Thursday, February 18, 2016

Patreon Soft Launch Announcement

Love Nattosoup Studio Art and Process Blog?  Looking for Ways to Help?

My Patreon is Now Live

I have some exciting news for you guys!  I've been quietly picking away at launching a Patreon to help support this blog and the complement Youtube Channel, and I've finally soft launched.  I'm still tweaking a few things here and there, working on getting a video up, working on custom illustrations for my Patreon, tweaking reward tiers and goals, but for now, the Patreon is up and ready for you to join the Nattosoup Studio Community.

What is Patreon?

Patreon is a crowd based funding site that allows creators to raise funds for ongoing projects per update, or per month.  Since I update frequently, I've opted to open my finding per-month.  This means you make a once monthly contribution, and you gain access to all sorts of exclusive backer only goodies.  For my campaign, Patreon will deduct your selected amount automatically each month, and send you emails when I make updates.  Since I update so frequently, I plan on only having Patreon email my backers with a once-a-week recap of everything that's been posted that week.  I may also include sneak peeks into future posts and video, and I will include pertinent announcements like convention dates, meetups, and backer only Request Livestreams.

Backing starts at $2, and many of my upcoming goals are designed to benefit ALL backers regardless of contribution amount (although individual tiers will reward my high rollers), so even if you can't give much, $2 is a fantastic start, and if you can get your friends to contribute, that's even better!   Readers are under no obligation to back my Patreon, as I will continue to post publicly, but your contributions would be much appreciated, and would go a long way to not only defray the costs running this blog incurs, but allow me to start paying myself a salary for my long hours, and possibly allow me to purchase better equipment and hire an assistant.

What does this mean?

I'm not a big fan of hiding content that people have grown accustomed to seeing for free behind paywalls, so most of my currently running series will continue to update.  I'll continue to post process blogposts when I have them, I'll continue to review alcohol markers as they are released/I can afford them, I'll continue to slowly work my way through the Target Art Supply Review series and the Dollar Tree Art Supply Review series.  I'll also continue to update the YouTube channel at least once a week with new content.

 That said, there are a couple popular series that were designed to be offered as Patreon incentives.  The Sketchbox Vs. Artsnacks reviews will go behind a $15 minimum monthly goal- this means that when my total amount hits $15, everyone (backers and public) gets to see that month's review.  All backers will have access to that review regardless of whether or not the $15 total goal is hit. I will also begin writing convention reviews again once the Patreon starts to see some funding.  Once I start making enough money, I can dedicate more time to editing the backlog of review and tutorial videos I've created, so the YouTube will begin updating twice a week.

You can check out the two free Sketchbox Vs Artsnacks posts below

I've already got a tiers and goals listed on the page itself, and I plan on modifying them as Backer-Only surveys are completed and turned in, but a few of the goodies I plan to offer are:

  • Downloadable pdf of 7" Kara Volume 1
  • Downloadable pdf of all currently completed pages of Volume 2 (two chapters, about 50 pages of comic)
  • Early access to future 7" Kara pages
  • Physical rewards including stickers, charms, and commissions
  • Backer only Request Livestreams once a month
  • More (and better!) art tutorials
  • Full size watercolor palette and watercolor paper reviews

What I REALLY want to focus on are all the things we can achieve together with a well-funded Patreon.

As a Patreon backer, your pledge

  • gives me a clear signal that you enjoy my content and want more of it.
  • ​enables me to start taking backer requests for content and material
  • ​helps me decide what to products you, the contributing reader, want me to focus on
  • ​rewards me for years of hard work for the convention community, the comic community, and the illustration community
  • ​helps me leave the vacuum  my old monetization model put me in
  • ​allows for more engagement
  • ​assigns a monetary value to my content, which is important for reaching sponsors (which in turn, enables me to generate even BETTER content)

​Backers receive priority access to

  • ​certain reviews
  • ​certain videos
  • ​certain art pieces
  • ​certain tutorials
  • ​7" Kara pages months before publication
  • ​backer only voting will result in an increase in tutorials, as I will be able to better judge demand

​Backer only request livestreams- I will draw what YOU want to see, including specific techniques and even fanart or your original characters

​Your pledge will enable me to review (and create tutorials for) services

  • ​sticker companies
  • ​charm companies
  • ​production services through AliExpress
  • ​tee shirt printing
  • ​decal printing

​Your pledge will help generate funds for better review equipment

  • ​a new, dedicated camera for taking still shots
  • ​a better gooseneck clamp for my camcorder for video reviews
  • ​a lightbox and better backgrounds

​The community we create together will allow me to organize and offer

  • ​mentorship programs
  • ​online classes 
  • ​leverage companies for early access and preorders
  • ​convention meetups
  • ​giveaways for art supplies, original art, and sample products

Backing my Patreon will allow me to create

  • ​Convention artist video tutorials and demonstrations
  • ​resume writing convention reviews
  • ​create more content for, a free blog dedicated to helping artists begin their career as convention artists

​Backing my Patreon will result in

  • removal of Adsense ads from the blog (comic ads, which are offered free to comic artists, will remain)
  • ​eventual removal of ads from the Youtube
  • ​watercolor paper reviews
  • ​watercolor reviews
  • ​marker paper reviews
  • ​collaborations with other artists- I can commission artists you admire for tutorials and reviews, studio tours, and send them blind box challenges
  • ​paid guest posts from other artists

Your Contribution Goes to
  • Paying me a fair wage for the work I put in
  • Purchasing supplies for review and demonstration purposes
  • Paying for services you want me to review
  • Hiring an assistant to help edit video, help conduct artist interviews
  • Paying other artists for guest posts, collaborations, guest reviews
  • Purchasing supplies for compatibility tests purposes (supplies often get ruined this way)

Why Patreon?

Because I deserve a fair wage for all my work!  Posts take a lot of resources to write- reviews require a camera, appropriate paper for swatching, several papers for testing purposes, several hours to actually test and photograph testing, several hours to draw the test image and render it, and several hours to sit down and get everything written.  If I include video components, this adds even more time per post. Tutorials and advice posts draw on years of experience- both art school and in field, as well as a few hours to write and edit.

Many craft bloggers who also write in this niche have sponsors who help defray costs through care of product donations and monetary sponsorships, but illustrators in this niche tend to be overlooked or rejected when it comes to sponsorships and donations.  As of this time, despite inquiries and your valiant efforts writing to companies on my behalf, I am still footing 100% of all costs.

The Paypal donation model has never really worked for me or for this blog- although there are donations, they are sporadic.  Adsense doesn't really bring in more than a couple bucks each month, and although YouTube ads and Amazon Affiliates help some, I'm still making less than $100 a month, which is not a living wage for an adult.  Sales from my site are also too slow and sporadic to significantly contribute to household finances.

Patreon allows me to reward backers with exclusive content and physical goods easily.  I understand that many of my readers are students or artists, and most of us are pretty broke.  If you can only spare $2 a month that's fantastic and I sincerely appreciate your $2. Your $2 buys entry to early access, to all goals unlocked by the collective Nattosoup community, to exclusive backer only content.

Patreon  allows backers to 'set it and forget it', as Patreon will automatically deduct your contribution each month, based on how you set up your account.  So if you're forgetful like me, and you tend to forget to make repeated contributions for content you enjoy, Patreon will handle that for you, guilt free.

My Patreon creator page will also give readers a very clear idea of how much I am being paid per month, and by whom, so no longer can readers comfortably assume someone else will pick up their slack.  Once a week. I'll send out a Backer-exclusive 'newsletter' of the media I've posted, so you can check your email and get your dose of Nattosoup in one easy email.

For those of you who feel this is begging, let me remind you, once again, that freelance writers are paid for their work.  Freelance artists are paid for their work.  This blog is a service to you, the reader, provided by me, an expert with the qualifications to back up my claims.  You are not expected to back if you don't wish to, but I would prefer not to hear your opinions regarding my decision to launch a Patreon after six years of blogging and three years of YouTube.

In Summary, my Patreon is designed to

A: Give you guys a larger voice in the content I produce,
B: Help fill the financial gap that currently exists between where I am now, and self sufficiency as an artist and a blogger
C: Attach a monetary value to the written and video work I produce
D: Allow me to offer even better content, because I will have the funds to purchase it, the funds to hire an assistant, and the financial incentive to make certain time and energy consuming posts/videos high priority and get them out even faster.