1. Expose yourself to criticisms as much as possible.
Show your work in public, online, or ask people with a higher skill level than you for feedback. It’s desensitization, really. The more you expose yourself to critiques, the more you’re used to it and the more you can take it without affecting your emotions. What really helped me personally was when I started posting my illustrations on DeviantArt when I was 13. At first, I was brooding when someone posted a comment that wasn't entirely positive about my work, but after a while, I actually learned to appreciate them. I joined an art mentoring guild on Gaia Online where people were brutally honest about dissecting your work apart to find what’s not working well. You’ll learn that if you keep an open mind and remember that others are actually there to help you, you will improve very quickly.
2. Learn to distinguish constructive criticisms from the rest.
There’s a difference between someone saying “wow, your drawing is bad” (negative comment), “the anatomy is kinda off, fix it” (unhelpful criticism), and “hey, the balance of that character you drew is a bit off. That right leg looks like it can’t fully support the weight of the body with this pose. Try increasing the size of the thigh and shifting it to the right a bit” (constructive criticism). Listen to the last kind. Ignore the first. Pay some attention to the second kind. There might actually be something off, but the person giving that comment might not have enough knowledge to fully explain what's wrong with it. If you receive this type of comment, ask them to clarify, or ask someone else who is more skilled than you to help explain.
3. Know that, in the end, they’re all opinions. Think for yourself which critique is worth following.
Someone might be doing what you’re trying to improve for 20 years, but what worked for them might not necessarily work for you. You are different people in different situations. There are proven techniques and strategies, which would be wise to know, but there are always exceptions to the rule. I’ll use the art example again because this is how different artists develop unique personal styles. If everyone draws with perfectly correct anatomy and every single picture follows the golden rule, there wouldn’t be all these wonderful variations of styles out there. Look at the critiques you get rationally and decide which is wise to follow. Keep the rest in mind as lessons or adapt them to apply to you.
Originally published on eilamona.com