Paying for personal work

Hey there, looks like I get the first post here.

Back around 10 years ago, I used to see a lot of my friends taking commissions on DA. It was the one way we knew to make money through art on the Internet since this was before print on demand was a thing and we were all bad fits for commercial art.

The most popular artists were able to fill commission slots at light speed, but they could never charge enough to make the time investing in filling those commissions worth while. Fans wanted to support them, but the standard means of support was often a net negative. I would see their output diminish in both quality and quantity as they were saddled with commission prompts that pulled them away from their interests.

The solution seemed to be a system where by fans could pay an artist to simply make the personal work they adored. I knew there was a list of artists I would pay in an effort to help them refuse commissions and I hoped I had fans that would do the same. But back then, there was no mechanism for making this a reality.

Now, we’ve got Patreon and people are trying to figure out how to make it work for them. Personally, I still think about it as a system of paying artists to create personal work. As someone who is currently the beneficiary of as well as a contributing patron in this model, I want to spread that message as far and wide as possible. I think it’s important for us to band together under a common narrative about why people should support visual artists. If you are looking for such a narrative, please feel free to borrow this one.

Pay artists you love, to keep them making the art you love.




I agree completely. It’s difficult for people to understand how important it is for an artist to be free to create what they want to create. I did commissions about 15 years ago and know what you’re talkin’ about. I couldn’t keep up with them there were so many. I made pretty good money at it then, but I’d be hard pressed to get a commission list like that going again. Not that I want to. I always felt like I was puttin’ what I wanted to do on the back burner and though I liked doing the work, there was a little bit of me that resented the time spent on workin’ on something other than my own personal project.

What’s funny is sometimes I forget that I’m workin’ for myself now and my patrons actually are the ones who remind me. I’ve had multiple patrons reassure me that they have pledged to support me doin’ what I want to do and it’s not about the rewards for them. I think they get it some days better than I do. I still have a little guilt that I get so much enjoyment out of what I do, like it’s not allowed or something. I know it’s social conditioning. It affects society in they don’t 100% get a patron system and I don’t think people realize that it affects artists too.

I am grateful for Patreon every day. Sure wish I’d had it 15 years ago though!


I had a similar thing, where I put up a bunch of ‘premium’ rewards which made it feel more like a business exchange and not patronage. I lost track of the point that people just want to support me making my own personal work. Managed to put it back on track now though :slight_smile:


hey guys…i did commercial art/graphic design for 10 years out of high school, but then i switched to retail/sales/customer service/information rep at the airport/now payroll clerk & fuel system admin at cleveland airport still…so i make a living one way & keep my doing my art on my off hours. i really liked the tasks at an ad agency/printshop, but with the time constraints & customer limitations it is hard to end up doing art for others, the worst part was i rarely got around to doing my own art. so the plan was to keep doing my own art on my time & make a living doing something else. i long for the day i can retire & do my art full time. the ultimate would be to make that happen sooner through Patreon. i agree, we artists need to stick together. Patreon lends itself well to music/video makers, but so far it’s not serving our needs. i know we can figure this out together, we are so close. i do understand Patreon doesn’t give you a following. every time we have a hang time i try to ask if there is going to be a way to load a ton of art/photos with a better way for others to browse. i myself love using the “mixes” on the newmyspace. it is so easy to upload tons of images, & to browse through you just swipe to the right & they keep loading. i tend to zoom in my web page so it’s easy on the eyes & the newmyspace accommodates any size viewing easily. i am looking forward to checking out your Patreon pages & seeing how other artists do their galleries. thanks, Lee

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Patreon seems great for some people, but I just cant seem to get any support, no matter how good I make my page. For now, Im only getting what I need through comic book illustration and commissiom