Someone just complained here about posting image ads for Patreon and used me as an example. I understand that doing that might upset some people but let's talk about why I would do such a thing. (a majority of this first section is copy/pasted from my comment to them, sorry sorry)
First of all, I ALWAYS update my DA and Tumblr and so on with my most recent work. I give it to you in all it's glory. Yes, it's relatively low res, but I don't give you parts or fractions of it. I post it even though I get terrible feedback and response on it. On DA, I am lucky to get more than 5 comments an image and I'm lucky to get more than 100 faves. I have almost 9 thousand watchers here. On Tumblr, my REALLY good posts get 100 or so reblogs, but my average art post gets around 10 to 50 maybe. I have almost 700 followers there. Those are not great percentages. And I understand that that issue is everyone's right now on DA but I experience it across the board on all outlets. BUT, I post anyway because I like sharing my art. And even though I have a Patreon now, nothing will change. Except I will maybe not post EVERY SINGLE piece of art I make, but I'm still going to be posting 90% of it for everyone to see and enjoy.
With that being said, I also need to make a living. I just got laid off from my 9-5 art job. I went from making 35K+ a year to 0. Art is my only real job skill and art jobs like what I had, here in Colorado, are few and far between. I don't live in a state like California where that sort of work is more readily available.
As far as my income endeavors go: I offer commissions and no one ever buys them unless I greatly reduce the price to like $20. And even then I get maybe 5-10 if I'm lucky. I put up merchandise on Storeenvy or Society6 and I have grossed a total of $10 from both in the past year. I also do work on Etsy, but that nets me about $100 a month or two months. I do several conventions a year and never make profit. I can't pay my mortgage or buy groceries with that. But, sites like Patreon give me a real, fighting chance to survive financially.
So, I'm sorry if it offends you that I post something like this. But I have to advertise myself or I'll never get any sort of business. I think people forget that behind that art you like, is someone who is trying to make a living to get by. Sure, there are several big artists on Patreon that are making THOUSANDS a month there. But a majority of us are just trying to scrape by with the few hundred bucks or less we might get, living paycheck to paycheck as it were. Complaining that we might not post all of our art for free anymore is sort of the same as me saying "Why doesn't so and so work for free anymore and let me watch? It's so unfair to me when they ask to get paid!".
Either way, I would hope that my fans would be happy to see I have a Patreon now and/or support me in the endeavor. Because, Patreon is going to force me to draw atleast one new image a week instead of one every several months like you've been seeing for the past several years. Me getting paid on Patreon is going to get you and my Patrons more content and I'll be able to maybe not foreclose on my new house; it's a win-win.
TL;DR- I need to make money somehow so Patreon is my best way to do it right now. It's also the best way for me to submit more work. And I will still be submitting art for free on top of the paid stuff and won't be forcing you to go to Patreon.
Now on to another issue this brings up for me. In general, the lack of response on my art really digs into my self-esteem and my artistic process. I wish it didn't but it does. Part of the reason I don't post much was because I working in the art field the past few years. And anyone who has done that knows that working on your own stuff is hard when you art for other people all day.
But besides that, I generally have this crippling fear that I am not good enough. I can't sell commissions for full price. I can't make a profit at cons. I can't get people to share my work online. My only reasoning for this is that people don't like my art enough and I can't even pinpoint why that is. It's not even necessarily that I believe my art is shit or anything because I don't. I am a modest person but I do know that my skill is above average. But I see people that I consider on the same level as me and I see them be wildly successful and I can't figure out why. I'm sure the success portion is mostly due to my lack of activity, but still, it doesn't explain doing poorly at cons and the like. And I leave most cons feeling like a loser, artistically.
So, with that being said, it really cripples my artistic process. I lose HOURS of work time just staring at what I've made, worrying that it's terrible. I have a hard time doing the next part of the piece because I'm worried it won't be good enough. Because of this, something as simple as lining a sketch can take days or I will start an image 20 or 30 times and not finish it. When I do finish it and submit it to DA or Tumblr, or my boss, or my commissioner or whatever, I have the worst anxiety that they will hate it entirely. And because of ALL of that, my motivation to draw is minimal. My inspiration is stifled. It effects my ability. At it's worst, it's almost like I can't remember how to draw anymore. I draw the worst shit when I know I can do better. Even with my Patreon right now, Im worried my prices are too high because my art isn't worth it. But at the same time I know that my art is good and I shouldn't sell myself short. Its just causing this giant internal struggle.
These fears have also ruined work for me. As you all know, I worked with Gaia Online for almost 3 years. The whole time I was there, not only did I struggle with this but I also struggled with my health which made my brain mush. It got me into trouble but after I started getting treated for my illness, things got better I felt. And unfortunately, during their layoffs, I was included. Really, about 90% of the contract staff was laid off, so it was understandable and I didn't take it harshly. But, this past year at Fanime I found out that a majority of the people who had been laid off had been hired back. I was one of the very few that wasn't (even though I was assured that I would be, if it was possible). On top of that, people who I felt were my friends there and who I had hung out with every year before seemed to avoid me at all costs. I would ask them if we could hang out after con and they would tell me that they had other plans. Which was fine and I didn't think anything of it until I found out they invited one of my friends who sat next to me all con. (So, it wasn't like they couldn't of hopped over to the next table and invite me as well, if they wanted to) And it just hurt. It hurt deep and it still does today. And I'm sure they didn't mean it that way and I don't fault them for it because it's probably all in my head but it hurts the same. And I don't know, I can't help but feel all of that is connected to my art. Like, I'm not in the "cool club" artwise and I'm not good enough artistically to work for Gaia so I don't deserve their friendship anymore.
Anyway, I don't even know why I am sharing this with you all. But I just felt the need to. And I'm really hoping that being on Patreon will help with some of this. Because atleast if I'm being paid to submit content each week, then I will be forced to do it. And hopefully it will help with some of my issues. I don't know, maybe if I don't get a lot of patrons then it'll just hit my self-esteem worse. But, I still have to try.
TL;DR- I struggle with self-esteem issues with my art and my relationship with others in the art community. I worry that my art is shit because it doesn't sell and because I get minimal response to it online. I'm hoping Patreon will fix some of my self-esteem issues with my art.