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Art Critiques: What is and isn't okay to say?

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Thank you all for your opinions so far! Every single one is massively helpful, even if I've realised I have way more to talk about than I first thought xD; Writing is a whole 'nother branch, after all, and I don't think you can slap the same general critique guideline that you can with, say, an actual picture. @Kiryu this is exactly the kind of response I was hoping for, admittedly! As someone who has now been on both sides of the coin (as art staff and now an active user experiencing changes I have no knowledge of) I have this kind of unique middle-ground where I can see both sides, and I do agree with you to a very close extent. You're very right that a big faceless company expecting to market to a paying audience should expect hard criticism (Sonic movie, much?), but it's a little more complicated with PFQ because the artists aren't...completely told what to do? What I mean by that is, okay they're told "We need to make some new mega pokemon", but then it's "well, what mega pokemon do you guys have ideas for/want to see?". In that sense I think it does become more personal and perhaps feels more like a personal attack in certain unnameable forums. EDIT: As an addition, that means if previous designs that we've worked on and posted personally before-Pokefarm fit in with whatever is being done (e.g. fakemon), it can be used. But it's been posted to more personal art sites before, do you know what I mean? It's a weird gray area. Then, the melans and albinos are different again - I felt like I could never contribute to the recolours personally because I could never quite get the rules consistency was held under. So is that less personal? The team still react quite strongly when outright negativity is received (to put it lightly) because they put an awful lot of time into each and every recolour, having to already re-do each one a bunch of times, and then be told "do it again!" is frustrating no doubt. I think, perhaps, there's also a point where users can be excessively nitpicky - I'm not saying all the time! Lots and lots of points are valid and that's why things keep getting changed with user feedback, but it definitely has come to the point that you kind of almost expect a snide comment with every sprite change, which does make motivation excessively hard - especially for a volunteer who didn't sign up wholly expecting this kind of reaction. (Though I think I speak for myself there, moreso than the newer-joined artists!) I'm not totally sure or saying my opinion is right or anything either, just opening another avenue of discussion and exploration. ;)
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QUOTE originally posted by Dusky Peculiar

Thank you all for your opinions so far! Every single one is massively helpful, even if I've realised I have way more to talk about than I first thought xD; Writing is a whole 'nother branch, after all, and I don't think you can slap the same general critique guideline that you can with, say, an actual picture.
The techniques you critique on may differ for a picture or a story, but some general rules will apply to both. Being respectful, not giving critique unless it's requested, give constructive feedback and don't bash the work, that all applies to both. Even sandwiching your critique can be done for both stories and art. Artists, just like writers, will want to read something positive at the end of the constructive feedback, because regardless what was created, reading through feedback can give the idea that your work wasn't good enough, even if the feedback started with 'I loved it!' Also something like 'This is not good, you should do it like this and this', that is the kind of feedback both artists and writers will not appreciate. Feedback is good, but don't force your own ideas on someone else's work.
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i dont really have much to add as i do mostly agree with what everyone has to say ^^ but i felt like i should add a couple things: 1. if an artist doesnt want any negative feedback what-so-ever then they should explicitly state that. I definitely understand why people do this, because sometimes i work my butt off on something and then the only comment i get is from a nitpicky person but then again, if i didnt want to risk hearing that, then it is my responsibility to clearly note that i'm not accepting criticism. 2. most people don't really know how to give "proper" criticism, or how to fix the problem. if you look at deviantart and find someone who has requested a critique, over half those people don't really know how to "score" the artwork. and in my opinion, that's not exactly their fault. to a certain extent, you do need a trained eye to be able to spot things that can be improved. for example: if someone has never seen a cat walking before, then they probably wont be able to spot what looks off in someone's animated cat walk cycle. it goes a lot deeper than just simple things like that, like if you dont paint at all then you probably wont be able to tell an artist how to fix their painting. or if you know nothing about colour theory, you may just not like a certain piece because it's not your favourite colours. but just because they dont have the same skill level as the artist doesnt mean that the critic is wrong. (of course there are a few exceptions, but this generally doesnt affect a critique) you can kinda see this a lot with the melan revamps. for a time period (mostly during the mega lookback) quite a few melans would have brown and yellow-green colour palettes. and some people were upset about this (me included sometimes lol rip) because certain colours remind people of certain things. but i really dont believe that all of the people who say "i dont like this melan because the colour palette reminds me of rotten bananas" are doing that to specifically insult the artist. and rather that they just don't know how to critique. that is their version of saying what the problem is. is it mean? in my opinion, no. is it helpful? that depends on too many things to state (this post is already getting long hhrg XD) my point though is that not every critique or negative feedback is "invalid", sometimes people are just nitpicking when theres no problem, but sometimes it's just people not knowing how to give a critique.
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Considering everyone responds to criticism differently, it really depends on the person. I've met people where more harsher and direct criticism helped them get better, while more harsher criticism made other people want to quit their work. But.. overall, I just think that it depends on what site you're on. I do think if you post publicly, that random criticism on a public website shouldn't be fussed over (there's a difference if you post your work casually and get criticism, or when you post your work, say you don't want criticism and get it anyways. The latter is just disrespectful). At the same time, if you receive criticism and don't like it, the biggest thing is to just say 'thank you' and ignore it. Everyone has different tastes and likes different things, so criticism that can help one individual may not be what is in mind for another person. I think this is already clarified, but being outright rude, saying things like "your art sucks" or "my pet rock could draw much better than that" should never be accepted as criticism. There are also people that disguise their destructive criticism as constructive criticism (I can't think of an example right now). There are also people who say that their outright insults are constructive criticism, which.. should just be ignored.
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