On the evening of 7 July 2015 the Thick Paint YouTube Channel clocked over a million views since the first video posted on 20 November 2009.
What does 1,000,000 views mean for the Thick Paint channel?
One million is just a number–but it's a huge one! I guess it means there are lots of people interested in art and looking for information on how to paint–and that video is a preferred venue for learning.
Is there any evidence that interest is slacking off?
Not as far as I can tell. If you look at the chart the last year has enjoyed a fairly dense clustering of views. That section doesn't have excessive highs or lows but views are consistent and averaging slightly higher. I view that as a sign of greater access for artists around the world.
How did you get the idea for the Thick Paint YouTube Channel?
I was on a painting trip to Sonora, Mexico to paint the missions of Father Kino and attended an exhibit of local art in the village of Magdalena. I detected in the very enthusiastic artistic expressions a similar yearning I felt growing up in Kansas–the wish for better access to art information. The desire to provide more information to a wider audience provided the inspiration for both the blog and the YouTube channel.
Have you been successful in providing the information your viewers need?
My only feedback is the numerous emails I've received expressing thanks for the channel. I've received letters from nearly every country on the planet that has internet access. It has been very gratifying.
You say nearly. Which countries haven't you heard from?
I haven't heard from North Korea or Cuba. There are a handful of countries in the interior of Africa that don't appear to have internet access. I've never gotten an email from Iceland which logs in with 604 views. Iceland has the highest ratio of artists per capita of any country so I had expected to hear from an Icelandic painter (especially since Icelandic is one of the 53 translatable languages. Plus giving a woodcut workshop there is on my creative bucket list). With so many artists I suspect there is already enough art info in Iceland which is awesome.
How about from Central Asian countries like Kazakhstan?
Artists of Kazakhstan have visited the channel 758 times, which I think is pretty amazing especially considering the videos are all in English.
After visiting your YouTube channel do people go to your blog and translate the additional material into their native languages?
Unfortunately the conversion rate from YouTube Channel to blog is not very good. It hovers around a ratio of 2:1. I provide free videos on my Gbox channel as well but the conversion rates are even lower.
Any reason why so few people jump over to the blog?
I think it's just so easy to access YouTube videos and go from video to video. I suspect most people don't think they will get much additional info from the blog which is unfortunate. With translation the blog has a greater potential to reach a larger audience (see translation drop-down menu in the upper right corner of this blog). There is also a search function that is very useful (right under the translate drop-box). Artists can use it to find all the articles about sketching for example but few avail themselves of that feature.
What are you most proud of?
Numbers do count and I think it's amazing that so many people have enjoyed the videos and possibly become better artists. That is tremendously satisfying. I never had any other intention for the channel and blog except to help other painters. Both have exceeded my expectations. The channel has over 4,400 subscribers which I think is pretty amazing too.
Any tips for those thinking about starting a similar channel?
Be patient. It took two years to get over 400 hits a day. In the beginning growth was slow. But if your content remains consistent viewers will show up. If you think you have something to offer jump in and give it a try. I'm an introvert and it was hard to be in front of a camera at first. But I've grown both from trying to communicate better on camera as well as gaining greater personal insight from articulating half-formed ideas. Many fellow painters have sent me great tips and painting suggestions. It has been really amazing. I discovered that if you want to grow–and you try to grow–you will grow. That's one of the few things I can guarantee.
Brad Teare –July 2015