Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Art & Fear of Crit Groups - by Diana Ting Delosh

Moi at 9 - © Diana Ting Delosh
I've always thought of art and story making as solo activities and just shown when you were ready. As a student, you created your art and brought it in for a crit once it was done. Back in my school days, some of the crits were quite savage and not always constructive. Thankfully, the overall experience of being among other creatives striving towards similar goals was very inspiring and empowering.

Dragon Picnic - © Diana Ting Delosh.
Isn't it better to be told your dragon has two left feet before you see the big art director or editor?
Finding my crit group took awhile. Personally, I found the large online groups of over 100 members too impersonal. The groups that met in person (and I've been in four of them over the years) fell apart over time due to conflicting schedules. Currently, I'm in a small crit group that meets online via Dropbox and e-mail. Seems to work well for our deadline filled lives.

Whispering - © Diana Ting Delosh
 I'm learning to trust the crit group process. Learning that all suggestions have merit. But it's up to me to implement them or not. At the very least they point to where I have a clarity issue. Validates what you feel and makes you realize you're not crazy.  Whenever possible, I now try and show my sketches/story drafts to my group with enough time to allow for me to digest their comments and do something about them before my portfolio review, submission, grant application, etc. This hasn't  been easy.
Cheetah Stretches - © Diana Ting Delosh
One of the side benefits of being in a crit group is the inspiration that comes from some friendly competition. How can you not be pushed and stretched to create better/more when your buds are making amazing awesome art and juggling crazy busy lives.

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