Writing a Tutorial

It doesn’t matter how many times I write a tutorial, and many people will understand this, I always massively underestimate how long it will take. Actually, the underestimation probably increases each time as I think it should be easier/quicker having done it so many times! I started a new one recently on how to make one of those soft, wispy, scruffy, colourful pieces of felt everyone seems to love. We make them in about 45 minutes in classes, so I thought I’d just need one day to take all the photos, except my camera battery died after the layout photos. I probably won’t need all 120 photos, but I like to be thorough! This is the photo of the finished layout:

Luckily, it was bright enough the next day to finish off felting and get the rest of the photos done. This is just before it was rolled in a towel and left to dry:

I don’t know about anyone else, but when I take photos for tutorials, I jabber on to myself in my head, giving a running commentary on what I’m doing. I suppose I’m talking to ‘the reader’, so I can make sure all the steps are covered and I don’t miss anything out. This was going really well while I was doing the layout, I’m usually over-cautious (as the 120 photos would suggest) and end up with loads of photos unused. Let’s face it, even a complete beginner doesn’t need to see every step of the wool tops being laid out šŸ™‚ But when I downloaded the photos and looked through, all the photos of adding the embellishments were missing! Where were they? Did I forget to download them and then delete them off the camera? No, because I didn’t download/delete anything until the 2nd day. So where were they?Ā  I must have zoned out as some point, wandered off to get a drink or put music on, then got too engrossed in adding all the yarns and shiny fibres because there were no photos between finishing the top layer of wool, and that finished top photo above. Luckily that was all I’d forgotten. Or so I thought! I wanted to show the versatility of the felt pieces and how they can be made into other things, such as the concertina pieces I’ve made into danglie decorative pieces:

So, while I was ‘on a roll’ with the felting, I took photos of the process of how to do that. Here it is all bundled up:

And then how it doesn’t have to become a concertina piece, but a more 3D ‘sculpural’ piece:

But that meant, not only did I not have any photos of adding embellishments, I also didn’t have photos of the finished dried piece! Luckily, I’m used to myself and how gormless and forgetful I am šŸ™‚ And when you don’t have to take 120 photos of the process, doing a layout is really quick and easy, so it wasn’t too time consuming to re-create the piece and take photos of the missing stages.

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15 Responses to Writing a Tutorial

  1. ruthlane says:

    Ha, that sounds like me. When I work on a class I think I have everything and then suddenly, “where is that section?”. I must have done the video because I have about 50 samples of it. Why didn’t I record that part?

    I’m sure your tutorial will be wonderful šŸ™‚ I love your ‘scruffy’ felt pieces.

  2. Lyn says:

    Writing a tutorial is as easy as speaking clearly with a sock in your mouth.

    Having an assistant, who is also a professional photographer with all the equipment, would help a lot. It’s so hard to get the photos right!

    When you’re making a felted item in a stop/start way, so that you can make notes and attempt photos and check them before you move on, the felt will often respond in a non-coperative way when you resume working with it.

    But you’ve obviously got the determination and ability to see the job through Zed, because your tutorials are brilliant !

    • zedster66 says:

      Thanks, Lyn šŸ™‚
      Ha, yeah, the sock in mouth analogy sums it up perfectly! I lost track of the amount of times I had to re-wet my felt piece when I was making my Wet Felting/Book-cover tutorial because it was cold! And I had to keep re-doing one step to get the photos right, which resulted in too much shrinkage!.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    I’m writing a weaving tutorial now. I’ve learned I have to stop and write as I go, at least in point form, or I will miss pictures and/or steps. I’ve gotten a bit ahead of myself so I’m going to have to make myself stop and write even though the light is really good today…

    • zedster66 says:

      It’s not easy thinking and doing is it?! I know a tape recorder would have been useful at times, so I didn’t have to keep drying my hands to write down things to mention as well as when taking photos.

  4. Hi Zed, recognizable story šŸ˜‰ made me laugh.
    Even though nice examples.
    What do you mean with ‘ gormless’ , never heard about that.

  5. Marilyn aka Pandagirl says:

    You’re not alone. It’s so easy to get engrossed in the process and forget photos. I love the 3D sculpture. I’m sure your new tutorial will be great as usual.

    Lyn, I love the sock in the mouth! So true.

    • zedster66 says:

      Thanks, Marilyn šŸ™‚
      I think I’ve got a chocolate deficiency, making me forgetful šŸ˜‰

  6. Leonor says:

    You weren’t looking through my window when you wrote this, were you? Because that could very well be me šŸ˜€

    Your photographs are brilliant, Zed – you should offer people tutorials on how to take good pictures šŸ™‚

  7. I think after reading the comments you are just one in our tutorial with missing bits club. I always think I have taken more pictures at class than I have. That is assuming I took any. I think yours will be great, like the other you have done.

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