Monday, May 07, 2007

Getting a job...

Sorry about the lack of updates, folks... I've had some problems with my capturing setup and trying to deal with the audio skipping. Anyways it seems to have been solved so I can continue the episodes again soon.

On the plate are:

ellipses in perspective

Also I would like to start a 10-minute painting techniques series soon.

Mundane reality is starting to set in and money's starting to run out. I have to do annoying life-changing things like getting a job so I can keep doing this.

I'm considering releasing NTSC 30fps versions of the series on DVD and direct download at $2.00 per episode. I might even go through the trouble of editing out my bad dialogue and do things in multiple takes so you don't have to endure my mumbling. The main issue that's stopping me is that I know how the internet is -- you can watch high-definition bootlegged movies on broadband and really anything I do can be easily traded around. However, I don't really like the idea of putting up these goofy warnings and getting involved in Copyright law because, well, I'm a guy who doesn't particularly like the Movie And Film Industry Associations (MAFIA) and so I don't feel so good trying to follow their example.

Unfortunately, it still leaves me without a brass razoo to my name. The principle of internet content is that it wants to be freely available and that it's counterproductive to go against it. So really, all I can rely on are donations (so far the counter is still $0.00) so maybe I can't rely on that, either. It would sure be great if I had some sponsors (although I know that many people dislike advertising. I myself use an Adblocker.)

So now I ask my viewers: What IS worth paying for on the internet? What do I have that I can offer that would be worth both my time and your money?

For now I'm applying to a few local colleges for a drawing instructor's position. My biggest problem right now is I don't have much evidence to corroborate my capability as a teacher. If you would like to help me out, you can write what you think of the series and post your reply to this message. Please use a spell-checker as I will be forwarding these to my prospective employers (I wish to avoid fixing grammar and spelling because it makes me seem like I'm doctoring my references). That alone would be a lot of help, you don't have to write up a massive essay.

Anyways, I hope to have episode 17 up soon, but it's 04:38AM right now and I gotta crash and send out some resumés...


Alex said...

Hey there,
It may be worth plugging donation requests into you episodes towards the end. I will be honest that I never even noticed the little donation link in the corner before this post. Also, for what it is worth , don't edit out the banter, it half the fun :)

Lastly, I am at work now so I can't really make any donations, but there will be something (not too much, I am starving too, lol) coming your way for such a great job.

- Alex

frederic said...


I am a French student, I currently studying civil engineering at Imperial College London. I really enjoy your Ten-Minute Drawing Techniques because you speak clear, understandable English. On top of that the format of your video is good to, one video, one notion. After viewing and reviewing your video I got a better feeling of what is in a drawer mind when he is drawing. I am now capable of drawing proper character, and proper landscape (well I hope so). It is the best drawing technique I found on Internet, far better than the others boring text I looked at.
I am waiting for the next episode.


fmkguy said...

Boy! I have so much I want to say but just don't know how to say it! I guess I'll just try repeating to you what I told a friend of mine. ;D

First of all, here's a little back story on me. I'm 19 years old, and I've been studying animation since I was 13. In all of that time, though, certain basic principles just never really "clicked" in my mind. Part of that could be that I've always limited myself to what kind of art books I look at...meaning no "figure drawing", no "anatomy", and very few other "basic" art books. My work was good, but never where I wanted it to be. I've been a bit preoccupied with 3D animation/graphic design over the past 2 years, so I haven't had all that much time to practice. My art, therefore, suffered a little. But, since watching your videos, the concepts that once seemed out-of-reach to me, were immediately made clear! You've given me so much inspiration that, lately, I've been drawing like crazy...and it looks good! I just want to say THANK YOU!

Now, about that donation thing...I'm also lacking in the job/financial department. And everything you had to say about other such videos (particularly the part about "bootlegged" versions) I, myself, am guilty of viewing such things. :( I'll try and do better as I earn more money...eventually!

Anyways, I just wanted to let you know that I was also very impressed with the quality of the videos, as well as the content (no nudity - Thank you). I'm also looking forward to seeing anything you come out with regarding painting (something else I just can't seem to grasp!)

THANKS AGAIN (so very much!)!!!!!!!!!!!! :P


Kory said...

To do with the ad thing- I think that using google's adsense wouldn't be that bad. It doesn't take up too much space and I usually don't mind it. It could generate some money, but I really don't know any details so you'd have to check it out. Just a thought. Oh... I think your videos are awesome. I haven't seen anything like them.

fmkguy said...

Oh, yeah...I was also meaning to ask you...What software do you use for your screen capture?


Dodger_ said...

I would happily pay $40.00+shipping for 20 episodes on DVD, just as they are now(but the higher quality originals, rather than the Youtube). I would say that the best thing you can do is limit your expenses on production so you limit your losses from piracy. Unfortunately, it will probably happen but if all you are paying for is blank DVDs and your time to make the videos, you would probably come out ahead from the honest people sending you money for the product. I would say continue posting your videos on Youtube, plug the donation box somewhere and offer a higher quality vid somehow. I do not know if making them available for download is worthwhile. It really depends if that would affect your bandwidth bill. If it would not, offer that too but otherwise do not bother right now.

Start small, if you catch a lot of popularity from it, then you can get into bigger production DVDs, once you have an idea on how well they would sell. You could also do something like Vilppu and offer weekly tutorials via email or maybe a private forum for people who have purchased your product.

Steve said...

As far as I know when you use a kind of google ad you earn money based on the clicks made from your site.

If you would put some of them on your site I would click on them in a daily basis.

I don't know how much money you can earn with it but I hope it could help.

p.s.: Don't waste your time with popups. They would fright away newcomers even if 80% of browsers block popup ads.

I think that google's adverts doesn't so annoying, and because these are in topic sometimes one can find useful links.

One more thing... make these ads noticable and make it concrete what readers should do.

Your site rulz! Great videos!


Sam said...

Thanks for the help Mark.
Sam Mason

Mark Chong said...

Alex >> Thanks for your advice -- I am working on a short er, 'press release' that will explain how people can contribute, even if they can't afford a donation! (I of all people can understand their predicament!)

frederic >> I try very hard not to mumble! I'm compressing the next episode (on cloth) right now as I write this. If there aren't any skips I'll put it up...

fmkguy>> I can totally sympathize! I used to read many many books on animation and drawing and also went to life drawing classes and just couldn't get the hang of drawing for four years straight!

I think I really started to hit a turning point once I stopped looking at drawing as having a massive collection of little tips and tricks and instead, made an effort to see what all the tips and tricks had in common -- to see if I could distill a basic principle out of them that could easily explain why they worked.

I'm finding that drawing is much more simple now -- drawing's about creating optical illusions -- but you'll find it much easier if you can trick yourself into falling into the illusion from the very start when you see the blank page. Every marking you place on the page is a part of the illusion -- it should strengthen the illusion, and I want to make an episode all about structure and how it plays a huge part in creating and maintaining illusions (kind of like the episode on contrast).

P.S.: I'm using Windows Media Player running on my TabletPC to capture a DV stream from a camcorder... and the camcorder is plugged into the analog S-VHS output of my desktop workstation's video card. It's a pretty complicated setup but it allows me to capture 30-second NTSC footage that looks really really nice!

kory >> There's google's adsense (at the very bottom of the page. ;D ) I really don't like to pester people with banners or popups so I try to keep things über low-key... If a real sponsor were to approach me, though, I would allow a very small link/banner list on the sidebar but definately NO popups or big glaring things that would break up the experience of being able to watch episodes. Ads might be tacked to the end of the episode but not the beginning!

I am of the belief that the majority of people will be annoyed by ads that interrupt learning at the start -- and that they can opt-in to watching the ad if it plays at the end. And the ads would never be for XXX or pharmaceuticals. They spammed the wrong guy so they're on my blacklist.

Dodger >> I've decided to stick with making things free for everyone! The nature of data on the internet is that it "wants" to be free. It's so easy to replicate and distribute it so I've decided, rather than fighting against it, I'm going to help it! I'm going to keep posting low-res versions on Youtube (since it's still an excellent community with tons of viewers) but I'm also going to post high-resolution (640x480) versions on Google Video for people with broadband connections.

I want as many people to know about the series as I can so I actually encourage people to make copies and send it around as much as they want and show all their friends. I feel that if someone doesn't feel that it's worth paying for, then it's not like they'd buy the DVD anyways, and since I'm also a bit financially-challenged, I can understand how people can't afford to pay for tuition.

But that's OK... if people can help me by telling others about this valuable online resource and that if even a small fraction of them can donate, then it's all good. I would love to be able to do this full-time.

steve >> Thanks for your advice and kind words! Well, Google expressly forbids owners of adsense accounts from encouraging people to click links. I can understand why -- clicking links shouldn't be done in order to support my site -- but so that the merchants(of the links) can get a little exposure from potential customers who are genuinely interested in what they have to offer.

In fact, the money for clicking on adsense links comes from those merchants, so if people were clicking those links just for my sake it'd be like people stealing money for me and I'd have a tough time sleeping.

I'm very glad that I can help people and even more happy that people would like to return the favour. If people are willing to link back to the series or talk about the series on drawing communities out there (don't spam please!) it helps me a lot!

sam >> Thank YOU! :D You've helped me a great deal too!

Rogier said...


I really can't express in words how much these tutorials have helped me.

God, that sounds corny. But it's true.

It's not just "This is how I do it." It's "This is what I do, how I do it, and why I do it.

I'd be most definitely willing to pay for these things. Not a single art video has as much depth (and all of that in 10 min.) as these, from what I've seen.

Good luck!

John said...

I have been trying to teach myself to draw for a couple years now, and came across your videos just a couple days ago. I have made more progress in these two days than in the entire two years! You have a great knack for teaching difficult concepts in a way that is easy to understand.

Secondly, here's something to consider. My neighbor is an artist whom has taken up teaching private art lessons to children. He is now quite wealthy, as there are a huge number of parents looking for just such a service. With your talents, you may be able to do the same. Good Luck!

- John

Mike said...

I really don't know where to start here, but I know I have to show my support because the more support you get the better off we all will be. I've been a student of animation for a year now. I won't mention the school because I will be ranting a little bit. Anyway, just a little background here, I was going to a local school for 3 years and found that I loved 3D animation. I loved it so much that I started figuring out that what I was learning at that school was nothing more than anything I could have taught myself in less time. I was going into my last year of school without any skills, just technical knowledge. So I quit, I found a different school that would help me with principles. So I threw everything away and started a new somewhere else. Upon starting a new I quickly learned that I had to have a drawing portfolio to get into my degree of choice. I took a drawing class submitted my port and was accepted. Since then I've had to take life drawing classes, and gesture drawing classes. I'm getting into movement and starting some animation now.

Now, my drawing has come a long way since day one, but it seems that it has become very slow now. I can't see the improvement anymore. I am finding myself stuck. I have learned some basics but I can't get any more information out of my teachers. Oh, have to say, it is an online school, so there is no interaction outside of the digital world. Anyway, I know I need to do more, but I have no direction.

To the point.

So I went to you tube because I was actually looking for some rip offs of Vippu's ??? drawing tapes. And I found yours, with the name in the first episode. In the last 24 hours I've watched 13 episodes. I went to the mall and started drawing. The technique you mentioned about contact and drawing the contact first allows you the freedom to go where ever with the joints and helps you to find the overlapping. Also the point to point has helped me tremendously. My drawings still stink. But I'm hoping by drawing more and watching more videos that I can start to see an increase. With all that said, I'd love if you lived near me, I need a mentor and a teacher. Hopefully through the internet maybe we can establish a connection of some sort. I'm like everyone else and had no idea that there is a place to donate. I'm a starving college student, but I think I can manage some green your way for helping me. Let me know what I have to do.

Again, thanks for what you are doing. I need this and hope you got lots more to give. I also think that your babbling is great. It gives it personality, don't change it. Also more figure drawing examples would be great to.

Thanks again and I hope we can be in contact at some point. Send me an email if you like.

Mark Chong said...

rogier >> Thanks so much for your kind words. They really help to remind me why the series is important and why I should continue making them.

I've always been a terrible student. (I had awful grades in school). I don't listen to directions unless someone tells me the reasons for them, so I can't really expect someone to remember anything important unless they recognize the importance of it (which isn't always obvious!)

When I was narrating EP17:Drapery I was thinking: "Geez, I feel like I'm a jerk who teaches people to suck eggs with my narration.... everything I say seems so obvious!"

Well, the things I learn about drawing seem obvious, but I wasn't aware of them earlier so as a teacher I must remember that an obvious bit of information wasn't obvious until I had to think about it! The "sneaky obvious stuff" is often what's really worth teaching and I almost always have to think and think and think and simplify something until a simpleton like me can explain it without feeling confused.

I've also started recording the series at NTSC-DV resolution so that eventually, I can release a DVD which will be sent to everyone who donates (or has already donated) $25.00 (Not final price -- gotta figure out production and shipping costs first). I think it's a nice way of giving donors a little extra somethin' somethin' in return.

All past and future donors addresses will be kept on record so that when the time comes I can ask them for their mailing address to send them a DVD. People who donate even more are entitled to additional copies for friends. I won't mind it if anyone duplicates the DVD or uploads it to peer-to-peer networks -- I just hope nobody tries to exploit others by selling it!

Ben said...

I just wanted to say how useful I am finding your videos. I do mostly 3D but I have come to realise I can't get away with not being able to draw!
I would happily pay around $25 for a high quality version.
Keep up the good work

P.S. Your DA gallery is great.

Ed said...

I offer an illustration course where you teach the students through personlized video. I've been looking for something like this.

Ed said...

I mean you should offer an online illustration course where you teach the through personlized video. I've been looking for something like this.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mark,

Your stuff is great. I can't wait to show my wife. She has been taking drawing tuition on and off for years and as a Mum would probably prefer the convenience of you over having to get to classes.

I play guitar and I think you could get some great advice about earning money via online tuition by contacting some of the people who offer online guitar tuition on the web. From my experience of the web to date this community is thriving and has always been ahead of the curve. Just google for free online guitar tuition.


Peter C.

impClaw said...

This might be a little late but thanks a lot for these great videos, they where all perfect additions to my prior knowlege. I think you would fit as a drawing instructor since you express yourself very well in a calm and pedagogical way. Furthermore you present your drawing knowlege in a way rarley seen in other videos and books, which makes your way of teaching different and much better than most of the other ways i've seen. Thanks a lot for these videos, they really helped me understanding some points of drawing that no other book or video covered.

Sorry for any spelling/gramatical errors.

Anonymous said...

You know theres many things i'd like to click and donate ,this is one of them. I agree with the selling part. On another side i am so much a beginner i wouldnt try to buy videos.
As a beginner ,your videos just got me understand some ways of drawing, so i might eventually get something out of it =)
More people should see this site

sylverone said...

These videos have helped me a lot. watching these has helped me to realize some things as well as bring together some of my previous knowledge. Things explained in books that you never understand become very easy when someone can actually show you what the books were trying to say, and that's only part of what you're doing.

Also, I think the idea of giving videos to people who donate a certain amount is a good idea. That way, the information still remains completely free, while you can "sell" a signed compilation of the lessons without having to worry about the official air that "selling" often implies. I like how it keeps it informal. Perhaps if I can get some money I'll send some your way.

La porte said...


I consider myself to be pretty (self-)educated at drawing, hey, I'm actually on the verge of making a living out of it.

Nevertheless, I've learned very important things with each of your video, which I could see the benefit of as soon as I applied it to my drawings. Speed and less anarchy in the construction are two of the main things I've gained from watching your lessons.

I've read a lot of books, drew a lot, but your lressons are the most efficient ones I have come accross.

Thank you immensely for what you are doing.