100 pages!!! I feel like this requires celebration! Also, in just a week our Patreon has got $150 a month! You guys are the best.
This is going to be long, but I’d like to explain this Patreon thing, for those who’ve never heard of it and are a little wary of the new crowdfunding kid on the block.
Patreon is quite different from Kickstarter. Kickstarter offers creators the chance to make one big project, and those who pledge are essentially buying a product. Patreon, instead, offers a sustainable way for artists to make a long-running project (like a webcomic). Patrons pledge a certain dollar value per month and can set a monthly allowance so they never go over-budget. Depending on how much they give per month, they gain access to certain perks like behind the scenes sketches, streams, etc.
Right now, it’s new, and a lot of people are side-eyeing it because the notion of covering a creator’s living expenses so they can continue doing what they love (which they would probably continue doing anyway) seems counter-intuitive. I can completely understand that. However, take into consideration the number of comics or stories you loved that never reached completion? You know how it goes: you start reading a comic, fall in love with the characters, you’re dying to know what happens next, only to find out it hasn’t been updated in years and the last page has a long string of comments from fans wondering where the artist went. I can name a half dozen of them myself.
The unfortunate truth is that comic creators have jobs, lives – and with it – living expenses like anybody else, and finding the hours and hours of time to take and devote to their comic between all those things is a daily struggle. One small crisis or unforeseen expense can throw a wrench in the works, and before you know it the comic is missing updates, lagging behind schedule. When the artist burns out, that’s it for the comic.
For comic artists, the reality right now is this: go get hired by a mainstream comic publisher to write or draw somebody else’s comic, or try and squeeze their own comic into the nooks and crannies of time they have left after their job and other responsibilities are taken care of. The former option means they don’t get to work on their own ideas but they have a sustainable job, the latter means they get to work on their ideas but only when time permits (a tenuous arrangement not particularly conducive to regular updates, depending on your individual schedule). Patreon has become a third option, wherein readers of the comic support these independent projects directly so that the creator can afford to make them on a regular basis.
I’ve been working on Grayscale for 3 years. In those 3 years, a lot has happened. I graduated from animation school and created my own short film. I moved to another country. These things, important and life-changing as they were, always threw Grayscale under the bus. It was impossible to keep making pages on a weekly basis when I had to work, study, plus visa applications and plane tickets and settling into a completely new environment. There were many moments where I thought it just wouldn’t be possible to continue the comic. Not least of all because my job involves drawing, so my style was evolving and changing in the giant gaps between comic updates.
Patreon could honestly make the difference because it could slowly replace the time I need to spend working. If even half our readership pledged just a dollar a month ($12 a year) then I could be working on Grayscale full-time, updating 2-3 times a week. This is one of those few instances in life where a drop in the bucket does make a huge difference, because unlike when you buy a comic book off the shelf at a shop, almost all the money goes directly to the creator. The middle men – publishers, distributors – are cut out of the equation. Basically, it means more comics for you.
I know that the idea of pledging something on a continuous basis is rather intimidating, but you can cancel your pledge at any time. Take a look at Patreon’s Website. Even check out some of the other webcomic patreons there are out there from this Master List. You can decide from there whether you think it’s a worthwhile idea or not. I just wanted to make sure more people hear about it and know what it’s all about. It’s like Kickstarter, only you’re not purchasing a product, you’re helping create one.
Thanks so much if you read this far. And for those who’ve already pledged to Patreon, thank you x a billion. You’re all comic heroes in my book ;)
P.S. If you have suggestions for pledge perks, let me know what those things are. I’m new to this, so I’m not sure what people want to see! Thanks <3