Thursday, May 29, 2008

Derelict - 1 Hour painting demo

One of the things that always bugged me about a lot of painting demos is how they're often sped up and they don't talk about the problems they run into while they paint, and even before they paint. Maybe they don't run into these problems because they're super amazing artists. Well, I'm not a super amazing artist, I'm a normal bloke, so here's a painting demo for normal blokes.

By the way... I'm gonna try and get a video out at least once every two days, mostly because there just aren't any projects out there that seem like they'll be particularly successful. Simply breaking even to pay the rent on a job that won't test my skills as an artist is really just delaying the inevitable, wasting my time and draining my spirit, so I'd much rather spend my time doing what I enjoy (teaching through video tutorials) and doing something that I hope will help me succeed, and I hope helps others succeed.

But, as you can probably see from the donations (on that meter on the right), I might have a tough time doing this as long as I wish. On average, 300 of my videos are watched every day, which in YouTube terms, means I'm getting my ass kicked by the baby kitten videos and the videos where people do bad things to themselves for attention. I really need more exposure and I don't want to go about spamming websites because people get turned off instead.

I feel like I'm only appealing to a tiny portion of my potential audience, but doing stuff like elaborate intros and animated diagrams takes a really long time to produce, not like just jumping in and recording the order of the day. So if anyone's reading this, I'm eager to hear your thoughts on the series and where you'd like to see it go from here.


C said...

Hi - just a note from a long-time viewer in the UK, to say DON'T STOP! :)

I must admit I prefer the 10 minute format but varying subjects obviously need varying approaches.

I'm a lecturer in digital media and your bite sized lessons have been a great help to improve my own pre-production work, as well as to recommend to students.

I just donated, I figure your lessons are at least as valuable to me as the last book I bought, if other people think in the same terms then you will hopefully get a surge in donations.

PS... I only recently landed a full time post, it took almost 4 years of part-time & freelance teaching but it happened. Be patient, stay positive, and in the meantime I hope my small contribution helps.

Torisuke said...

All this brings up an important point.... Who's Nerdier: You for the music selection, or I for actually recognizing most of it(I commend you for the Seiken Densetsu 3 and Chrono Trigger in particular.) Also, Part 2/7 seems to be a repeat of part 1/7.

Anyways, Your videos have been incredibly useful both for technical information and motivational pushes. As a someone with an exorbitant amount of hobbies and interests, most of my education consists of Google searches followed by repeated failed attempts due to not understanding a subtle nuance within a technique. A valuable aspect of TMDT is the explanations of such nuances, that make the random Google searches all the more productive.

P.S. Have you played Persona 3? It's simply one of the best Rpgs in ages, and completely worth the 30 USD the extended edition runs for.

Mark Chong said...

c: THANK YOU for your donation! I think what the series really needs is for me to make it valuable enough to donate for.

I don't want the series to act merely as an advertisement of my talents, which is how I feel many tutorial videos floating out there are. The thought processes of artists can be really inscrutable and not many of them go through the trouble of explaining themselves to others clearly.

It also really bothers me when they fast-forward through their movie, although to be fair, those videos would probably be insanely long and take up a ton of disk space, and not everyone has the necessary hardware to capture their screen(with voice-overs) in real time at 29.97fps.

I think the 10-minute format was nice for knowledge bites, but as we get into the actual application of the theory, it already takes a while to explain the theory, and even more time to execute it.

Short videos are nice for convenience too, but sometimes I feel that it's easy to lose perspective on just how much time the creative process takes, and a lot of people think it's par for the course to rush through a painting, while bypassing all the decision-making.

There's this popular mentality that "talk is cheap" and that "real people take action" and it's true most of the time because most of the people I used to work for were terrible at giving instructions or defining the criteria for a job or explaining just what needed to be done. They were quick to take credit for anything that went right and to scapegoat all the blame on me for anything that went wrong, and all this behaviour has really given decision-making a bad name.

Proper planning is not something that many people have enjoyed and it's understandable for people not to miss what they've never had; but everyone gripes about having to do things over and over and projects begin to obey Parkinson's Law, taking more and more time and resources until budgets and deadlines are stretched to the limit.

So because of this, I want these videos to NOT be rushed, but I won't waste time. Although I talk a fair bit during these lectures and tutorials and demonstrations, I feel that most of what I stress is highly important. It's easy for people to get flustered by this terrible feeling that while the REC light is lit, you have to be "entertaining".

I think that people watch tutorials because they find the actual drawing process fascinating. I know I wanted to emulate a lot of artists and I tried to see how they thought and I'd ape their movements. It's BECAUSE people are watching so that they too can learn or emulate, that it's even more important to just be yourself in front of an audience.


Oh hell I'm a huge nerd. I'm such a nerd-fan that I'm so inspired by nerdy things that I have to go out and create them myself.

Thanks for spotting the repeat video on part 2. It's fixed.

I'm really trying not to play too many games (although I am powerless to resist the cry of anything Valve makes) but these games are a huge source of inspiration so I find ways to rationalize my pitiable state. I'm playing Bioshock again FOR THE THIRD TIME Gaaarghh!!! I even totally geeked out yesterday when I managed to find a $15.00 MIDI footswitch at Steve's Music Store and it's rigged up with GlovePIE as a toeswitch for my left foot. Now I can activate the Research Camera faster.

Is the music OK? Is it too distracting? I find it helps me settle into the mood a little better, and there are occasional segments where I clam up for a while and I stop drawing and I have to think and the silence becomes uncomfortable, so having a tune running in the background is a nice way to fill it in.

Torisuke said...

The music was great, albeit the FF battle theme at the end could have easily thrown everything off track :).

Teaching well is a difficult task to accomplish. Students only truly grasp the magnitude of a piece of information if they develop and reconstruct the piece on their own; However, Constructing anything requires building blocks: Other pieces of information that have to be forced in without giving explanations to assist comprehending their breadth. Without a balance between both types information transfer, one could end up trying to bridge a canyon with 5 toothpicks and a bottle of glue, or end up with 5000 toothpicks and no glue.

P.S. Bioshock is an excellent game, particularly for a western one;

Part of the thing that makes a game that really last is immersion. How a game achieves immersion is up for grabs, however.
The reason I highly recommend Persona 3 is how it achieves immersion. It places day-to-day life Higher than your " I'm-an-uber-japanese-teenager-who-can-save-the-world" battle ability, and links your stats to your personality and social interactions. However, expect to take up 100+ hours of your life by the time all is said and done (On a good note, though, you can stop for a week or so, and still pick back up easily, unlike most other rpgs.)

David said...

You really need to keep up. What you do is unique. Very helpful to me. I'll keep donating as I can. In my view, I'm taking excellent drawing lessons which I'm willing to pay for. I can't tell where I'd like to see the series go for now. I feel like any way you go I'll learn something interesting. Seeing your approach is worth it anyway.

About the music, since you asked... Given my limited English skills, I find it a bit disturbing. I mean, I enjoy the music but it makes it significantly harder for me to listen to your words.

Too bad L*a*b support in GIMP doesn't seem to be planned in the short term. So I guess I'll give that TVPaint a try.

C said...

I know what you mean about 10 minutes being too short to really explore something, and your videos would definitely suffer if you kept saying "pause it now, draw for 20 minutes, then come back and see how much better than you I am".

(BTW, you don't come across as a self-promoter or a narcissist, quite the opposite.)

David is right - whatever you do will benefit those of us with open minds, but I still don't think the possible list of 10 minute "bites" are exhausted yet.

One suggestion for possible future directions - you could drop some "bonus" tutorials on YouTube that aren't embedded in the blog, or have a poll on the blog for what we want to see? Something to get more of us engaged in more ways, or to relate the principles to "real" ink & paint, or to 3D modeling, or less natural-media based toolsets such as Adobe Flash...

...or just put a baby kitten picture as the middle frame on each video to fake the thumbnail & get more hits.

graphic design said...

No one else seems to have said this so maybe it is just me, but i found the music a touch too loud, and thus distracted me from actually concentrating on you in certain part. Don't get me wrong I like your post, prehaps maybe if the music was just a tad quieter :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Mark,
I have been studying your videos for the last several weeks. As you have heard they are terrific and innovative. This is a very different approach to drawing than I have found any where else.

I go to a couple of other sites which seem to have solved the problem of how to make money.
On is He has his audience eating out of his hand and it looks like the money will be rolling in for a course he is about to offer.
The other is which also seems to be making money.
IMHO your stuff is capable and doing as well as these with the right business mode.
Thanks for all the wonderful instruction.