My Latest Lunchtime Video Occupation

Recently, during my lunch breaks at work or when I need to put on something in the background while I’m working at my computer, I’ve been watching a lot of Drawfee on YouTube. For those unfamiliar, it’s a funny show of varying length, usually about half an hour, where two or more artist participate in a drawing challenge, sometimes as they record themselves talking through it with the other present hosts (they have a stable of four regular hosts these days, with occasional guests or missing hosts) or as they talk over a sped-up video of them drawing something in the past. The format of the video tends to vary based on the specifics of the challenge, and there are enough different styles of video that I don’t think I’ve watched them all even after about a month or two of lunches spent watching these videos mostly selected at random. Despite the lack of dependable form, it is a pretty safe bet that you’re going to enjoy just about every video that might pop up from their channel.

I haven’t disliked any of the videos I’ve seen, though there have been a few less interesting ones that I’ve sped up for a part or all of the video. For example, an artist I have followed for a few years on Twitter appeared on an episode and I wound up increasing the play speed for her portion because her drawing segment was difficult to watch. Not because she’s a bad artist or wasn’t doing good work (she was, in fact, doing amazing work given the situation), but because her computer was struggling to stream or record what she was doing, causing lag that was agonizing to watch. The hosts and guest artist were able to gloss over the bad video with good hosting and conversation, but I didn’t really want to watch the artist struggle her way through a rough drawing. Half the fun of the videos is watching the drawings come to (sometimes monstrous) life, after all.

I love watching artists work. I’m always amazed by the stuff that they come up with, how a bunch of disparate and often disconnected lines can rapidly turn into a person or interesting object in what feels like only a few seconds. I recognize the way they build things is a reflection of their years of practice, but it still feels a lot like magic to me. I know it isn’t, since I’ve had people say the same thing to me about my daily blogging and non-blog writing habits, but I still admire their skill at being able to do something so swiftly and neatly. It takes a lot of work to be able to do something like that, to make the act of creation seem easy and effortless to someone who is unfamiliar or just starting out, and I just admire that they can swiftly turn something from a prompt into an image in so little time.

The hosts are incredibly clear that the final products they show off aren’t a direct result of the work they did while recording, frequently mentioning how much extra time it takes to “finish” a drawing after they’re done recording. Since I’m not a visual artist in any of those mediums (the written word is totally a visual art, though) beyond the rare doodle or notebook sketch, I have no idea if the times they give are long, short, or even remotely accurate (though I doubt they’d like about how long it took them to do something, given the other things they’ve admitted to). What really matters to me is watching art come to life and listening to good friends give each other a hard time between cracking jokes and effusing about each other’s creations. I genuinely appreciate that they’re so nice to guests who come onto the show and they always find something nice to say to each other when one of them starts to doubt the results of their drawing.

Their show is the kind of thing I put on to create background noise in my day and then wind up getting pulled into by a joke or reference that takes me down a massive rabbit hole of videos. Today’s viewing resulted in me watching part of six different videos, finishing zero videos, and deciding that I might need to do more to track this scattershot approach to catching up on years of videos than merely logging anything I want to watch in my YouTube history. Still, like all of my favorite podcasts, they’re just pleasant to listen to, even if you don’t really understand what’s going on. Drawfee is a warm, wholesome experience only sometimes ruined by the horrors that visit your screen. There’s a reason they end every episode with an apology.

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