Patreon is a crowd-sourced funding platform for creators. Unlike Kickstarter or its peers, Patreon allows for a sustained income based on small monthly contributions from many people. Content creators - writers, artists, musicians, etc - use it to fund their work. In return for the contributions, creators often give special content specifically for patrons.
I always thought that was kind of bullshit. Like, hey, I buy your music and your books, what more do you want? Lately, however, I have seen what great genre work is being done by many of these folks. And, like the contributions, it is a sustained flow of creation that can only be realized by a predictable income.
Making a living from art is hard. Taste is entirely subjective - people like your work or they don’t. Finding your audience can be tough. Discoverability in a sea of web comics or youtube singers or flash fiction websites is an issue. And even if people do find you, how do you capitalize upon that audience? Ads are dicey. Donate buttons are passé.
Enter Patreon. If you have that audience, it’s a great way to fund your creation. And it’s a great way to connect with that audience and strengthen your fandom.
I first became a patron for my absolute all time favorite web comic, Kill Six Billion Demons. It’s the story of a girl who is destined to rule the 777,777,777 kingdoms of Heaven. KSBD is delightfully weird, visually compelling, and the lore that accompanies the story is fantastic. When I saw that Abbadon had put up a Patreon, I was thrilled. Even if I never got anything back for it, kicking in $10 per month was well worth it just for the comic itself.
The content Abbadon puts up for his patrons is fascinating. He’s given us insight into how he works. For example, he showed us coloring 101. If you look at his art, it’s incredibly nuanced and detailed. I knew it was complex but when he talked about contrast and lighting, how to use warm and cool colors, background and foreground, I realized just how intricate and involved this work was.
We also get things like special wallpapers and he’s working on an RPG. I worry that he’ll overload himself trying to reward the patrons. I know that this is a problem for many creators. That will get adjusted over time, I am sure.
I’m sold on Patreon now. It lets me fund the creators who do work that I love. It lets those creators have a sustainable, predictable income to fund their art. (Also, I get cool shit that nobody else gets. Let’s not forget that part.)
Are you a patron? Who do you support and why? What cool stuff do you get? Or have you supported a creator that didn’t give back?