Category: brand identity

Patreon Project Kit for Artists

Cross-posted from The Muse’s Library.

I’ve been on Patreon now for about a year since the site went live. I’ve tried a lot of different experiments in that time and have built a small, but dedicated following via this community-driven site. I’m a firm believer that crowd-funding is the wave of the future and the core building block of a growing breed of artist-entrepreneurs.

I thought I’d share that spirit of giving by sharing the structure, templates, and other resources that keep my Patreon ticking!  I hope it helps other artists out there considering promoting their projects via this site.  Let’s make a Patreon!

Patreon Profile Image

Release Schedule

When you set up your account, it’s important to have an idea of how and when your releases will occur and also other notices you’d like to send to your Patrons so you can be aware of how much you might be spamming them at once so they don’t get fatigued by your posts. Mine go something like this:

– Last Day of the Month.  Patreon begins charging your Patrons on the 1st of the month, so let’s start there!  The monthly image is uploaded. I only release one painting per month to keep things simple, but you may want to release more frequently! If I ever do more than one painting a month, I stagger out my releases so that there’s always one being posted per month.  However, I do not charge monthly because I am a slow worker and I’d rather my Patrons only get paid when I release a painting, rather than taking a chance that they might not receive anything if I’m not productive enough.

– Within the First Week of the Month.  Rewards for all levels are posted in individual posts (one for each tier) and a PM is sent out regarding my Keyword Inspiration sketch (an event I hold monthly for $5+ Patrons where they turn in prompts and I draw the most inspiring prompt).

– The 15th of Every Month.  A mid-month reminder post reminding people to attend my monthly Studio Hangout (with a link to the Event on Google+), sharing a WiP of that month’s art, and any other important reminders that might be relevant. The 15th is also my internal deadline to have the physical Rewards mailed out.

Last Wednesday of Every Month.  A link to the recording of my live Studio Hangout is posted.  The recording is auto-generated by Hangouts and posted to YouTube for me, which makes things easy.

Digital File Rewards

Digital Rewards are the cornerstone of any Patreon since they’re easy to fulfill and require less of an expense on the artist’s part. Here are a few ideas for distributing digital items.

Patreon Attachments. The downside is a user might have to sift through a lot of posts to find the older Rewards that wouldn’t have been emailed to them. Storing a master list with links that you can link Patrons to in a private Rewards post is another idea to help keep track of older Rewards for new users.

DeviantART’s DA’s allows for private viewing of file links for anonymous viewers who have the url. You can store any kind of file (image, video, etc.) and also ‘stack’ them if you have multiple releases you’d like to show at a single url. The current default limit for free users of DA is 2GB while Premium members get 10GB. Another random perk is that you can also hotlink to files if you are embedding images into html on other sites.

YouTube. YouTube allows you to upload videos at private links (called ‘unlisted videos’) that are only accessible to those who have the link.  It’s a good alternative if you want to offer a streaming option for videos instead of requiring a complete download of the entire file.

Private Journal Entries

Sharing exclusive posts can really make Patrons feel special! However, Patreon’s current journal function is very limited and doesn’t allow images and text to be formatted easily. For this reason, here are some suggestions for ways to share private journals:

WordPress Public Draft Previews. If you run a site built with WordPress, the Simple Preview plugin allows you to share a link to a Draft which is private and only accessible by those who know the url. The downside is comments currently don’t function on these posts. A workaround is to disable comments on the post and request that Patrons comment on the original Patreon post that led them, including a link so they can easily access the correct url to post their comments.

DeviantART’s While also useful for storing files, you can also use Writer to create more robust journal entries than Patreon currently does. These private journals also allow users to comment on them.

Physical Rewards

Postcard and Greeting Card Mailings. I use for a fast, secure, and easy solution for mailing out postcards (ie. Christmas cards, Thank You cards, etc.) to my Patrons. You can personalize your cards online, though they will not be handwritten.

Prints. I usually print off my own prints via an Epson Artisan 1430 which boasts lightfast inks and wide format printing (up to 13×19 inches), but when I need bigger and/or fancier prints (ie. giclee, canvas, mounted prints, etc.), I turn to (tell them Angela Sasser sent you and we both get Thank You dollars when you make your first order!).

Reader Suggestions

Before I get to the Templates, I’d love to hear your reader suggestions in comments!
If you have any tips or resources you’d like to add that I find particularly helpful,
I’ll add your tip to this journal entry with a link to your Patreon page.
Let’s make this entry a great resource for the community!


It’s important to have a link to your Patreon wherever you promote your work. Here are a few buttons and banners to help you out with that!

Download the editable files all at once here.

Profile Image Montage:


Event Banner:


Book Club: Artist As Brand Part 4 – Plan the Brand

My reading of Greg Spalenka’s Artist As Brand continues with section IV. Plan the Brand.

I found the book for a great deal on the Nook.
Or you can buy it via my Amazon referral link
and give me a little kickback!
You can also buy direct from the author!


A lot of this section talked about the concept of job security being an illusion.  This comes up a lot in books I’ve read about creative professionals because so much of our downfall is that constant fear of where money for bills is going to come from.
We struggle, we burn out, and then we get sucked back into the trap of ‘security’ and all the people in our lives (our ‘tribe’, as Spalenka calls it) help reinforce this illusion of safety because it is what they believe to be the most prudent way to go about one’s life.  We want to please these people we care about, so we define our success by their values.
Unlike a more stable “real” job, there is no veil of safety convincing us that because we’ve worked 30 years at Such-and-Such Incorporated that we’ll always have that income and nice, cushy benefits.  Freelancers have no such safety net.  We must accept the truth of the world as it is. (Though that doesn’t mean we can’t be smart about it by planning ahead, either.)
If this were a live reading, I would’ve stood up and cheered at the end of this section.  My whole thesis was based around the fact that audiences are evolving and finding new ways to connect with artists and that the old traditional methods of connecting via institutions were becoming obsolete. I believe this to be true.  Our modern age has allowed artists so many diverse ways to profit that aren’t constrained to one institution or the other.  We are more in control in our destinies than ever we have been!
The rest of this section covered the familiar territory of describing the cost effectiveness and thought process behind planning products and ideas for varied income.  It’s a good rundown if you’re brand new to thinking about what goes into making products or considering less common income streams for artists, such as art licensing.  With several working examples provided.
Random Note – I learned from this section that the founder of Etsy is a young wood worker who was going to start a furniture company.  That company became Etsy, which is what he would’ve named his furniture company.  Cool!
The homework from this section was to start building a Business Plan starting with several prompts about products, including projecting how complex they will be, how long they will take, etc.
Including all of that would make this entry super long, so I’ll just list off some of the products this book has me considering for my business:
  • Stock reference photos for artists.  I’ve been doing this in a small capacity, but now I feel like it’s something I should be spending more time doing.
  • Educational resources for artists (ie. book reviews, product reviews, etc.). I’ve been doing this via my blog, but have never considered making it a commodity for my business.
  • Yearly sketchbooks based on themes.  Having themes and a yearly time table would help focus my very flighty muse!  Inspired by Cory Godbey’s interview over at One Fantastic Week.
I’ve really been supercharged by this book! It has encouraged me to zero in on where my passions really are and to step back from other projects that were less appealing to my core interests.As always, there’s SO much I’m leaving vague.  Be sure to pick up the book from the links at the top if you’ve found any of this useful!

Next:  V: Declare Your Name – Taglines, Blurbs, Business Cards

Go back to Part 1

Go back to Part 3

Book Club: Artist As Brand Part 3 – My Vision Board

My reading of Greg Spalenka’s Artist As Brand continues with section III. Your Vision Board.

I found the book for a great deal on the Nook.
Or you can buy it via my Amazon referral link
and give me a little kickback!
You can also buy direct from the author!

This section focused on another visual brainstorming exercise meant to help you visually map your passions and interests and connect them with products, people, and places.  I found a lot of value in doing this because I have a lot of interests, from video games to art marketing to folklore and beyond!  It’s always so difficult for me to narrow down my projects and focus, which has been a constant challenge for me over the years.

View a larger version of my map here.

I went a little insane and fit as much on the board as I could.  What a crazy web I wove!  The text at the bottom represents the connections I drew with colored lines between my top three activities from the first circle, the products I can produce, and the people and venues I could reach those people through.

That’s a pretty powerful thing to figure out for yourself!  So many of us just throw art out there with no thought put into who that art is meant to resonate with.  Creating with purpose seems a valuable way to focus your time and energies and make your brand more consistent, which is something a lot of novice artists don’t do when they’re first starting out (I’m guilty of it, myself!).

I also made a .psd template, since one wasn’t provided in the book. Feel free to download it here for your own use.

Download the blank template I made here.

As ever, I have left some details of this exercise (such as the explanation of Mind, Body, and Spirit and other instruction) vague on purpose to encourage you to purchase the book.  It’s a really worthwhile read thus far and I would recommend it based on the helpfulness of the exercises I’ve already completed!

Next up, IV.  Plan the Brand
Go on to Part 4. (coming soon!)

Book Club: Artist As Brand Part 2 – My Virtue’s Shield

Chapter II. Your Core Virtue Emblem of Spalenka’s Artist As Brand is one I was particularly looking forward to, as it deals with coming up with a logo or an emblem for your core virtue.

I found the book for a great deal on the Nook.
Or you can buy it via my Amazon referral link
and give me a little kickback!
You can also buy direct from the author!


I’ve struggled with coming up for a logo for years and was never quite satisfied with the images I developed.  I knew I wanted something related to butterflies, a personal totem of mine.  I identify strongly with them and now, having solidified my core virtue, I understand why.Unlocking creative potential is a value I strongly resonate with and what are butterflies but the ultimate symbol of realized potential?  They start as unassuming larvae that morph into a chrysalis and emerge as something else entirely, something beautiful that always existed within that original form.  They carry the map of what they will become inside themselves always.

But how to make a butterfly logo that wasn’t cheesy or gaudy looking?  Here were a few of the designs I made years ago before I gave up and moved on to a generic font logo:

Spalenka offers a strategy for logo sketching which I found to be particularly helpful.  Trying his approach helped me to break away from the geometric patterns that I was never quite happy with.

Again, I’m purposefully leaving some of this process and explanation vague.  Go buy Mr. Spalenka’s book if you want the full explanation straight from the teacher!  This is merely my interpretation and specific results.

I knew I wanted something asymmetrical to represent my work, which I feel is more organic and flowing than hard lined and symmetrical.  I also needed something simple enough to be iconic and easily stamped on cards and other marketing collateral.

My rough sketches for each keyword based on

Spalenka’s ideation technique.


Next we have the culmination of all of my sketching!  It’s amazing what mental associations and symbols you can discover if you just sit and think hard enough.  I ended up leaning towards a design that echoes the form of the chrysalis and the wing of a butterfly all at once, while also incorporating the theme of a seed, another representation of potential which might also double as a keyhole.

2nd row, the last one on the right is my fave! What’s yours?

This has been YEARS of frustration solved for me.  I consider this book worth the money spent just on this section alone just for the help it gave me when coming closer to resolving this personal struggle I’ve had with defining a logo.

Next up, III. Your Vision Board
Go on to Part 3. (coming soon!)