May 22nd 2016 by jazzastudios • 60 Questions • 124 Points
This AMA is now closed, thanks so much for attending everyone, I hope you found it a positive experience! Sorry I couldn't answer everyone (I TRIED!), you guys are awesome. Much love - Jazza
My short bio: I've been creating cartoons for the internet since I was 12 years old, when I graduated high school at 17 I just kept making cartoons and games in flash and paid my way through sponsorship and advertisement revenue. My early flash games were some of the first to be monetized and saw the scene boom then die when the iOS app store took hold of the market.
I started my YouTube channel Draw With Jazza in the hopes that it might grow into a way to help pay my bills, since the flash game scene was falling fast and it was, at the time, the only way I knew how to pay my bills. I used it as a way to teach my self-taught digital art techniques, and the channel grew into a 600k+ sub community with monthly art competitions, meet-ups around the world, and loads of artistic entertainment and educational content.
I'm currently finishing up my first How-to-Draw book for print-publishing in the USA (and international distribution), my channel is officially sponsored by Adobe, and I work with some of the (IMHO) best art brands in the world for my art competitions and content. I'm also finishing a 10 minute animated short which was funded by Screen Australia and Google entitled "The Tale Teller" (to be released in mid July this year).
I'm also a dad to a now 13 month old boy (dubbed 'mini-Jazza' to the internet), married happily, and working on even bigger exciting projects I can't yet talk about!
My channel: https://www.youtube.com/drawwithjazza
My Vlog: https://www.youtube.com/dailyjazza
My 'Draw my Life' (to share a little more about myself): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFWw2sXDc7M
My Website: http://jazzastudios.com/
My Proof: https://youtu.be/CMfq0x4KAGk
How do I stop looking at my art and thinking it's awful? I can't help thinking everything I draw turns out crap and it sucks when it's nowhere near the original vision I had in mind. It's hard to keep motivation because of it.
Don't hold yourself accountable to being as good as other artists or what you think you 'should' be, just expect to enjoy the process of being creative! This may be difficult at first if you've become used to self-judgement, but try turning art into your game rather than your test. As for making your drawing look like your 'vision' honestly, I NEVER have a finished picture in my head when I start drawing. I always feel my way through it. That way the finished result is always a surprise and sometimes, a very pleasant one. Rather then having a 'vision' (and the self-pressure that comes with it), try giving yourself a direction and a hope that you'll enjoy going in that direction, eager to see what comes out in the end!
For me, environments. Not because I CAN'T, but because I find them boring. This is bad I know, because they can be incredible, but drawing them doesn't captivate me at all and I find I'm not very inventive or ambitious with them.
Jazza! Im 16 years old (soon to be 17) and I want to pursue a career in concept design or making a webcomic, I like art in general, mostly the creative part, but I have some problems:
-Im from Argentina, and while it's cheaper to live here than in say US, it's also harder to live from art.
-Started learning art 3 months ago.
-Im probably gonna be forced to go to university to study system engineering once I finish highschool (this year)
So my questions are, how should I go about it? How can I start to grow an audience, maybe take free requests, and start developing my skills so I can hopefully some day make a living out of it?
Thanks in advance.
Great questions! First off, thanks for your support. To your first question, fortunately art is now international. You don't have to make pictures and sell them to people on your street, you can take commissions internationally, monetize through advertising and get paid in different currencies which convert better into your own (IE i get paid in USD which converts to AUD and gives me 30% extra in general), and reach a global audience. I understand there are disadvantages to different careers in different parts of the world, but art is one that can take many forms and you can tackle it in many ways, see what is working, and focus a little harder there until you hit a sweet spot. For your second question, congrats on starting your journey! As my YouTube friend Will Terrell sais, it takes a lawyer or doctor 10 years to become a professional, you need to allow the same for becoming an artist. I started when I was 12, and paid my mortgage by the time I was 22, so it was true for me. If you're 16, that's great! You're in nice and early, but you could expect that it may be only when you're 26 or so that you can pay your bills with just your art. In the mean time, if you want to pay your bills with another career path, that's cool too, but if you REALLY wan't to be an artist for a LIVING, never stop 'studying' and working. It WILL take a long time, as it's a difficult path to carve, but it's definitely doable and in my experience, well worth the work :)
Did you ever feel like you were "stuck"? Like you were never going to get better and how did you overcome it?
Absolutely! I feel like that 80% of the time, I'm used to it, but I'm also used to working against it. I guess what I mean is, as artists we tend to constantly look at and admire the work of those above/around us, and it makes us feel perpetually untalented in comparison. I use this as motivation to keep climbing even though it doesn't feel like I'm moving, because I know if I just keep doing that, I'll be able to look back in a year or two and see clear improvement. Progress is just so slow and steady, you need to remove expectations of being able to see rapid changes in skills, and commit to the long haul.
Any advice on how to stop being precious with my sketchbooks and let myself be "messy"?
Also, I just wanted to say that I found your channel a little over a year ago and you inspired me to get back into art and I'll be starting a two year game arts course in September covering everuthing from character design to world building, 2D animation and 3D modeling, and so much new stuff - I'm so excited for it and I probably wouldn't be where I am now without your content :D
That's amazing to hear! Good luck with your course and thank you for watching my content! As for your question draw a couple of intentionally 'messy' pages right in the middle. That'll let you feel like you can save your better work at the start of the book for when you're more confident, while loosening you up and unlocking you hand ;)
Do you watch any anime or read any manga? If so maybe you can recommend something?
Not really, but I grew up in love with Dragon Ball Z, and I also loved Deathnote
Given the success of your channel, and how it truly seems that youve made an incredible impact on all of our lives: What's next? What does good ole Jazza have for long term career plans?
Very kind of you to say and a little too flattering haha, thank you. For the future, I'm not 100%, I do know I want to make an animated TV show one day, I'd love to write some more how to draw books and maybe even just a wordey-word sort of book about the nature of digital media and being an artist in todays world. I a bit over ambitious so I'm hoping big things, but who knows!
Now, in your draw my life video you claim you were once fat and smelly, and now your vlog shows you actively working out.. So my question is, what're you gonna do about the smell?
Bathe in the blood of my enemies. You do not want to be my enemy.
what is your favorite alcohol and have you ever smoked wacky tabacky?! Yeah, the important things...
Hmmm.. I used to LOVE scotch, but ever since a night out drinking with 'Aunty Donna' (an awesome YouTube comedy group I highly recommend checking out) which ended up with Broden and I spewing in the bushes, it doesn't quite taste the same hahaha! At the moment I LOVE me some red wine, Cab Sav, but I'm sure scotch will grow on me again. At least I hope it does, because I have a strange obsession with decanters and tumblers. As for the second question - I have had 6 whole marijuanas
Hey Jazza, I'm a huge fan, my question is other than TV or movie what other avenue in animation do you think is a viable career?
Honestly, independent animation is the MOST viable, even more than TV and film! Distribution is no longer an issue, though with TV and film it is. The only prerequisite for you to reach people today, is that you MAKE something. Make something great and share it, then wash, rinse and repeat :)
Jazza! I watch you every day while I eat breakfast and always get ideas for my art later in the day from doing so. What practice did you do as far as learning to draw different poses for the body from memory? I know it takes a lot of time in general but do you have some resources other than your own that you used? I love your content thank you for doing this!
Thank you so much for watching my stuff! I'm flattered and grateful :) For learning to draw poses, especially when I was starting off, how-to-draw books were my bread and butter. Comic books helped too since they always have incredibly dynamic poses and angles, and give you great ideas and points of reference.
When did you first realize you wanted to do art for a living, and what was your second choice if that didn't work out?
When I was 11, it was like my 'awakening'. Mostly due to not having any friends in school, so I'd spend my time drawing and in the library, but that was also when I realized how much I loved it, and how I could create ANYTHING I WANTED! It was so exciting! Inventing worlds and stories, creating ambitions and projects, it was an addiction that took hold pretty quickly.
Study the principles of animation and try and practice them as much as possible, particularly squash and stretch.
First of, big fan! Been a fan of your work since the early-mid 2000s on Newgrounds. When I saw you going to start a tutorial youtube channel, I sub to you right away. You help me become a better artist ever since and been improving on my digital art skills everyday because of you and your tutorials! Anyways for a question, is there ever a project you always wanted to do but couldn't because of reasons? Like something from the early days that you want to do but couldn't because of lack of abilities or something like that.
I always love meeting someone who is from the Newgrounds days haha, thanks for sticking around! Lack of 'abilities' has never stopped me since, though I'm no master, I prefer to do something sub-par after trying rather than not try at all. Projects I "can't do" usually come down to scope and money. BAFA (https://www.youtube.com/user/ByArtistsForArtists) was a project I really wanted to see through to making a full fledged community, but I was too time poor and didn't have the resources to make what I really wanted to make out of it - a global artist community with conventions, and a website in which people would be rewarded for giving and receiving in-depth critiques and feedback. my series 'Larry of Karryon' stopped being developed because I couldn't pay my bills with him any more.
My first animation was made in Microsoft power point for an assignment in high school when I was 12, and it was an ambitious stick figure mortal combat fight with music and sound effects. I think I failed the assignment because I got so obsessed with making the animation as impressive as possible.
Why is proportions and perspective so difficult to draw?
Because your brain has to learn to read/interpret and convey two dimensional space as if it were three dimensional, something which can be very jarring at first and takes a long time to become comfortable with.
What will you do if/when you reach 1 million subs? another drunk with jazza or something different?
I'm gonna host an arty party even in Melbourne and stream the event if possible. It could be big or small, but I'll make it happen.
I've been seriously studying to improve my art over the past 2 years, and often when I'm searching Youtube for helpful videos, yours pop up. Just want to say thanks for what you do. The way you explain things and the presentation is always extremely clear and easy to follow, and really enjoyable to watch. :)
This question relates to something I noticed when I stopped just 'doing' art, and started seriously studying fundamentals. Did you ever find yourself in a position where you no longer could just sit and fully finish/render a piece of work? I seem to have lost the ability to do this. I feel like, there's suddenly so much to learn, so much I still need to do and improve, that I can't go back to actually producing art yet. I don't feel ready anymore. In a way, by opening my eyes to just how little I knew, I feel more amateur and unprepared now than before I started studying!
How would you recommend I break out of this feeling? I'm not satisfied with my art anymore, because my knowledge and theory is too far ahead of my practice.
Interesting question, and thank you for your kind words! I'm lucky I think in that doing the video content makes me 'need' to finish every piece I start, since I run on a precarious economy of time and need to produce the content. That means I've had to learn to just relax, and let my 'less impressive' pieces be as much a part of my content as my favourite ones. It forces me to finish and over time that helps me improve too. As far as imparting advice goes and how it's applied to my workflow, learning to detach from expectations is something that's been pivotal, it allows me to start art without hesitating or having anxiety that would probably make the art worse anyway. Try and zone out while you draw, listen to audio books and draw the adventures you listen to, when you study something specific, rather than putting pressure on yourself to learn to draw perfect 'eyes' for example, listen to your favourite music while looking at references and drawing a zillion eyes without putting pressure on yourself. I promise it'll be far more enjoyable and you'll learn faster too!
Any specific artists on YouTube you want to do collaborations with?
I've never collaborated with Proko, I love his clean and very pretty art style.
Hello Jazza. I have to thank you because you are the reason partly that I got back in drawing again after (wait for it) 6 whole years. Went to a comic-con in my city recently and was so inspired by all the professional artists over there thinking how much I loved drawing all my life and then I just stopped (work etc).
I'm 29 and I was thinking that I lost it and why even try and start again. "Too old for that now". And then I stumbled in one of your videos, and you were saying that it's not too late to start again. So I did. Bought me an intuos, got your brushes pack too (really helpful, thanks) a bunch of books and I'm practicing every day for the past 2 weeks.
What do you think it's best for someone who stopped drawing for years to practice first?
Humans/Anatomy? Faces? Landscapes? Objects? Or just whatever I want? Which is what I'm doing currently every day. But I wonder if starting by learning a specific subject first and then move on to something else is better.
That's awesome to hear! And thank you so much for getting my brushes, I'm really glad to hear you enjoy them! If you stopped for a long while, I think it's best to focus on your confidence rather than technique, at least to start off with. Many people find the pressure they put on themselves too much to cope with, really the best thing I think is to rediscover your child-like passion for the discovery and adventure of art. After that, just practice the stuff you love but want to improve, and move from there :)
My 'Joker' let's draw: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xqi-YL9GXSQ
I've done more technically impressive or ambitious artworks, but there's something I captured in that piece that I absolutely LOVE, and I'm a huge fan of the Joker and his character, so my mouth waters when I see awesome interpretations of him, I feel really proud of how my depiction was executed :D
Are you planning on doing more gaming focused artwork?
I would love to see an Overwatch piece.
Aw man I'd love to! Hopefully! Most likely in Let's Draw sessions if enough people want to see them though, since digital paintings are really time consuming and lately I have ZERO time, I'm running on negative time and am paying interest and trying to catch up in fact lol.
Hello from Romania Jazza ! Love all your videos and everything you do ! My question for you is, was there any point in your life where you were thinking of doing something else if anything creative(drawing,singing,etc) wasn't an option? If so,what was it?
I've only ever wanted to do something creative. At one point I wanted to do music, and at another point I wanted to be a director, but for the majority of the time it's been artist/animator. If I HAD to do something that wasn't any of these, it'd probably be teacher. I love helping people learn and discover their potential and self-worth. I was a singing teacher for a number of years and loved it for the same reason I love my current job.
Hey jazza, I LOVE your stuff so much and you've helped me more than you can comprehend. My question is what was your biggest inspiration and who/were there anyone to keep you going with drawing? and also do you have a favorite band/solo-artist? also, do you take certain people as clients or do you take anyone willing to pay a reasonable price for what they're asking for?
Thanks for your kind words! My biggest inspiration in art was Christopher Hart and his How to Draw books. My favourite musicians are currently Passenger, Ed Sheeran and Blink 182 (helloooo 2001).
Did you ever go to an art school? When did you get into art, and realize you wanted to do it professionally?
Just high school art class, no further education. When I really discovered my passion for art (age 11) I definitely knew I didn't want to stop.
Would you recommend art college for any aspiring artists or do you feel like it is a waste of time?
That depends on how the given individual best learns. I am a kinaesthetic learning, I learn by doing and applying myself, and often I feel formal education is too slow or frustrating for me. I learn much more from just doing stuff. Everyone learns differently, and there is no correct method, but I definitely don't write off formal education, I think if I were more patient I'd benefit a great deal from university or a course, it's just not something I can get through without too much frustration. If formal education is how you best learn, then definitely do what you can to find the best education available. If self-learning IS how you best learn, then do that, but don't be slack! It's still a lot of work!
How do you balance work projects (like your book and the app) with personal projects or indulging in hobbies like music?
I don't get to indulge in hobbies as much to be honest. What I try and do, is find a way I can make my passion projects or hobbies into avenues of business. For example, the Arty Games app is something I would have made out of love, but made sure to approach it with a mindset of recuperating my time investment later along the line. Even with my animation project "The Tale Teller", I wanted to make an animation project for the fun of it, but knew it would be too time consuming to justify without a business avenue - so I'm releasing it with a 'resource pack', so those who loved the animation will be able to affordibly buy (for $30 or so), a pack full of the entire development process. Recordings of the animation and environment development, the original voice recording session, the animistic and some raw files from the animation, the music parts and raw assets, sheet music, as much as possible. There's always the risk that the time spent on the project will far outweigh what I'll earn back, but it at least allows me to approach it from a business/time investment perspective while still working on something from the heart that I love and want to share.
What is your preferred medium to create illustrations with and is there a new medium you wish to try out?
I prefer digital over all, and I'd LOVE to try VR painting!!
Hi Jazza i have a question.
I know you have more important things to do obviously, and probably don't have too much time. I just thought i would ask anyway, is it possible that you do commissions?
(I was specifically thinking about possibly getting Motoko Kusanagi, from Ghost In The Shell drawn)
My heart breaks a little bit when I get asked this these days, I used to love doing commissions, unfortunately it's just not humanly possible any more! I get far too many requests and I'm struggling to keep up with my own workload as it is, sorry to disappoint :(
Hey Jazza, first of all, I love your work, man. Your videos really inspired me to get back at drawing again (and being creative in general) The question I have for you is: are there any ambitions you have for the future besides youtube?
Thank you! Yeah definitely, an animated TV show, maybe an award winning animated short, presenting television maybe, making a best selling print-published book perhaps, I also love the pie-in-the-sky idea of an Arty Party "World Tour" lol.
What's an interesting thing that not many people might know about you?
I'm addicted to sushi. Like, I would happily have it for every meal if I could get away with it. Maybe that's not interesting enough... I am INCREDIBLY self-concious... Now I'm self-concious about not being interesting enough...
How do you go about gaining new clients? Also what advice would you give in starting freelance work, cheers and congrats for 600k subs!
Fortunately clients are much easier for me to find these days due to YouTube (thanks by the way!). Before that a lot of my work came back to me through other work I'd done and people who recommended me, so my advice would be to treat every job you take on as your most important. Be communicative, clear, respectful and positive, and they will always think of you first when someone else they know needs and artist.
How should I deal with/respond to people that say I am wasting my time studying an arts degree?
Prove them wrong.
Do you hope for Baby Jazza to follow in your artistic footsteps?
Not in the slightest. I hope for mini-Jazza to be happy. If that's doing sport or music or playing chess, I want to empower him to make the most of himself and do what he loves. The only real benefit from my perspective if he follows an artistic path is that I'd have more to offer him and help him with.
I adore art and I'd love to get into animating.
Firstly, what keeps you motivated?
Secondly, do you use a drawing tablet & what one would you recommend?
Thirdly, do you have any advice for aspiring artists?
What keeps me motivated? Goals and end results. My tablet? Wacom 27QHD. Advice? Never stop learning and working, always have fun with your art.
Who were your inspirations to make flash animations and what is your favorite animation to make? Thanks for the AMA from Canada!
Joe Zombie was a stick figure series that inspired me way back in the day. Also xiao xiao. Johnny Utah from Newgrounds was also a big inspiration when I was learning. My fav animation to make was Larry episode 2.
What Video Capture Software do you use for videos and for Live Streams? Also, I challenge you to draw your dream house/a place you'd live in!
I use Xsplit Broadcaster for both my streams and tutorials, as for your challenge, I always used to draw my dream workspace, I'd love to build one from scratch one day!
Jazza, When did you know (for sure) that you want to be a animator/artist ?
When I was 16 and a year away from graduating, I won a national animation competition. That reinforced I could do what I was doing at a good level, enough to make a career out of it, so I went forward after high school with confidence.