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The term “critique” often carries a negative connotation. Many people hear the root word “critical” in critique and believe the process in art class is about ripping apart someone’s work—sharing what is not good. Critique is actually defined as:

: a careful judgment in which you give your opinion about the good and bad parts of something (such as a piece of writing or a work of art) Merriam-Webster

Notice that the definition includes “good and bad” parts. So far, the critiques in this course have focused on describing, interpreting, and analyzing each other’s artworks. Noticeably absent has been evaluating, particularly sharing what you don’t like about a work. In this session, you will practice evaluating work in a balanced and helpful way using the SII feedback technique (strength-insight-improvement).

  1. Introduce your work
    Go to the Session 6: Personal and Societal Viewpoint discussion forum; post the photos of your final artwork (the layers and the composite) and introduce your work. Your introduction should include the societal issue that you have chosen, why it is important to you, and your personal connection to it. Also include what you learned from this project; what, if anything, you would do differently if you were to do this project again; and what you would have done with more time to work on the project.
  2. Critique two works
    Review at least two classmates’ work and provide a written critique for each one as a reply to a post. Notice how their final piece illustrates their chosen societal issue and how they used layers of meaning. Use the SII technique to provide feedback to your classmates. Share one strength, insight, and improvement for each student’s work you review. Make sure to review the questions and sentence starters before to help guide your critique:
    • One strength as a statement: What is the biggest strength of this work? What is the most creative aspect about the work?
    • One insight as a statement: How does the work make you feel? What would you like to “steal” from the work and use in your own art? What does the work remind you of? What did learn about the topic explored in the work?
    • One improvement as a question: Do you see an area where your classmates could improve their work? Share the improvement as a question. What would happen if …? Was it your intent to ….? I wonder why ….? Did you consider ….?

    Sharing the strengths and insights as statements, and the improvements as questions is a technique that can help you keep your comments helpful for the artist rather than sounding like a jerk, to put it quite bluntly. Understanding improvements does help artists improve their work, but only if they can hear the improvement without getting their feelings hurt.

    Read the critique of your work from your classmates and consider how you might incorporate your classmates’ suggestions into your future art projects.


Look again at the artworks in the Gallery at the top of this page. On each artwork, click on the small tag icon. Look at the existing tags that other students have added and add some of your own to help others make meaning of these pieces. Try to add new tags to increase the meaning-making, and reinforce some of the best tags by adding duplicate ones.


To learn more, explore the optional resources below: