How do I critique submitted work?

3:16 AM, Wednesday July 21st 2021

I am currently in the 250 boxes challenge and am about to reach 200 boxes, which means that I'm going to have to submit my work eventually. I heard that I can critique the work of others to increase the likelihood of my work being critiqued, so that's what I'm going to do.

But I still want to know more about how to critique before I actually try to make one. I'm asking for things like:

  • How do I start a critique? Do I greet myself or get straight to the point How should I greet myself?

  • What should I critique from someone? Should I compliment them on something they have done right or should I only point flaws?

  • How should I know if they are ready to move on? Is there a certain way to know if they understand the lesson and prepared for the next one?

  • How should I end my critique? Other than move on to the next lesson or do these assignments. Should I say something supportive like "You got this! " or "You've gone very far, don't give up!"?

That's about it for my questions, I hope it's clear enough.

2 users agree
5:52 PM, Wednesday July 21st 2021

Hi, while I'm not an expert critic, I have critiqued a few submissions from lessons 1 - 3, let me try to answer these questions from my experience. Warning, long post ahead.

  • I usually just say hi. Sometimes I welcome them to drawabox if it's their lesson 1 submission, but really this is just a formality, jumping directly into the critique is also fine I think.

  • I like to go exercise by exercise in my critique. It's a bit blurry when it comes to the constructions, since they're technically individual exercises each while being a single exercise in general. My plan there is to focus on a few specific constructions that show the things I want to point out, while pointing out general trends or patterns over all the constructions. For the second question, note that telling someone that something they're doing should be kept is just as important as telling them something should be changed. I usually try to open with something that they are doing correctly, followed by the things that should be changed or could be improved. This is something I'm not particularly doing well when I started reviewing the constructions in lesson 3, but I think at that point just pointing out issues with the constructions, if there are quite a few, may be more effective.

  • So I've found that there are generally 4 outcomes when it comes to the results of an exercise (Note: See what the work belongs to based on the work itself, not what the student says):

    • The student is clearly demonstrating an understanding of the techniques and concepts of the exercise, and is applying them correctly.

    • The student is demonstrating an understanding of the techniques and concepts of the exercise, but has some trouble applying them. (For example: drawing through ellipses, but the ellipses are kind of wobbly. Putting down endpoints for lines, but the lines aren't reaching the points. Changing degrees of contour lines/ellipses along a form, but the degree change is not entirely consistent). NOTE: The examples above are meant for later lessons, I certainly do not expect them in lesson 1.

    • The student seems to understand the techniques and concepts of the exercise, but is so inconsistent in application that the times it's used correctly may just have been random chance, or the student is not reviewing the instructions of the exercise enough (usually only in longer exercises like constructions). I would say if I see the wrong approach (for example, not drawing through ellipses) more than once or twice in the exercise, or I see some mistakes in technique (like wobbly ellipses, hesitant lines), in a significant part (something like 30 - 40%) of the exercise, the work probably belongs in this category.

    • The student does not seem to understand the techniques and concepts of the exercise. The easiest way to see this is the student consistently not taking the correct approach (again, things that are not very technique related like drawing through ellipses), or some things that may be technique related such as arcing lines that could also be due to a wrong approach like drawing from the wrist (for this part I usually only consider it if it's a very large majority of the exercise, like 70 - 80%). This also applies to knowledge learned in previous exercises, for example, if I see scratchy marks in lesson 3 (something that was taught not to do in lesson 1), it likely belongs in this category as well.

In terms of assigning work, I believe the first two categories are good enough to move on. I would note the issues for work in the second category, but there is enough understanding and practice to move on. The last two categories are worth revisions. The third category I would ask for a page of the corresponding exercise, pointing out the issues. The last category I would probably ask to redo that section of the exercise again, again, pointing out the issues. For constructions in particular, since there's a lot of pages there, but perhaps not as much room to practice individual techniques, I would probably ask for 2 pages of constructions for the third category, and 3 - 4 pages for the fourth category. All of this involves a significant amount of discretion on my part though, so don't take these as hard rules, more like loose guidelines. Also, some exercises (texture exercises in lesson 2, rotated boxes and organic perspective in lesson 1) are not expected to be completed well. For these two, I would not assign revisions unless the student is not applying concepts and techniques from previous exercises (like not ghosting their lines in the rotated boxes).

  • Ending a critique is mostly a formality as well I think. I definitely try to end on a positive note, ranging from "This is fantastic, keep up the good work!" to "I know there's a lot of issues to work on here, but there's definitely a lot of good stuff here." Something like "Good luck on the next lesson!" if you feel they can move on is also something I usually do.

Hope this helps!

0 users agree
3:08 PM, Wednesday July 21st 2021

I've never critiqued any Submissions so maby take this with a grain of salt but here is what I think:

  • it's up to you if you want to greet yourself it's just formality. You can start of by congratulating them on their progress and say you are going to point out things that you think could be improved or are useful to know.

Personally, I think it's best to give the feedback in the order that the corresponding lesson has assigned it to, that makes it easier to follow along.

As an example if you critique lesson 1 you say what what you think about the supper imposed lines exercise first and than work your way down the list of assignments.

  • Next you should definitely point out what's good and what's bad, both are valuable in there own right and give insight on what to improve.

  • Unfortunately I don't know what a legitimate reason would be to suggest for someone to repeat a lesson, but as a rule of thumb it's best to just let them move on after you gave them the feedback as Uncomfortable say's it in lesson 0 on the topic of grinding.

  • lastly I think it's ok to give someone encouragement, I guess it's a formality again I wouldn't overthink it to much

I hope this helped, as a last tip you can look at other critiques (especially the official ones) for better reference

0 users agree
6:06 PM, Wednesday July 28th 2021

I have not critiqued anything myself but this link ( might help - it leads to critique guides for lessons 1 and 2.

0 users agree
1:21 PM, Wednesday August 18th 2021


So you would like make critics huh? You ask first: should I compliment on something they have done right or

point only flaws.

A good critic on my opinion always do both. Depend of the level of the homework submitted the quantity will vary.

A homework with a lot of mistakes (which prevent from passing to the next lesson) should take it time to point them but still contains compliment (pointing out what the student understood).

A homework with very few mistakes (which allows to pass) should still point them (but it won't be take

a long paragraph as they are few of them). The compliment amy be some suggestions for even better improvement.

The expressions "You got this! " or "You've gone very far, don't give up! can be used. They are polite.

Good luck in critic redaction!

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