How to Start & Grow an ART YouTube Channel

Get concrete tips and strategies for how to start and develop an art YouTube channel. Hear about how to harness your artistic skills to create a lively and engaged channel through various forms of content.

48 min. video

Discussion led by Art Prof Clara Lieu and Teaching Artist Jordan McCracken-Foster.

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Video Walkthrough

  • YouTube is a long game, it takes a lot of patience, willingness to experiment, and time.
  • Look at other art channels, and see how they run their channel and what kind of content they produce.
  • You can get great ideas from other art channels, but don’t copy their content just because it looks trendy or successful.
  • Don’t pretend to me someone you’re not, you don’t have to be glamorous and young to have an audience!
  • Decide whether you want to show your face or not.
  • Channels where we can see the artist’s face tend to do better because your audience will find it easier to engage with you.
  • People want to have a connection with you as a person, and showing your face is a big part of that.
  • You have to make bad videos, that’s the case for every single channel out there.
  • Making bad videos and not obsessing over making the “perfect” video is how you grow and improve your channel.
  • No YouTube channel has “perfect” videos from the beginning, you have to start somewhere!
  • Reply to every comment you get; people always notice when you reply, as most channels don’t reply to comments.
  • Don’t count on YouTube being a big source of income.
  • Getting monetization on YouTube can take a while, and even when you are monetized, the amount you make is not much.
  • Your income on YouTube can fluctuate a lot, depending on the ads.
  • There are tons of hidden features on YouTube that takes time and research to find out about!
  • There is a lot of software that is very useful running your channel: OBS, Tubebuddy, and Streamyard are terrific to use.
  • Custom thumbnails are what will literally make or break your channel.
  • When you search for videos, ask yourself which thumbnails you click on, and why? Was it the design, the text on the thumbnail?
  • Ask yourself which thumbnails you skip, and why.
  • You can have an incredible video, but if no one clicks on the thumbnail, it won’t do well.
  • Design consistent themes and visuals so people can recognize your videos.
  • Assume when you are making the video, that the viewer knows nothing about your channel, and that this is the first video of yours they are seeing.
  • You channel banner is important, add information that will help people figure out quickly what your channel is about.
  • Key words in your title are helpful so that people can find your videos when they search.
  • Search for videos that are on the same topic: what do people want to know about that topic? What key words are in those videos?
  • Consider both live streaming and edited videos.
  • Editing can be time consuming, even a 30 second short can take time!
  • Live streams are great because they are spontaneous and people enjoy seeing art being made in real time.
  • Live streams can be trimmed after they are posted, but know that you will lose the live chat.
  • A diverse range of video lengths is really helpful, people will/won’t watch videos based on the video length.
  • A short video is often what pulls people into your longer form videos.
  • YouTube is constantly changing, there are updates and new features being introduced all the time.
  • Watch channels like VidIQ and Nick Nimmin for updates.
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Software mentioned

Prof Lieu’s Tips

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People often think that critical comments will hurt the most, but actually, it’s when people have nothing to say that is the most upsetting.

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There’s a phrase in the art world “as long as they are talking about you.”

I guess similar to that phrase that there is no such thing as bad press. (not sure I agree, there are plenty of situations where I do not envy the press people get)

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