Category: crowd-funding for artists

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:


My First Kickstarter – Part 2 – During the Campaign

Well here we are a little past the halfway point for my recent Kickstarter project!  My Kickstarter has had a slow start at only 6 Backers and 13% funding with 10 days left trending towards 45% by the end according to Kicktraq, but I also know from reading about other projects that the last week of a campaign is usually the most crucial with the most pledges taking place.  I haven’t given up yet!

While the campaign has been running, I’ve been trying to find ways to continue to get the word out without hounding my fans.  This has been a really difficult balancing act of creating relevant posts without being repetitive.

Project Updates as a Promotional Tool

Each time I have shared something interesting via the Project Updates section, such as the release of the exclusive Sketch Diary for Backers and Patreon Patrons, I share this info through my promotion channels (social media, art communties, etc.) since it represents a relevant creative update to the project, rather than just another HEY LOOKIT MAH KICKSTARTER AND THROW MONEY AT IT!

Relevancy is the key word here.  If you become too repetitive about your Kickstarter, you’re going to sound like an annoying spammy desperate beggar, and that’s not a very positive thing to be seen as. Another advantage of utilizing the Updates section of your project is the fact this also makes your project visible in the ‘recently updated’ section of Kickstarter.

Relevant Creative Updates

Here are some of the project updates I’ve utilized (or am planning to utilize):

–  A Backers Only Preview.  I timed this to drop a week early for my KS Backers and Patreon Patrons, but I didn’t plan ahead and I had to rush the video to get it out on time so that the week early lead-in didn’t place the public release of the video after the deadline for my project.  The public release will also coincide with the 15th of the month, which is payday for most people.  I’m hoping that theoretically this means more people will be able to pitch in, thanks to that paycheck!

Promo Tip – an ‘ad’ is included for my Kickstarter 
at the end of the tutorial.

The 2nd part of January’s tutorial video will drop a week after the first, where I hope the fresh attention of the video’s posting will draw those last few Backers that I need to meet my goal.  I’m still in the midst of processing the 2nd video, which is taking way longer than expected.  Lesson learned – start video editing early!

–  Extra Rewards.   Not sure if this was a good idea or not, but to keep my project updates fresh, I also released three more ink drawing bundles as rewards later on.  I did this because after seeing the slow start my campaign had, I thought that providing more options would encourage more backers.  I think next time I would include these Rewards from the beginning, instead.

A montage of the extra Rewards I added during the campaign.

–  Rewards Video.  Rather than simply type a wall of text for people to read, I plan to do a video showing a preview of some of the Rewards for this video so future and current Backers will have a tangible representation they can view and also to connect once again with them ‘face to face’.  I plan for this video to drop during the 2nd half of the campaign.  I would rather have shared this Rewards video earlier, but the production of the sample rewards took longer than anticipated.  Lesson learned – have a sample product/reward made before you start your campaign!

Fun Art.  I won’t spoil this one, but there’s a fun idea I came up with involving the Ladies that I’ll be sharing in the Project Updates too.  It’s not really an ‘important’ update, but it is one that I think helps get across my sense of humor and provides ever-more personal connection with the people who have chosen to help with this project.  This fun art update will be coming in the final week.

Admittedly, I only had a general update schedule in mind instead of a very tightly planned out one before I began.  I’m beginning to think I didn’t plan enough relevant updates to keep my project on people’s radar, or perhaps my Rewards aren’t enticing enough?  Perhaps I simply don’t have the reach yet to really support doing a Kickstarter project?

I’m eager to look at all the information after this project has finished and discover where I saw tangible results in my promotional efforts, as this could be extremely useful information for me beyond Kickstarter.

So Many Thanks!

Most of all, I am trying to be thorough in thanking each and every person who has helped spread the word about my Kickstarter.  This means replying on Twitter and Facebook and everywhere I’ve noticed anyone sharing.

I want people to know that I am a real person and the fact that people believe in me enough to share my project really means a lot!

So here’s a big THANK YOU to any of my dear readers who have read along with this journey as it has happened and helped me by pitching in or spreading the word.  I am so grateful!

Even if I don’t get funded by the end of this blog series, I’ve already learned so much about how to improve my project’s communication, goals, and timetables for the next time.  This is amazing priceless info!

I look forward to seeing how my first Kickstarter journey ends.  Here’s to riding the waves to the end!

My First Kickstarter – Part 1 – Concept, Preparation, and Promotion

I’m excited to announce that I launched my first Kickstarter project this week!  Rather than just shamelessly plug it here, I thought I’d talk about my journey through the conception, promotion, and closure of this campaign.

I’m an absolute newbie at this, so I’m bound to learn a lot and hope other artists considering Kickstarter might learn something from my experience too!

Check out my project here!

Why Kickstarter?

I’ll be honest, I would never have thought of using Kickstarter for funding paintings, at first.  The site was originally founded to ‘kickstart’ projects that would not otherwise get off the ground.  I’ll still be able to make these paintings.

What finally encouraged me to pursue this series via Kickstarter was the fact that having an extra infusion of income would actually help me be able to worry less about pursuing other freelance work so that I can create these paintings faster while also aiding me in maximizing the potential quality of this series (ie. afford models to have more variety than my own visage, afford updating old supplies, etc.).

Kickstarter also reaches a potential worldwide audience I didn’t have access to before.  This project also represents a chance for me to not just maximize the series’ potential, but also provide an opportunity to offer very unique limited items to my collectors, which is mutually beneficial to us both.

I also saw other artists using the Kickstarter format to similar effect with their own series of paintings which really motivated me to give it a try at least once.  Echo Chernik used Kickstarter to fund her Winged Women series so that she might be able to have more time off from her packed schedule to invest in this Kickstarter-only personal project.  Sam Flegal also used Kickstarter as a boost for his Norse Mythology series of paintings for similar reasons.

The low risk nature of Kickstarter is also appealing.  If the project is not funded, I’m not stuck with a closet full of prints no one wants gathering dust in my apartment.
In the end, embarking on this project is also a mad scientist experiment for me as an Arts Admin grad.  My main hopes are to educate myself on how I can best use Kickstarter for both myself and my fans, whether I succeed with this first project or not.  All mistakes and triumphs will inform future ventures!

Preparing for the Project

It took a lot of research and reassurance for me to finally launch this project.  I did the following before even considering making it a reality:
  • Researched similar Kickstarter projects to mine.
  • Took the Succeeding on Kickstarter class on Skillshare, which was exceedingly detailed about the process and best practices for Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
  • Had many friends, colleagues, and family review my project via the preview link before launching.
  • Planned a cross-promotion with my Patreon patrons so that I could be sure that they still receive the special treatment they deserve for supporting me directly.  Patrons receive a pack of postcards for free for backing the Kicstarter at any level.

Promoting the Projects

Currently I have done the following to promote my project:-  Posted on Reddit in /r/artnouveau, /r/crowdfundingprojects, /r/kickstarter, /r/artstore, and /r/art (still researching other relevant subreddits).

–  Contacted Art Nouveau themed tumblr blogs in hopes of utilizing tumblr’s amazing organic reach (still awaiting a reply).  Also posted a video post on my own Tumblr (please give it a re-blog, if you like this project!).-  Contacted several Art Nouveau dedicated Pages on Facebook (still awaiting response).

–  Paid $40 for boosting my Kickstarter’s video post on my Facebook Page over the next few days.  My Facebook Page also feeds automatically to my Twitter.
–  Paid $100 for promoted Tweets on Twitter.  Hurray for $100 credit for trying it out for the first time!  I am essentially getting free advertising.  Never used this before. We’ll see how it works!
–  Contacted several Art Nouveau themed Groups on DeviantART as well as a couple of Kickstarter themed Groups to ask for promotion.  I’ve heard back from at least one Group with 2,595 Members and 3,450 Watchers thus far.  This group has featured my Kickstarter deviation on their front page and has agreed to do a journal feature soon.
–  Posted the project’s video to YouTube.
–  Posted the project to Prefundia with their free package.
–  Emailed the Art Career Project about featuring my Kickstarter, if they still do that (still awaiting a reply).
–  Posted on my Instagram.-  EDIT:  Added a promo image on my website’s main page and this blog.

–  EDIT:  Added a promo Cover photo to my Facebook Page.

–  EDIT:  Submitted a press release to‘s free submission area and to TheMarySue, a site dedicated to female geek news where I have seen other female artists get some promotion, if they found the project relevant to their readers (which I hope they do!).

–  EDIT:  Asked friends and family to get on the promo boat, if they can.  Many have already shared via Facebook and Twitter.

– EDIT:  Sent out e-mail updates about my Kickstarter to my mailing list.

I’ll share results of which places seemed the most effective for me once the project has ended!If you can help me spread the word too with a share on your favorite social network, that’d be fabulous as well!

Next up: What on earth do I do while the campaign is running??