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Critique Clinic – April 5-7, 2013

April 5, 2013

How does it work? For three days a week (Friday-Sunday midnight), I will open the clinic to any artist who wants an honest peer review and critique of a card which gets plenty of clicks but no sales, so something’s probably not quite right, or you’ve got a new design you want to test drive, or you’re unsure about the marketability of a card. Or perhaps you’re a newbie who isn’t sure if a card is up to a marketable standard. Anyone is welcome to participate. In fact, I encourage everyone to at least look at the cards in question and read the critique comments – you may learn something. The purpose of the clinic is to help artists improve the commercial appeal and marketability of their cards.


  • ONE card per artist only.
  • Card must be intended for sale at Greeting Card Universe.
  • To submit a card for critique, post a link to the card at GCU in the comments section of this clinic post. Allowances will be made if you’ve had a card declined, or made a new design you’d like advice on before submission. Give us the link where we can see the card, such as your private gallery, Flickr, Tinypic, etc. If you do give a private gallery link, be sure your private module gallery is ON. Please do not post links to your Manage Cards section – do you really want strangers tinkering with your cards? And please don’t ask us to critique a card that’s pending review – we can’t see it until it’s approved.
  • Any artist is free to comment and/or give a critique of a submitted card. HOWEVER, post-and-run comments like “great card” or “you suck” will not be tolerated, nor will abuse. Criticism should be constructive, not destructive. Play nice or you will be banned.
  • I also won’t tolerate temper tantrums if you decide your “artistic integrity” is being stepped on because you asked for a critique, and someone told you the photo you’re using isn’t in focus. If you can’t take honest criticism, don’t submit. Once gets you a warning; twice and you’re banned from submitting in the future.
  • Artists who critique may do so by giving their opinion, posting an example of another card, or pointing the submitter to a video, on-line article, or other helpful suggestion.
  • Don’t forget that artists who are giving you tips and helpful advice are volunteering their time and trouble. Be nice. A link back to their store on your website or blog is appreciated (but not mandatory).
  • You are free not to take any advice offered. There’s no guarantee any card will be a bestseller, so don’t come into the clinic with unrealistic expectations.
  • Rules may change as we go along and we see how things turn out, okay?

So without any further ado, I declare this week’s Critique Clinic open!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. April 5, 2013 1:26 pm

    I’m in need of help with a card this morning. I created this digital painting from a couple of my photographs but want to get some critique before I finish creating the rest of the card. Is it clear enough? Any help would be appreciated 🙂

  2. April 5, 2013 1:52 pm

    I’ll leave technical aspects up to the professional photographers. To my layman’s eye, the image seems very flat and very harsh, and the highlights on the butterfly appear kind of odd as the light seems to be coming from the grass below. The image looks almost as if you were trying to render it in a more 3D aspect but it’s not working. I’m sure someone more familiar with photography can give you some advice.


    • April 5, 2013 2:06 pm

      Thank you, Corrie. I knew something was looking odd about it, but couldn’t identify what. You’ve given me some ideas to start with….I’m so thankful for the Critique Clinic. I am trying to branch out from just photography cards, but don’t want to submit anything until I know I’ve got it right 😀

    • April 5, 2013 2:47 pm

      I have to agree with Corrie on her observations, but giving advice beyond that is not easy since I don’t know what tools you are using to create the digital painting. I know when I look back on my first several attempts at digital painting they looked like this. I think part of the challenge is to first find the right tools for you, and then find the right brush set that works within those tools. Some subjects don’t render terribly well as digital paintings, or should I say are not as visually pleasing as other subjects. Lastly I’ll say that our ‘touch’ (pressure) when we digitally paint is often harsh and too strong. Remember that painters on paper and canvas generally use a light stroke.

      Just keep practicing on all types of subjects and you’ll start to develop the technique that will please both you and your viewing audience 🙂


      • April 6, 2013 12:36 am

        Thank you, Doreen. It’s so fun learning and experimenting. Eventually I will come up with something useable. I appreciate the help.

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