Nov 27th 2017 by peterdraws • 78 Questions • 1802 Points
My name is Peter and I'm here to answer any and all questions you may have, about whatever.
I started doodling on my notes during class in high school, and I gradually began making my doodles more and more intricate and elaborate, and then I started uploading YouTube videos of me drawing around 2007, and it's been a long slow, happy road.
For a little glimpse of me artistically, here's an album of a few recent drawings: https://imgur.com/a/fPHtC
Edit: Feel free to keep asking questions, I'll be checking back in intermittently.
What's the most important lesson you've learned as an artist?
I've learned that I just need to create things because I like creating things, and let the pieces fall where they will. I think there's a much larger chance that both I and the people experiencing my art will be better for it if I'm making the art because I love making it.
The path to frustration and disappointment as an artist is when you make art to please other people, to get more likes and views and compliments. Those are great things to get, and it feels good, but they're unpredictable, and people are weird. Half the time something you made that you put hardly any effort into and you barely care for will get way more of those likes than something you worked really hard on, something you're proud of and think better exemplifies you as an artist, and if you're not careful it can really get into your head.
What's it like financially to have most of your income coming from YouTube and Twitch? What other places do you get income from?
It's a little weird, I'm still getting used to it. There's definitely an element of unpredictability to it that keeps me on my toes, it keeps me from getting too complacent, for better or for worse. Sometimes I'd really like to just hunker down and get lost in one boring little idea for a year or something, but YouTube comments can get testy when I even draw a few lines next to each other the same way in two different drawings.
Over time I've gotten better at balancing the desire for inspiration and entertainment from a community that supports me, and also my desires to follow my own rabbit trails.
What other places do you get income from?
I try to get a few different sources of income trailing in. I also self-publish some little books, little compilations of my art every now and then that help, and I've published a coloring book. I have some of my stuff up on websites that let people buy my art on prints and canvases and shower curtains and t shirts and mugs and stickers and duvets, etc. and even though the revenue splits on those are pretty bad (I guess since you're not really doing anything besides uploading a file) every little bit helps. And there's probably other little income sources I can't think of off the top of my head. I do sell some original art every now and then, I would probably sell more if I didn't price it so high, and I do get persuaded to do commissions for the right amount of money (not very often.)
Do you ever get bored while drawing for extended periods of time?
No, I get bored of not drawing for extended periods of time, so I pick up the pen.
What gets you fired up to draw? I know you have stated you aren't thinking about anything in particular when you are actually drawing. But what gives you that "oh man I wanna draw" mentality? Is it just a natural drive you have or does something else help?
Well it helps that I really enjoy just the simple, physical sensation of drawing lines on paper. I just like it. So the idea that I can sit there at do that to the paper for a while and have something that's interesting to look at afterwards is fun.
But also I'm not sure, I really do often get just that raw "aaah I gotta draw" feeling in my head, and just scribbling out little lines and shapes helps sooth it. I often have shapes and lines and ideas in my head that I'm excited about to get me started, but those are hardly ever the ones that actually end up being on the paper. I hope this makes some sense! :P
Is there any piece of art you've made that you're particularly impressed by, more so than any others?
No specific piece really pops into my head when you say that, so I guess not, I try to keep looking towards the future and hoping to be impressed by something I haven't made yet. Every now and then, though, I do flip through sketchbooks and portfolios and I see pieces I've made and something I've made will jump out at me and impress me and motivate me a little, even if it's just a little clump of lines or a pattern I'd grown out of using. It's ok to inspire yourself. When Edward Hopper was asked what influences were strongest in his work, he said "I've always turned to myself. I don't know if anyone has influenced me much."
You seem nice and I remember you saying your parents were missionaries so I was wondering if you were/ are religious...?
Yeah I definitely grew up very religious, my current state is more difficult to pin down.
My landlord sold my building in Chicago (my rent was $600 there, it was remodeled and now is being rented for $2500), and so I had to move. I could have moved somewhere else in Chicago I suppose, but I basically played "drop a pin on the map of places where I know people" and I ended up here.
So far I've never moved somewhere I didn't know anyone at all. I should do that one day, maybe.
Hi Peter. Hope you're well.
You seem like a really positive guy. Lately, I've been really struggling with depression, and I was wondering if you have any tips for remainng positive?
Hi regretfulnightowl. I am doing alright, it's nice to see you here. I'm sorry you've been struggling with depression lately, it makes me really hurt to hear that, but thank you for telling me. I used to be really sad almost all the time, and I didn't know why, and I don't know if a lot of people noticed. I wish I could give you some magical words of advice that would make everything better immediately, but if it were that easy, I guess depression wouldn't be such an ominous burden to bear.
I hope that even in the midst of it all you can keep moving forward; there's a better, brighter life out there in the future for you. A place and time growing closer where it will be so much easier for you to be happier, and I hope you can keep working towards that.
I hope these dumb little words helped at all, and I don't know you, but I love you somehow, and I hope you feel better soon.
How did your family react when you decided not to pursue a "real" career and try to live off of your art?
I just said something like "no I didn't get another job, I'm just doing the art thing right now" and since I guess I wasn't mooching off them or threatening to move back in, they were just as supportive as I liked.
What's the most important lesson you've learned as a full time artist/content creator?
Aaaah, I'm still trying to learn whatever that lesson is. Sometimes I feel like I learn a lesson and then the next week I'm second-guessing it. But I'm still moving forward, still making things, still enjoying it. so that's good
Do you have a Girlfriend, Boyfriend, Unicorn or Alien in your life? :)
None of those things
What type of degree do you have, and how was it finding work relating to it? I'm a freshman at RISD right now and I'm trying to consider my options.
I don't have a degree, the last place I got a job at which I submitted a resume to was Michaels, the arts and crafts store. I wish I could help you more but I'm not really familiar with how finding a job works after art school.
I have heard really good things about RISD, though, I wish you all the best!
When did you realize that your current style of drawing is your style of drawing ? Was it from day to day, while trying something new ? Or did it take longer time to completely realize that this is the kind of art you enjoy ?
Sometimes you only realize you have a style when other people tell you you do, or when you look back over the stuff you've been drawing for a long time. I don't draw things with the intention of being a certain style, I guess it's just how things keep working out.
If you could go anywhere and do anything, where would you go and what would you do?
I would keep doing what I'm doing right now, more or less, just in a little house on a few acres of woods where I could really stretch out and let loose, physically and mentally. I feel cooped up where I am now. But I moved here willingly, so... :P
I just can't do that, choose one. What about all the others that I like?
I'm good at pretending
What would you do without Youtube and Twitch? It's not an ironic question. I'm just a starving artist who seeks alternative ways to promote my art.
I don't know if I would even be here answering these questions today without YouTube. I would have to go way back and fork off onto some other hypothetical path... who knows how my life would have panned out if I had never started making videos. Everything could be a lot different.
You said that you liked how Moebius drew clouds, have you seen Bernie Wrightson's work? Particularly the Chapter art for April in Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King.
I didn't recognize the name, but when I looked him up, I definitely recognized him, there's a few of his pieces in a book or two I have. Very amazing!
Is there any work you're most proud of? Anything you wanna try in the future? Do you think you'll ever branch out of doing just art on twitch? (will you ever stream good 'ol vidja games?)
edit: oh yeah, i just wanted to say thanks for everything. you taught me that art's more than just a specific idea or thing. i felt like i couldn't be an artist because i couldn't draw stuff like people or flowers, but i realized that more abstract stuff is definitely still art, and all it takes is making a bunch of lines. also your streams help a lot when i'm feelin depressed so thanks for that too. love u
Thanks Zoey, glad to hear I could be a little helpful in a few ways :)
But no, I would be afraid to point out a specific work I'm most proud of, as soon as I do that I would start seeing all thing things I don't like about it too. Maybe "Boy with a Balloon" I think that one entertains me the most.
In the future I want to try painting a whole building.
And no, I don't really like streaming video games that much, everyone just asks when I'm going to start drawing the whole time, and I can't relax because people give advice and backseat, and even if they don't, I feel like everyone's second guessing everything I'm doing. But then again, I used to feel almost the exact same way about streaming art, so. shrug
Peter, you have been my biggest inspiration as an artist. My question for you, and I don't mean this ironically, but are you colorblind at all? I am color deficient, so I feel like because of that I am more drawn to black and white drawings, as you seem to be.
I don't think I am colorblind, only a little bit if at all. I've taken some online tests, and sometimes they say I am, and sometimes they say I'm fine. But I only ever took the online tests because I saw a livestream of someone else taking one, where you look at colored numbers in those circles made of smaller circles, and that person saw a number where I saw nothing at all and I was shaken to my core. But no, I think I see most colors ok.
"Draws" is really your name? Or is it just your "stage name"?
It is only my... nom de plume
Have you thought of doing any art films? I used to do little film projects in high school as well as some attempts at stop motion and some of your videos have been reminding me of my love of film. I particularly like when you film the glow ink in the water. If you're ever around central Indiana we should hang out.
yes, I have thought of that. What is an art film, exactly?
Do you have any artwork of yours you sold, destroyed, or gave away that you now regret missing? Any artwork you wish you could get back?
Someone did commission me to do a large 18"x24" drawing back when I first started doing art full time, and they offered me $300 for it, which was more than anyone had every paid me for anything at the time. (Still a lot!) The problem is, I spent like 30+ hours on it, so after I finished and sent it off to the guy, I was stuck with this bitter taste in my mouth for doing that for less than $10/hour. (Even though I like drawing, commissions eventually start feeling a little more like homework) And I couldn't figure out whether I should have worked faster, making lower-quality work, so that I would feel better paid, or refund the guy and keep the art, hoping to sell it to someone else for more later....
But the main result is that I felt even worse about commissions and I'd prefer to make things and let people buy them after I'm done, if they want them.
Dear Peter, I love your channel and check everyday to see if there is a new video up. As a child my earliest memory is of sitting at the dinning room table and drawing my whole family riding the waves inside a boat. It was on a giant piece of paper and I must have been around three years old. Memories of drawing are filled with happiness and contentment for me. What is your first memory of drawing? Where were you? How old were you? How did you feel?
I remember drawing my family standing outside a pentagon-shaped house, stick figures in a line between the house and a puffy tree, squashed m birds fluttering in the sky under the generous warmth of a bright spiky sun. I was in kindergarten I think.
I also remember "setting up shop" when I first learned to write my name. I positioned myself in the corner of our living room by backing myself into a corner and pulling an end table up in front of me, and with a pencil and paper I offered to write my name for passersby.
Tired of answering yet?
What would be the first (big-ish) thing you'd buy if you sold Boy with Balloon tomorrow?
I would buy a lil house out in the woods somewhere, with an art barn (detached garage, hopefully) and some sort of reliable car. I don't think that would burn through more than $200,000.
Do paintings count? Maybe the ceiling of The Sistine Chapel.
Hi Peter! I have two questions c: First one: how did You start Your artistic career? Second one: what are Your favourite Radiohead albums? Love ya <3
1: I don't know when my "career" officially started, it seems like a blurry line, but I still remember when I first started uploading YouTube videos, years ago. Back then I was using copyrighted music on all my videos, so none of it could be monetized, and then at one point, and had a period of reevaluation where I deleted all my videos, my channel was completely empty for 6 months, and then I started re-uploading things with royalty-free music. I must have started making my first commentaries soon after that because royalty-free music is often so unbearable, even though at that point I hadn't had people telling me my voice was soothing for years, so I was very self-conscious about it.
2: Last week I had Pablo Honey on repeat nonstop for a few days, but I also enjoy OK Computer and The Bends. In Rainbows is good too, it has "House of Cards" on it, which is maybe my favorite song by them.
Hey Peter, you're a great source of inspiration to me. I just wanted to thank you for all the things you put out there to the world that just make me want to pick up the pen and keep drawing!
Also... I've noticed in your dot drawings you use a little arrow shaped tool that I have no idea what it is, does it help when drawing dots?
Thanks for the kind words. :)
And yeah, that's a bone folder, I think it's intended to be used for papercrafts, like origami and scrapbooking and stuff. You could use almost anything... another pen, a AA battery, a ruler, nailclippers, the edge of your phone, a long, clean pebble, or a crab claw. I just use it to hold the paper down flush against the desk so that it doesn't wiggle any, as even the slightest up/down movement is annoying when making all those little dots. I don't use my finger so that I don't get all the finger sweat/oils on there, my fingertips seem to be especially soaked with the stuff.
what do you listen to while drawing? i’ve noticed you sometimes have earphones in while you draw
Here's a little playlist I've made. I don't listen to this all the time, but it's kind of my fall-back if I can't/don't feel like finding something else to listen to: https://open.spotify.com/user/1243566274/playlist/096GiEjQpx8ZvLVtYOPLbT
What will you do once you hit 1,000,000 YouTube subscribers?
By that time I will surely have some unstoppable momentum so after 1,000,000 YouTube subscribers I will go on to get 1,000,001 YouTube subscribers, and then if we're really on a roll, maybe I will attain a 1,000,002nd YouTube subscriber.
In a lot, if not all of your videos, you occasionally let your mind randomly wander, thinking the strangest things out loud, ( and I mean that in a good way, it's extremely entertaining! ) I'm curious how this came about. Were you originally just saying things to fill time in your videos? Is there any meaning or continuity to your ramblings that we should be paying attention to? Or is it just saying what comes to mind?
I got tired of putting awful royalty-free music over my videos, so I started doing the commentaries, but after like 100 videos, I ran out of things to say without feeling like I was repeating myself over and over again. So I just started talking about whatever and quickly realized that a lot of people didn't seem to mind too much what I talked about.
Do you ever pencil sketch first or is it all pen and ink freehand?
maybe 99 out of 100 drawings are just ink freehand, or as I consider it in my head, "doodling" :)
How many hours a day are you drawing and how do you avoid getting burnt out?
I don't even draw every day! Some days, 1 hour, some days 2. Some days 8 hours, or 12. There's not really a regular amount I do. The time flies by, regardless.
I remember watching your mandala vids when you had ~20k subs :) awesome to see how much you've grown, you've always deserved it.
My questions: do you ever watch your own videos? which video(s) are you the most proud of regardless of how much work was put into them?
hey, we got a old-school viewer here B-) Thank you very much
I rarely watch my own videos after they're uploaded, but if I do they're probably the ones where I'm not drawing, like a couple of the ones about finding inspiration, or some of those old vlogs.