How to Use Your Art-Making Skills to Create a Compelling Video

Youtube and other video sharing websites are a great way to market your art, make art or craft demonstrations and share your artistic knowledge. Creative marketing advisor, Stacey Cornelius helps take the mystery out of video making by explaining how you can use your art-making skills!

How to use your art-making skills to create a compelling video

Guest artist/author: Stacey Cornelius

Online video like Youtube and Vimeo are gaining tremendous popularity among both art lovers and search engines. The art marketing potential is huge, but you might think you don’t have the skills to make a good video.

And you might be surprised to learn how much you already know, the beauty of transferable skills. “Transferable skills” is a term usually used by human resource professionals, but the concept applies across disciplines. As a visual artist, you have plenty.

Let’s think about what you need to make a compelling video: Obviously you need an idea;

  • You can talk about a new piece you’re working on
  • Make a video of your portfolio
  • Do an art or craft demonstration
  • Or give a snippet of an artist’s talk you’d deliver at a gallery.
  • The idea is the easy part.

The part that might intimidate you is wondering how you can make a video without looking like an amateur.

That’s where your art-making skills come into play.

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  • One of the most important elements of a good quality video is lighting.
  • You want it to be free of harsh shadows, and you don’t want your subject to be washed out.
  • It’s not too difficult to figure out how to light your video properly.
  • You know how light falls on objects.
  • You understand shadow.
  • You know about daylight and indoor lighting and how different kinds of light affect color.
  • You’re simply lighting a subject to record in real time rather than a single moment.


  • You have the know-how to create an attractive and balanced scene.
  • You know what happens when place your subject in the middle, and you can put the rule of thirds into practice.
  • These same concepts apply to video as painting, printmaking, drawing and photography.
  • If you’d like to have movement in your video, that gets a little more complicated, but you have a skill to bring to that challenge, too.


  • As an artist, you’re a master of observation.
  • Turn your practiced eye toward existing videos and short films made by the professionals.
  • Study and learn from them.
  • YouTube has interviews of famous (and lesser known) artists as well as short films about their work.
  • Search for your favorites and watch how the videos are set up. Take notes.
  • Make quick sketches and think about how you’d like to set up your own video.

Those are the basic concepts: content (your idea), lighting, and composition.

Technical details:

  • There are logistical details, of course, but artists have a tremendous capacity to learn.
  • It’s what you do.
  • You’re exploring a new medium, and every new medium has technical requirements.
  • The great thing about digital video is how easy it is to make one with a minimum of cost and equipment.
  • Most digital cameras and new-ish cellphones have video capability.
  • As long as you shoot in a quiet place, your built-in microphone will work just fine.
  • If you’re shooting a short piece, you might not even need to edit.
  • If you do, there are easy-to-follow tutorials on YouTube.

When in doubt, play:

  • It’s so tempting to try to get it right the first time.
  • You know that’s impossible, but human nature is what it is, so here’s your reminder: play with your tools until you’re familiar with them, the same way you did when you learned to make your art.
  • Experiment. Play is more fun than practice, and experimenting is way less pressure than rehearsing.
  • If you feel self-conscious, giving yourself that time will help you feel more comfortable in front of the camera.

Learning how to make a digital video is well worth the effort. When you’re done, you’ll have a terrific promotional piece you can be proud of.


Stacey Cornelius writes about marketing for creatives at She’s on a mission to help make your marketing part of your creative practice.

One of my favorite things about Twitter is all the amazing people I get to meet, like Stacey. Thanks for sharing your video tips with us. I hope it helps boost everyone’s confidence…take it from me, video making is a lot of fun! There is a bit of a learning curve, but it is another way to express yourself artistically and basic video making is easier than painting! Here is one of my painting demonstrations…

You might want to checkout some more of my little videos: Lori’s videos

Here are a few more articles you might enjoy…

Use Youtube to Promote Your Next Art Show

How Artists Can Use YouTube to Improve Art Marketing

Take Time to Unplug: Disconnect to Connect

How to “Jump-Start” Your Art Career!

When Are You Ready to Call Yourself a Professional Artist?

Do Artists Need Commercial Gallery Representation?

Tips for Selling Art on Facebook: A Success Story

Use the Hidden Meaning of Color to Improve Paintings


  1. JeanGerard December 9, 2010 at 5:00 am

    I linked your article in my blog review of the month. Thanks for all this interesting insights

  2. Andy Morris January 5, 2011 at 6:23 am

    Thank you for all this helpful information. Social media, and the utilization of it to market my art work is very challenging to me. Having successful artists such as yourself, share their experience is of significant value. I can’t wait to read more. I truly believe 2011 is going to be an exceptional year for all of us.

    “Happy painting!” Andy Morris

  3. Oil Pastels Artist June 2, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    Truly, video is where it’s at, at least in terms of marketing online. Youtube, btw, has free tools now for making a video slideshow, for those that want to just try out the water first… (like me. Ha!) Here’s a quick free one I just made:

  4. Ian McKendrick August 15, 2011 at 4:33 am

    Some great advice there Lori, and thank you for sharing it with us.
    YouTube and video is an excellent way to share what you do as an artists, and combined with Social Media is incredibly helpful in helping people discover more about you and what you have to offer. The fact that most mobile phones now come with a decent quality video camera built in, and many of these are “YouTube ready” too, they’re making it pretty painless for even a computer novice to get started and reach more people!

    • Lori McNee August 16, 2011 at 10:01 pm

      Hello Ian,

      I am glad you enjoyed this post. Mobile technology is vastly improving and making video marketing even better. Thanks for your comment and for the visit!


  5. Kathy Osborne July 18, 2012 at 7:55 am

    Thank you for this! I was just thinking of recording my steps for a painting, just to see how it would turn out. Very helpful. And your video, I looked away for a second and for a moment (around 1:25) I thought you were actually painting the vase! nice work.

    • Lori McNee July 28, 2012 at 1:06 am

      Happy you enjoyed the video, Kathy. I need to make some more soon…

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