I’m On YouTube

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Hey YouTubers! I’ve decided to join the party and have created my own YouTube channel. So far it’s mostly clips from my webinars, such as the sample above (available for purchase in my store) but I’ve also put up a drawing demo, my own animation commentary on a Popeye cartoon, and a couple of other odds and ends.

I’m not really sure what exactly I’ll be doing with the channel or how often I’ll be posting. If you want to find out with me, head on over and click “Subcribe”.

My First Ever Drawing Demo Video

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I’ve just completed my first-ever YouTube drawing demo video. Back when I was raising funds on Kickstarter for the Pose Drawing Sparkbook, I promised my backers that if we reached a certain goal I’d do a demo video, with commentary, based on a drawing prompt from the book. The prompt I chose reads: “Vending machine took their money”.

There’s a bit of a learning curve, for instance I talk too fast at first. But it was a lot of fun. Hopefully there’s something here that people will find helpful. This was sort of “test run” to work out a few kinks as I prepare my upcoming webinar, “Bringing Your Drawings To Life” (which is available for pre-order in my store).

Here’s how the finished sketch turned out:


Artists On YouTube

Here’s a few YouTube videos I’ve stumbled upon recently from some artists whose work I admire:

Dennis Jones is a phenominal illustrator. He draws very fun, entertaining cartoon characters and then paints them with a master’s eye for color and shading. Here’s a quick demo of him painting in Photoshop. View Dennis’ YouTube channel for more videos:

Here the very talented Denis Goulet posted a link he found to a quick tip about how to get more out of your Faber-Castell PITT brush pens:

Caricaturist Joe Bluhm discusses his process while painting Bill Murray:

Finally, Stephen Silver demonstrates a “memory sketch”. Memory sketching is a challenging exercise where the artist stares at a subject for a few moments (no drawing, just observing) and then later sketches the pereson from memory:

Stephen teaches a terrific class on character design over at schoolism.com. I took the class myself and I learned a great deal. Highly recommended!

Do you have any favorite YouTube artist videos that you’ve found educational or inspiring? If so, please post a link in the comments section.

Nobody Knows Anything, or How To Make The Next Big Internet Hit

Hollywood screenwriter William Goldman famously wrote that “in Hollywood, nobody knows anything”. What he meant was that nobody really understands how to make a successful film. Despite all the money and effort poured into every movie, it’s a total mystery why some films rake in mega bucks and others flop big time. If there was a secret formula to making a hit, Hollywood would crank out nothing but blockbusters. In reality most films actually lose money. Every year it’s a small handful of mega-blockbusters that keep the studios in the black.

It seems to me the same principle holds true on the internet. Every day legions of people upload YouTube videos, Flash animations, and funny pictures with the hopes of drawing the masses to their website. Advertisers are also getting into the act, spending thousands or even millions of dollars searching for the next big internet phenomenon. Everyone wants to be the next Numa Numa guy or Elf Yourself campaign. A few succeed. The majority disappear, washed under the waves in the vast internet ocean.

Nevertheless, it’s got me thinking. What types of things draw people to a website or YouTube video? What are the building blocks of internet popularity? Of course there’s no such thing as a sure-fire formula for internet success (if there was, everyone would be doing it). But it’s probably fair to say that there are at least a few common threads that run through most internet success stories.

Here’s a few off the top of my head:

1. Entertainment value. The content has to hold people’s attention and make them smile. Of course, how you define “entertainment value” is another topic altogether.

2. Interaction. People don’t want to just watch, they want to be drawn in and, if possible, play along. The latest gimmick is to paste your head onto an animated character, but it doesn’t have to be that complicated. The Numa Numa guy just had a catchy song that people could tap their feet to as they watched.

3. Surprise. Media consumers have seen it all. You have to give them something fresh and new to hold their attention.

4. Humor. Everybody loves to laugh.

5. Brevity. Our modern attention spans are getting shorter by the minute. Some of you may have already become bored with this post and moved on.

This is a short list and I’m sure there’s plenty I’ve missed. What do you think? What types of things make you want to share a website with your friends and family? Feel free to leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.