Category Archives: Creative Advice

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!

for more drawing and publishing videos  ??

How to Draw Heads for Character Design and Illustration

Drawing heads for character illustrations doesn’t have to be difficult. A head is just a blob at the top of a body. The important bits are what you draw on top of the features that define the mood and emotion… the hats and clothes, glasses and beards that define the character.

Creating characters is not about accurate life drawing as a serious Artist – (capital A!).

Many characters only ever need one or two head-shapes for a whole book or series. Practice those heads and you can soon be drawing them easily. Even more complicated characters only ever need a small library of head positions, so concentrate on learning those.

In this video I discuss heads on characters drawn by great children’s book illustrators and then show how you basic head construction and how you can learn draw your own heads quite quickly. There are amazon links to the books mentioned below. (I get an affiliate fee to help pay for my website, but you pay no more.)

Subscribe to my channel on YouTube for lots more drawing videos  ??


music by

Everyone asks about the tools I use. Here’s a video to show you what and how I use them.

Rotring Tikky Graphic Pen in the UK in the USA in Canada

00:00:00 Introduction

00:00:23 Alice Teniel

00:00:35 Alice Arthur Rackham.

00:01:22 The Queens Knickers.

00:01:44 The Day the Crayons Quit.

00:02:09 Supertato.

00:02:24 Going Swimming.

00:02:36 Where the wild things are.

00:04:01 One snowy Day.

00:04:18 Little Mole

00:04:41 Greek Myths.

00:05:10 Tiddler.

00:05:37 Arthur

00:05:51 Rupert Bear.

00:06:30 Where the wild things are Drawing

00:07:06 Turn faces into different characters

00:08:18 Differentiating characteristics

00:10:10 Different eye types

00:11:12 Different head shapes

00:12:47 Monster Boy

00:13:30 Conclusions