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The Complete Guide to Picking Up Close-Up Magic

— start with One Trick

· For Magicians

Introduction: What is Close-Up Magic?

Close-Up Magic is a term used by magicians to describe their technique of performing illusions from a close distance. Often known also as street magic, popularized by David Blaine TV Specials, close up magic is often the most common genre of magic one have access to learning. 

Close-Up Magic can be defined in two ways. 

1. By the selection of tricks / material during the performance 

2. the context / venue of the performance 

Close Up Magic by Selection of Tricks 

Close Up tricks are often defined when a performer use small objects such as coins, cards and sometimes everyday objects like napkins, keys, or banknotes. Since these objects are generally smaller, the performance typically caters to smaller groups. Larger props such as ropes may sometimes be considered a palour or stage effect instead of for close-up situations. (Sewing Threads may be used instead for close-up magic). Large illusion boxes are not considered close-up magic.

Close Up Magic by Context / Venue of Performance

Close-up magic is often engaged as a roving activity where the magician walks around from table to table to present his effects to the audience. Generally, when a magician is performing on stage or on a platform with seated audiences, it is not considered a close up magic performance

Although many define close up magic as a performance for small groups or even one-on-one situations, many performers are doing close up magic virtually, catering to much larger crowds. In some venues, such as The Magic Castle, "formal close up" magic performances are also done within theatres.

3 Steps to start Performing Close-Up Tricks with Everyday Objects

Step 1: Watch Close Up Magicians on Youtube!

Step 1: Watch Close Up Magicians on Youtube!

YouTube is a great resource for aspiring magicians to find some inspiration. There are plenty of videos of different magicians performing the same trick to paying audiences. 

This is an excellent way to understand how sleight of hand tricks are done, what tricks you can consider, and which tricks you might want to avoid if it doesn’t fit your style or preference. 

Watch their performances through the eyes of both as a learner and as an audience and pay special attention to how they present their tricks differently in order to create an interesting performance that engages the audience when it’s your turn! 

Here’re some popular channels to follow: 

Step 2: Gather Magic Props with Everyday Objects! 

Step 2: Gather Magic Props with Everyday Objects!

Gathering props is the easiest step in the process! You can find props in your home or in any store. The best way to come up with magic props is by using things that are already there.

Here are some ideas for props you can gather:

- Money!

Coins, foreign money and even arcade tokens work especially well for sleight of hand magic. Look for coins of all sizes in order test out to see which works best for your hands.

- Cards!

Poker decks are easy to find and readily available, but not every deck is made the same. Locally, you should look out either for Bicycle decks, or Aladdin decks (Often available @ 7-11 store). They are better quality and will work well with most routines you will eventually pick up. 

- Everyday Objects

Eventually with exposure, you would find yourself noticing small objects with potential for close up magic. Items such as coins, fork and spoons, rubberbands and more are staples in many professional magician’s repotire! 

Step 3: Learn Magic using Videos & Books!

It doesn't take a lot of time to learn magic. All you need is a bit of determination and some basic materials, and the right resources.

To save you sometime, here’re the best resources in both books and videos along with where you can purchase them from:

Conclusion: Less is More when it comes to magic dvds and books

With the advent of new technologies, we have seen a shift in the ways magic teaching materials are being released. You can learn a lot of magic online (many times for free), but it may not be the best way to introduce yourself into the hobby. 

With a wide range of Magic dvds, books and online courses available, it’s easy to get lost in the crowd or be drawn to the latest shiny new release. 

It pays off to do your own research and limit yourself on the amount of material you expose yourself to. Learn to walk before you run! Perfecting what you own before investing even further into more tricks available!