Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How Do You Take Criticism?

I'm pretty good at taking criticism. I believe it must be thanks to my 20+ years of dancing ballet in front of floor to ceiling mirrors with dance teachers nit picking on my body and every move; so I've built up a pretty thick skin and great confidence in myself. I've also learnt to see criticism or any sort of feedback as positive. I noticed in ballet that the dance teachers only corrected you if they cared about you getting better. (It's true! They didn't bother wasting their time on students who don't try or don't have the right attitude.) It's difficult hearing someone comment on your skinny wimpy "puppy dog arms" or your slightly not so flat stomach ("Kristina, you look like you just ate Thanksgiving Dinner.") but I learnt to take criticism in a positive way rather than letting it eat away at my confidence or cause fits of crazy dieting etc. I thought constructively, "How can I do this better...?" and then do it. (Sounds silly but it's easier than you may think.) Professionally it's hard to take criticism, because it's so personal. The lines were drawn by my hands, the colors and motivs were chosen by me, and my business is run just my me. But I'm aware that everyone doesn't have the same taste; which is fine by me and I don't let it get me down.

In the internet world, negative comments seem to come from a different darker place (they don't care about making you better like my dance teachers did) and this is really unfortunate. Thankfully since my brand is still rather small I don't receive many hateful comments and have been lucky to only get really positive, happy, and appreciative comments/feedback/emails/blog features which I am so thankful for. I actually can't believe all the kind words I receive each month from customers and admirers of my girly illustrations. I have pages and pages of amazingly positive comments to read if I'm ever in a bad mood and they instantly make me happy about my work again.

A few ways I deal with criticism:

• Straight up nasty mean comments with no point such as "Your works sucks!" etc should be ignored completely especially when anonymous. How lame is that?! People who take the time to leave unconstructive negative comments have their own problems. Let's let them sort that out for themselves.

• Constructive criticism such as "You should use black inked lines instead of gray lines. Your work is unclear." may actually help you figure out what your clients like and may even be fun to hear or help you develop your style. This may have been a stylistic choice so feel free back up your choice or to comment a thank you for their input.

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