Over the last several months since we opened the gallery for submissions, there have been enough questions as to what we mean by "quality" of art within our Submission Guidelines to warrant a closer look at the subject. Just what does "quality"? look like? How is it measured? When submitting artists continue to ask why everything they submit gets declined then we haven't been specific enough. Our submission guidelines will be updated soon to be more specific. So in the meantime, to help clarify: Here is what we mean by "quality".
Quality :a high level of value or excellence, or how well or poorly something is. Quality is a measuring word. The AnthroCommunity group seeks to feature Good Quality work or better. There are certain aspects of every artwork that affect the quality of the presentation. Some aspects describe low quality while others, high quality. And others may soar high in some aspects but fail in others, resulting in a missing key element to the piece's success. Below is an outline for the specific aspects that affect different qualities of artwork. Terms with an * next to them are clarified further below.
What defines Good/High Quality Work?
- The piece is neatly presented. Lines or Edges are neat and unified*. The Image is not blurry, dirty, or poorly scanned.
- The piece appears finished. You can tell when a piece appears finished from looking at what is left to critique. If the artwork can be argued by a majority that it is strong in color, lighting, shadow, form, proportion (anatomy), media technique*, and overall composition, it can be considered finished.
- The piece presents something catchy, different, striking, or unique about it.
- Demonstrates a successful* use of several Art Elements and Principles*.
What defines Low/Poor Quality Work?
- The piece is not neatly presented or shows it could be presented better. Lines or Edges are messy and not unified*. Image not properly cleaned up after scanning. Image might not be crisp or clean.
- The piece appears to be missing something important or could be developed significantly further. The piece shows considerable weakness in color, lighting, shadow, form, proportion (anatomy), media technique*, or overall composition.
- The piece does not present something catchy, different, striking or unique* about it.
- Demonstrates only one or no successful* use of the Art Elements and Principles*.
Most often, we'll receive artworks that have a combination of Low Quality and High quality aspects. Our decision to accept or reject is based upon the type of quality that the majority of the aspects fall. If a piece has 3 low quality aspects and only one high quality aspect, it is not considered strong enough to be accepted. if a piece has 2 high quality aspects and 2 low quality aspects, the decision to accept or decline will be determined by the severity of the low quality aspects. It might just be as simple as a bad scan, and we may ask you to re-scan it. The bottom line is, we vote by majority and use this criteria when we talk about "quality". For our reason behind being selective for the group gallery, please see the group mission stated in the Submission Guidelines.
* Successful: Something is "successful" in art when it is acknowledged as likeable and preferable by the general public and/or it meets standards set by professionals working in the art discipline.
*Unified (Unity): When something is "unified" it means that it all the parts to something come together and compliment each other. (all parts make a working whole). When something is not unified, it sticks out or feels like it doesn't fit.
* Media Technique: A Medium is what you use to create art with. (i.e. watercolor, digital, oils, charcoal, steel, clay, foam....) Techniques are a lot like rules that apply to a certain medium to use it successfully. These rules are often modified depending on the surface or environment you are working in but there are basic do's and don'ts that go with every medium out there. Techniques are developed through the practice of art making. While some techniques are by-the-book, others are invented every day by artists like you. A new technique becomes a "do" when it is proven successful. Some common unsuccessful media techniques are really easy to spot (like using the dodge/burn tool for shading in digital). Consider the examples below:
What makes the image on the right weaker than the image on the left? Struggles with media technique is one of the most common issues for art being declined from the group. Ways to boost your techniques in media include going to workshops on a specific medium, following helpful groups, asking some specific questions to an artist you admire, research tutorials online, and practice, practice, practice, experiment!
*Art Elements and Principles: Consider this the foundation for all visual art. These are some of the very first things you are taught in grade school in art class, and while they seemed insignificant at the time, these elements and principles are required to be common knowledge in the art industry. www.projectarticulate.org/prin…
*Unique: Fandom art has exploded in the last 10 years to where we are today. Everyday, we see hundreds of digital one character pin ups with no or little background. It's fantastic that you've made a character and you've put every ounce of effort into getting the hair just right. It doesn't matter how original you are with your design. We've seen hundreds of thousands of artworks with the same subject matter, proving the same point. Unique to us is the use of an unusual technique, a subject matter not often covered, a beautiful story told, and much, much more.
Please notice how we are leaving the word "effort" out of all of this. In our current submission guidelines, we used the word "effort" in an attempt to describe quality of work. It is the founder's conclusion that "effort" is not a fair aspect to base quality of an artwork upon. Like the artist's intent, effort is an extremely gray area. This is because all artists work at different skill levels and within different time frames. It is entirely possible that an artwork considered "poor quality" could have been done by someone who put a lot of effort into it. And this is why submission decline has become such a sensitive subject. So from now on, we will be working to remove the word "effort" from the guidelines and replace it with the more measurable aspects such as the ones above.
For those interested in learning more about representational drawing skill and "caliber", visit this article titled, What is your Drawing Skill Level?