Reflecting on using YouTube and Twitch Creative to Explain my Art Process

Morbid Smile Art (1)
Really, a good photo of your work with a simple title screen is important! Thanks for teaching me this, Marlena

I just posted a new YouTube video today, a time-lapse video on my Madam Leota painting that I originally painted live on Twitch over two days: you can watch it here. It got me thinking about they two platforms and how they’ve changed the way I approach my art.

How I Got Started

I’m a fan of watching other artists on YouTube. I often set my YouTube app, linked to my TV through my PS4, to autoplay art videos. It’s soothing and inspiring, but it also helps simulate the camaraderie I sometimes miss of working in a shared studio with other artists. The conversations, the swapped stories, the shared learning and techniques. These are things I miss now that I’m working on my art full time at home. These YouTubers inspired me, and so I began my own YouTube channel in an attempt to spread that love to others. In explaining my own processes, I wanted to have a dialogue with other artists about what works for them and what doesn’t.

At first, I tried filming myself then time lapsing it on my phone camera. The results were mixed. You can still find my first video here: it’s not pretty, and the music was even copyrighted before I changed it. Not that anyone reported it, because no one watched the darn thing. I decided it would be better to try filming the process in a different way. This is what led me to using Twitch and the community of Twitch Creatives, artists who draw or paint or otherwise create live in front of an audience.

Now, a lot of things have changed since I started using Twitch. I’ve improved my lighting and gotten pickier about my background music. Sadly, I’m still filming on my iPhone 6s camera while watching the Twitch feed on my desktop so I can respond to the chat. I do have a better microphone now, and the improved audio quality makes a big difference, so that’s a big help! I also began writing a script before doing the voice-over for my speed paints, which means I can add closed-captions easier.

Why Use Two Platforms?

The takeaway though is that using two video platforms has helped me see some of my own drawbacks and milestones in various art pieces. I have to look back over the video when I go to trim it for YouTube (Twitch allows exporting to YouTube but also downloading of the video for editing). This means I note when I sound weird, when I had a strange camera angle, when my lighting is off. I can fix it real time on Twitch, then benefit from that fix in post-production. Watching my own art process also makes me evaluate it. I’m looking back at my choices and not just wondering what I was doing sometimes, but also noting when I did a really good job. That’s important, because we have to be able to take criticism from ourselves before we can take it from others, and critique is the best way to grow.

Which should you watch?

It depends on what you want. Twitch shows the rough version, the kind you’d encounter in a studio working alongside another artist in a calm space: see what I mean here in my collected two part video of her process. I love watching artists like Jim Lee or PeterDraws work in real time, but there are also loads of other artists out there on Titch Creative working for hours in real time and talking with their audience. YouTube, comparatively, is polished, efficient, and makes the art look easy when it’s certainly not: I had to trim my Madam Leota video down from a little over 4 hours of work (painting, drawing, but also decision-making) to a little under 23 minutes. Even then, most viewers won’t watch longer than 3 minutes tops, whereas Twitch viewers will watch for hours. It all depends on what you want to see and how deep you want to dive into the methods and styles.

I still don’t have many subscribers, but that’s okay. In the end, the channel isn’t just for them. I didn’t make it for views or to be YouTube famous. It’s primarily for me and my own personal developmental journey. If anyone wants to join me on that path, they’re always welcome, but not required.

Here are some ways to support me and what I do. I always appreciate shares, comments, follows, and likes.

Small businesses live or die by word of mouth. Sharing, following, and even buying from or donating to my business helps me immensely.

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