I don’t pull punches with people I respect. It’s better that you know how you can improve than to leave it lingering in the background like some sort of stench you can’t smell. Unless, of course, I know you’re particularly sensitive to the idea of any constructive criticism, in which case I’ll politely guide you. These sprites of the main characters of An Insurmountable Odd wouldn’t exist if not for honest feedback. Don’t fear criticism.
We fear criticism because we latch onto ideas too closely.
Sneaker, Wiles, and Scribe are three characters that arose when I asked for a fiction prompt from Agent Bon. We jammed on the premise of Lewis and Clark Expedition for a few minutes, he came up with the character name for Sneaker, and recommended some subtle changes for Wiles [anagram for Lewis] and Scribe [Clark]. No attachment. Just some random characters to have fun writing about. Sneaker, in particular, fascinated me so they’ll stick around.
Maybe they’re the next candidates for a sequel short story?
I asked game designer William during the Wounded Giant concert for his opinions on my Applied Psychology sprites. His constructive criticism inspired me to improve. These characters came to mind as the test subjects. Pixel art is not my craft. It’s a little tedious and stressful for me. If I didn’t create artwork like this, photography, and the occasional drawing merely to augment my writing, it would have been the advice I’d need to grow.
Instead, it was merely inspiration for the pursuit of improvement.
I developed the characters further than their original depictions during my time wasting and during the Groupboard sketching portion shown below. Good practice for building unique characters and complimentary color schemes for a team. Having practiced this idea with both the sketch and sprites, the next time I’m inspired to create art for some characters, it’ll be a faster and more refined process since I started sketching these characters at 8PM and concluded at 9:23PM.
To expand this idea to more than just me, there’s a valuable place for criticism. My reviews take significantly longer to write than these rant pieces because I try to think about how “it” can be improved. They’re just as much about the reader improving as the owner of the thing being reviewing. It’s also important to encapsulate criticism and disregard it, especially the criticism we give to ourselves, the harshest criticism of them all.
How do we do that? Is it just about not taking everything so seriously?
Maybe. I think it’s about context. Knowing that you’re still improving. Accepting that you will make mistakes and to embrace them. Not holding so much ego to things. Just because you created it doesn’t mean it defines you as a person. It’s merely one project or one anything that could use a little helping hand. Done incorrectly, and criticism kills. Done correctly, criticism can guide you toward a better version of yourself. Don’t overthink it.