Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Anatomy of a Mikki Tutorial

After reading a Facebook post by my friend Jill Wiseman about what goes into getting a design from concept to kit I started to think about what my new designs and format thereof entails.

So.....let's look at an upcoming design 'Circus Spike'.

This design stemmed from 'Tuscadero', I started thinking about straight spikes...bigger than anything I've seen in the beading world so far. These I would have to make.

I had bought some large yellow beads at B&B 2013 and wanted a spike that worked with those.  Of course the first thing I had to figure out....are they readily available? And the answer! But in my searching I came across a wire mesh bead in the size I needed with the hole size I needed which is easily available but as every where I found only sold them in packs of ten of one color it also means I have to invest money in carrying a stock so they can be sold individually.

Prototyping: The Spike
The first thing I had to prototype was the spike. I knew I wanted a black and white one so I played around with my clay to get a way of making them that I could consistently create because if I make a tutorial I'll have to have a good stock of them. They need to be mixed, caned, rolled, baked, sanded and buffed but for this design they don't need to be drilled (yay...a step less is always a plus).

As I also like to make a 'classical' version of my designs I still have to create this spike in a swirl of silver and gold. 

Prototyping: The Design
Next step in prototyping is too make one up and try to make notes while I'm doing it. I say try as it often gets difficult and confused if I need to rip out, go back and redo.  Notes at this point are pretty general and the way I bead the design may well change to an easier way when I write up the tutorial....the "oh, it would have been easier if...." deal. For example 'Circus Spike' is missing it's bail as it needed to be added at a point I passed, something I discovered too late.

Next is to illustrate the steps, for this I will make the second colorway and take notes pausing to illustrate as I go.  It's also where I make the amends to the adding the bail!  The illustrations will need to be done in a third colorway for the sample I will make on camera for the bead-along video.

Tutorial Layout:
Once I have the illustrations done I drop them into my tutorial format and add the words.

Mass Production:
While illustrating and writing I will also be making the spikes, sanding and buffing them. I have to figure on making about 100 for the first batch. 

Testing on Camera for the Video Class:
Once the tutorial is written and illustrated it needs testing and I've found the best way to test my tutorials is to make them on camera, it really helps you see what needs to be changed/adjusted.

Video Editing:
After each session on camera all the sections of video need to be edited and checked. If a re-shoot is needed for anything the beading has to be taken back. Each snippet of video is numbered for combining later. 

Video Combination, Titling& Conversion:
Once all the video snippets are edited they need to be combined into one and titles need to be added. Then comes the time consuming cross your fingers and hope for the best conversion to suitability for YouTube, probably the most frustrating part of the whole process as conversion frequently will get to 90% complete and time out. Depending on video length it can take anywhere from one to six hours to convert.

Video Upload:
After conversion the video is then ready to be uploaded to YouTube, stabilized and this gives me the link that will be included in the tutorial.

Cover Shots:
With all colorways complete I then take some photos that I can use for the tutorial cover and for marketing.  These then need graphics added and dropped into the tutorial format. The link is then added to the tutorial.

PDF Conversion, Uploading and Listing:
The tutorial is now ready to be converted to PDF format and uploaded to my store. I can then make the listing.

The Supplies:
Any supplies I carry, such as the spikes and mesh beads, need to be photographed and have listings made for them.

And there ya go!!
It's a lot of stages, a lot of different skills and and awful lot of time. One or two solid months of 70+ hour weeks (so look for 'Circus Spike' in a couple of months).
All that's left after all that work is for me to cross my fingers and hope it sells so I get paid for all the work I put in and of course I then become....

The Shipping Department :)


  1. Oooo, love that use of O beads! I've done only one tutorial, and that just in PDF. No video, no supplies involved. It does suck up the time. One thing I found very useful as a beginner was having several volunteers make up the project and let me know where my instructions were unclear. As an experienced expert, you probably have that down to a science!

    1. Thanks. Not O beads....these are little rubber much fun to play with. I used to always have a tester but as I found my tester read through my mistakes just as much as I did it wasn't a perfect set up. I do sometimes have people test a tutorial if I feel jittery about it but the best test I've found is editing while making it on camera. The camera doesn't lie and having the video answers pretty much all the questions I would normally get.

  2. You are so clever!! And I love what you made....You are an original.....And yes, lots of work goes into one of your pieces,
    your instructions and video. And that's why I love your's like being in a classroom with you!!!

    1. Thanks. I'm glad you like the videos, doing them is a lot of extra work and I only add $5 to $10 to the price! As I don't teach this is my way of being right there so you can bead along with me. Not everyone can afford to take a class...I was always one of those people and I haven't forgotten how limited I felt. Video is such a good alternative

  3. I love your videos and your tutorials are a lot better made than most I have bought. I was so looking forward to making more of your pieces in the coming year but a financial constraint is making me sell my beading supplies. Maybe when all the bad luck I am encountering is gone and I can again, I certainly will be buying/making your patterns. They really are unique and fun!

  4. Love the circus spike; it puts me in mind of jesters.

  5. Mikki, this made me realize that there are good tutorials, eh tutorials and great tutorials! Now I have a glimpse into what goes into the very best!!


Thanks for commenting :) I don't care for moderated comments but due to people posting ads in the comments section I've been forced to add this function.