In lue of the message board Julia created back in September (about NMG having a popularity/heirarchy issue where people feel unnoticed) I wanted to do something about it. While this is very common problem throughout all social media platforms, NMG is just small enough where we can band together and make a difference. Therefore I’m starting this “project” if you will to make the initiative to comment on fellow NMGer’s drawings (and other creations of course! But since art is my main focus, that’s what I’ll be honing in on). Now it’s one thing to say “I’m going to comment on people’s art more”, but it’s another to actually do it- just like with any goal/aspiration. Not to mention, how do you write a meaningful, geniune comment to make someone feel noticed? There’s not inherently a perfecy way to do it, as everyone is different on what comments they prefer to recieve, but these are some guidelines I’ve gathered from my personal experience as a content creator :)
-Find something specific about the peice that you like. When you simply comment a single, broad adjective like “Cool!” or “Awesome!” on someone’s drawing, it may not come off very thoughtful and feel as though you didn’t really look at the peice (even if you did). So instead or in addition to, be specific with what makes this peice “cool” or “awesome”. Is it the color choices? (“I really like the colors you used!”) The anatomy overall or a specific part? (“I love how you draw eyes/the anatomy is really solid!”) The expression or overall mood of the drawing? (“You really nailed ____ expression on this character’s face/I love how well you conveyed the _____ mood of this drawing!”) Etc etc. You don’t have to say much (though the more the merrier!), but this lets the recipient know you looked at their artwork and helps them feel acknowledged :D
You can also comment on the character(s)’s design(s) if you like them, but keep in mind this doesn’t have the same affect if the artist drew a canon charcter/a character not owned by them, as they didn’t create the design. By all means you can still say you like it, just be sure to add what else you like about the drawing. If you’re not sure if the character is the artist’s OC/original design or not, then possibly refrain from commenting on that aspect or simply make sure you compliment other parts of the drawing as well :)
-Avoid putting yourself down to compliment the artist. Saying things like “I could never draw something like this” or “You’re a way better artist than me” doesn’t do you or the recipient any favors. Not only are you putting yourself down, but now the artist may feel bad that they caused you to feel bad about your own work. We artists want to inspire people, not crush each other’s self esteem (I go more into detail about being positive about your own work here). If you mention anything about yourself when commenting, I’d make it something like “Man hands are really hard for me, but you inspired me to get better at them!” or “Wow, this is really cool! Now I’m inspired to draw something like this.” It’s way more motivating for the artist (and for you!) to keep drawing when they know they’re inspiring people with their work.
-Be careful when giving cronstructive criticism. Good rule of thumb is simply don't give it when it isn't asked for. If someone asks for it, by all means give them some advice/suggestions to improve! But if they don't say anything, be cautious and probably don't give any or too much. You don't know what they're going through outside of NMG, for all we know they could be getting plenty of feedback and critique from teachers or the like that they just want to post art here for fun and not for improvement. Sometimes we just want a space to post fun stuff and be encouraged when we're being critiqued everywhere else, ya know? :'D So it's a very case by case basis.
-Schedule a time to comment on people’s art. Like I said earlier, its one thing to say you’re going to do something and another to actually do it. Commenting doesn’t have to take too much out of your day and its up to you how much you have to spend. You do not by all means have to comment on every single person's artwork. If you can, fantastic! But if that becomes too stressful for you, then just commenting on a few peices can make a difference. Or even just one! The idea is if we can all pitch in at least a little bit, we'll make a bigger difference put together :D You can just take 10-30 minutes every day to comment on people’s work (which gets easier the less you have to comment on if you do it regularly) or comment on 3-5 peices of art per day or certain days, whatever works! Just be sure you set a reminder/write it in your planner so it doesn’t just become a good intention never acted on. I know we're all busy, even just commenting on one person's art a day can make a difference :)
-Another thing you can do is, if you’re also an artist, comment on people’s work before posting your own. It’s up to you if you comment on 1 or 5 peices of work beforehand, but this tactic may give you more incentive to comment. Almost like a reward system, that once you acknowledge other people’s creations, then you can post your own.
A good rule of thumb in general is if you ever feel unacknowledged, unnoticed, or unpopular; give to others. What I mean by this is take that sadness/loneliness and turn it into action. Do you want your work to get more comments? Go comment on other’s work that also is unnoticed. Want more likes? Like more people’s stuff. Go support people as you want to be supported, and eventually that support will come back to you :’D Be the change you want to see in the world, ya know? The only person’s actions we can control is our own, so any change has to start with us. Plus, it just feels really good to give and help others! And remember that your work is not defined by how others percieve it nor by how many likes or comments you have. It doesn't mean your stuff is bad, it may be that most people just don't like the style or theme of what you made and that's ok! Love what you create and people will eventually come around and love that thing with you.
So with that out of the way, let’s go encourage each other and build the community we want to be!! ONWARDS TO THE ART SECTION!