We deviated from our usual fair of guides pertaining strictly to the design process of custom t-shirts when we published our guide on giving creative criticism. It’s really important, though, to be able to help friends, colleges, and loved ones in their creative or business endeavors by offering constrictive criticism when they show you artwork, custom t-shirt designs, paintings, drawings, business plans, ideas, essays, fiction, poetry, music, you name it. 


Well, guess what: it’s a two way street. Not only will a person giving creative criticism incorrectly fail in their goal to help their friend improve their work, a person who is incapable of taking creative criticism can harm their own work. Creative criticism when, done correctly, can vastly improve a work with a fresh set of eyes. When you’re immersed in your work, you can loose the vision that an outside perspective can lend. 


Here are some tips on taking creative criticism in stride and learning from them.


Be gracious! 


Keep in mind, your friends, family colleagues, professors, what have you, don’t have to help you. They don’t have to review your custom shirt, your student film, or whatever you’re producing. They are doing you a favor, and never forget that, even if you don’t like what they have to say.


Don’t get emotional, and don’t get defensive. 


This is maybe the most important aspect of taking creative criticism. You live in your work, and have put your soul into it. If you don’t have an emotional attachment to your brain child you aren’t doing it right. That being said, if someone criticizes your kids, your first reaction is to defend them and get angry, right? Circle the wagons? So it is with art, and that is a very dangerous trap to fall into. 


If someone doesn't like your custom tee, or disagrees with a creative choice in your book, you can explain your choices and your throughs process, but to get angry, rock back on your heels and go on the defensive is utterly wrong. These criticisms are here to help you, that is the ultimate goal. An emotional, defensive disposition is naturally closed off. A closed mind is nothing to take into revisions, and yes, your work is not perfect out of the gate and will need revisions. Keep an open mind, and concentrate very hard on looking at your work dispassionately with fresh eyes. You may love what you find. 


Take what you can use, don’t use what isn’t helpful, but give it a chance. If it weren’t for revisions, Old Ben Kenobi could have had an android head and Darth Vader would have been an inconsequential antagonist. I’m sure we’re all glad it didn’t work out that way. Conversely, maybe a little constrictive criticism could have put the kibosh on Jar Jar Binks. If you don’t know Star Wars none of this will make sense, but trust us, keep an open mind and stay grounded.

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