Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Artistic Criticism: 1. A Synopsis Of Self-Criticism

Artistic criticism is one of those subjects most artists would like to avoid. It is also a tremendously complex subject that is made up of a number of aspects, which include philosophical, psychological, interpersonal, doctrinal, physical, and formal contexts. For some of us, one of the hardest things to do is to meaningfully criticize our own work, the key word being “meaningfully”. I stopped short of saying “objectively” because when it comes to self-criticism of work, there is no objectivity. However there can be a substantial amount of discovery, realization, and artistic growth.

© 2014 Don Arday.

A Critique Of Criticism

I want to stop here and make an important word substitu-tion, which is to substitute the word “analysis” in 
place of “criticism”. For the word criticism has a dual meaning. One meaning is “disapproval”, which is finite, negative, and destructive. Another meaning is “assessment”, which is unrestricted, positive, and constructive. However, the disapproval interpretation of criticism has become well established when it comes to “criticizing” creative work. Just substituting any of the following words suggest not only that there will be ben-eficial results, but that a very different process will be taking place, one that is far less opinionated. Try assessing, evaluating, appraising, considering, reviewing, studying, examining, or analyzing, your work instead of criticizing it.

This concept should extend to art schools where Art Educators could replace the word “critique”, and its associations, with one of these other more contemporary terms. Perhaps they already have.

Analyzing Art

Not often used within an art context, the term analyze suggests the application of a structured, methodical process to assess the conceptual and formal merits of a work of art, as opposed to an unstructured, reactionary approach to critique. Although both approaches may involve a certain amount of intuition, with a structured approach it is easier to stay on task and apply a consistent methodology to an inquiry about a single or multiple works.

Fine Art/Self-Expressive Art

Again terminology is the cause of problems when it comes to describing what “fine art” is. It could be called “studio art,” “personal art,” “self-expressive art,” etc., which might be more fitting. However, fine art is the established colloquialism in the pubic domain, although fine art is no more “fine” than any other form of art.

One way fine art or self-expressive art can be distinguished from other forms of art is by the nature and content of its criticism. Being non-commercial, fine art, in general, is purposeful for its creator and its patrons, but may be purposeless with regard to function. Therefore, self-expressive art enjoys the advantage of non-conclusive, freethinking observations as a result of an analysis, so forming a foundation for assessment can be somewhat problematic. Essentially, it’s the artist who governs the standards that apply to his or her own art.

Illustration/Applied Art

Creating a methodology for analyzing illustration is far simpler than trying to ascertaining one for self-expressive art. Illustration by its very nature has a purpose, which is to accomplish a certain task, which serves to communicate a specific idea. In opposition to the self-guided process of self-expressive art, the circumstances for an illustration are defined by someone other than the illustrator themselves, namely a client. As such, there are decisive benchmarks that influence the direction and outcome of an illustration. And these benchmarks provide a unambiguous foundation on which to base an analysis of an illustrated work.

Artistic Analysis Categories

Process Analysis

In making a work, an artist’s attention focuses on a particular task, is kinetic, and “in the moment”. This process analysis deals with a single aspect or portion of an image, or an individual phase of a multi-stage project. Essentially an artist is on the inside of the art while it is in progress. This kind of self-critique can be deliberate or it can be so quick, automatic, and intuitive that it almost seems to be sub-conscious. Another way to look at Process Analysis is that of the artist “having a personal dialog with his or her art” while it is in the process of being created. The dialog self-informs and influences the artist’s gradual decision making.

Form Analysis

While process analysis takes place while a work is being produced, other forms of assessment generally occur after artwork is completed. Beyond process, analyzing the formal aspects of a work involves a focused attention that is beyond a creative moment progressing to an overall evaluation. A form analysis is a review of the style, physical traits, and appearance of an artwork. This would include color scheme, composition, proportioning, scale, rendering effects, material application, and perspective.

Content Analysis

Along with the other types of analysis, the content of a work is another aspect of an artwork that should be analyzed. It can occur before the beginning of an artwork as an analysis of the artist or artwork’s intention, or it can take place after the artwork is completed. Content analysis is the assessment of the elements that are used in a work of art. Content can be in many shapes and forms, both narrative, non-narrative, or abstract; including setting, objects, figures, expressions, actions, etc. It also includes a review of any narrative or other form of message 
the art conveys.

Context Analysis

Context focuses on the outside purposes, influences, and sponsorships that provide a framework for the creation of a work of art. Reviewing the context for, and use of, an artwork provides a benchmark with which to assess it. Context analysis involves an assessment of the need that required the art to be produced, the problem the art was created to solve, the environment(s) the art will be seen in, and the usage involving the art. The most effective context analysis takes place after the artwork is completed and it has been shown on site, in the environment for which it was envisioned.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Pinterest, & More: Terms of Content

For professional illustrators and artists who make a living from the work we produce, we must be aware, and beware, of what we are agreeing to when we click on “agree” when setting up a relationship with a social network. It is important to read the terms of service and to know what you are agreeing to. For instance, by posting examples of your work you may inadvertently be licensing a social network to use your work for anything they fancy. Sure, you own the copyright, but that copyright s compromised by you agreement to allow a social network to essentially due anything they want with your imagery in perpetuity. Of course, for those hobbyists who don’t intend to make a living from the work they create, posting photos or drawings may not pose a concern.

© 2014 Don Arday.
So lets say you don’t actually display work on these network sites, you only post links. Be aware that some have included language in their terms that also include material that are provided in active “click” links provided, this could be your website, or other domains where your work is housed.

So how can you safeguard your rights of ownership as an artist, and still be able to participate in social networks. First you must assess what advantage there is in partnering with a social network. Is it for increasing business sales, cultivating followers, exposure to unknown markets, showing off work, communicating with other artists, or for ego, etc. In other words, for what benefit you are you willing to grant unrestricted licensing of your work to a social network for. And then make a decision as to whether a social network will provide the service and advantage that you seek.

Even the social networks refer to your image, writings, messages, etc., as “your content”. It is your responsibility to safeguard and protect that content. It is particularly crucial as you may be dependent on the earnings your creative output generates or may engender in the future.

The statements below were extracted directly from terms of use and content agreement statements provided by social network providers. The social network providers represented here are among the most common ones subscribed to by illustrators and artists.

The Illustrators Partnership Of America (IPA)

To be in the know, I highly recommend consulting the Illustrators Partnership of America website. The IPA is, and has been, dedicated to protecting the rights of illustrators and illustration works, as well as all artists for a number of years.


License and warranty for your submissions to LinkedIn: You still own what you own, but you grant us a license to the content and/or information you provide us. As between you and LinkedIn, you own the content and information you provide LinkedIn under this Agreement, and may request its deletion at any time, unless you have shared information or content with others and they have not deleted it, or it was copied or stored by other users. 

Additionally, you grant LinkedIn a nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual, unlimited, assignable, sub-licensable, fully paid up and royalty-free right to us to copy, prepare derivative works of, improve, distribute, publish, remove, retain, add, process, analyze, use and commercialize, in any way 
now known or in the future discovered, any information you provide, directly or indirectly to LinkedIn, including, but not limited to, any user generated content, ideas, concepts, techniques and/or data to the services, you submit to LinkedIn, without any further consent, notice and/or compensation to you or to any third parties.

We will respect the choices you make about who gets to see your information and content. Pursuant to this license, LinkedIn may grant other Members and/or Visitors access and share rights to your content and information in accordance with this Agreement, your settings and degree of connection with them. With respect to your SlideShare content, you may choose to make it available to Members and Visitors under the Creative Commons license of your choice. You promise to only provide us information and content that you have the right to give us and you promise that your LinkedIn profile will be truthful. Any content or information you submit to us is at your own risk of loss. By providing content or information to us, you represent and warrant that you are entitled to submit it and that it is not confidential and not in violation of any law, contractual restrictions or other third party rights (including any intellectual property rights).It is your responsibility to keep your LinkedIn profile information accurate and updated.


Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. Sharing Your Content and Information: You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings

In addition: For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it. 

When you delete IP content, it is deleted in a manner similar to emptying the recycle bin on a computer. However, you understand that removed content may persist in backup copies for a reasonable period of time (but will not be available to others). When you use an application, the application may ask for your permission to access your content and information as well as content and information that others have shared with you.  We require applications to respect your privacy, and your agreement with that application will control how the application can use, store, and transfer that content and information.  (To learn more about Platform, including how you can control what information other people may share with applications, read our Data Use Policy and Platform Page.) When you publish content or information using the Public setting, it means that you are allowing everyone, including people off of Facebook, to access and use that information, and to associate it with you (i.e., your name and profile picture). We always appreciate your feedback or other suggestions about Facebook, but you understand that we may use them without any obligation to compensate you for them (just as you have no obligation to offer them).


Your Content. Ownership: You retain all rights and ownership in your content.  Behance does not claim any ownership rights in your content. 
License to Your Content.  Even though we don’t claim ownership of your content, we do need certain licenses to your content in order to operate and enable the Services. 

When you upload or submit content to our Services, you grant Behance (and our parents and affiliates) a worldwide license to communicate, distribute, host, make modifications or derivative works (solely for the purpose of better showcase your work), publicly display, publicly perform, publish, reproduce, store, and use such content.  The license granted by you is for the only purpose of operating, marketing, promoting, and improving our Services.  We will attribute to you if we incorporate your content into a Behance feature or into promotional or marketing materials.

Accessing and Sharing Your Content.  By submitting your content to our Services, you also give other Behance users the right to share your content via various social medial platforms integrated with Behance.  

We may offer you ways to access and remove your content.  Our Service may also provide ways for you to limit the scope of use and access and other user’s access and use of your content.  You are responsible for determining the limitations that are placed on your content and for applying the appropriate level of access to your content.  We do not monitor or control what others do with your content.  It’s your responsibility to let other users know how your content may be shared and adjust the setting related to accessing and sharing your content accordingly. Termination of License.  You may terminate this license at any time by removing your content from the Services.  However, you agree that Behance may retain and use copies of your content for archival or backup purposes and for the investigation purpose mentioned later. Feedback: You have no obligation to provide Behance with ideas, suggestions or proposals (“Feedback”). If you submit Feedback to Behance, we may use it for any purpose without compensation to you and have no obligation to keep your Feedback confidential. 


Your Content/Posting Content: Pinterest allows you to post content, including photos, comments, links, and other materials. Anything that you post or otherwise make available on our Products is referred to as "User Content." You retain all rights in, and are solely responsible for, the User Content you post to Pinterest. More simply put: If you post your content on Pinterest, it still belongs to you but we can show it to people and others can re-pin it.

How Pinterest and other users can use your content. You grant Pinterest and its users a non-exclusive, royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use, store, display, reproduce, re-pin, modify, create derivative works, perform, and distribute your User Content on Pinterest solely for the purposes of operating, developing, providing, and using the Pinterest Products. 

Nothing in these Terms shall restrict other legal rights Pinterest may have to User Content, for example under other licenses. We reserve the right to remove or modify User Content for any reason, including User Content that we believe violates these Terms or our policies.

How long we keep your content: Following termination or deactivation of your account, or if you remove any User Content from Pinterest, we may retain your User Content for a commercially reasonable period of time for backup, archival, or audit purposes. Furthermore, Pinterest and its users may retain and continue to use, store, display, reproduce, re-pin, modify, create derivative works, perform, and distribute any of your User Content that other users have stored or shared through Pinterest.

More simply put: Copies of content shared with others may remain even after you delete the content from your account. Feedback you provide. We value hearing from our users, and are always interested in learning about ways we can make Pinterest more awesome. If you choose to submit comments, ideas or feedback, you agree that we are free to use them without any restriction or compensation to you. By accepting your submission, Pinterest does not waive any rights to use similar or related Feedback previously known to Pinterest, or developed by its employees, or obtained from sources other than you

More simply put: Also, don't post porn or spam or be a jerk to other Pinners. Oh, and we can actually use your suggestions to make Pinterest better.


Content and Subscriber Content: Definitions: For purposes of this Agreement: (1) the term "Content" means a creative expression and includes, without limitation, video, audio, photographs, images, illustrations, animations, logos, tools, written posts, replies, comments, information, data, text, software, scripts, executable files, graphics, Themes (as defined below), and interactive features, any of which may be generated, provided, or otherwise made accessible on or through the Services; (2) the term "Subscriber Content" means Content that a Subscriber submits, transfers, or otherwise provides to the Services. Content includes, without limitation, all Subscriber Content.

Your Rights in Subscriber Content: Subscribers retain ownership and/or other applicable rights in Subscriber Content, and Tumblr and/or third parties retain ownership and/or other applicable rights in all Content other than Subscriber Content. You retain ownership you have of any intellectual property you post to Tumblr.

Subscriber Content License to Tumblr: When you provide Subscriber Content to Tumblr through the Services, you grant Tumblr a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, sublicensable, transferable right and license to use, host, store, cache, reproduce, publish, display (publicly or otherwise), perform (publicly or otherwise), distribute, transmit, modify, adapt (including, without limitation, in order to conform it to the requirements of any networks, devices, services, or media through which the Services are available), and create derivative works of, such Subscriber Content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purposes of allowing Tumblr to operate the Services in accordance with their functionality, improve the Services, and develop new Services. The reference in this license to "creat[ing] derivative works" is not intended to give Tumblr a right to make substantive editorial changes or derivations, but does, for example, enable reblogging, which allows Tumblr Subscribers to redistribute Subscriber Content from one Tumblr blog to another in a manner that allows them to add their own text or other Content before or after your Subscriber Content.

When you upload your creations to Tumblr, you’re giving us permission to make them available in all the ways you would expect us to (for example, via your blog, RSS, the Tumblr Dashboard, etc.). We never want to do anything with your work that surprises you. Something else worth noting: Countless Tumblr blogs have gone on to spawn books, films, albums, brands, and more. Any royalties or reimbursement you get for your creations are, needless to say, entirely yours. It's your work, and we're proud to be a part (however small) of what you accomplish.

You also agree that this license includes the right for Tumblr to make all publicly-posted Content available to third parties selected by Tumblr, so that those third parties can syndicate and/or analyze such Content on other media and services.

An example of what it means to "make all publicly-posted Content available" to a Tumblr partner for distribution or analysis would be licensing the Tumblr "firehose," a live feed of all public activity on Tumblr, to partners like search engines.

Note also that this license to your Subscriber Content continues even if you stop using the Services, primarily because of the social nature of Content shared through Tumblr’s Services - when you post something publicly, others may choose to comment on it, making your Content part of a social conversation that can’t later be erased without retroactively censoring the speech of others.

One thing you should consider before posting: When you make something publicly available on the Internet, it becomes practically impossible to take down all copies of it. You also agree that you will respect the intellectual property rights of others, and represent and warrant that you have all of the necessary rights to grant us this license for all Subscriber Content you transfer to us.

Content License to You: As a Subscriber of the Services, Tumblr grants you a worldwide, revocable, non-exclusive, non-sublicensable, and non-transferable license to download, store, view, display, perform, redistribute, and create derivative works of Content solely in connection with your use of, and in strict accordance with the functionality and restrictions of, the Services (including, without limitation, Paid Services, as defined below). This means, for example, that we license Content to you for purposes of reblogging.


Rights: Instagram does not claim ownership of any Content that you post on or through the Service.

Instead, you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service, subject to the Service's Privacy Policy, available here, including but not limited to sections 3 ("Sharing of Your Information"), 4 ("How We Store Your Information"), and 5 ("Your Choices About Your Information").

You can choose who can view your Content and activities, including your photos, as described in the Privacy Policy. 

Some of the Service is supported by advertising revenue and may display advertisements and promotions, and you hereby agree that Instagram may place such advertising and promotions on the Service or on, about, or in conjunction with your Content. The manner, mode and extent of such advertising and promotions are subject to change without specific notice to you. You acknowledge that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such.

You represent and warrant that: (i) you own the Content posted by you on or through the Service or otherwise have the right to grant the rights and licenses set forth in these Terms of Use; (ii) the posting and use of your Content on or through the Service does not violate, misappropriate or infringe on the rights of any third party, including, without limitation, privacy rights, publicity rights, copyrights, trademark and/or other intellectual property rights; 

(iii) you agree to pay for all royalties, fees, and any other monies owed by reason of Content you post on or through the Service; 

and (iv) you have the legal right and capacity to enter into these Terms of Use in your jurisdiction.


It costs money to set up and maintain a social network, especially one that has free access, so it is not surprising that these networks want something in return. The question for an illustrator is: Does the return justify the potential cost? And for those who need and seek exposure, for the time being, it might. Perhaps all of this legal language is harmless, and I hope it is, but at the same time it may not be.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

300+ Resume Action Verbs

Action verbs play a very important role in effectively presenting activities on a resume or in a cover letter. When used to describe academic pursuits, occupations, accomplishments, skills, knowhow, interpersonal experience, and interests; action verbs add clarity and interest to items listed on a resume. Additionally, an effective choice of action words can eliminate wordiness from activity descriptions, thus making a resume more efficient.

© 2014 Don Arday.
Example 1:
Without action verb: 
Was responsible for forming groups of incoming students for activities and exercises during freshman orientation.
With action verb: 
Grouped incoming freshman for orientation activities and exercises.
Example 2: 
Without action verb: 
Had authority over a team of employees who were tasked with producing creative concepts for clients.
With action verb: 
Managed concept production of company creative team for clients.

The verbs below are arranged into skill categories relevant to types of job descriptions that pertain to careers in illustration. Some words are applicable to more than one category.

Management/Leadership Skills

Achieved, administered, arranged, articulated, assigned, attained, authored, chaired, competed, conceived, conducted, contracted, convened, coordinated, created, delegated, designed, developed, directed, earned, effected, employed, executed, facilitated, influenced, initiated, instituted, instructed, intervened, invented, investigated, managed, mastered, modeled, organized, oversaw, planned, presented, presided, protected, recommended, regulated, represented, resolved, shaped, solved, specified, succeeded, supervised, visualized

Research/Writing Skills

Analyzed, annotated, appraised, assessed, authored, briefed, calculated, catalogued, categorized, charted, coded, collected, compared, compiled, composed, computed, conducted, consolidated, contacted, corresponded, created, critiqued, defined, derived, designed, determined, developed, devised, diagnosed, directed, discovered, dispensed, displayed, distributed, drafted, edited, elicited, estimated, evaluated, examined, exhibited, expanded, experimented, explored, forecasted, formulated, identified, illustrated, inquired, inspected, interpreted, interviewed, inventoried, investigated, measured, modeled, observed, outlined, predicted, presented, processed, produced, published, questioned, recorded, regulated, reported, reproduced, researched, reviewed, revised, rewrote, searched, solicited, solved, studied, summarized, surveyed, synthesized, tested

Teamwork/Interpersonal Skills

Articulated, arranged, briefed, clarified, collaborated, communicated, competed, confronted, contacted, convened, coordinated, delegated, elicited, employed, encouraged, endured, enlisted, exchanged, explained, facilitated, fostered, influenced, initiated, inquired, instructed, interpreted, intervened, interviewed, introduced, listened, mediated, motivated, negotiated, participated, represented, resolved, responded, shaped, shared, solicited, supported

Financial/Technical Skills

Acquired, activated, administered, analyzed, applied, assessed, briefed, calculated, catalogued, categorized, channeled, coded, compiled, computed, conducted, defined, delivered, derived, designed, developed, devised, drafted, formulated, implemented, inspected, installed, mastered, monitored, operated, processed, programmed, protected, provided, published, recorded, regulated, repaired, reported, reproduced, responded, searched, shared, simulated, solved, supported, systematized, tested, trained, translated, tutored, updated, wrote

Teaching/Training Skills

Adapted, advised, assigned, coached, collaborated, communicated, conducted, counseled, critiqued, demonstrated, designed, developed, directed, educated, encouraged, evaluated, examined, facilitated, guided, implemented, imposed, influenced, informed, inquired, instilled, instituted, instructed, introduced, investigated, judged, lectured, modeled, monitored, motivated, organized, outlined, oversaw, participated, performed, persuaded, planned, prepared, prescribed, presented, programmed, questioned, reported, researched, responded, reviewed, revised, rewrote, scheduled, schooled, studied, supervised, taught, trained, tutored

Sales/Public Relations Skills

Articulated, communicated, contacted, convened, corresponded, delivered, demonstrated, developed, dispensed, displayed, earned, elicited, encouraged, entertained, exhibited, expanded, facilitated, formulated, increased, influenced, informed, introduced, inventoried, listened, located, maintained, marketed, motivated, persuaded, promoted, publicized, purchased, recommended, recruited, represented, responded, routed, scheduled, shaped, shared, solicited, sought, stimulated, succeeded, suggested, supported, surveyed, targeted

Organizational/Detail Skills

Administered, arranged, assembled, briefed, catalogued, categorized, coded, collected, compiled, contacted, coordinated, corresponded, distributed, edited, executed, grouped, identified, inventoried, located, monitored, regulated, responded, retrieved, scheduled, summarized, supported, systematized, updated, verified