I’ve been on the subject of criticism quite a bit lately.  I guess it’s inevitable since my writing has been stalled almost entirely for quite some time.  Today I read something that really hit a sore spot.

I read an interview with a successful comic book illustrator this morning.  My heart warmed when I came to the part about how an older, established artist took him under his wing for mentoring many years ago.  They arranged for a year of this tutoring that got the younger man started off on the right foot.

Or so I thought.

The lessons might have been valuable and established a career, but they were punctuated by constant criticism.  Even years later the elder artist had nothing good to say.

While together at an art showing much later that showcased them both, he said to the younger, “You really can’t draw, can you?”

Wow.

Understandably, this blow crushed the artist for some time to come.  Overall he didn’t let it get him down by his own account but this attack made me ill.  The artist spent years getting past the unnecessary pain to obtain well-earned acclaim outside the shadow.

Please, think before you criticize.  And to all, I wish blessed creativity.

4 thoughts on “Criticism That Cuts

  1. Tess Miller says:

    OUCH!!!
    A mentor would never say something so cutting, or at least a true mentor. I have a friend who was assigned a writing 'mentor' as well who did nothing constructive with her and it was devastating to hear her tell her tale.

    I agree, think before you criticize, and if you do have something to say, make it constructive and be sure to point out at least two positive details to each negative.

    I'm pleased this artist finally made found his way despite that beastly mentor.

  2. I'm sorry for your friend, Tess! Your suggestion to make two good points for every criticism is excellent. I hope mentors everywhere take it to heart! Thanks for reading and commenting, dear.

  3. I agree with you that folks need to be careful with their criticisms. Too often, people think that any criticism will "help improve," which is just silly. 🙂

  4. Agreed! Your own approach inspires instead of striking down, for which I'm grateful, A. Catherine. Thanks for commenting and for being you.

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