Here are some quick recommendations for great Patreons to follow. If you want to check these out, many creators have some posts that are open so you can see what they’re like without having to subscribe.
Julia is a very successful illustrator and pattern designer living in NYC.
I came to her through her books and illustrated documentary work: she has a weekly newspaper gig interviewing people in New York around a different topic each time, and drawing the results. But she’s also illustrated books, designed fabric and wallpaper and drawn for big brands.
Julia is extremely generous with practical advice in her Patreon – basically she’s sharing the tips and knowledge needed to forge a career like hers.
As she’s super busy at the moment, she’s recently slowed down on posting, and lowered her prices accordingly. This means that you can subscribe now, and get access to everything she’s posted in the past for practically nothing!
In fact, I’ve just had a look: you could subscribe for £1 for a single month and gobble up all that content before unsubscribing. I recommend sticking around for longer, of course, but it is an option! See Julia’s Patreon here.
I met H-P through my happy connection with the Finnish comics community and gradually became aware that they are producing comics on a variety of topics that really interest me – and challenge my way of thinking.
I think the strand I find most interesting is their anti-consumerism project – an attempt to buy nothing bare the necessities of life (see the image above which depicts them dumpster diving). They are also vegan, anti-capitalist, planning on standing as a local councillor, trans, and in a longstanding polyamorous relationship (another of the people in this relationship, Sara Valta, also makes excellent comics about it).
All in all, these comics are food for thought. See H-P’s Patreon here.
Full disclosure, Zara is a great friend! But even if she wasn’t, I’d still be admiring her amazing comics work. You might know her as the creator of Coma, the graphic novel that takes us on a journey into the subconscious.
Now, along with academic Gregory Norminton, she’s bringing her incredible drawing skills to Sweeny’s Tale, a retelling of the medieval Irish poem Buile Suibhne. In this Patreon, you’re treated to previews of the lush artwork in progress.
Illustrations by Zara Slattery
More to explore
I also follow a number of Patreons without currently subscribing – it’s like dipping my toe into the water; eventually I will probably jump in.
These include Michi Matthias, who’s making a graphic adaptation of a Victorian cycling/camping manual; Lucy Bellwood, who’s a stalwart of indie comics, currently looking after an elderly parent and carving out time to keep her practice up; and Emma Carlisle who appears to run an extraordinarily efficient community that includes videos and an online sketchbook drawing club.
Yeah, you probably already know this because I’ve been going on about it a lot recently. But if you[re checking out the Patreons above, don’t forget mine. I’m sharing a lot of the kind of thoughtful blog posts I used to put on here, as I create The Noisy Valley, true stories of protest from the Rhondda Valley.
While I am building my audience, quite a few of the posts are free to access. Check it out here.
Why do people patronise?
I suspect ‘patronise’ is not the right word, eh.
Because I’ve set up my own Patreon, and would love more people to follow me there (for free, or on one of the – very small – payment tiers), I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. What got me following creators over there? Why did I make that leap of faith onto a new platform?
I can see that it is a bit of a leap, because I had to make it myself. I definitely remember when I first heard about Patreon, thinking, ‘Wait, these people want me to pay them to create stuff? When what I really want is to be creating stuff myself?!’.
I’ve had a gradual shift in mindset. I think the first Patreon I subscribed to was Dan Berry’s, because Dan was putting out regular podcasts in which he interviewed comic creators and I found them so useful.
It didn’t feel like I was subscribing to the podcast – in fact, I could download and listen to them for free whether I was a patron or not. No, this was a way for me to show support for Dan’s work, and help ensure it could carry on.
I guess that’s also when I discovered that a Patreon subscription is not, typically, a huge amount of money. The model encourages a large number of people to make monthly ‘micro payments’ of, say, one or two dollars/pounds – hopefully, an amount that most people won’t much miss, but which, in aggregate, can really help an artist out. These are totally flexible, so you can switch them on and off on a monthly basis – follow one person for a bit and then switch over to someone else, if you want.
Anyway. Since following Dan – and, sadly, his podcast days have now come to an end – I’ve become patrons and followers of a few other people. It’s helped me understand the model before taking the plunge myself.
I created my Patreon as an experiment to see whether people are willing to help me carve out some time to focus more on my comics. Those comics will undoubtedly be better, more thought out, ultimately more valuable, if I have the time and energy to spend on them, and that means trying to readjust the balance of my work life and my creative life.
But, if you don’t have the time or inclination to pay, do follow me there anyway, and I’ll make sure I continue to share some of my content for free. Cheers!
One thought on “Comics/illustration people to follow”
I love these already… just from reading your post. I used to get illustrations in my inbox from one person who found thousands of old magazine illustrations from the 50s and 60s and created a subscriber list to show them all. There’s something soothing about viewing art all in one go. As a side note, I, too stumble on using the term “patronise” in this context! :-)