What Exists

I’ve been working pretty hard on my Patreon page for a while now, and each post (the vast majority of which are viewable only by patrons) include, well, a lot.

Khainan Mudbelt - hill dwarf fighter - character portrait in color. Pink skin, bald, and standing ready to fight.
Khainan Mudbelt – hill dwarf fighter – full color

First, and perhaps most important to most folks, there’s a full color version of each character / npc that I draw.

They aren’t always this… vibrant, but I do try to vary colors, body types, etc.

I’m a fan of all kinds of diversity, and I like the idea that you could craft a genuinely unique character and would still be able to find some of my art to represent them at your game table or virtual tabletop.

Khainan Mudbelt – hill dwarf fighter – Black and White Digital Inks

Next, I always add a black and white, or ‘digitally inked’ version.

I know that a lot of creators make things like digital ‘zines‘ and would like their audience to be able to print those zines at home and go easy on their ink cartridges.

This provides a quick and easy solution. (See this post for information on using my illustrations in professional products.)

I also like the idea of assembling more dragonbones coloring books in the future, and this format helps to make that process easier. These would be similar (but perhaps larger and more refined) than my first go at a digital coloring book which can be found here.

Khainan Mudbelt – hill dwarf fighter – Black and White Digital Sketch

Next, I include a sketch version of the character.

You might find yourself wondering why I bother. I mean, who would use something like this for themselves since it’s just a sketch.

Well, honestly, I’ve (almost) always found the sketch stage to be the most inspirational myself.

ImagineFX Magazine (to which I’m a passionate subscriber) even compiles the couple of sketchbook pages in each issue into a compendium. It’s outside my subscription and requires an additional purchase. Despite the fact that I have most or even all of those same sketchbook pages in each of the issues I already own, I will always spring for the compendiums.

It’s just beyond inspirational to thumb through those pages and see the wildest and most free form stages of work by other illustrators.

Perhaps it’s vain of me to think I could, but if it’s at all possible, I would like to give that to other folks.

Khainan Mudbelt – hill dwarf fighter – Black and White Digital Sketch, Black and White Digital Inks, and Full Color Banner

Last, but certainly not least, I include a ‘promotional banner’ with each post. This too might fall into the ‘why include it?’ category, so here’s my reasoning:

First, I just kinda like seeing the three versions side by side. I enjoy that, so I figure other folks might too.

I also like the way it presents everything in one shot. So when automated sites like Patreon are displaying the post, you see everything at a glance rather than just one of the stages. You (as a reader / viewer) can decide quickly whether you want to dive into the actual post or just move on to the next thing. Hey, I appreciate that not every image is going to be something that you feel the need to jump at.

And lastly, if any of my audience were to feel the desire to promote me somewhere, I want to make that process as painless as I can. Here’s a sample with three different stages of my illustration process and a link clearly written so they can do just that.

What’s Next

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to add for additional tiers to my page for those who would like to support me at higher levels. (Right now, there’s only a $2 / month tier and you can technically pay more if you are so inclined.)

It has to be something of significant value to my audience. That’s first and foremost. I don’t want to just put up a bunch of stuff that no one cares about. I certainly don’t want to do that and then charge people for it!

One obvious option is to start ‘fleshing out’ these characters. Build backgrounds and NPC sheets for them so that they can be easily dropped into existing campaigns by my audience. This has significant potential and I’ve done a couple of samples already.

Another possibility would be to start doing magic items, spells, or even very short adventures. I like this idea a lot, but it would be a detour to be certain, and would require significantly more time to complete. That makes me nervous because I’ve been so good about keeping a consistent ‘at least four posts / month’ record so far. If I get too sidetracked, I fear faltering.

I think my favorite idea so far is to post some process videos. I’ve shared simple, stop motion videos of the process (which export from Procreate easily) with friends and family, and they rave about them. They seem to love how it gives them a look inside… well… the process.

But if we go back to that first item in this section, I don’t think that just uploading the default stop motion videos would be enough to qualify as ‘significant value’. It’s a good start, but it’s not enough. So I think that if I include some narration about my thought during the process… now we’re talking.

It will require a bit more work from me, but not enough that I feel faltering, and it seems enough to warrant another tier. Nothing like a $20/month commitment, but maybe something like $6/month. It gives you more insight into how I go about making things, and I still think I can produce one (or more) a month without my needed a room with padded walls.

What do you think? Would you be interested in seeing narrated process videos about how I do these illustrations? Would that be worth $6 / month to you?

Let me know below if you have any suggestions for other tiers or if you have any questions!