Ophelia of Shakespeare’s Hamlet Demo Speed Paint by Leilani Joy

Date: 2014
Posted by: Leilani Joy
Cast: None
Credits: Presented by Leilani Joy
Duration: 12.26

One of YouTube’s major functions – though probably not a function originally considered by its creators – is instructional. There as millions of videos on the site offering illustrated advice on anything from cookery tips to bathroom repairs. The most successful videos are those that combine visual clarity with engaging personality, as many are presented by the expert in question.

Shakespeare sometimes features in such videos, and here’s a good example. Leilani Joy in an American artist offering instruction in how to produce figurative illustrations, of the large-eyed kind. The distinctive touch she uses is speeded-up action (‘speed paint’) of the process. She has a large following, as can be gathered not only from the viewing figures, number of subscribers and the number of comments on each of her videos, but in the confident way in which she addresses her audience.

Her subject for this video is Ophelia (one of her ‘Muses’ series). She introduces her audience to earlier artworks on Ophelia (some classical, so less so), with the assumption that many of those in the audience will know little if anything about the play. She then goes into painting the drowned Ophelia (with tips on water effects), without any further comment on why she has chosen this scene or why it would have any particular appeal. The trope of Ophelia drowned is so embedded in the consciousness that it needs no further explanation. You don’t have to know Hamlet to know Ophelia. The video is striking testimony to Shakespearean iconography and and the handing on of myth.

Oh, and the finished artwork is available for sale.

Links: YouTube page
Leilani Joy’s website

How to marginalise women like a Shakespearean

Date: 2008
Posted by: 104thouot
Cast: Mike, Bob, Jake, Steve
Credits: Made by Jake, Bob, Mike and Honeybuns
Duration: 5.29

A smart critique of Shakespearean dramatic logic (specifically Hamlet) and the treatment of women. It is made in the most rudimentary form with stick-people drawings, overlaid by commentary in the form of advice to the distracted male. So Hamlet, things are looking bad for you, but what’s worse is that your girlfriend’s going crazy. What do to?

Well, as any good Shakespearean knows, a verbose use of dialogue’s absolutely essential to the situation. Tell her your plans and hope she understands? That’s not a good idea. As everyone knows she’ll probably misunderstand because her mind works differently. Instead of listening to logic she will attempt to describe how your lives together will be much better than any silly bit of revenge your deceased father has cooked up in the underworld. To avoid this, it is always best to profess that you have never loved her…

And so on. The American 12th grade students who made this jest know the play well (though not so well that they don’t get a few words wrong in their quotations) and have thought about it acutely, albeit with all the narrowness of a 21st century sensibility. Once you have taken from Shakespeare all feeling and poetry, perhaps all you do have left are stick people.

YouTube page

Miranda make-up

Date: 2009
Posted by: aliabombalia
Cast: AliaBombalia (Miranda)
Credits: Made by AliaBombalia
Duration: 5.28

‘How to’ videos offering make-up advice and beauty tips are a major genre within YouTube, so it’s probably inevitable that one relating to Shakespeare should turn up. Here AliaBaombalia provides tips with practical illustration on preparing to look like Miranda (as she was preparing to do for a drama class). Miranda, we learn, needs to be “very neutral, very sheer” with “flawless skin”, and being aged 15 is “really cutesy, a little bit ditzy too”. For the look she adopts Avon personal match foundation in ivory, MAC select sheer powder in NC15, Boi-Ing concealer in 01, Urban Decay Primer Potion, various colours from the W7 pallette, Great Lash black mascara by Maybelline, and Rimmel Sweet Jelly in Moreish (10). But no eyeliner – she’s grown up on an island, and they wouldn’t have coal pencils there.

YouTube page