I just finished one of the hardest Youtube videos I’ve ever done. It’s a DRAW MY LIFE video done in simple black and white drawings that condenses my 50-some years on this planet into seven minutes.
After watching several other DRAW MY LIFE videos on Youtube and being immensely entertained and informed, I thought it would be easy to do one myself. I mean, I can draw and I can talk, so how hard can it be? As it turns out, it was quite hard. But not for the reasons you may think. The drawing itself is not nearly as important as the story you will tell. Stick figures–even bad stick figures–will do just fine as long as you have a well-thought-out story-line. In fact, really bad drawings can make the story even more interesting than an “artist’s” perfect rendering.
The hard part about doing a DRAW MY LIFE video is deciding what story to tell. You don’t necessarily have to tell your story from birth to the present. You can pick a phase in your life, or highlight some of the lessons you learned.
Whatever you decide to tell, I can guarantee that putting things “out there” will be a good exercise in knowing yourself. You will be surprised at what you learn about what matters to you, what influences were strongest in your life, and what you’ve gained from both the good and bad in your past.
So, I would highly encourage you to do a DRAW MY LIFE video even if you never upload it to Youtube.
When you do, take note of the following tips I learned from doing my own:
How to Do a Draw My Life Video
The first thing you’ll have to do is write your story out, or at least an outline of your story. Know what you’re going to draw before you start. Then keep the written outline next to you (but out of the camera’s view) while you’re drawing. Do not draw and talk at the same time. Concentrate on drawing your story. It will be slow. Don’t worry about speed.
You can use paper, a white board, a piece of glass with white paper underneath, or a piece of white plexiglass for drawing on. Use a dry-erase pen to draw your story. If you’re using plain paper, you can use a permanent marker to draw. Put a stack of paper in front of you and toss each sheet away after you’ve filled it with a drawing.
Again, take your time drawing. It took me an hour and a half to draw my video, but if I were to do it again, I would slow down and put more expressions in my drawings. Clothes don’t matter nearly as much as the emotions in your figures’ faces. To help with your own project, I’ve attached a set of stick figures displaying different attitudes that you can copy (click on the image to open a larger version).
The camera setup I used was to place the camera on a tripod and put it on a table with the camera pointing down on my drawing surface. The video was recorded upside-down, then flipped in the editing software.
You should have your surface lit as evenly as possible from all sides so you don’t get dark shadows cast by your hand.
Once you’re done with your drawing and video recording, upload your video to an editing program (I used Windows Movie Maker) and cut out all the dead spaces and oopses. Then open an audio editing program (such as Audacity) and record your story while watching the video. This part is time consuming because you will make lots of mistakes and will have to adjust your verbal story to fit the video. Take your time. The result will be worth it.
You may or many not want to add music to the background. I think music can make a huge difference in the feel of the story. To show you what I mean, I have two versions of my own DRAW MY LIFE below. The first is my final version with music I spent time looking for, and the second is my lazy version in which I used the first piece of free music I could find. See if you notice a difference in the feel of the story. Is the first more emotional? Which one sounds more sincere?
You will have to experiment with different music in your own video to find the right “fit.”
One more thing: upload your video to Youtube!
OK, I think I’ve covered all the points I wanted to share. I hope these tips were helpful!
Please add any questions you may have in the comments below. Most importantly, don’t wait too long before starting your own DRAW MY LIFE video!