Professional Artist Portfolio Critique #2

Video critique of professional artist Traci Turner’s portfolio


by Clara Lieu

Many people think that being an artist is only about creating the artwork.  Actually, there are several other aspects of being an artist that can carry almost as much weight. Critique is a huge part of the creative process for artists.  The opportunity to get advice on your artwork is critical towards an artist’s growth and progress. Inherently, all artists are stuck in their own heads when they produce their artwork. No artist ever gets to a point where they no longer need feedback on their artwork.  For this reason, it’s impossible to see your work objectively, which is why it’s so important to get a fresh set of eyes to look at your work and evaluate where it’s going.

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Even though I’ve logged over a decade as a professional artist, I still have to take initiative to seek out my artist friends and colleagues to critique my work. Frequently, they’ll point out some aspect of the work that I hadn’t even thought of, or was super obvious to them, but that I was oblivious to.

Unfortunately, unless you are enrolled in a studio art degree program, there are very few opportunities to get trusted, professional feedback on your artwork.  From my research, I’ve seen that there is a lot of content on Youtube about people talking about how to speak at a critique, and describing how a critique works, but the problem with this approach is that it only goes so far. Ultimately, one needs to see a critique to truly understand what a critique entails. If someone explained to you verbally how soccer was played, you would understand technically what the game involves.  However, until you actually got on a soccer field and physically kicked a ball yourself in a real soccer game, your understanding of soccer would remain superficial.

Student Artwork, Drawing Foundations, Clara Lieu, RISD Pre-College

Group critique at RISD Pre-College


Currently, there is almost no content online which shows an actual art critique.The content that I did find was either completely out of context, or so poorly put together that it was basically useless. The other places I’ve seen art critiques is in online forums, but the problem with this context is that 1) the critiques are typed which is inefficient and not as impactful, and 2) the feedback is coming from sources you can’t necessarily trust and 3) people rarely want to critique the artwork of others-the vast majority of these forums are flooded with artists begging for a critique, but no one is responding.

This is why here at Art Prof one of our initiatives as an educational platform is to show audio and video critiques of artwork submitted by you, our audience. Sometimes artists will think that a critique is only useful if it’s their work being reviewed.  On the contrary, my students at RISD are always commenting how much they learn and gain from watching and listening to a critique of another student’s artwork.  In some ways, it can be easier to watch someone else’s critique because you’re removed from the process and can see the critique more objectively.

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Painting by Traci Turner

Above you can see a portfolio critique I did for professional artist Traci Turner.  Stayed tuned for more critiques!  Prior to our launch, we’ll continue releasing Crit Quickies, 4 Artist Critiques, Interactive Video Critiques, Art School Admissions Portfolio Critiques, and Professional Artist Portfolio Critiques. Get more information about our critiques and how to submit your artwork here.


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages to learn visual arts in a vibrant art community. Imagine all of the resources here on our blog, except exponentially bigger, in greater quantity, and in more detail. Our Kickstarter campaign hit its $30k goal on July 19!  Get info on our future launch by subscribing to our email list.

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Crit Quickies are Back!

Crit Quickies was on temporary hiatus while we ran our Kickstarter campaign.  Now that the campaign is over, Crit Quickies are back!  Crit Quickies are 1 min. audio critiques on the Art Prof Instagram. Submit! Post your art on Instagram w/ @art.prof, & #critquickie. Watch more Crit Quickies in this playlist on our Youtube channel.

We accept submissions from artists in 8th grade and up. If you’re an art teacher, you’re welcome to submit on behalf of your students!


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages to learn visual arts in a vibrant art community. Imagine all of the resources here on our blog, except exponentially bigger, in greater quantity, and in more detail. Our Kickstarter campaign hit its $30k goal on July 19!  Get info on our future launch by subscribing to our email list.

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Anticipating a New Drawing Project

ART PROF Teaching Assistant Casey Roonan and Prof Clara Lieu

Prof Clara Lieu and Teaching Assistant Casey Roonan


Now that our Kickstarter is over, we are entering a new phase here at Art Prof. While we prepare for our launch, we’ll keep releasing new Crit Quickies on our Instagram, new interactive video critiques and tutorials on our Youtube channel, and also blogging regularly here. For many years, this blog was written only by Clara Lieu. In this new phase, our 6 Teaching Assistants will start contributing blog posts.  We hope you enjoy getting to know all of us in the near future!

Rodin Sculpture

Rodin, The Helmet Maker’s Wife


by Clara Lieu

I’m just now starting to “recover” from running the Kickstarter campaign. I know that I have a monumental work ethic, but this campaign pushed the limits of that. This was definitely the most intense amount of work I have ever done since my freshman year at RISD-except that now I have a family to take care of and a full-time job.

So today I had my first day off in months, I went swimming for the first time this summer. You would think on a day off I wouldn’t want to think about work, but I did.  Not Art Prof, but my own studio practice, which has not been active for 2 years while I developed Art Prof. As I floated on my back in the water, I started anticipating a drawing project I first thought of back in June. The project is going to be drawings of elderly nudes.  When you consider art history, the elderly nude is rarely portrayed.  The only pieces from art history that come to mind are The Helmet Maker’s Wife by Rodin, (see above) and the Old Market Woman from Hellenistic Greece. You can read more about my inspiration for this project here.

I set up a time to work with an artist model next week, which got me really excited to start considering how these drawings might come together.  A huge part of my practice has always been a long, comprehensive search for the right materials to match the project.  I am sure this project will be no different.  My first thought was graphite, which struck me as odd because out of all the drawing materials out there, graphite is probably my least favorite drawing material. However, in order to show the textures and surfaces of an elderly figure, I’ll need a drawing material that can achieve a high amount of detail and refinement.

Actually, what takes much longer for me to determine is the drawing surface. I want the drawing surface to be slightly translucent and also quite thin and frail.  Perhaps tracing paper, tissue paper, or even a thin fabric like silk could be really interesting to draw on. In the past, all of my two-dimensional work has been the traditional rectangle shape, but I like the idea of torn edges or even fabric with frayed edges so that the drawing is an irregular shape. Just thinking about doing some small studies on these various drawing surfaces is wonderful, I can’t wait to get started.

Clara Lieu, Portrait of Pearl, pencil drawing

A pencil drawing of Pearl I did when I was a senior at RISD in 1998.  Pearl was an artist model when I was a student.  She was 85 years old at the time, and was incredible to draw. Pearl is one of reasons I want to make these drawings.


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages to learn visual arts in a vibrant art community. Imagine all of the resources here on our blog, except exponentially bigger, in greater quantity, and in more detail. Our Kickstarter campaign hit its $30k goal on July 19!  Get info on our future launch by subscribing to our email list.

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8 More Days to Make ART PROF a Reality

Watch our NEW Art Prof video!

ART PROF is a small step in equalizing arts education for disadvantaged students that is happening right now. As a free, online educational platform for visual arts, ART PROF that will provide people of all ages equal access to high quality art education.

We are thrilled to announce that we have an anonymous donor who will match all donations up to $2000 between today and this Fri., July 15! 

Remember, Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing platform.  If we don’t reach our goal by Tues., July 19, we get no funding.  Donate here

Only 8 more days to help make ART PROF a reality!

New Drawing Demo on Youtube!


The first 8 of 20 videos in a new ART PROF drawing demo are now available on our Youtube channel!  The first 8 videos cover lighting, composition, thumbnail sketches, toning the paper, from sketch to drawing, and drawing pressure.

The next 12 videos will be released very soon!

We shot the demo on 3 iPhones, using laptop software and OBS studio. Each phone runs IPCamera software, and broadcasts its video stream across the local network (LAN) and OBS captures the streams via a browser plugin.

No script, I ad libbed the entire demo the way that I teach my classes. See behind-the-scenes photos of our shoot below. If our Kickstarter campaign is successful, we’ll be able to produce 1, maybe even 2 of these demos every month and bring them to you for free! And remember, Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing format.  If we don’t reach our goal, we won’t receive any funding. Make a donation before our campaign ends on July 19!

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ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages to learn visual arts in a vibrant art community. Imagine all of the resources here on our blog, except exponentially bigger, in greater quantity, and in more detail. Our Kickstarter campaign hit its $30k goal on July 19!  Get info on our future launch by subscribing to our email list.

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ART PROF Prototype Preview #2

ART PROF Teaching Assistant Casey Roonan reviews a portfolio at our recent free portfolio review event this past June.


Getting professional trusted feedback is really tough to find if you are not currently enrolled in a degree program. Even more rare is the opportunity to have your artwork critiqued by not just one, but several seasoned art professionals.  So many artists have written to me over the past three years, seeking advice and critiques on their artwork.  I saw this gigantic void that I knew I could fill with the ART PROF Teaching Assistants, so that’s why we started offering audio and video critiques here on this blog and Crit Quickies on our Instagram.


Below are recent audio critiques I did with Teaching Assistants Casey Roonan, Lauryn Welch, and Sara Bloem. Listen here:

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“Chelsea Rose”, acrylic paint on wallpaper and paint chips, 11″ x 17″

See more audio critiques we have done here!


Here are some thoughts from people who we have done critiques for:

“Thank you so, so much for such a thorough and honest critique. It is really difficult to find that sort of feedback. It is such a help to have a direction to explore.”

“Thank you so much for your encouraging words and constructive feedback. I’ve never had my work critiqued before so I was a bit apprehensive but you were all so well-meaning and gave me such good advice that I not only feel relieved but extremely grateful!”

“Clara, this was great for someone like me — I’m not in school and I haven’t really found a way to get thoughtful input on my art. Many of the critique comments highlight things I hadn’t explicitly thought about, so I am excited that pursuing these ideas may lead me to some interesting development. Thanks to all four of you!”


Below is a tiny slice of a video critique from the ART PROF prototype:

Now imagine if there was a page on our prototype that could consolidate all of the different kinds of critiques ART PROF has to offer.  On the contrary, we don’t have to imagine! This critique page is already built, its just sitting on a server, waiting for the funds we need to bring make it public.  See the page below!

If our Kickstarter campaign is successful, that means that several pages that like this one, and many more sections of our prototype will become free and accessible to the public. Donate before July 19!  (Remember, Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing format.  If we do not reach our goal, we will receive no funding.)

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ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages to learn visual arts in a vibrant art community. Imagine all of the resources here on our blog, except exponentially bigger, in greater quantity, and in more detail. Our Kickstarter campaign hit its $30k goal on July 19!  Get info on our future launch by subscribing to our email list.

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ART PROF T-Shirts!

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Get our official T-shirt, featuring a charming design by Art Prof Intern Janice Chun! The T-shirt is 6.1 oz., made of pre-shrunk 100% cotton, has a double-needle stitched neckline, bottom hem and sleeves. Sizes available are S, M, L, XL, XXL. We chose “sand” as the T-shirt color because we are big art nerds and this color reminded us all of newsprint.

Pledge $10: 1 T-shirt
Pledge $30: 3 T-shirts

Estimated delivery: Sept. 2016. Ships only to United States

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You can even read about our design process and the T-shirt contest we ran!

One of the advantages when your staff is all art students and emerging artists is that when you want to offer a new T-shirt reward for your Kickstarter campaign, you’ve got tons of in house talent.

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17 T-shirt design sketches from the ART PROF staff

The guidelines were that the design had to be black and white, and had to include the text “Art Prof” somewhere in the design. So five of our staff worked on the sketches you see above and we voted internally to select 4 finalists.  We didn’t do a full out critique on each design, but we definitely discussed a few concerns about legibility of the text, or awkward associations in some of the designs.


Here were our 3 finalists!

1st and 3rd designs below are by Intern  Janice Chun, 2nd design is by Teaching Assistant Casey Roonan.

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Snippets from our staff discussion of the designs:

“It’s hard to choose, because I like so many of the designs as drawings but realistically, I would only wear maybe two of them on a T-shirt.”

“I’m having issues with the gloop flying off the back of Prof Lieu’s head-it reminds me of wax, or blood.”

“I like the design with the paint tube, but I don’t get why the paint tube is cut in half.”

“The paint tube cut in half makes me think of a piece of sliced meat-not exactly the best association to have!”

“Some design have interesting lettering but they aren’t easy to read.”


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages to learn visual arts in a vibrant art community. Imagine all of the resources here on our blog, except exponentially bigger, in greater quantity, and in more detail. Our Kickstarter campaign hit its $30k goal on July 19!  Get info on our future launch by subscribing to our email list.

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