I have been invited by YouTube and Changer Studios to join the ‘Made For Kids’ (MFK) Creator Accelerator program to see if we can’t get my Drawstuffrealeasy channel to be a little bit more successful – ( I say a little bit, but I have my eye on the Gold award for 1 million subscribers – I’m one 10% the way there.)
I’ve been doing a bit of thinking and researching the last few days and I realised that all my talking might actually put off a lot of the audience and so I’ve re-edited a video (below) with no talking – after all, a huge number of the YouTube audience don’t speak English – a large percentage of my viewers live in India!
It will be interesting to see what happens to this video compared with the one with audio description – and a colour thumbnail.
I need to radically alter my mindset. Luckily there are some amazing people lined up to teach us (a cohort of 25 in UK USA & Canada) all about Made for kids channels.
California brought in a law in 2019 that turned everything upside down for creators who made videos deemed to be made for kids. I sort of lost heart after that. I think I felt I had been cut adrift.
But now I’m feeling quite upbeat. There are 16 weeks ahead of me. I imagine there will be quite a lot of A/B testing, like the videos above, so if you want to chip in and make suggestions, I’ll be glad to hear what you think.
When I began making drawing videos on YouTube, and started to have some success, my publisher suggested we have lunch and see how we might capitalise on that success. But we couldn’t find a way forward.
I didn’t feel like making drawing books at the time. I had fallen head over heels with the process of making videos and the new frontier, that was YouTube.
She said I waffled too much in my videos, that I should make the videos quicker and snappier and not talk so much! I disagreed.
I started DrawStuffRealeasy to prove her wrong. I posted every day, at the beginning. after six months or so I compared the analytics and said, “There! told you so!”
a year or two later, as DrawStuffRealEasy grew, I realised that I’d misread the analytics, and that it was doing quite well.
Vanity got in the way and I tried to keep both channels going. But you cannot serve two masters! It was exhausting to keep up publishing schedules and to differentiate between the channels.
Over the intervening years, Youtube’s famous algorithm has changed frequently, leaving us creators confused and often having to start from scratch again.
I kept DrawStuffRealEasy going for most of that time, but would often leave off for months at a time or threaten to close it down. But it kept on working without my help. It didn’t want to go away.
Mean while, my original channel ShooRaynerDrawing was becoming more and more messy. I really didn’t know what to do with it any more.
Just before Covid threw the world into turmoil, I was about to reinvigorate DrawStuffRealEasy. But then everything went crazy and we all went on line, doing anything we could think of, I even went live for a while.
Earlier this year, I had a bit of an accident and hurt myself quite badly. It made me stop everything for a short while. The sky did not fall in. The world kept turning, and I slowly recovered.
I’d had time to think. The madness of lockdown had shown me that I did not want to teach personally live online and I did not want to make live shows online. I realised that I had said pretty much everything that I wanted to say on the ShooRaynerDrawing channel.
I sat down and looked at the analytics again and tried to make sense of them. However much I neglected the DrawStuffRealEasy it wasn’t going away. The channel was growing without my help. So what If I gave it all my help?
My original aim, when I first made drawing videos, was to show that drawing was easy, that it was not about ART but about communicating thoughts and ideas, that drawing can be learned, just like writing can. That drawing is about understanding the world around us.
Style or art are extras. Not everyone becomes a Shakespeare or a J K Rowling, nor do they want to. But pretty much everyone can communicate by writing, because they have been forced to practice at school, and life is complicated if you can’t read or write.
Similarly, not everyone wants to be a Rembrandt or David Hockney, but they can still learn to draw simple pictures and learn a language of marks with which they can convey their ideas.
More than that, I believe that the disappearance of drawing in education, is part of the reason that schools find it so hard to improve reading and writing skills. I believe writing and drawing and reading and pictures are intimately linked.
I also believe that drawing skills can be taught, just as writing is. The added benefit being that drawing is a universal language, understood across the planet across language and culture.
So I have returned to put all my weight into DrawStuffRealEasy, to promote drawing as a communication tool as important as, and complimentary with writing. They go together.
My plan is to keep making useful videos that can be used at home or work, by those that need some help and to help teachers in schools and kids at home with homework projects.
You learn so much more by drawing something than colouring-in a photocopy!
So that’s where I am. And that is where DrawStuffRealeasy is today – 18th June 2021.