Category Archives: Creative Advice

A super value Digital Controller for art students – TourBox Lite

Tourbox lite is a new super value digital controller that is now available for $95 – get an extra, exclusive $5 off using code – shoorayner (follow this link valid til may 1st 24)

Tourbox Lite is a box full of knobs and wheels and buttons that you can assign to any function in any app or program that you use on your computer – Mac or PC. Turn your most used actions into quick simple button presses.

I use it mostly with Photoshop or now Affinity Photo. The central knob is worth every penny on it’s own. Choose a brush and the knob instantly changes the brush size. I love it just for that.

I have been using the TourBox Digital Controller every day for a couple of years now and it’s a part of my working life. I think it is the best digital extra you can get for your computer – and I’m not being paid to say that! It’s what your left hand is for – or right if you are left-handed. It’s quite happy being placed wherever is best for you.

I use it for stop motion, video editing, audio editing, scanning, word-processing and more. It automatically adjusts to your current, open app. You just have to chose the settings and remember which buttons to press.

You may think its a lot to learn and get used to. My first day took me about a morning to work it out, get set up and choose how I’d use it. By the afternoon it was like I’d always been using it. I would be lost without it now.

There are some processes that I’ve speeded up no end. It’s taken the boring bit out of editing and made it fun.

Creator Burnout – It’s a real thing – should I quit YouTube?

There have been a load of so-called OGs quitting YouTube recently, and I suppose I might count as an OG* – I’d take it as a compliment! ???? 

I’ve watched a lot of their quitting videos and one theme runs through them all. For them, YouTube is not fun anymore. YouTube is so much fun when you start out, but to get bigger, it gets more complicated and corporate. The same goes for being a children’s author and probably any creative venture.

I have always watched the lives of the famous with horror. They live surrounded by people who do everything for them, but for whom they are responsible. They have to get up every day and think up something new to pay the mortgages of their employees. They are responsible for feeding the mouths of their employees children. That’s not fun. 

To maintain that level it requires that you become corporate and boring. That’s the way you sustain the income. Entrepreneurs build then sell up to corporations, then go away and start something new. Being a creator, you can’t do that. You are the product having to do something new everyday!

That is a place I’ve never wanted to go to and don’t want to go to now in my later years.

But… all this OG talk of quitting has opened up a new vista for me. Doing it for fun again.

So I return to my original channel, shooraynerdrawing, and find it is a mess. The last few years I have been all over the place, but I still have a following!

In my heart, I’m a children’s author, but for many reasons, over the last 15 years, I’ve lost my confidence in even using the term to describe myself.

Basically, I need to start again. Meanwhile, my contemporaries are retiring all around me. A few weeks ago, the thought of starting over seemed a debilitatingly heavy burden. But now, with all this quitting going on, it seems like it could be fun.

By going back, back to a time before algorithms and statistics ruled my daily life and mental bandwidth. I’m in a fortunate place that I can be self-indulgent that way, to run the channel as the “B experiment” in an AB test, to see what happens if you ignore the YouTube rules. I think you might just be able to do okay!

When I started 15 years ago, only Mark Crilley was doing how to draw manga videos. I thought people needed to know how to draw stuff that was not manga and offered a choice.

Now there are a million people showing how to draw everything in every style, and they do it a whole lot better than me. Why compete? I’ve done so many drawing videos, it’s become a bit hard to summon up the enthusiasm two or three times a week.

But the whole making of children’s books, as a home, table-top thing, does still excite me. Printing technology has always excited me since childhood. Bookbinding, just making physical books has always excited me. 

So that’s where I’m going, turning shooraynerdrawing into a self-indulgent channel about me and how I write, illustrate, make and market books.

In the process I hope to inspire and instruct those many people who would like to create their own children’s books. There will still be drawing videos, but they will be all about me, my style and the book I’m currently working on. I’ll be using YouTube as a delivery vehicle, not a means to an end. I have a feeling that it will turn out quite a happy quid pro quo relationship for YouTube too.

I’m not going to worry about gaining millions of views or followers. If millions come along – that’s great, but I’m not going to build a team to exploit and build a bigger business – I’ll keep doing what I like doing best and have fun doing it.

*OG stands for Old Gangster, the original gangsters who managed to keep going all these years! After 15 years on YouTube I think I qualify ????

Leaving Adobe is like Kicking Crack Cocaine!

I’ve been using Photoshop, Indesign, Illustrator and Flash as Adobe products or their predecessors, for over a quarter of a century.

That’s a long time to get acclimated to something, which makes it really difficult to stop using them and change to something else.

Adobe know this and have you locked in on an annual agreement, paid monthly, that I think of as the Adobe Tax.

There is an alternative, the Affinity suite of Photo, Publisher and Designer – – which sells for a one time price equal to three months of Adobe.

What is so galling about Adobe is that you have to pay for all their products whether you use them or not. I can’t understand how this is quite legal!

The truly difficult thing is changing all those micro habits and ways of using photoshop  and inDesign that are now ingrained. It’s like coming off drugs! 

I have a few months before my Adobe annual contract comes to an end in which to kick the habit, learn the new software habits and bring my archive of inDesign titles up to date and transferred to publisher.

I also want to do this because I can’t, in all conscience, recommend that newbie illustrators and self-publishers should sign up for a year of Adobe and go through that massive learning curve for what may turn out to be a passing phase in their lives. It’s an expensive way to find out!

Subscribe to my channel on YouTube for more drawing and publishing videos  ??