How to Critique Art

Critique is a fundamental part of the artistic process, providing artists an opportunity to get a fresh pair of eyes on their artwork. This video explains concrete, practical strategies that both art teachers and art students can apply to group critiques in the classroom. Discussion led by Art Prof Clara Lieu and Teaching Artists Cat Huang, Lauryn Welch, and Casey Roonan.

Video Walkthrough

  • What is an art critique?
  • First critique is important
  • The need for engagement
  • Set ground rules
  • Students need to back up their points
  • Positive feedback
  • Be candid & constructive
  • Separate yourself from your art
  • Listen & be less defensive
  • Critique is a “test”
  • Critique formats
  • Be fair with time
  • Split the class when needed
  • What to critique: thumbnail or final art
  • In-progress critiques catch mistakes
  • One-on-one critiques
  • Consider skill & subject
  • Stick to the prompt
  • Set aside personal bias
  • Get many opinions
  • Take initiative
  • Use simple language
  • When students don’t talk
  • Negative social dynamics
  • Keep calm & control the situation
  • Facing an inactive class
  • Don’t ignore rude behavior
  • Shut down inappropriate topics
  • Let a student take time when emotional
  • Sensitive topics are necessary
  • Warn students of offensive work
  • Do research before showing the final piece

Notes on Critique

Critique is an essential component of the artistic process. This tutorial will demonstrate and explain concrete, practical strategies for both art teachers and art students which they can apply in their artistic process. A wide range of critique formats will be shown and explained: one-on-one art critiques, small group art critiques, methods for self-critique, large group art critiques within an art class, and more.

For every art teacher, leading art critiques during an art class is an ongoing challenge. Every student, every artwork, and every art critique is different. In the context of any art critique, teachers need to be alert, responsive, and ready to handle any circumstance that arises in the conversation.

Art students have their own challenges as participants in a group critique, how do you speak articulately about your own artwork? How do you make comments that are tactful and that will impact your peers in a positive way? This video provides a comprehensive look at critiquing art.