3rd Thursday Rules ???

  • SVS OG

    I don't really want to spend more words on ranking when an awful lot has been said already, but I will say this:

    Our instructors are all successful professional illustrators with limited time. That they choose to spend some of it on things like 3rd Thursday which is free, to help us up-n-coming artists, we should be grateful for.

    So, we need to make sure they spend their time efficiently. I don't think ranking everyone is a good use of their time. It might give you a place in the pecking order, but it doesn't tell you the most important thing - what should you do to improve? That is the million dollar question which most artists need a fresh eye to help them with.

    Art is a messy, subjective, personal thing. Sure, you can choose winners and assign people into rough groups of best, better and needs improvement. But grading it is not like grading a physics paper - it's a subjective choice with different opinions each time you ask someone.

    Whereas critiques are really useful to receive, and to watch others' works get critiqued - because you can see what is being suggested and how you can apply that to your own work. I never realised how useful they were until I joined SVS.

  • I'll address the idea of ranking all of the images. While I understand the merits of knowing exactly where you stand after being ranked - there are several problems with this as I see it. 1) The people at the bottom are going to feel like they got kicked in the teeth...really hard. 2) There's no way to get it right but it would send a message that we think we're right and that's dangerous to the person who might make life decisions based on our assessment. I've actually had someone drop out of illustration based on my first critique of their work on the first assignment in my Uni class. The person showed great promise but took my assessment the wrong way. 3) We just don't have the time. Trying to balance the SVS workload along with freelance, social media, personal work, youtube, speaking engagements, and shows is hard enough.

    But to be clear it's not a bad idea - one could gain a lot of information with a loose ranking system - there's a lot of merit in the idea itself.

  • I was not going to weigh in on the ranking idea but as someone who had been in the bottom half every month until last month I will say that it would have been devastating for me to find out if I was the lowest in the group. It was helpful to me to know that I was not alone and that I should work harder to get better. As a former teacher I always hated to give grades because it should be just about improvement and gaining knowledge and not where you rank with others!

  • SVS OG

    @Thrace-Shirley-Mears i agree with this! If i were ranked last, i would snap all of my pencils and sell all of my digital stuff! It would crush me and i would probably quit making art of any kind

  • @Lynn-Larson said:

    @Thrace-Shirley-Mears i agree with this! If i were ranked last, i would snap all of my pencils and sell all of my digital stuff! It would crush me and i would probably quit making art of any kind

    Oh you artsy-fartsy types...so dramatic.

    Then again, I'd probably do the same....

  • SVS OG

    I'd also like to endorse @Lee-White's solution above. Before that was all posted, my thoughts on 3rd Thursdays were as follows:

    Previous winners - I think it should be open to everyone, every month. I wouldn't want to "win" because the best artists have all been taken out of contention. I'd like to see what the best artists would do...even if there's less chance of winning, I can learn from them. And, it's not as much fun "competing" when you're ineligible...it feels like maybe you shouldn't take part. But I want to because it's fun, and interesting doing the same prompt next to other artists.

    Each month is different and there are so many good artists, good ideas here anyway I don't think you need to restrict it artificially - people have up months and down months, too-busy months and don't-connect-with-the-prompt months...

    I think Lee's suggestion solves this, but I'm letting my thoughts out anyway.

    I like 3rd Thursday because it's fun, I love the prompt and the competitive side of things..you need a bit of that I think because it mirrors what things are like out there in the real world.

    So yeah, one winner + honourable mentions sound good to me.

    I also like the idea of choosing pieces to critique based on critiquability/interest to the whole class...because the best pieces aren't always the most interesting critiques. They might overlap but not always... Plus it's great to help people on the edge of levelling up - if just a few suggestions can make a huge difference that's satisfying for everyone. And it ensures that anyone in the group can get a critique....which I think will keep everyone motivated to keep entering.

  • @mattramsey

    To say that the instructors are doing this for free is a bit naive, and not accurate. While I certainly believe that they enjoy giving back to the illustration community, and applaud them for it, 3rd Thursday is, at its heart, a marketing methodology for the SVS business. It is a mechanism for growing interest, and revenue, in the endeavor. And, I think it's a good one. When I have more time, I'm certainly going to subscribe and begin working through the courses. The monthly contest has me interested in doing that. You betcha. But, this is not a black-and-white benevolent donation of time on their part. I don't think you really believe that. Professional illustrators spend what, 30-40 hours on a single illustration to make it great? Sometimes more? Hence, to make something else similarly great, it takes the investment of time.


    I'm absolutely shocked that anyone would be this overly-sensitive when asking for honest feedback. It would really devastate you to see your name at the bottom of the list? Wouldn't it motivate you to do better? See, for me, it would only make me want to work harder. I was once an elementary school teacher myself. Never had a problem giving out grades. Students need to learn that in life, not everyone can win at everything. I deplore watching school sports competitions in which all the kids are given trophies, even if they lose. It demeans the achievement of the winners, and mistakenly teaches the losers that there's always a consolation prize in life. Not so.

    Okay, so you don't want to see your name on a ranked list. How about you don't look? Or, request that your name be kept off? Or, the list doesn't need to be public. The contestants could be simply notified of their rank privately. That would avoid all arguments too.

    Of course, in the end, I can see that there are many people who dislike my suggestion. As such, I humbly withdraw it from consideration 🙂

  • I like the new plan. You know I have been doing this just to improve and get a chance to be critiqued because deep down inside we are not secure about our work that why we are here. I really don't care about ranking, however I am going to do this till I hit my goal. Cross my fingers for the new plan!

  • @Pixby 3rd Thursday is a marketing tool for us - but it's a fun one for us as well. If we thought that spending the extra time to rank each person would have a net benefit for the majority of participants we would spend that extra time. My fear is that it would implode 3rd Thursday. We're all on different paths and at different stages on our paths. The further along one makes it - the tougher the skin and desire for more and more honesty in critiques. Many of our participants just aren't ready for that kind of honest reality yet. When we offer paid critiques we have a conversation with the artist and sometimes they request more feedback - more honesty - and with that invitation we're more confident in giving a higher dose of reality.

    Art is a tricky thing because we're pouring out our soul in visual form. Nothing hurts more than when you feel like people don't appreciate who you are.

    Like I had stated before - there would be merit in a ranking system for many - mostly the people not at the bottom..."well at least I'm not as bad as__________" ...but __________ will probably put away the pencils and never return. I've seen it happen too many times in my years of teaching.

    I myself was quite fragile in my early college years and thought of quitting a few times - I wonder if I would have if the teacher ranked all of us in the class? But on the flip side I probably improved the most when my feelings were hurt by brutal honesty...and I didn't quit.

    Thank you for the suggestion Pixby - there are no bad suggestions and like I mentioned before we're all trying to figure out what will help the most amount of people and we don't have all the answers...

  • @Will-Terry Your anecdotal experience in your role as an instructor of artists is certainly a immensely valuable viewpoint--especially when you have personally dealt with seeing people actually give up after receiving what, from your side, seemed to be benign, constructive feedback. I suppose in every field, or walk of life, there are people of widely-varying psychological dispositions. Some more thick-skinned, others much closer to paper-thin. I can see why it's necessary to consider everyone as they are, rather than asking them all to be something they are not. Nonetheless, thanks so much for giving my idea some thought. I really appreciate it 🙂

  • @Lee-White said:

    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.

    I didn't read every entry in this thread, however this seems like a very good system to improve the 3rd Thursday contest! But whatever you guys choose as new rules, this competition is an absolutely wonderful learning opportunity for us, and the important thing is that it stays alive!

    Thanks! And Happy 2016 to everyone!

  • I like the new direction Will and Lee are proposing.

    I personally don't see overall community value in the ranking system for a variety of reasons mentioned above. I think we are all on our own path and pace and art is really subjective.

    My 12 year old daughter sometimes feels she can't draw as well as she wants to and a lot of this has to do with experience and skill set she hasn't developed yet. One thing she found on her own that helped her was to take some great artist she liked and look at their past work when they were around her age and it helped her feel more confident at where she was at because she could see the growth. So instead of comparing herself to some people her own age she has certainly surpassed or comparing herself to those who have perfected their craft she is looking more realistically at her potential growth. Something I think most of us are striving for here and to encourage others along their path. While it is a competition I considered it to be a more supportive one vs what you would see more in the professional world.

  • I love Lee's idea of a paid portfolio critique class, I would really love to have my entire portfolio critiqued as a whole rather than just one image. If this was offered I would definitely sign up.

Log in to reply