Crowd-funding websites such as Kickstarter have been a godsend to artists everywhere, launching projects that otherwise wouldn’t get the time of day from publishers who only bet on sure things these days.
Yet it’s rare that you really see a well-managed Kickstarter campaign. More often than not they are pie-in-the-sky projects seeking donations far in excess of what anyone could hope to raise. The pledge premiums offered are usually vague, or obviously beyond the host’s ability to deliver.
Which is why comic artist Steve Rude’s current campaign to raise enough money to produce his annual sketchbook is so refreshing:
1. A reasonable financial goal. $10,000 was his goal, which has already been exceeded, with 20 days to go on his campaign.
2. An explanation of what the money will be used for. He emphasizes the quality of the printing on the sketchbook, including color correction. (Many would consider this last part too “inside baseball” and leave it out, which would be a mistake.) Also, he mentions that some of the proceeds will be used to purchase a new scanner, which means donations will go to ensuring future artistic works.
3. Limited edition prints and sketchbook covers. Rude takes full advantage of modern printing capabilities to offer what will truly be rare collector’s items.
4. Dozens of donation premiums in various price ranges. Want to commission a watercolor work of your own? $5,000 gets you that, the sketchbook, and everything else on offer. Can only manage $10? Bag yourself an exclusive print. And many other gifts are offered for sums in between.
5. Please the public. Rude has spent years trying to break into the fine art world, yet his Kickstarter campaign is mostly geared to reproducing comic book characters designed to appeal to a fan base he’s cultivated for more than 20 years.
6. Frequent communication. Several times a week project backers learn where Rude is in the process, and what new additions he’s made to the donation premium roster.