A thought or two on Cold Critiques

I absolutely love assisting fellow creatives whenever I can. However, I have always found the exercise of the online cold critique to be relatively unproductive in many ways.

For example, imagine the sentence in the image above was submitted to you or your group for a “general” critique. How might you advise the individual responsible for the submission? What improvements or considerations would you offer?

In the realm of communication: What is the author trying to communicate? Does the sentence contain any spelling errors? Is any punctuation missing? Is it grammatically correct? What if your audience cannot read or speak English? What if the name was intended to be Janet? Who is on the hill? Is anyone necessarily located on a hill? Maybe Jane is painting a picture of a hill. Who the hell is using the telescope?

In the realm of aesthetics: How does the author want a reader to feel? Is any of this ambiguity necessarily a good or bad thing? What if that ambiguity was part of the intended experience? (It was in this case right??…)?? Is this language eloquent? Can it be processed easily?

Or maybe the author is just unsure about the legibility of the font?

I see people advising others to make significant changes to works all the time without any such investigations or explorations being carried out. It becomes an exercise in one artist telling another that “I would have done it like this so therefore you should too” as though the work would become intrinsically “better” for the change without any supporting information beyond personal preference.

Try to keep this in mind when navigating online critiques. Try to offer as much in the way of supporting information/context as possible for the exercise and you will likely find much more useful feedback.