Improving your skills with a supportive community.

I want to talk about something that I have personally found really useful over the last few weeks, and that is Twitch. Twitch isn’t exactly a new service, so I’m sure a few of you know of it and use it, but for those of you that don’t it’s basically a streaming service, mainly used by gamers to stream what game they’re playing so others can watch.

I started using Twitch a couple of months back, purely for gaming reasons, I’m a big gamer and wanted to check out some new games and see if they’d be fore me, I think it could have possibly been Witcher 3 at the time. Then I came across a ‘game’ named ‘Creative’, the image for it was just a simple paint brush so I thought I’d see what it was about. Turns out, there is a pretty wide array of artists that stream through Twitch to their viewers from painters, concept artists, prop makers, chefs, 3D modellers and even glass blowers.

I was amazed at how many viewers some of these channels had got, on average the most popular channels gain around 300-500 viewers at a time, but I’ve seen 4-6 times that amount before. I’d never realised so many people were interested in watching people create live. I know people watch a lot of artist’s Youtube videos, myself included, but that’s obviously different because it’s sped up and you only get an idea of what sort of processes and techniques they’ve used. I’m forever screen shotting these Youtube videos to try and pick up tips, so being able to watch someone work live is much more useful.

I thought I’d give it a try myself for working on personal projects, I get distracted very easily with me working at home and thought that if I was creating live, I wouldn’t be able to just waste time doing other things because people would be watching my stream and wondering why nothing was happening. It’s been a really great experience so far, I don’t have a set schedule as I work part time but I stream when I can and I’m trying to make time to stream more.

I have already built up a couple of regulars who like to check in when I’m  streaming to see what I’m working on, and I get a lot of fresh viewers checking in to say how much they like my work and to ask me about my process. Twitch has a really great community of viewers, I’ve seen some negative viewers on gaming channels but never on the creative ones, I think they’re all purely there to learn.

Using Twitch has been a perfect example of doing something purely because you love it, not expecting anything from it yet gaining so much. I’ve met some really, really nice people, had some really nice comments about my work which is always a confidence boost and even got some jobs from it. I’ve also become a featured streamer on a site called Watch Me Work where I stream on a weekly basis.

If you’d like, you can check out my channel at where you can get an idea of what an artist’s channel might look like, I do get quite a bit of traffic through to my website when I’m using Twitch so it’s a good idea to make use of their advertising tools. While you’re there, I’d highly recommend setting your own channel up, and when you’re streaming, spread the word on social networks and get yourself some viewers!

Also, if you like to stream, I seriously recommend checking out Watch Me Work, get yourself signed up, make a stream or just watch others. It’s purely for creatives, so no gaming streams! It honestly has a great community of creatives who constantly check in on each others streams for support. Get in touch with the team if you need any help, and if you can devote an hour a week, maybe see if you can get yourself added to their weekly calendar of streamers so people can see when you’ll be live.

If you’re just starting out as a creative, both of these services are another outlet for you to put your work out there!