PK 052: Artist Oliver Wetter on How to Make Money on Patreon

Subscribe to the Pencil Kings Podcast: | iTunes | Stitcher

Although he’s kept busy with commissions, Oliver Wetter is a keen advocate of Patreon as a way for artists to generate regular revenue

“You have a duty to your fans, and you have to keep your promise to them.”

German artist Oliver Wetter is fast developing a reputation for his attention-grabbing book covers and stylish sci-fi and concept art. In this podcast, he talks about how artists can generate sales using Patreon – a website which enables fans to support and engage with the artists and creators they love.

So how did Oliver get started in the art world?

He says: “I was always working on my art, but I always had to do it as a hobby until I got my first paid creative job in 2008. Until then, I had to just do regular jobs to support myself.”

And how did his first big break come about?

He explains: “An agency approached me after seeing my CG portfolio online. They were looking for an artist to create a cover for a book published by Piper – one of the biggest publishers in Germany. From there, I’ve been able to do work for other publishers – many of whom now approach me directly.”

Recently, Oliver Wetter has also been working on advertising illustration – something he says he loves doing. “It’s less work for better pay!” he laughs.

However, although he finds this line of work less demanding than other creative fields (such as comic book art, for example), he’s keen to point out how much work actually goes into creating the book covers you see on shelves.

“The final illustration is the result of lots of layers and touching up to create the most polished image possible,” he explains. “With most book publishers, your work goes to a committee, who often want you to make lots of changes and revisions before the end result.”

How Oliver Wetter Got Started With Patreon

Although Oliver is kept pretty busy with book covers and concept art commissions these days, he’s also found time to set up his Patreon account.

If you’re not familiar with this platform, it’s a website set up to support artists by raising money from their fans. And for some, such as Canadian artist, Sakimi Chan, this has proved an extremely lucrative way of making money from her art: In just two weeks, she can generate an income of $31,403.44!

But Patreon isn’t just for visual artists. The American singer-songwriter, Amanda Palmer, is just one example of many musicians who have used this platform to their advantage. She currently has over 5,000 supporters and makes $34,920.71 per project.

And although Oliver hasn’t quite hit those dizzy peaks just yet, he says it’s been a good way to keep himself motivated and generate a steady stream of income from his art.

He says: “Even if people are paying you just $1 a month, it still means you have an audience for your art. I find this really motivating!”

So What’s The Key to Getting Discovered on Patreon?

Oliver Wetter explains: “It can be hard to get discovered, but there are certain things you can do to help this. You have to understand how the site works, and it’s always a good idea to look at what the successful artists on there are doing.”

So What Kind of Art Sells on Patreon?

Oliver laughs: “It takes time to get discovered, but the two keys to success seem to be producing video tutorials of your art and making NSFW content!”

But just in case you don’t fancy making paintings and drawings of people in sexy poses, you’ll be relieved to hear lots of artists are making a very decent amount of money from tutorials on environment painting and how to get started with watercolors.

“The main thing to realize is that you have a duty to your fans to keep producing new work,” says Oliver. “You have to keep your promise to them if you want them to keep supporting you.”

What’s Next For Oliver Wetter?

Oliver has got a full schedule of work to keep him going. And, although he’ll still be putting out work on Patreon, he says he’ll be devoting most of his time to commissions and agency work for a good few months.

He’s also got plans to get his work made into T-shirts and posters, which he plans to sell at a large comic con taking place in Germany at the end of the year. In addition to this, he plans to have stalls at the Spiel and Comic Action con in Essen, and at book fairs in Frankfurt and Leipzig.

His advice to aspiring artists? “Just keep it up, and make it your own!”

And, whether you decide to start making money on Patreon or start getting regular commissions from agencies and clients, we think that’s pretty good advice!

Listen to this week’s show and learn:

  • How to get your art discovered
  • What you need to do to get started on Patreon
  • How to stay motivated and keep making art

People on this Episode:

Mitch
Oliver

Mentioned in the episode:

Oliver’s Website
Oliver on Patreon
Oliver on on Twitter
Oliver on Facebook

Listening options:

Subscribe via iTunes.
Listen on Stitcher Radio.
Android users can grab our RSS feed here.
Right-click and “save file as” for direct download.

Thanks for listening to our show! We’ll be back next Wednesday morning 8AM EST.

Cheers,

Mitch

PS, there is also Pencil Kings content on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Leave a Reply

Is Today the Day You Get Back Into Art?