art and monetization
so, i got a fanmail earlier (which i couldn’t answer, since for some reason now tumblr won’t let me answer them) asking how to sell your art to more than just your friends. it’s a good question and one i get a lot, but one i don’t actually feel properly equipped to answer, particularly since i think a lot of you think i’m doing better than i actually am.
i have a pretty large following, all things considered. i’m constantly astounded by and grateful for the number of people who love my art. but i have a lot of trouble trying to turn that into a means of financially supporting myself. i take freelance jobs and i make do, but what i really want is to be able to support myself by my own work – that’s why you might have noticed me pushing my patreon a little more aggressively than usual lately.
i post my art up for free and i love doing it but sometimes i wonder if what i’m doing is a little unhealthy. i’ve definitely noticed that i have hang ups about money and hang ups about asking for money. it’s easier when it’s for a specific product and the money acts as a direct transaction – the monster pop! kickstarter that just ended, products in my store, my music, etc – but sometimes i just sit here and wonder what i’m doing with my life and how i can have any self respect when i have to keep plugging myself and my art in the off chance people will support me just so i can afford to pay my bills.
i’m so used to producing content for free that even though i need the money in order to continue being able to make that free content, i feel guilty having to advertise that i need it. it’s a horrible, deadly, vicious cycle and one i think a lot of today’s artists are feeling the weight of. it’s also really difficult to not equate your worth as an artist or as a human being to your financial situation in this line of work and that is really, insanely unhealthy.
i’m lucky enough to have wonderful fans who want to support me and don’t make vicious comments when i plug my patreon for the 5000th time, but i know a lot of artists aren’t so lucky. trying to make a living through art is terrifying, even more so without a studio job. the lack of stability can often be debilitating and it’s a very vulnerable place to put myself in because not only am i depending on a mass of strangers for my income, there’s no guarantee of continuity and i can never assume that i’ll do as well one month as i did another. it very often feels like an uphill battle with terror and exhaustion, but i love making art and i love what i do and i don’t know what else i could do.
this is a lot longer than i originally intended and not a very encouraging post, so i’m sorry for that. i’m at a particularly volatile and vulnerable part of my career where i’m trying to shift away from client work and more towards my own personal work but my exterior – response to my work, number of fans, etc – doesn’t really properly reflect how i’m doing financially.