If you’re thinking about launching a comic, I have ten tips to help you get off on the right foot. (And if you’ve already started, double-check this list to catch some mistakes you may have made early on!) Start with […] ↓ Read the rest of this article...
ComicLab Ep 213 — Kickstarter’s blockchain announcement
Today’s show is brought to you by Wacom! Wacom is the maker of the powerful, professional, portable Wacom One! This week, Dave and Brad share their thoughts on Kickstarter’s recent announcement that they’re switching their service to blockchain technology. Questions asked and topics covered… Kickstarter’s […] ↓ Read the rest of this article...
If you pay estimated income taxes on a quarterly schedule, The deadline for your fourth-quarter payment is approaching. Checks postmarked with Jan. 18, 2022 will be considered paid on that date, according to irs.gov. You may also pay online, pay […] ↓ Read the rest of this article...
Many of us are great at creativity, but when it comes to promotion, we stink on ice. It’s really just a different target for our creative skills, but we don’t usually see it that way. So we throw darts at […] ↓ Read the rest of this article...
ComicLab Ep 212 — Making NSFW Comics with Special Guest Erika Moen
Today’s show is brought to you by Wacom! Wacom is the maker of the powerful, professional, portable Wacom One! This week, Erika Moen joins us for a show dedicated to questions about creating NSFW comics! If you’ve ever wanted to make sexy comics […] ↓ Read the rest of this article...
Offering commissions can be a great way to add an income stream to your business. It can also be an effective Patreon reward. But managing expectations and communicating clearly with clients and backers can be a delicate dance. Here’s how […] ↓ Read the rest of this article...
Today’s show is brought to you by Wacom and Comicraft! Wacom is the maker of the powerful, professional, portable Wacom One! And you’re not going to want to miss Comicraft’s Jan. 1 sale when all of their fonts are $20.22 each at Comicbookfonts.com This week, Dave and Brad share their plans for the coming year.
Patreon is a great way to monetize your work on the Web, but it’s inescapable — if you want paying backers, you’ve got to be prepared to make it worth their while. And that means posting often — including exclusive content. But sometimes it’s hard to know what to post when you’re putting everything you’ve got into simply doing your comic. So, what can you post when you’re out of ideas (and time)? Buckle up. I’ve got 15 types of posts that are proven winners — and most of them take very little extra time.
I saw a young cartoonist post this on Twitter, and it broke my heart.
Maybe I’ll shut off Patreon for a while… It makes me feel so stressed and gives me anxiety because I feel like i just can’t produce enough content. But I also feel stressed about not having regular income — lol. This is a lose/lose situation! Idk what to do!
— Anonymous comics creator on Twitter
It breaks my heart for two reasons. First, I’m painfully aware of how difficult it is to balance life and work commitments with those of creating an independent comic. Secondly, because posting effective posts on Patreon isn’t that difficult. In fact, most of these ideas incorporate things you’re already doing. You’re just not using them to their full potential.
I often post over 30 exclusive Patreon posts every month. What’s my secret? I’m not working harder than you, but I might be working smarter. Here’s my list of go-to ideas for Patreon posts that always work.
This one is a no-brainer. Your Patreon backers should be getting your comics before anybody else. This can be a little as a 24-hour advance, or it can be significantly larger. But your Patreon backers are supporting you financially, and they deserve every perk you can send their way.
This one requires a little extra work, but it pays off so well that you’d be remiss to ignore it. Offer digital commissions at your upper Patreon tiers. This is a premium reward, so don’t be shy about setting the tier at as high level. If you would typically offer a commission for $100, then consider a $50/month tier that offers a reward on every other successful payment.
This may take extra time, so limit the number of backers who can pledge at this level until you know you can reliably hand that number of monthly commissions.
Not only is this a superb premium reward tier, but when you’re done with the final art, you can post that on your Patreon page as another exclusive post! And while you’re working on it, you can post a sketch of the work in progress.
Sketches and Artist Edition illustrations
Are you working on fulfilling Artist Edition illustrations for your Kickstarter? That’s prime Patreon content!
We’re so wrapped up with posting our final art that we forget that many of our backers love to see the process. They love to see sketches of your work in progress, but this has an even bigger role to play in your monthly schedule. Marketing professionals call it future expected value.
Have you ever launched a streaming service like Netflix and saw a movie or TV show that’s not available yet? It’s a promotion for some streamable content that will be available next month. That’s Netflix’s sneaky way of getting you to stick around for another month (in case you were considering ending your subscription). And it’s effective.
Sketches of your upcoming work serve the same purpose. They provide future expected value.
Process video and art-process posts
While we’re at it, let’s talk about process videos. Time-lapse videos of your work in progress is fascinating for your backers — and it gives them access that they might not be able to get outside of Patreon. They enjoy seeing how the comic (or the commission) was created.
This has become such an integral part of how comics artists work that Clip Studio Paint actually included a screen-record function in their latest software update.
If you’re working in physical media like ink-on-paper, it’s really quite easy to put a smartphone on a stand and use the video recorder to capture your process.
And if neither of those work for you, simply take some photos or screenshots as you’re working and write about the experience. Share your techniques, your aesthetic choices and your nit-and-bolts tips on drawing. It’s old hat to you, but it’s mesmerizing to your patrons.
eComics, eBooks and eSketchbooks
Whenever you finish a chapter or a storyline — or just reached an adequate number of individual strips — it’s time to collect them into an eBook or an eComic. Do you have a large number of comics about a single topic — like pets or relationships? Assemble them into a themed collection. In the time that it takes you to make a PDF, you can have an eComic finished.
While you’re at it, remember all of those sketches you’ve been posting? Once you’ve got a couple dozen of those, it’s time to create an eSketchbook!
You can put these on site like Gumroad.com and DriveThruComics.com for a proce, but before you release them, your Patreon backers should get them for free.
Patreon Content Trade
Exposing your patrons to someone else’s Patreon campaign isn’t only a good idea, it’s great content! So, every once in a while, I search Patreon for people who are doing something similar to what I’m doing.
Then I approach the person about a content trade. I’ll post something of theirs exclusively to my patrons. (Something they’ve already offered to their patrons.) And they can post something from my Patreon archive for their patrons.
Artists are reticent to do this because they’re afraid that their own backers will jump ship to become patrons of the other artist. In my experience, this has been an unfounded fear. In fact, very often, patrons decide to back both artists. It’s a rising tide that lifts both boats.
Desktop wallpapers / mobile backgrounds / printable calendars / avatars
At the beginning of the month, I always send my backers a package of about two-dozen files that can be used as desktop wallpapers, mobile-phone backgrounds and avatars — plus an 8½ x 11″ calendar page suitable for printing. This is typically a single image that I resize/recrop to fit each aspect ratio. It can be a commissioned illustration or a detail from a comic panel you feel proud of. Here’s a list of sizes that I use.
Sized for mobile devices
1080 x 2160 pixels
2524 x 2524 pixels
2732 x 2048 pixels
4750 x 2672 pixels
744 x 1392 pixels
750 x 1334 pixels
2662 x 2662 pixels
Sized for desktop computers (these have a calendar incorporated into the design).
1920 x 1200 pixels
2880 x 1800 pixels
3840 x 2160 pixels
1600 x 1200 pixels
1680 x 1050 pixels
1920 x 1080 pixels
1440 x 900 pixels
1366 x 768 pixels
1280 x 1024 pixels
1280 x 720 pixels
1024 x 768 pixels
800 x 600 pixels
1920 x 1080 pixels
1920 x 1200 pixels
1920 x 1400 pixels
1262 x 1262 pixels
Printable(includes a calendar)
US letter sized (8½ x 11″)
A4 sized (8¼ x 11¾”)
512 x 512 pixels
Dropbox collections with expiring links
You can set your Dropbox link to expire on a pre-set date. In your Dropbox dashboard, hover the cursor over the folder or file you would like to share. Click the blue Share button that appears, and select Send link.
At the end of the line that starts “Anyone with the link…” click on add expiration.
Now you can set your expiration date.
I set mine to expire at the end of the month. Then, when the new payment cycle has finished, I create a new link and send it to all of the current members. Anyone who has dropped out, of course, will not receive the new link.
If I find that a user has abused the link (by sharing it, for example), I can always manually deactivate the link. Go to the Dropbox dashboard and click Links on the left-hand column. You will see a list of all of your active links.
Simply go to the link you’d like to kill, and click on the grey X at the far right side of the row.
This is a great way to give your Patreon backers yet another way to access/read your archive!
Patreon Special Offer
It works like this: You set up a Special Offer — a reward that is available for a limited time — and use that urgency to drive new pledges. This Special Offer will be available to all patrons at predetermined reward tiers on a certain date. For example:
I’m excited to try something new:
On Thanksgiving, I’m giving out a 55-pg DRIVE eBook, exclusively to Patreon $5-and-up backers! It’s the encyclopedias, timelines, maps & more!
On Thanksgiving Day, Dave sent this reward to all of his backers — new and old — at the $5 tier and higher. Before then, he used a countdown technique (similar to the final days of a Kickstarter campaign) to create an urgency behind pledging to his Patreon. How did it work? He made the announcement on Nov. 12.
Better still, according to Patreon’s internal metrics, backers who join as the result of a Special Offer tend to stick around longer.
Discord server and subReddits
Patreon has integrated functionality with both Reddit and Discord to give you additional places to enhance the community aspect of your Patreon. This can give your backers a place to discuss the ongoing storylines or even post their own art.
Here’s another way to give your Patreon backers the feeling of inside access — use Patreon’s built-in poll software. When you post a poll asking about readers’ feeling about a past (or upcoming) storyline, they feel connected to you in a special way. It’s yet another way to make your backers feel special.
Name in the credits
Speaking of making Patreon backers feel special, here’s another quick-and-easy option — including their names in a list of credits. This works best as an opt-in system (in other words, ask their permission first). This can go at the end of an animated presentation of your latest comic or it can be a simple list that you display with pride on your website.
Certainly, this new feature will be good for posting several different images for backers. But it has a second use that is far more practical — especially as the consumption of content veers increasingly towards mobile screens. You can now post your comic in a panel-by-panel format that improves the reading experience on small screens.
If you’re following the Multi-Channel Publishing strategy shared here previously, you’re already prepping your comic in this format for sharing on sites like Instagram and Webtoons. (If not, you now have an additional reason to consider it.
Using these individual panels to post your comic to Patreon backers would give those backers using mobile devises a vastly improved reading experience. Truthfully, you could easily have the best of both worlds. The primary image could be the full, multi-panel comic. This would satisfy overall display aesthetics and the concerns of desktop users. The subsequent images would then be that same comic, divided into a panel-by-panel display.
Better still, you can bulk-upload several images at once with a simple drag-and-drop function. And you can change the sequence of display by dragging an image into its proper position. So, for example, if your panels uploaded as A-C-B, you can click on “C” and drag it into its proper placement after “B.”
Here’s a look at the results, from the screen of my iPhone…
If you’re not sure how many of your Patreon backers are using mobile devices to access your content, this is a great excuse to do a Patreon poll and ask them!
Homemade Photoshop or CSP brushes
Have you created your own brushes to use in Photoshop or Clip Studio? Share them on Patreon! You might be surprised how many of your backers are artists (or want to become artists).
Last, but not least, consider hosting a Patreon-exclusive livestream of your art process. It’s yet one more way of giving your backers exclusive access to an artist whose work they enjoy! (That’s you.)
What NOT to offer
Having discussed what to post, let’s take a moment to identify pitfalls to avoid. The first is physical rewards at lower levels. These are dangerous because they don’t scale. Sure, sending out a dozen post cards per month sounds easy — and cheap? But what about thirty — or a hundred-thirty? At some point, you cross a line past which this reward actually costs you more (in time and money) than it’s bringing in!
The other trap to avoid is offering Kickstarter rewards for free to your Patreon backers. Patreon backers don’t expect free Kickstarter rewards. In fact, most of them are all-to-happy to support both endeavors. Therefore, instead of offering those Kickstarter goodies for free, secretly open your Kickstarter campaign early for Patreon backers and give them access to a couple exclusive tiers that will expire by the time you open the Kickstarter to the public!
Have you noticed a couple of common threads here? The first is Community. Specifically, you’re building a Community on Patreon and the members of that group get perks, access and exclusive rewards that non-members don’t get. It’s a way to make your readers feel special — appreciated. The second thread is stop thinking of each thing you draw as a single reward. Each comic you create is actually multiple rewards! You should use every stage of the comics-making process as an exclusive-access reward — sketches, process videos, livestreams, calendars, backgrounds, wallpapers, etc. are fantastic rewards. And they all use a single comic/illustration! And then, when you’re done with a large number of individual comics, re-package them into eBooks, eComics and eSketchbooks to use them once again to reward your backers.
It’s not about working harder. It’s about working smarter.
The Comicraft New Year’s Day Sale is going on right now. And that means that every one of their fonts are priced at $20.22. Since many of their fonts typically sell for hundreds of dollars, this is a sale worth shrugging off your hangover for. Here’s a few you don’t want to sleep on…
This is the all-time best comics-lettering font available. It’s versatile, legible at smaller sizes, and full of personality. You absolutely need it in your library. And since it regularly sells for $139, this is the time to snag it.
Do you really need two dialogue fonts? Yes, you do. You have a long creative life ahead of you, and even though you might think it’s impossible right now, you’ll be working on something very different in five or ten years. So you might as well prepare now. ComicCrazy is every bit as beautiful as Wild Words, and it’s not every day you get to buy a $395 font for twenty bucks and change.
This is a tremendous all-purpose sound-effect font. It’s good for hundreds of different sounds, and very easy to read — even when when you warp it for visual impact. You’ll buy this once and use it weekly.
For every sound effect that Ratatatat isn’t suitable for, you’ve got Zoinks. It’s bouncy, fun, comedic and iconic. It’s perfect for splats, honks and zips. Everything sounds more fun in Zoinks.
This is a must in any cartoonist’s font library. It has dozens of pre-made sound effects that you can easily drop into your art. Each is masterfully designed, and ready to push your page to the next level. When you’re not using this font outright, you’ll be looking at the different approaches for inspiration.
Before you check out…
If you have a little extra room in your shopping cart, browse through the Display Lettering category. These are fonts that are designed to be used in logos, titles, chapter headings and other instances in which setting the mood has to be done just right. A few to consider include:
Today’s show is brought to you by Wacom and Comicraft! Wacom is the maker of the powerful, professional, portable Wacom One! And you’re not going to want to miss Comicraft’s Jan. 1 sale when all of their fonts are $20.22 each at Comicbookfonts.com This week, we discuss the role that clothing plays in character designQuestions asked and topics covered…
Should my character wear clothes?
Changing my name… should I change my brand?
Guide to a first-time collaboration
Today is a great time to bump up your ComicLab membership to the $10 tier! Patreon backers at that level will get exclusive access to livestream recording sessions — as well as an archive of previous livestreams!Brad Guigar is the creator of EvilInc and the editor of Webcomics.com Dave Kellett is the creator of Sheldon and Drive.Listen to ComicLab on…
Some cartoonists have been asking me to give them my thoughts on their Patreon pages. And I’ve opened up a new Hot Seat critique series based on members’ Patreons. And — honestly, I’m a little obsessed — when I see a new Patreon page being promoted, I go over and see how they’ve got it structured. Sometimes, I find ideas worth stealing. But more often, I’m seeing a lot of the same mistakes being made over and over again. And, in my opinion, it’s having an adverse effect on your ability to generate support.
The content you are trying to access is only available to members.
A webcartoonist with a hefty archive was once in an enviable position. In an ad-driven business model, that large archive translated directly into paid ad views. But now that advertising is nearly nonexistent, how does a comics creator monetize their archive?
The content you are trying to access is only available to members.
Today’s show is brought to you by Wacom and Comicraft! Wacom is the maker of the powerful, professional, portable Wacom One! And you’re not going to want to miss Comicraft’s Jan. 1 sale when all of their fonts are $20.22 each at Comicbookfonts.com This week, we discuss the importance of taking a break for the holidays.
It’s a question that vexes Patreon creators every month — why do people cancel their pledges? After all, it’s hard not to take it personally. This is a much more intimate relationship than we’ve had with our readers in the ad-supported model. When we lose a patron, it feels more like a break-up.
The content you are trying to access is only available to members.