My Virtual Studio: Video Philosophy

Teach

Demonstrate techniques to inspire people’s creativity. Each channel has its own brand; mine is about helping others see their God-given creativity and giving them the tools they need to explore it! I mix in a little of the pups, just to bring some crazy fun into the mix, but I keep the focus on techniques.

Respect viewers’ time

Their time is valuable. Make videos only as long as necessary; cut out filler! Nobody needs to wait while you search for a new marker or pick up a spilled cup of pens. 10-12 minutes is the “sweet spot” according to YouTube. For special topics people are willing to spend more time with a video, or once they are dedicated fans they may be willing to watch an hour – but lots of folks look at the video length and will zip to other parts or the end, or bail entirely – none of which are going to help YT stats for the video.

Encourage

Everyone is creative! Help them see their skills and their capacity to grow and learn. Address little and big techniques to help everyone. *Unless your channel has a really specific type of audience; if you’re literally targeting pro colorists, or moms with kids, your channel’s broader appeal is valuable.

Laugh

Laugh at yourself, at art, at life! Have fun. There’s nothing more healing and uplifting than laughter, and it’s even more catchy than yawns! When doing voiceovers, SMILE. No one is watching but they can HEAR your smile.

Inspire

Share advanced techniques to show people the possibilities in their future if they keep working. I used to keep those pieces for myself or for social media, but making occasional videos showing how to take crafting skills and make a fine art piece, or taking a medium and showing how it can be stretched – those things can give people a vision for where they want their skills to be at some point. I try to incorporate a little of some lessons in classes on this site, so students in those classes recognize them and realize maybe they COULD do that.

#1 BIG THING: Be real.

Be yourself. don’t try to make videos like anyone else does, even if it costs you. When I started, I wanted to be just like one of the big name crafters; I thought that was the way to make a living. Turns out that was a terrible idea; once I started ignoring that pull, and started being myself and exploring my own creativity, things took off. Income doubled as soon as I walked away from that perspective. (Doubled is relative, by the way. Don’t expect crafty videos to make you a fortune. There’s a lot more to it, read more later in this lesson.)

Never lie to viewers. If it’s not “the best,” don’t say it is! I have a friend I watch some crafty videos with via phone sometimes, and I have a bowl of m&ms and she has a glass of beer. Every time someone says “it’s the best stamp” or “best ink” or “favorite of all time new thing” we eat m&ms or take a drink. Honestly, she’s a mess at the end of our evenings! If you temper the urge to say “best release ever” in every video, your word will mean a lot more to viewers when you really DO fully endorse something. Sure, say that it’s a barrel of monkeys worth of fun to color. The new color really inspired you. Don’t feel like you can’t say nice things – just limit those superlatives and make them count.

Don’t fear mistakes; sometimes show them and the recovery. But don’t always keep all the mistakes in; unless that’s your brand. In general, it’s helpful to come across as an authority and if every video is an “oops,” it doesn’t position the artist authoritatively as one to be followed.

Do what YOU love. Yes, sometimes you can be helpful by teaching what your audience wants to learn; but 90% of what you create should be what makes YOUR heart happy. Authenticity matters – be who you really are.

A bit more business advice

Maybe this should be called a reality check rather than advice?

But I just want to put a caveat out here: don’t get into making videos and thinking that’ll make you rich. Honestly, unless you get 50,000 views in a matter of days on a video, you’re not likely to make much to live on from revenue from YT videos. They really just don’t pay that much. Yes there are viral video makers who can pay their mortgage with YouTube income, but I receive a tiny fraction of a house payment each month.

Most successful artists I know have multiple streams of income – they do a lot of different things to bring in money. If you’re wanting to make videos as more than a hobby, consider what else you’d do to bring in incom. Some of the ones I do, in no particular order:

  • Monetized Youtube videos
  • Paid guest posts
  • Affiliate links
  • In person classes
  • Online classes
  • Patreon
  • Selling art
  • Art prints on Society6

I get emails regularly from a lot of folks who want to do what I do, thinking I get to just sit around and paint! lol. If only! I work 7 days a week, and even when I take a day to go out and paint, I work in the evening when I return. I do get to make my own schedule, and that often means working weird hours so I can take an afternoon for a walk in the park with the pups. I love it – I’m a workaholic and I absolutely love what I work at – but it’s pretty consuming.

Parts of running a business like mine is that the yucky business stuff takes more tech savvy and business brain than most artists even want to consider. Sales tax reports. 75-100 emails a day. Lots of HTML coding to make my sites work, or a heck of a lot of money to pay someone else to do it. I get together with artists in my area and we often have compare notes about how each of us survives as a working artist – and when I explain what I’ve done, I literally get glassy-eyed looks and shaking heads; so I’m pretty convinced that I’m a rarity, living out of both hemispheres of my brain. I don’t take that for granted!

All that said, though, I’ve never lived such a rewarding life! It took a long time to build what I have done, and it takes constant maintenance; but it’s been worth it for me. I get to watch others become inspired to try new things, to see themselves as artists when previously they had no confidence. I see people get an art commission, or enter their first art challenge, and I’m just so proud I could burst!

Join our creative community! Our Student Facebook Group is for all classes here …and while there are no finished projects in this class, you’re welcome to join the group and get an idea of what kind of beautiful works can be created from learnings in classes on this website!


I'm an artist, papercrafter, instructor, Youtuber - and all around creative geek! I love all the mediums and experimenting with styles. I especially love seeing others take a step on their own creative journey...whether for the first time, or leaping into new territory as a creative veteran!