10 and post that list? Then, there could be several people in each spot, from 1 to 10.

    I like this idea. But, for me, it is trumped by my first concern: many more hours of work for the judges who are not only doing this for free, but they are also giving away valuable prizes (in addition to the crits).

    I get the sense that you are not afraid of some "back and forth"/arguments. I feel like that shows you have intelligence and good character. So I'm glad I'm not offending you.

    Finally, as for the judges hearing about it if someone feels his or her work was better than someone ranked above him or her, that's silly for anyone to complain about. People are asking for the subjective critique of the judges. They should therefore blindly accept it. Period.

    I just don't think that is how it's going to go down. People won't blindly accept a #11 ranking if they feel like they were better than whoever got #10 (especially if the judges say, as they do, "it's really hard to determine the winners and we may get things wrong from time to time"). Nor will number 32 accept they are not 31. And from listening to Will and the rest they are really not out to hurt anyone. They take seriously people's hurt feelings. Except for maybe @Jake-Parker because he's a stone cold...just kidding.

    I'm not saying they are coddling anyone. But if they can create a system where people get the most feedback possible with the least amount of headaches for everyone involved then that's the goal. I personally feel a complete ranking system is too fraught with difficulties.

    As has been pointed out by @seanwelty they are taking time away from paying gigs on this. This is completely free and for our benefit, not theirs (though I'm sure they get all kinds of warm fuzzies and extra karma points).

    All that said, I'm pretty psyched about the 4-point proposed change @Lee-White mentioned. That seems like a good start and as @Will-Terry said, they can always tweak things down the road.



  • Really I am down with whatever change that allows for my work to be critiqued every month. Call me selfish 😉 @Will-Terry or @Lee-White can you make that happen?


  • SVS OG

    @seanwelty Greedy 😛 i just want one!! To start anyhow lol


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