Longer discussion journal time.
Bet alot of you have seen it somewhere: your favorite artists have Patreon Pages up, accepting donations, the like? I certainly have. To be frank, it doesnt sit well with me, and while this journal shows my opinions ONLY, it might cause you to think about the reasons behind Patreon and where it might and might not be the most acceptable thing in the universe.
First off: What is Patreon in the first place?
Patreon is an online kickstarter-esque site where people can donate to you and essentially back you and your work for various rewards. It can be used to fund projects that an artist might not be able to tackle on their own dime, such as comic publishing, music production and CD printing cost, you name it. The tool itself is quite powerful and has been able to help a few friends I have, such as
being able to work on publishing a comic and actually giving a quality product to people willing to back it! Cool huh?
However, recently on deviantart, Youtube, etc, many artists are simply turning to it as a way to get 'paid' for doing whatever they want without any sort of intent of turning around and possibly creating something where the backer gets something substantial in return. This is what it boils Down to:
Patreon when a person uses it to fund a Comic, CD, etc:
- Artist sets up patreon with rewards directly tied to product that they are promoting: Sent, delivered comic when they're done, sending original sketches to the person as a reward, character incorporation into the comic, etc
- Backers back
- Backers get reward for assisting creator in actually creating something
I see this as a GOOD thing! :check:
Here's what I have been seeing on dA/Youtube, etc
- Artist Simply wants to get paid for drawing whatever they want, even if it is 100% for themselves, and rather than seek to commissions, they use Patreon.
- Artist grants access for backers to unfinished online WIPS, LS access, no tangeable rewards designed to actually promote a foundable product, but instead use the money as income for no other reason.
- Backers gain absolutely nothing in exchange, artist makes money
This is what I perceive as an artist viewing their watcherbase as a Wallet. Look, if people want to donate to you, thats absolutely fine! Paypal has a donation system you can work out for people who just want to donate out of the goodness in their hearts. However, the Patreon/income system for the sake of just being able to draw as a hobby and somehow bank off your support base seems incredibly disingenuous, and here's why in my opinion:
- If someone 'pays you' money, backing, etc. You should return some sort of product they can benefit from, correct?
- Do you need $ to draw yourself art? no, you can draw that for free and actually need no monetary backing for it
- Does anyone gain anything really if you are offering WIP's of your own art (nothing for them) in private? Or allowing them access to a stream simply devoted to you, and nothing the backer has actually purchased?
If your supporters want to donate to you, that is their decision, and I cannot influence that, but Patreon can be manipulative for this reason. Your watchers should not Pay your salary unless you are offering them something in return. Commissions? Perfect. You are delivering people content they paid for!
Patreon does not inherently make you some 'indie' artist nor does portray the image of a professional in the field. It is a tool to help you accomplish things that cannot be accomplished necessarily on your own. Yes, alot of people are doing it. Are all of them doing it for a decent reason? of course not. If your favorite artists do it, does it mean you should? It depends on what you need to accomplish.
Do I need a Patreon? Absolutely not. Do I even want one? Unless I need funding for a comic or publishing costs, nope.
Do not treat your watchers as a piggy bank, nor manipulate them into donating.
That said, this is my opinion on the matter, nor should my opinions change yours. However, if I see a system being abused a bit, I like to offer my take on it.
I value my supporters alot, much more than you could possibly imagine. And with that, I respect them all, and would never expect support and a dollar sign to be synonymous terms.
Do you share a similar view as me? What is your stance on the wave/trend/fad of Patreon users? Discuss!
(please note, this is a discussion journal. If you disagree with my stance, work it into the discussion instead of hate comments! My opinions are simply opinions and others might learn alot from your stances as well.)