If you create anything, you will have critics

Cartoon of a joyful guy with a bust of a stern looking man. The caption says, "Though Jack excelled at gelatin sculpting, he had his critics."

This cartoon is a nod to “Throwback Thursdays.” I drew it many years ago. It reminds me of when I drew a portrait of my grandmother. She was a sweet soul that worked hard her entire life. She had many wrinkles from working in the sun. I thought they were beautiful and interesting.

One Christmas, she got me a nice set of art supplies. I thought the perfect way to thank her and show I was making progress was to draw a portrait of her. But she did not want me to draw her wrinkles! I did anyway because I wanted to draw what I saw. Grandma was not impressed. Alas, my first patron of my artistic endeavors also became my first critic. She encouraged me to keep drawing, but leave out the wrinkles!

If you do anything creative, you will have critics. If you excel in a medium, people will be intimidated and not understand the direction you are going. If you do something no one else has done before, you will immediately be suspect. The two most common criticisms of anything creative is either, “It’s never been done before,” or “that’s been done so many times it’s a cliché.” Ironic, isn’t it?

Here are a few ways to handle criticism.

  • Glean constructive comments from the ones that aren’t helpful. If they can help take you to the next level in your craft, embrace them. It they are discouraging, toss them.
  • Look at your creations as sowing seed in a garden instead of your baby. Don’t put all of your focus on one piece of art. Be prolific and learn from each work your create.
  • Consider whether the critic is too close to the subject. My grandmother was sensitive about her wrinkles, which I found to be beautiful. My mother wisely explained to me why Grandma preferred a wrinkle-free portrait. It was a great lesson in learning to please your patron.

Author: Kevin Spear

I am a marketing professional with a design flair, based in Clayton, Ohio. I specialize in digital and content marketing that increases brand awareness for small businesses and nonprofits.