Category: e-marketing

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:


Critiques, Portfolio Reviews, and Consultations for Artists

This week I tentatively rolled out a section on my website for Creative Consulting.

What means this ‘consulting’?  Well, some of you might remember my Portfolio Reviews and Critique Corner articles here on this blog where I was able to provide direct feedback and helpful resources to artists wishing to improve their work.

Sadly, these sections of my blog have faded away after I realized I just don’t have the time anymore to do them.  I’ve been increasingly busy dedicating myself to my own portfolio work as well as nurturing commission work on a grander scale than I ever have before.

However, I really, really hate to see these columns go and I stand behind the way this kind of direct interaction and critique can help other artists in a profound way.  As such, I am still offering portfolio reviews and critiques for modest fees, which you can view the rates here.  If you have a surplus of deviantART points, I also take payment in points for the red lines and paint overs here.

This is a way for you to work with me directly without having to catch me in-person at a convention.  We also won’t have to worry about your subject matter, which I would previously have had to censor if it was going to be featured on this blog, which I try to keep Safe for Work.

An example of a paint over and critique featuring the art of Kim Ravenfire.
You can read the full critique here.
An example of a red line featuring the art of Judith Mayr.
You can read the full critique here.

For more examples of my critiques, read on here.

I still plan to participate in critiques online in places like the GoldenCritique-Club on dA and WiPnation, but I will only be able to do so when my schedule, interest, and projects allow.

In addition to paint overs and portfolio reviews, I am also tentatively offering online art marketing consultations.  I’ve always wanted to do this, but felt I could not until I was at a point in my career where the methods I have studied and experimented with have yielded tangible results so that I can be confidant and justified when advising other artists.

E-marketing and its potential for artists is a passion of mine which I have studied professionally in the Arts Administration program at The Savannah College of Art and Design.  There, I earned my MA after the completion of my thesis focusing on the evolution of audiences and patrons via the expansion of the internet and its social venues.

I’m excited to finally be able to apply what I have learned on a grander scale! I have previously only provided advice via panels at conventions, blog posts at this journal, and private interactions with artists I know seeking advice on expanding their business.

These sessions are meant specifically for individual artists and will focus on their current e-marketing strategies, filling the gaps of their e-marketing knowledge, and discussing which online venues might work best when considering their work.

For those who are new to my work and don’t know my history in being able to critique art or speak on the topic of e-marketing for artists, you can also read about my credentials and experience with these subjects on the Creative Consulting page.

I’m excited to foster this new way of connecting and helping other artists!  I look forward to what amazing work you guys might send my way and the trust you might place in me in helping to improve your future work.

Wishing you all inspiration!

E-Marketing for Artists 101

(UPDATE! I gave this blog entry as a panel at this year’s DragonCon! 
Check out the recording of my panel and Powerpoint presentation on YouTube.)

This week I wanted to share an article I wrote for the new fantasy magazine, Dark Muse: Issue 2! You should go check out the mag for more useful articles on everything from creating knotwork to podcast interviews with other working artists.

I hope to make this e-marketing topic a series of blogs on the matter, as it’s one of my passions!

E-Marketing for Artists 101 

Have you been ignoring the hullaballoo of that loud, annoying place called the internet? Tsk! Nowadays, artists of every possible subject matter, style, and media can find a niche in the massive audience that is the world wide web, making it an invaluable tool for artists. This is especially useful for those of us who work in very niche genres!

In particular, social media (or social networks) are a great way to quickly update your fans and to connect with other artists. Connecting with other artists can be especially motivating when we find ourselves alone in the art cave craving human interaction! Here are a few of my favorite sites which I’ve noticed the best results and that have also shown a significant presence of participating artists. These descriptions are based on my personal interaction on these sites, meaning that things may work differently for you based on your own preferences!

One must also remember that the key to social networking is to be social. Spamming your work and then leaving without interacting with anyone else is a recipe for fail on just about any social networking site (unless you’re just already that popular!). Social networks are not to be confused with specific online communities dedicated to artists, as opposed to social networks whose general purpose is socialization between all types of people. A rundown of handy art communities will be covered in a future article!

Twitter –

You have 140 characters a post to say something meaningful, this short length making posts quick and easy to digest. Twitter lets you Follow others so that you can instantly see their posts, allowing you to keep a finger on the pulse of other artists and communities without the total distraction of instant messaging.

I don’t have the guilt of leaving Twitter conversations as much as I do if I have a popup message from a friend on an instant messaging system, which makes Twitter a nice compromise for those of us who may want to chat with others without getting completely buried by instant message windows. The only danger of this is how easy it can be to become addicted to checking Tweets! But that’s something to do while we’re waiting for paint layers to dry, isn’t it? I’d like to think so!

There are also hash tags (words that are demarcated by a # symbol) you can include in your posts which allow others to search by that topic, which allows artists to find other artists by topic. For example, some of the more popular art-related tags are #fridaynightartdorks and #wip. Start your own hash tag trend, share interesting links, and keep in touch with others instantly!

I love this site for the way that it helps me interact person-to-person in conversation with others in my field. I feel like I know these people and have already met a few of them at cons based on the fact we’ve chatted on Twitter beforehand!

As an example of Twitter’s amazing powers, besides helping to lead revolutions in other countries, I remember a past convention where I had aboslutely no artists to help me out with a panel where I needed folks to paint for charity. I posted on Twitter for help and word circulated through this digital grapevine, until I had more than enough volunteers to help my panel succeed!

To add butter to your toast, Twitter allows you a profile to add a link to your website and talk about your interests. What you list on your profile and who you Follow also fuels Twitter’s intuitive Suggested Follows system, which will automatically suggest other artists for you to Follow based on who you are already Following and their interests.

All in all, it’s my favorite way to discover new artists and interact online! You can also link your Twitter and Facebook accounts to mirror your posts, which leaves you more time for creating work instead of yacking on the computer.

Read on at Tweetable Art: 10 Twitter Tips for Artists for more great info!

Facebook –

I know people tend to hiss when they think of the inanity of Facebook, but I have to admit it’s become a central driving force in my business! I have a fan page where my fans can keep in touch with me directly, upload fan photos, and keep up with my studio announcements of new products and the like. I can also upload videos and photo albums here, making it the next best thing for those of us who may not have the resources to host our own websites yet!

Facebook gets pretty high rankings in search engines and fan pages also do not require fans to login to see your info, as you would with a personal Facebook account. It’s a great place to start your marketing efforts that is fairly easy to manage on your own. If you cannot manage it on your own, there’s also the ability to add multiple admins to your fan page.

You can read more about the differences between a fan page, a group, and a personal account at my article on the matter:

Blogspot (aka. Blogger) –

This is a great free site which lets you start your own blog, or online journal, where people can easily follow you if they have a Google, Yahoo, or RSS Reader. I keep up with many artist friends this way as well as professional communities where I can stay informed of events going on in my industry. Most artists keep journals to share their works-in-progress, chat about their inspirations, and share advice.

Another great advantage of having your own blog is that if your website isn’t updated regularly with new work (because you’re a slower paced worker like me), the blog can be a way to have a consistent source of new material to keep people coming back to check on you. Don’t want people to forget you exist, do you?

There are many online blog formats, but I’ve personally found Blogger to be the easiest to maintain with a vast network of connections throughout the web. If you don’t like that blogspot name in your url, there’s also a function to replace it with your professional domain name.

Check out these useful blogs on Blogger: – Ran by Jon Schindehette, an art director with Wizards of the Coast (the makers of Magic the Gathering, Dungeons and Dragons, to name a few). As an art director, Jon shares his opinions on what he looks for when hiring artists, what artists need to learn when they’re breaking into the business, amongst other nuggets of wisdom! This blog also features interviews with working artists with even more insight into the business. If that wasn’t enough to make you tune in, ArtOrder runs Challenges where you are given a hypothetical assignment, entries to be judged by various art directors. It’s a great way to get your foot in the door! – Maintained by a few of the industry’s leading artists (Donato Giancola and Dan Dos Santos, to name a few!) This is the blog to watch for advice from the pros, glimpses into processes, and other useful bits of info! The cast of artists is shuffled up from time to time to make sure there’s always fresh blood and enthusiasm on this blog.

For more info on why blogging can help your career, check out this useful article on “Why Artists Should Blog” by artist, Kirsty Hall:

Angela’s Shameless Plugging
If you’re curious about how I’ve set myself up on these networks, check out my social media links!
Angela’s Facebook Fan Page –
Angela’s Blog on Blogspot –
In the years I’ve been building my art business, these particular sites have been the most helpful for me. Have you found other social networks that have proved invaluable as an artist or creative professional? Share your experiences with us in the comments section!

What is Artfire? An Artist’s Point-of-View

ArtFire - Buy Handmade - Sell HandmadeA few months ago, I’d never even heard of Artfire, but had already been a vested user of Etsy since 2008. Now after plenty of fiddling over at Artfire, I feel confident enough to talk about its usefulness for artists.

What is Artfire?

Like Etsy, Artfire is a community marketplace for handmade and vintage items who offers community forums, item collections, and groups to join. The main difference in philosophy being that Artfire allows you to plug external websites much more in your own listings and pages, unlike Etsy, which discourages such practices. The other difference is of course the fact Etsy is far more entrenched with greater press coverage.

Artfire is catching up, though! If their constant marketing campaigns, helpful articles, and numerous twitter accounts is any indication of how much they’re putting into making their site known. They also offer their members discounts at CHA (Craft and Hobby Association) and VIP discount cards at Joanns Fabrics (10% off regular and sale price items)!

Selling on Artfire

Much like Etsy, artists can post listings of items, sort them into browsing categories, and find buyers for their handicrafts. Where Artfire differs in this respect is that listings have no expiration date. A user must ‘check in’ at Artfire to keep their listings higher up in the search results, which weeds out the people who post listings and leave them there without maintaining them.

– Prints and Fabricated Art Items
Another quirk of AF I’ve found is that if you’re selling art prints, cards, or any other pre-printed open edition item utilizing your art, they have to be a run of 500 or less while Etsy hasn’t set a number, to my knowledge. This isn’t much of a problem for me, however, as I’d be happy to even reach that amount of sales per item!  With the number of open edition prints listed on AF, however, I suspect this policy isn’t heavily enforced.

– Seller Invoice System
AF boasts a pretty full featured invoicing system for sellers, including itemized invoices where you can check off each stage of payment, packing, and shipping as it happens with a field to enter an item’s tracking number. This number is automatically emailed to your customer when you enter it, making these invoices pretty handy for taking care of your customer all in one place!

– Feedback and Non-Member Buyers
One big difference between Etsy and AF’s way of handling transactions is the fact that AF also encourages you to do what you need to do to make a sell, meaning customers don’t need to have an AF account to buy! They can simply use AF’s shopping cart feature. This means you don’t get feedback or karma from the transaction, but that doesn’t seem terribly important on this site, despite the fact users can still leave detailed feedback on your shipping, quickness, item quality, etc. Because there’s no final value fee taken out when a sale is made, it’s easy enough to cancel the order and relist with no loss of money, should you have trouble with a non-paying buyer.

– Promotional Coupons

Another extremely useful feature of AF is the ability to create promotional codes. While you can do this on Etsy, Etsy restricts your coupon codes to only a certain percentage off or free shipping. AF’s coupon code functionality is more robust with the ability to tailor your coupons to a percentage off and free shipping, but also allows you to apply coupons to seller-defined studio groups and price ranges, the order total, or even specific items. Coupon codes are also another premium member feature.

– Other Useful Features
If you’re a user of Etsy, AF makes it easy to download your CSV file from Etsy and import all of your items with only a few tweaks required! This is a premium member feature, however.  You can also batch edit your listings, move them en masse to new categories, and take advantage of a detailed vacation mode that allows you to leave your items up, but auto-responds with your ‘away’ message. Unlike Etsy, which simply hides your items completely from listings until you disable it.  There’s also a ‘sales mode’ that allows you to discount everything in your shop at once.  Sales mode and vacation mode are both non-premium features!

Crunching Numbers

Another major difference between Artfire and Etsy is the fee structure. Artfire charges a flat monthly fee (I pay $5.95 thanks to a beta deal I got, but standard pro rate is $9.95 as of this entry) while Etsy charges 20 cents per listing for 3 months and takes 3.5% of your final sale’s value. If you’re hosting a large amount of items, AF can be really useful for keeping costs down each month.

As for sales numbers, I’ve noticed a greater number of handmade craft items and cards selling here rather than my prints and original art, but it’s still great to get the exposure on my artwork along with everything else. I have a feeling that as I grow my shop and become more entrenched in this community, these sales proportions will change!


One thing I absolutely love about AF is the ability to customize the color theme and style of our shop pages! I’ve included a screenshot of mine below. Most of the customization is, again, a premium member feature.

See my Artfire shop in action!

See my Etsy shop in action!
Final Thoughts

Rather than choose one community over the other, it’s easy enough for me to maintain both my Etsy AND Artfire shops with AF’s import feature!  The amount of sales I’ve made via both communities have made them well worth investing my time in and will only continue to increase their usefulness as another means of income the longer I use them.

Interested in joining up as a premium member at Artfire? Use my referral link! We’ll both get a free month plus be entered into a drawing for a free DSLR camera for both of us!♥

I’m also a member of the Artfire Fantasy Guild, so drop on in and say hello!  I’d love to see some familiar faces there.:)

The Great Promo Brainstorm

Bring in your pets and put away your lawn furniture, the great Brainstorm cometh! But first, a bit of sketch spam of custom ink drawings I’ve been doing on the inside of people’s books ordered direct from me.

 Keywords (Left to Right): “Angel Warrior”, “North Star”, “Angel Tribe”, “Fairy Child”

After the success of the first book signing, I’m scheming on ways to keep pushing promotional efforts before I’m old news. At this step I’d actually prefer to hire a publicist, but for now that’s just not in my budget. The company is handling getting the book into stores and now it’s my turn to set up the rest of the grassroots efforts that will start here in my own little town and corner of the interwebs!

Here are just a few of the things I’m pondering on doing (I’m wide open to suggestions if you have any):

– A Blog Tour – I’m still trying to grasp the what, where, and how of this. Basically I would approach various blogs and see if they would mind featuring me or my book on their blog and post a schedule of each ‘stop’ that’s planning a feature within a certain date range. Anyone know of any good fantasy or art blogs I could approach? (Or who host one themselves that would be relevant to my themes?)

– A Book Giveaway – Soon to be on this blog! As soon as I’ve got my paws on the next shipment of books, I’d like to giveaway a whole bundle (Sketch+Book+Prints+Other Cool Goodies) to a lucky commenter! I will have to think of a good comment prompt for this one. *plots*

– Book Signings -Where to start? After a little MOAR RESEARCH, I’ve written up a Press Release for any prospective bookstore owners just so I know what to say when I’m on the phone (or pitching in person) with them and also so I have something to email them for reference. (Don’t quote my formatting on that write-up. It’s probably all backwards!)  So far, it seems like the best way to schedule one is to approach their community relations departments at a corporate level so they can recommend the store that’s best set up for such an event.

– Book Sketches – I’ve been publicizing these in my online sketchbooks to help remind folks that YES I do offer custom ink sketches in the inside-cover of any book ordered directly from me for an extra cost! The rules of advertising state that repetition of your product or brand helps breed familiarity and credibility. Trying to keep true to this tenant, which means I’ll soon be doing more video trailers very soon! Proliferate throughout the web, my pretties!

And the Brainstorm continues.  Any promo strategies you’d like to share? Any of the particulars listed here get you excited for more?  Share and share alike!

Productivity in a Can

Latest Developments in Angela’s Checklist to Take Over the World by Art Storm:

  • Updated my eBay shop with more original artwork and matted/signed prints.  Felt really accomplished after 15+ postings!
  • Currently reading 3 Weeks to Ebay Profits. Extremely helpful thus far!  Will post more once I’m done reading.
  • Posted my first ever video tutorial on Color Pencil Tools!  I need to learn how to not curse when I mess up my dialogue so I don’t have to shoot so many takes.  Perhaps an outtake reel is in order?
  • Making concrete plans to attend more conventions and saving up to hit more Artist Alleys for networking.  Already sent out to Katsucon, for starters!
  • Huge plans in the works to start on several longer series of illustrative works.  Time to see if I can balance those muses and to focus my artistic ADD.
Because sometimes it’s just easier to list things rather than ramble about them.  I got alot done this week and I am only full of hope as I slowly, yet surely, begin to see all these efforts pay off. I still have a long way to go, but it’s great to finally be able to check off a few things that have been on my to-do list for years now.
Plans for this week:
  • Put the finishing touches on glass tile pendants and list them on eBay/Etsy
  • Dig the original art out from under my bed and mat them.  Need to start working harder on presentation!
  • Practice more digital media with some orthographic concept sketches.  Practice more watercolor techniques while I’m at it.
  • Start prospecting galleries in town to see if any will display my work. Gotta give my local galleries some love!
  • Start looking for academic publishers for the thesis paper, if there’s time!
I promise a meatier, more thought-provoking post the next time!  I’ve recently seen Inkheart and it has my ol writing urges simmering again.  More on that later!

Sorry for all the exclamation points in this journal. It appears I’ve had about four times the quantity of Dr.Pepper than I usually allow myself!!!!