I met several of the women I now work with at Get It Scrapped and Masterful Scrapbook Design because we were in a critique group together over 5 years ago.
Celeste Smith, Doris Sander, Betsy Sammarco, Paula Gilarde and I used to post our pages for each other (and the rest of our group) with a request for feedback. If that sounds scary to you, read on to find out why it’s actually an empowering and enriching experience.In a well-run critique group, the goal is not to tell a designer what’s wrong with a piece. Rather, it is to give the designer the opportunity to “see” his or her work through the eyes of others and find out if and why it appeals to them. What draws the eye first? How does it make the viewer feel? What is the story the viewer takes away? What might she or he change if it were their page?
the critique group
Participating in a critique group allows you to:
- understand the impact your work makes. You (hopefully) understand how a piece of your work affects you, yourself ( you know how you look at it and what you take away from it). But what grabs others? Where does your viewer’s eye go first on the page? How involved in/interested in the page are they? What do they think it’s about? What mood/feeling/associations did it evoke for them?
- learn how to weight and use criticism. You get multiple eyes on a piece and voices weighing in. This creates a mechanism for deciding which advice to take and which to decline. Every critic comes at a piece with some degree of subjectivity and personal preference, but with several opinions you’ll find there are always some words of advice repeated and, thus, important to consider.
- gain objectivity about your own work for the re-visioning process. As you get repeated feedback you learn to see in new ways. What’s more, you learn how to step back after finishing a page and consider it with less subjectivity. You learn how to spot things that should be changed on your own.
- hone your craft. Seeing your work and the work of others considered by a group over and over again, you will see visual design in action and internalize the principles and elements so that they become second nature – so that your eye and your hand are confident.
- evolve your style and try new things. You will go new places with your craft when you’re in a critique group as a result of several aspects of the experience including: the assignments, seeing what others create that you like and the changes you make as a result of feedback.
the guided study critique group
(getting a leg up)
The quality of your experience in a critique group is directly affected by the level of proficiency your fellow group members possess. Thus, many of us looking for feedback find ourselves in a “chicken-or-the-egg” situation. How do you get into a critique group with skilled groupmates if you, yourself, are still learning?
A guided-study critique group takes care of this challenge. In a guided-study critique group, you not only get feedback on whatever page you made this week, you study focused topics together with your group and create assignments around those topics.
Additionally, you are led by experienced designers who keep you on track and guide everyone in getting questions answered and assimilating feedback and opinions. As a result, you and your groupmates develop the skills to give solid feedback, yourselves.
two guided-study critique groups (15 seats each) this fall at Get It Scrapped
This fall at Get It Scrapped we will offer a guided-study critique experience. The session will last 4 weeks with the first round of feedback going out on September 20th. There is an absolute maximum of 15 seats in each group. (We’ve got 2 groups so that’s 30 seats total–no more!)
When the 4 weeks are complete you may continue workshopping with your group or a subset of it using Get It Scrapped private facilities at no charge. (We will also offer a second round of guided-study critique focusing on other design elements and principles, and you will have the first opportunity to grab one of the limited number of seats in it.)
how it works
You will study with 2 teachers who have designed for manufacturers and publishers and who have teaching experience. (I will be one of the 2 teachers you work with).
Fridays: get reading and layout assignments with resources for exploring the focus topic in depth
- You will need to purchase White Space Is Not Your Enemy: A Beginner’s Guide to Communicating Visually through Graphic, Web and Multimedia Design by Kim Golombisky and Rebecca Hagen. This book will be used for this session (Design Topics 1) as well as the next guided-study session (Design Topics 2).
- You will receive our free class Design Principles for the Scrapbook Page and should go through it before class starts.
- In this first guided-study critique session, Design Topics 1, you will receive direction on all aspects of design but also do focus work each week to help you understand design principles at a more advanced level.
Week 1: focal point, emphasis, dominance
Week 2: contrast, size, shape
Week 3: balance, symmetry, asymmetry
Week 4: repetitions, unity, pattern
- You will receive 2 layout assignments per week. Complete 1 for critique in the gallery and 1 for critique in live webinar. (We will critique your page in the webinar even if you are not present; video and audio recording will be provided within 24 hours).
Wednesdays: post up to 2 layouts for critique by end of day
Thursdays: live webinar critique session (one of your two layouts will be critiqued here in the live webinar and the other will be critiqued in the gallery–you choose which). The webinar will be recorded and posted within 24 hours. You do not need to be present to have your layout critiqued — just be sure to submit it. If you want to speak in the session (rather than type comments) you’ll need a headset with a microphone.
We will announce the teachers next week (there will be two groups running simultaneously, and I will be one of the two teachers in both of these groups). We’ll also share the cost and details for registering next week in this announcement. (Because of the small group size and personal feedback, it will be more expensive than our traditional online classes.)
We will open registration first to those who let us know they are especially interested in the program by providing an email address below. Note – there will be only 30 seats total. If there are still seats after the early-bird announcement, we will open up registration to our mailing list 24 hours later.
get early notice – there are only 15 seats in each section
Are you interested in getting first notification when registration opens? If so, click here to get on the early-notice list.