I have recently take the plunge into Patreon and Gumroad. I have only been up for a couple weeks, but I am excited about the prospect of running my own small community and store and with enough participation, the burden of patronage gets lightly distributed to many but the potential freedom to create grows significantly. I can already dedicate a few days a month towards making video tutorials and be funded for the time put in.
Some of my content on Patreon will also make it’s way to my Gumroad store. Patreon will offer the most affordable way to access my tutorials, but for those that don’t want to join Patreon, some of the videos will be on Gumroad too. I like the idea of distributing the potential because you never know what might happen and I don’t want all my efforts nested on one site.
If you aren’t familiar with Patreon (I am guessing you are, but just in case), it is a site started to help artists of all kinds share their work/experience/content with willing patrons. Often set up in tiers of increasing price and reward it’s a fascinating opportunity to gain some freedom. I don’t have any illusions of replacing my income via the site, but if it gives me a little more freedom to create unique content then it’s a success! It also gives me the chance to offer mentorships, interact in a more direct way and create a bit of an atelier, where I can share day to day content of what’s on my easel and tips and insights as they come to mind. Things that I believe are useful, but not really applicable to other outlets. If you are interested in learning to paint, learning about the business of being an artist, I believe I can help.
Gumroad is a site that allows for the easy distribution of digital content and subscriptions. I love the interface. It’s very simple and elegant. Don’t let that fool you though, the backend is very robust and provides all kinds of options for promotion, analytics and ways to connect with your customers. You can create discount codes, generate license keys, create variants like tiers or for different colors, lock content to streaming or allow downloads.
There is something exciting about starting something new and even more so when it represents potential creative freedom. I have videos coming that will have audio commentary, share the references used and explain the process from idea to final painting. I also share freebie videos with all the tiers that have subscribed. I am wrapping up the painting below (here is a shot of the painting in progress) and the video will be up next week if you are interested!
Allen Williams, Jeff Miracola, and Justin Gerard and Annie Stegg Gerard who all participate her, have accounts too. There are many artists that I admire there and I have enjoyed offering my support to some as well. As I said at the opening, it really is an exciting time to be an artist and such a variety of tools available.
We live in an amazing time for artists. Creative jobs in general, really. The internet has made it possible to present your work to more people, in more places than has ever been possible before. For artists of the 19th and 18th centuries it was critical to have connections in order to get the word out about your work and then to get into the proper exhibitions or salons. Getting in, increased your chances of success dramatically and rejection almost guaranteed a difficult road. There are exceptions, but generally speaking there weren’t many venues to display your work. An alternative was a patron wealthy enough, and visionary enough, to be willing to fund your efforts but those weren’t easy to come by.
The galleries came next and were also gatekeepers. For much of the 20th century this was the primary means of showing your work outside of organized exhibitions and they still represent a very important part of the art world. Times are changing though. I look at sites like Every Day Original , Saatchi Art, eBay and Facebook where originals sell every day. I love to see the power to not only present your work, but to connect with clients directly. I have seen sales of originals through my Instagram account start to increase over the past couple years, something I didn’t anticipate. Someone in a remote place of the work can create creative content and sell it all around the world, instantly. Amazing times.
Please share your own Patreon or Gumroad sites in the comments so that everyone can see what you are offering!