When you’re an artist looking to build a following, having a platform that supports both visual and audio media is essential. This makes livestreaming on Twitch for artists an ideal way to showcase your skills, join a supportive community, and even earn money from your livestreams.

But how can you best leverage this online platform and start livestreaming on Twitch as an artist? In this article, we’ll discuss how to get started as an artist on Twitch, the equipment you need to livestream, and how to set up your livestreaming space, build your audience, and market your channel.

Twitch for artists?

screenshot of Twitch.TV/directory
Twitch began as a platform for gamers to livestream their gameplay but has since evolved into a medium to showcase all types of artistic expression.

Originally used by gamers as a streaming platform to livestream their video gameplay, Twitch has since evolved into a platform that lets many different artists connect with millions of fans. Whether your passion is watercolors, sculpting, rock music, or ASMR, there’s a place for you to share your work in Twitch’s many categories for artists.

And if your art medium is more unconventional, you can carve out a niche for yourself on Twitch, especially if there aren’t many other artists competing with you.

Best of all, being able to livestream on Twitch offers plenty of opportunities for live interaction. This can include live video Q&A sessions, interactive chats, and more. As you solicit your audience’s opinions and feedback, the ability to grow your artistic brand and discover what type of art appeals most to your community improves, making you a more successful artist.

Twitch also offers opportunities to monetize your channel. You can have viewers send donations, pay subscription fees, or tip with Twitch’s own currency called “bits.” This virtual currency can then be exchanged for real-world money, potentially generating a lucrative revenue stream from your art.

How to get started as an artist on Twitch

While it might be tempting to just dive into the deep end and experiment with livestreaming, it’s always a good idea to do some research first and know what you’re getting into. If you want to livestream your art on Twitch, make sure to watch other Twitch artists and see how they manage their channels.

Learn from other Twitch artists

Look for broadcasters who use Twitch for artists in the same medium that you work in. If you love makeup design or cooking, do a search for “Beauty and Body Art” or “Food and Drink,” and see the types of tutorials and shows other people are streaming.

Bob Rose Twitch channel
Painters, sculptors, and even chefs can all carve out a significant niche by livestreaming on Twitch.

Study how these artists set up their livestream. How many cameras do they use? Do they tend to shoot their videos indoors or outdoors? Do you see many investing in lighting equipment or professional microphones to look and sound more professional? All of these points will help influence how you set up your own creative space when you start livestreaming on Twitch.

You should also examine how the livestreams themselves are structured. Do the artists in your interest area tend to offer art tutorials, or are they more interested in exhibiting their artistic process? You’ll have to decide whether you want to follow popular formulas or develop a different type of channel depending on what’s already out there.

Join the Twitch community

Most importantly, learn how the Twitch community works. Many Twitch artist channels succeed not only because the broadcaster is a talented artist but also because they know how to interact well with viewers. Personable and genuine Twitch artists tend to gain devoted followers who form the foundation of a successful channel.

In fact, one of the best things you can do for yourself even before you start your own Twitch livestream is to interact with the audiences on different channels. Get to know these people. What do they like about the Twitch channels they frequent? What would they like to see more (or less) of? How do they make their opinions known? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you start building your following by forming friendships with Twitch users.

Set your goals 

As you begin to understand how Twitch works, it’s very important to also develop a clear vision of your streaming goals.

What Twitch community for artists do you want to develop a following in? Painting? Music? Gaming? Knowing where you want to focus your attention helps you communicate what you want to offer as an artist.

What type of channel do you want to create? What type of content will you be offering? Some livestreams get popular for showing others how to draw, cook, or take professional photographs. Others build a strong fanbase of people who just love to watch Twitch artists work on their projects.

Make sure the logistics for your livestreaming videos are well-defined. How long should your art streams be? When will you put them out? In general, successful Twitch artists develop a schedule for when they film and release their livestreams and stick to it. If scheduling conflicts get in the way, a professional artist communicates this to their audience and offers alternative events that keep viewers tuning in.

Speaking of your viewers — what do you want your audience to do when they see your livestreams? Offer feedback? Share your work with others? Donate money? All of these goals are viable, but you’ll need to communicate this clearly to your viewers and provide them with a simple way to do what you want them to do.

Keep in mind that when you start livestreaming on Twitch, you’re not just an artist. You’re also the broadcaster and streamer, which requires you to take on some additional responsibilities when you set up and manage your channel.

What you need for a Twitch livestream

As an artist, you already have a good understanding of the tools you need to produce your art. Painters need brushes and canvas. Musicians need instruments and recording equipment. However, using Twitch for artists also requires you to develop some know-how in livestreaming technology.

Basic equipment for Twitch livestreams includes:

  • A device to stream from
  • A tripod
  • A webcam
  • A microphone
  • A stable internet connection with an upload speed of at least 5 Mbps
  • Livestreaming software

Eventually, you may want to upgrade your livestream’s quality and present a more sophisticated or elaborate brand image. To do this, you might consider adding the following equipment:

  • A ring light or light panel to prevent shadows and improve your lighting
  • A green screen to project various backgrounds and videos behind you when you film
  • A tip page which you can set up with software like Streamlabs to collect donations 
  • A free bot like Ankhbot to monitor your chats
  • Professional graphic designs for your Twitch profile and videos

When you’re starting out, be reasonable with your purchases. Many of the items on these lists are free or can be bought at a reasonable price. As you start to grow your following, upgrading is definitely an option, but focus on using reliable equipment when you’re starting out.

How to set up your film and lighting for a Twitch livestream 

Determining how you want to film yourself for your Twitch livestream offers plenty of creative opportunities. Some artists focus their cameras only on the art piece they’re working on. Others set up two cameras — one for the artist’s face and the other for their art — so viewers can watch their expressions as they work. You can display these two images differently in your livestream, making your face cam the primary image and your art camera the secondary, or vice versa.

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Twitch offers recommendations on the type of tools you can use to set up your Twitch channel.

Regardless of what you decide to do, there are a few fundamental filming techniques you should follow.

Make sure to use a good tripod for your camera. This not only keeps your video steady but also lets you attach the tripod to surfaces at different angles to get a clearer view of your artwork. Some tripods are made specifically for smartphones, letting you shoot with your smart device. However, you should be aware that smartphone batteries drain quickly when livestreaming, limiting the length of your videos.

Offering good lighting quality is arguably more important than great video quality. Make sure your lighting equipment removes the shadows from your art and your face (if you use a face image) to ensure a better view. Twitch offers video tutorials that help you determine the type of equipment you want to use and how you should set up your livestream.

Building an audience on Twitch for artists

You can — and should — start building relationships with other Twitch users and livestreamers from the moment you create your Twitch account. Making friends with established artists on Twitch will make it easier for you to network and grow your own following when you start your livestream.

Engage with your Twitch viewers, followers, and subscribers

Once you set up your channel, be very clear about what you’d like your viewers to do. Encourage them to follow your stream, and direct them toward what button or icon to click on. If you want to monetize your channel and become a Twitch affiliate, you’ll get a subscribe button that you should also direct users to click on.

A big part of the appeal of Twitch is the sense of community among artists and art lovers. Show your audience you’re available to socialize by offering Q&A sessions and interacting with them on live chats. One useful thing you can do is track your channel’s stats with a free statistic service like Loots.com. This will let you learn when you gain the most viewers. You can then arrange your schedule so you livestream on these dates and times, making yourself more available to your audience.

Regularly reward your viewers for interacting with you. This can be done by simply replying to their chat questions and comments. You can also give away special codes for games or arrange for a special subscriber meet-up at TwitchCon. By making your viewers feel like part of your community, you’ll give them extra incentive to keep watching your livestreams.

Promote your Twitch channel

Outside of Twitch, you should continue reaching out to potential followers and subscribers on social media. Twitter is the primary platform for Twitch users, so you should tweet about a new video before and after you livestream on Twitch. Be sure to include a link to your livestream along with a preview image before you go live.

You can also post videos, images, and clips of your art on multiple social media channels and showcase your work through an email campaign. Share photos of your crafts, paintings, body art, and more. The more you take advantage of social media and email marketing tools, the more opportunities people have to discover your Twitch artist channel.

One unique way to promote yourself as a Twitch artist is to engage in “geek philanthropy.” These Twitch artists team up with a charity or nonprofit to set up a livestream fundraising event. This might include a video game marathon where viewers tune in to check on your progress and donate to your charity. You can adapt the exact nature of your fundraiser to the type of art you like to livestream on Twitch.

Depending on the size of your current following and the popularity of your event, geek philanthropy fundraisers can generate a lot of donations for charities and nonprofit organizations. In 2019, gaming streamer Benjamin “DrLupo” Lupo raised over $2.3 million for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital through a 24-hour livestream video gameplay event on Twitch. Other fundraisers have earned money for Doctors Without Borders and Whale and Dolphin Conservation.

Participating in “geek philanthropy” helps promote you as a socially conscious artist who uses his or her Twitch channel for good causes. This will earn you plenty of goodwill from Twitch users and can expand your following since the nonprofits and charities you partner with will promote your channel. Plus, it’s a good feeling to know that your artistic skill is helping so many social organizations.

Host other Twitch streamers

Want to know a great way to keep your audience engaged while increasing the number of your Twitch followers? Host other Twitch streamers on your channel.

Twitch hosting is a feature that enables you to broadcast other streamers’ channels on your channel. This lets your audience see other Twitch artists perform without leaving your channel.

How does promoting others help you expand your audience? Twitch hosting lets you offer regular content on your channel without having to actually develop any new material on your own. This is important if your schedule gets too busy for you to film your usual livestreams. Showcasing other people’s content, especially if the material is similar to yours, is a great way to keep your audience engaged and hungry for your next livestream.

In addition, hosting other Twitch streamers is a great way to use Twitch for artists since you can cross-promote each other. By promoting another streamer to your audience, you provide extra exposure to that artist. That streamer, in turn, can host your streams on their channel. You can also get featured in that streaming channel’s chat or show up in the Live Hosts category. If that other channel has a large audience, many of its followers and subscribers may want to follow and subscribe to your channel.

To host other channels, use Twitch’s Auto Host feature. This lets you host other channels when you go offline. Even better, it does this on autopilot, so you won’t burn yourself out managing multiple livestreams. Auto Host is easy to set up. Just go to your Twitch Channel settings and switch on Auto Host. You can then add your favorite channels to be automatically hosted when you go offline.

Select channels that you enjoy and that feature content similar to what you offer your audience. If you want to carve out a niche in the ASMR community, start hosting livestreams by other talented and entertaining ASMR artists. If cooking is your form of artistic expression, host livestreams of chefs working with different cuisines.

Live streaming cooking eggs
Hosting Twitch livestreams of other artists showcasing their skills can earn you more exposure when they host your livestreams on their channels.

Many of the Twitch channels you host will return the favor by hosting your channel and expanding your reach. However, don’t just wait for this to happen. Reach out to your own Twitch viewers, and ask them to follow, subscribe, and host you. You can even provide tutorials on how to host other Twitch channels to make the process easier on them.

And don’t feel that you need to be hosted by Twitch superstars in order to gain a large following. Even Twitch channels with small followings can help you grow a large audience if multiple channels decide to host you. Remember that your goal shouldn’t be to just get a lot of viewers but to connect with users who like your art and want to interact with you.

Once your channel starts being hosted by other users, create a “host list” for your Twitch artist profile. This will make hosting your Twitch channel seem like an exclusive opportunity that other artists will want to take advantage of. It’s a win-win situation: as you gain more exposure by being hosted on other channels, those channels also get exposure by being featured on your list and being hosted by you.

One word of warning: do not self-advertise on other people’s livestreams or chats unless you have permission from the owner. Likewise, don’t host big streamers just because you hope they’ll host your channel. Interacting with other users should be a way to create a supportive community on Twitch for artists, not to promote your own agenda.

Be genuine

Being an excellent painter, sculptor, or cook is only part of what makes you a popular artist on Twitch. Having and displaying an engaging personality in your livestreams is what keeps viewers coming back.

Sure, it’s nice to see an art tutorial offered by a capable and knowledgeable instructor. But if that artist can also connect with you emotionally and make the process of learning a new skill fun, that’s a teacher people will want to follow.

So, show off your personality in your livestreams. Share what you love about your art and what you hope your channel will offer others. Put yourself in the shoes of a newcomer to your field, and offer the type of instruction or experience you wish you had when you were in their position.

Most importantly, be genuine. If you’re not the type of person who jokes around a lot, don’t try to be funny or create a persona that’s not your own. Even if that gets you a few new viewers, it’s exhausting to maintain that image, and most people will want to see your real personality anyway.

The fact is, if you’re passionate enough about your art to start livestreaming on Twitch, you already have a great deal of enthusiasm for your craft. Show this to your viewers, and you’ll attract the kind of community you’ll want to interact with regularly.

Marketing on Twitch for artists

Immersing yourself in the Twitch community, establishing your livestreaming goals, and promoting your art channel will help you cultivate a solid livestream on Twitch for artists. However, once you start building a following, you shouldn’t let your marketing efforts slide.

People who invest in advertising and follow a good marketing strategy inevitably achieve more views on their livestreams — and more views lead to more exposure, a larger following, and often more money. Twitch may provide a great platform for your livestreams, but Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all offer additional promotional benefits.

‌So, you should always be looking for new avenues and ways to promote yourself. Constant Contact offers a free entertainment, arts, and culture marketing guide called The Download that you can use to make sense of the multiple online resources used for connecting with bigger audiences and becoming a more successful artist. Download this free resource today, and learn how to take advantage of available online tools to promote and share your art with a wider audience.