I’ve been working in video a bit lately. Nothing big but I’ve been trying to figure out a good way to present my artwork on video do I can post it on YouTube, Instagram, and wherever else I can. So far it hasn’t been an easy nut to crack. The main problem is that my art is static and video moves. How do I marry those two concepts? People have been trying to film art and artists for a long time and it’s not easy because art really has to be seen in person and at size to be appreciated. That and it generally takes a long time to make a piece of art and there isn’t a lot of action to it.

More often than not artists have faked making art for the camera to make it more interesting. Big sweeping gestures and fast motion look good on film but making art is mostly small gestures and slow build up. I’ve made lots of videos of me drawing but when I do I draw small, 5×7 inches, and in my automatic drawing style. That way I can finish a piece in about 15 minutes of non-stop action.

I even made a couple of videos showing me drawing large drawings. I uses the same automatic drawing method only on a larger scale. The drawings were 20×30 inches and drawn in a thick black marker. The videos came out okay but I don’t think the increase in scale helped at all. After all the final video is the same size no matter what the size of the drawing. So a 5×7 inch drawing looks about the same on screen as a 20×30 inch drawing does.

Nether of those approaches helped my because I was thinking more about presenting a drawing than filming one. At least the marker moved when I was drawing so there was something going on. With the art already made what was there to do besides hold it up? That was my question and I had no answer. It held me up for a long time.

I finally started shooting some video over the last two days. I’ve been pondering this problem for ages and came up with no solutions so I finally decided to just start. I actually did some other stuff along these lines a couple of years ago. I wanted to do a pop-up art show so I brought some small pieces with me to Bryant Park, showed them off on camera, and then posted them on YouTube. It wasn’t very successful by any measure. I didn’t like it very much and neither did anyone else. It wasn’t terrible but it had no hook. No idea behind it to grab anyone.

I shoot my regular YouTube comic book haul videos very simply. I use my iPad to recored the video in pieces. I point the camera at the comic with me off-screen and talking. Each comic gets it’s own little one or two minute video and then I put them all together in iMovie on the iPad. I do it that way in case I get interrupted or hem and haw too much as I’m speaking. It’s an easy way to do it. There is no real video editing as I’m just adding one video onto the end of another. It’s nothing special but it works and I like the results.

When I’m making a heads-up video for YouTube (that’s one where I’m facing the camera and talking rather than aiming the camera at comic books) I use my digital camera rather than my iPad. I started doing that back when I had an iPad 2. That devices’s forward facing camera is of lower resolution than its rear one. So I couldn’t see the screen if I was recording myself on the iPad 2. I got a new iPad last Christmas so that’s not a concern anymore but I still use my digital camera for the heads-up work. It’s just habit at this point.

I’ve taken to making Instagram videos in recent months to show off my artwork. They’re also simple though. For years I’ve showed photos of my art on Instagram but with video I decided to show my face on because I think it helps humanize my art. It helps people understand that a person makes this stuff. It’s mostly just me holding top some art. Not the most exciting thing there is but the videos are short. With the last few videos I’ve taken to changing the angles around and moving the art a bit. It’s not the most spectacular video but I’m trying.

So far most of the shots I’ve made are me and the art. I made a video about some Batman sketch covers I’ve drawn. I took some video of me standing and holding the comic and sitting and holding the comic. In order to get some movement I put the comics on the easel behind me and would turn around, grab them, and show them to the camera. I’d even move them across the camera.

I’ve also taken some shots of the art by itself. I placed the comics on my drawing table and panned across them. I came up with a little drop for some of my art card stuff too. I set up the camera on my drawing table, held an art card in front of it, and then let the art card fall flat onto the desk. I still haven’t perfected that drop but I’m working on it.

I did cut the video of me holding the comics, moving them off the easel, and the still shots into a final video. I tried to cut it pretty sharply but not quite in that YouTube remove all the air from in-between the words staccato style that’s so popular on YouTube. I may try something in that stye eventually but until then this is all I have.