Looking for a great way to start earning an income with your digital artwork?
When you want to be a professional illustrator, or even just get your art in front of more eyes, one of the smartest things you can do is build your own tribe. This is a group of fans who love to stay updated on your latest pieces, get a sneak peek at a work in progress, or simply say hello and thank you for inspiring them today! And if you’re looking to earn an income from your digital art, when you have this sort of community, earning becomes so much easier.
🎁 Keep reading till the end of this post for a great Ko-fi bonus we have for you!
Recently, I came across a FREE online platform that offers an easy, low-pressure way to start making an income from your art.
It’s called Ko-fi (like the beverage ☕, not the wrestler!). The concept is really simple, you showcase your art and invite fans to leave you a donation (roughly the price of a coffee) and message to support your work. It’s like a cross between a tip-jar and a simplified crowdfunding campaign.
How does Ko-fi work?
It took me about 10 minutes to get set up on Ko-fi, super easy.
First you claim your page. If you’re looking to accept money, you can connect your page to PayPal, and then other payment methods if you like. Personalize your page with your best artwork, add a bio, a goal, and a video if you like.
Then you can create a gallery of your art (finished pieces, works in progress etc) and also add videos, blog posts and audio clips to help fans get to know you too.
Once it looks just how you want it, share your page link everywhere!
Your fans then visit your Ko-fi page, see what you’ve been up to, and can “buy you a coffee”, which means sending you a small contribution. 💲
You can also unlock paid Ko-fi Gold features like subscriptions (getting monthly support from your subscribers), commissions, and additional ways to personalize your page.
Here’s how the Paintable Ko-fi page is looking so far:
Why do artists love Ko-fi?
When someone likes your work, they can donate a “coffee” (or a hot chocolate, a cup of tea, a beer, or even a cupcake!). Payments are made directly between fans and artists and no fees are taken by Ko-fi.
One of the best things about Ko-fi is its community. From your page, you can write updates to your fans and followers, and if you don’t have any yet, start posting anyway — you might even get featured on their website (this is also great place to find inspiration and the perfect place to find new artists to follow)!
Many creators use Ko-fi to set up fundraising goals so that fans can contribute to something specific, whether that’s buying a new tablet (maybe you have your eye on the new Wacom One), an iPad Pro, or a new desk for your home studio!
Every month, $1.2m is donated to artists through Ko-fi. These payments are being made directly between fans and artists, with no fees being taken by Ko-fi. Since Ko-fi launched, it’s helped creators receive over $23 million to fund their coffee-fueled painting sessions and creative passions.
While it’s completely free to set up your profile, update your gallery, interact with fans and artists, and accept donations (with no cap or fees!), Ko-fi’s paid Gold membership adds great things, allowing artists to accept commissions and monthly donations, create private updates that can only be unlocked with a one-off or monthly donation (perfect for sneak peeks, tutorials, progress shots, and close-ups)!
Artists Killing It on Ko-fi!
Mandy Jacek, an illustrator and artist, uses Ko-fi to fund her own passion project: a comic called “WANDER”. The Ko-fi community helped her build a new office space at home, and upgrade her Cintiq tablet! She was also featured in Ko-fi’s blog, allowing her to reach even more new fans!
Mona (Monarobot), an artists from Chiapas Mexico, gives her Ko-fi fans exclusive early access to her new projects and behind-the-scenes content using Ko-fi Gold. She’s received over 5000 “snacks” from her fan so far! 😁
And Noonie, a Brazilian self-taught artist living in Japan, says: “Thanks to my Ko‑fi supporters I can now work full-time on what I love most in my life: art. Thank you for making this possible, I will be eternally grateful ❤️”
Top tips for getting the most out of Ko-fi
If you’re thinking about setting up a Ko-fi profile and posting your art, but you’re not sure where to start, check out our top three tips for getting the most out of Ko-Fi.
1. Post often
Share your page, images and content regularly on socials to engage your fans! If you don’t have anything new to share, ask for opinions – like what subject they want to tackle next.
2. Start small
Some artist and creators make a decent ‘4 figure’ monthly income on Ko-fi, but from what we’ve seen most are using it to fund creative expenses and make a side income. Ko-fi is a great opportunity to build your tribe and get to know and reward the people who are backing you.
3. Be a fan
The more you give, the more you get. We’re all in this fun, creative ride together, and it’s so much better if you do it with friends! Don’t forget that Ko-fi is also a goldmine of creative inspiration, so if you see a piece of art that makes you smile or say, “Wow!”, consider buying the artist a coffee or leaving a friendly note on their page.
How to get started with Ko-fi
Want to see what it’s all about? Head on over to Ko-fi to claim your page and start sharing your art.
If you’re interested in getting the extras like changing up the coffee for something more “you”, or setting up commissions and unlocking all of the other perks of a Gold membership, you can check that out too. Get 10% off annual Ko-fi Gold memberships for life! Just for being part of the Paintable community.).
Are you a member of the Digital Painting Academy? Jump inside the member’s area for a link to get 25% off of Ko-fi Gold!
2 thoughts on “A Good Dose of Ko-fi to Start Your Artistic Career”
But what exactly the difference from Patreon? In your personal experience what makes you choose Kofi than Patreon?
The major difference in my own opinion is that Ko-fi has a community in place for illustrators and visual artists. On Ko-fi you can offer commission, and share your art and gain supporters directly from the existent community. When opening a Patreon you feel a little bit more secluded from the other creator and there is no community. Only the top artists are promoted. It’s harder to gain fans on Patreon if you don’t have already a good fan base. I hope this helps