Friday, December 9, 2011

Tools of the Trade: Outside Opinions and Soundboards

I don't know about you, but every idea I have for any creative endeavor I pursue is always perfect from the get-go.

Right.  And if you believe that, I've got a big, ork-built bridge to sell you.

The first non-physical tools to be covered in this series would be the ones that I honestly don't have any control over!  Outside opinions and using other people for soundboards for my ideas are a staple in my toolbox.  Considering my article earlier this week, I felt it apt to follow up with this particular topic.

Even beyond feedback for my initial ideas, and even more importantly so I think, would be the work-in-progress soundboards and feedback I ask for and receive.  So many times I've finished a piece and felt I knocked it out of the park, so-to-speak, and when I get some reactions to it, I realize I missed something, or a detail was brought to my attention that I overlooked.  If I had asked for feedback midway through the project, I could have avoided the mistake and fixed it instead of having a finished piece that now looks wrong to me.

Here are some of the types of folks I go to for feedback on my ideas and works-in-progress:

Friends in the Hobby
This is a no-brainer.  We all have a community around us at the local shops we go to. Use it!  Don't just cart your stuff out and then pack it up when you're done, ask for people's opinions on your work.  See where they may think you could improve!  Avoid the 5% that don't know how to give constructive criticism, and focus on the folks who will be honest with you and help you improve your work.

The Pros
You know who I'm talking about.  Vincent Hudon, Mattheu Fontaine, Chris Borer, Tom Schladle, Dave Taylor, Joe Orteza, Mike McVey, etc.  Oh wait, you think that they won't want to talk to you about your work?  Think again.  Shove that nervousness back down your throat and ASK THEM.  I've yet to meet anyone of the Slayer Sword and Crystal Brush elite that wouldn't answer your question so long as you are polite and respectful.  They are hobbyists too, remember?  

The Blogging Community
Again, a no-brainer.  Why do most of us post our work up on our blogs, after all?  Tap into this huge community we've got at our fingertips and just ask.  You'll get the feedback you crave.

Wife/Girlfriend/Family Members
In my case, Wife.  God only knows how many times I've been painting, or converting and asked her opinion on a pose, or a color scheme or whatnot.  Is she a gamer?  Nope.  An artist?  Not that, either.   What she is, is an intelligent person who, from an outside perspective, can give me a unique approach to the project and ideas I'm working on.

There have been times that I've been accused of asking for too much feedback, though I'm unsure of how you could ever et too much feedback.  The wrong kind of feedback, sure, but too much?  Never.  This is a tool I tap into regularly, and will not stop doing so.  

Who's your Sounding Board for your hobby?

- Tim

1 comment:

  1. My sister is an artist with a good eye for arrangements and what not. I usually bounce ideas off of her. My friends outside of the hobby just ooo and ahh no matter what I do, so they aren't of much use.