How to Set Up a Video of You Drawing

By David Weedmark

Recording yourself drawing can be a great way to share your creative processes with others. If you've ever wondered how people get the camera facing down on the paper, there are several ways to do this. A tripod with a swivel head can point down on your work area. If you don't have a tripod, you can try mounting the camera yourself using wood, metal brackets or even a cardboard box. Lighting is also an important consideration. Placing lights to the sides will help ensure you don't cast a shadow on your own artwork.

Mounting the Camera

Step 1

Purchase a tripod with a multi-angle head that gives you the ability to point the camera down at your table while drawing. There are also monopods with multi-angle heads that are less expensive, but will require some ingenuity in mounting them securely. You can also get tripods for your iPhone that can be mounted above your drawing.

Step 2

Place the tripod on the top of your desk or table. Alternatively, if the table is narrow, pull the table towards the center of the room and place the tripod behind the table. Putting the camera in front of you will make the video appear upside down, but you can flip this over using your video editing software.

Step 3

Create your own mounting system if you have experience building things. For example, Merril Kazanjian, who posts his drawing videos on YouTube, mounts his camera from a ceiling beam using L-brackets and has also used homemade wooden brackets for filming his drawings. Helen Thean, films her craft videos by placing her camera in a cardboard box with a hole cut in it for the lens, which she mounts above her work area using rolls of paper towels as columns.

Getting Ready to Shoot

Step 1

Place a blank piece of paper on your table or desk. Secure the video camera so it is focused on the paper. Connect the camera to your computer and look at the monitor. Adjust its position and zoom in or out as needed to ensure as much of your work area is visible as possible without cropping out the edges.

Step 2

Draw the curtains and use interior lights for the video if your drawing is going to take a long time. Movement of the sun over the course of several hours could interfere with the lighting.

Step 3

Set the video camera's white balance while focused on the blank paper if needed. Place a finished drawing on the blank piece of paper and then compare how this looks on the computer monitor.

Step 4

Adjust the lighting as needed to ensure there is no glare on the work area. If you are drawing with pencil, graphite on the paper may reflect light into camera.

Step 5

Sit down in front of the paper as if you were going to draw. Look at the monitor to make sure you are not casting shadows on the paper. If you tend to lean into your picture while drawing, make a mental note of how close you can get to the paper before you start blocking the camera's view of your work.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure your camera is mounted securely if you are making your own mounting kit. Your camera can be severely damaged if it falls.