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About Digital Art / Professional Core Member Ray Cornwell IIMale/United States Recent Activity
Deviant for 12 Years
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$2000 Patreon Milestone Reached!

Journal Entry: Sun Apr 23, 2017, 2:19 PM

My Patreon has reached $2000 in pledges!

This is a huge milestone for me, and I couldn't have done it without those of you who have supported my work! As I sit here in pleasant shock, I can't help but reflect on the path that has lead me here. 

Before Patreon...
When I first started with Patreon, I was hoping to earn a little extra to help me cover for when commissions were slow. I had no idea that it would change my life in such a drastically positive way!

before Patreon, I was working full time (often overtime) on commissioned work, and charging very little for my time. My desperation and fear kept me from raising my commission rates, so I worked long hours. Every day I would work past midnight to finish a commission so that I could move on to the next one. I didn't play games, watch tv, go outside, socialize, and even slept as little as possible. It was hard, but I just had to do it. I didn't want to give up.

Then Patreon came along. I saw the success of such artists as Sakimichan and Kuvshinov Illya, and felt inspired to try. I had high hopes, but I had little expectation. Never the less, I dove in, and spent the next year learning how to make Patreon work.

Giving Patreon a go...
At first, I tried to use Patreon as an ongoing Kickstarter to fund an art book. Some of you may remember those days! Sadly, that drew little attention, as I couldn't produce the content fast enough to garner any real attention. Commissions took up all of my time, and I just couldn't spare the time to make the high quality art I had planned. So I rethought my strategy. What did the majority of people want to see from me? Then it hit me. It's simple! Pinups! Most people enjoy my pinups, so I would make a weekly pinup post as an exclusive Patreon reward. The rest of my work would get posted on DeviantArt, for free. It was something that I could manage, and it was fun... and people seemed to like it, because my Patreon went from $215 to $661 in 15 days! It was at that point that I knew what my Patreon would be, and I embraced it. And it's been growing ever since!

Patreon has helped me grow as an artist! 
Doing weekly pinups has taught me a lot, artistically. I made it a goal to give each pinup a background, and that requires some quick thinking, to fit a background piece into a weekly work. Before I started doing weekly pinups, a full background piece would take me a month. Now, I can get a background piece done in 2 days, if I push it.

Not only that, as Patreon grew, so did my time away from commissioned work. I found that I had more time to focus on personal works.This has given me the chance to experiment, which is integral to growth, as an artist. 

Patreon gave me the confidence to charge what I was worth! 

Besides the skill gains, I also found that Patreon gave me the confidence to raise my commission rates. Before Patreon, I would charge less than $40 for a single character. I was barely scraping by. Most times I just flat out wasn't making it. I just couldn't risk asking more for my work! I needed every job, and people were already complaining about $40... But once Patreon started growing, I was able to lean more on that income, which gave me the courage to ask a more reasonable fee. Now I charge rates that better reflect the work and skill I put into my art.

Not only was I able to charge more, I was also able to choose jobs that better reflected my interests, with clients who respected me as an artist! I've noticed over the years that higher paying clients tend to respect and understand the creative process far more than the one's who haggle over a $40 character piece. ;)

As a side benefit, it's given me the ability to actually take time off of work, and live. My wife is grateful for this, as well. :)

Moving forward...
So now that Patreon has reached $2k, what now? Patreon has given me the freedom to focus entirely on my own projects, if I so choose. Lately, (when not recovering from my recent back injury), I've enjoyed a nice break while I experiment with new artistic ventures, such as Pixel Art! But I have much bigger plans in store, for the future. 
  • Game Design: In the past, I have dabbled a bit in java programming, as I worked on some personal Minecraft mods. I really enjoyed the coding process, and while I am no professional programmer, I would like to pursue this, further. Not just Minecraft mods, of course, but actual original games! There's a reason you have been seeing me branch into pixel art, lately! Not only pixel art games, but I'd like to try my hand at a visual novel, too. ;)
  • Comics: This has been a long time dream of mine. I decided at the age of 12 that I wanted to do art for a living. At that time, I thought that meant comics! Since then I have learned that there's a lot more paths to becoming a professional artist... but doing a comic, even a short story, is on my bucket list. I have some short story ideas already planned, I just need to set aside time to do them!
  • Art Books: I still want to put out some art books, eventually! With my brother's recent book release, I can't tell you how awesome it is to hold a physical representation of my brother's passion in my hands. It's something he talked about doing for years, and now it's a real physical thing. I want to do the same with my own art. An art book is a perfectly reasonable way to do that!
  • Collectible Figures: I always thought it was cool to see an artist's work get turned into a pvc figure. I'd love to explore having some of my characters turned into figures, to ornament my desk. And of course, it'd be cool to offer them to anyone else who was interested, too! XD
  • Table Top games: I've got a few ideas for board games. Not high on the list, but it's something I think would be fun! My local friends and I get together weekly for all sorts of table top games, so it'd be really cool to bust out my own game at the playing table! 
So there are a few of the goals I have, as I move into the next chapter of my artistic journey. Thank you all for being a part of it, and making this possible! I couldn't have done it without you! I will continue to do my best to improve my skills and earn the support that has been given to me!

My eternal gratitude is yours.


Ray Cornwell II
Artist | Professional | Digital Art
United States


So, uh, I am really really getting into pixel art....  Obsession might cover the focus level, here. 
But I know that a lot of you are probably waiting for me to post more of my regular artwork, and that will come soon. :)
After over a week of resting, and taking the advice of some wiser folk than I, I feel like my back injury is healing rather nicely. Still not 100%, but I can get around a lot easier now, so I am making time to sit in the ol' drawing chair to get some stuff done.
I think I will spend some time getting caught up on messages, because ooh damn! There's a lot I missed! See ya in the comments section! XD
Been more active on twitter lately. Still call DA my home, but I like twitter's layout. It's good for little personal thoughts and stuff! Follow me there, if you are hip to it n' stuff. :D
*Reposting a reply I gave to someone just now, because I feel it might help more people: 

"If you want to sell stuff to an audience, you need two things, my friend:
1. People to sell to. 
2. Something that they want to buy. 

If you have something great to offer, but no one is listening, then you should be showing that great thing to everyone that comes across your path. Share it on every site, every gallery, and every street corner. Show it often. Show it all the time. Show it now, show it tomorrow, show it every day. And keep sharing until you have people listening. And then, my friend, they start sharing it too. And that's powerful. You don't need to pay for advertising, with social media around. Twitter and Instagram and Deviantart and all the other free online galleries are the most effective advertising platforms out there, and they are all free. Tossing money into a facebook ad is a waste, in my opinion. Know your brand, know your offer, and know your audience. Then just talk to them. That's what the internet is for!

If you have people listening but they don't want what you are offering, then you need to work on yourself. Work on tightening up your offer. Improve your skill set. Look for the "WOW!" feedback. That's when you know you have something valuable. Something that other people want, and will pay to get. 

Best of luck to you, but more importantly, work hard at what you love!"
Unfortunately, I am going to miss my daily post tomorrow (February 24th) because I'll be busy all day. But Then it's on again!
See ya all afterwards!

You're an artist that wants to make a living at your craft. How are you educating yourself on this challenge? 

300 deviants said All of the above (or in some combination).
223 deviants said Trial and Error - Posting great content regularly and adjusting my tactics, based on feedback.
73 deviants said None of the above.
58 deviants said Asking existing successful professionals for advice and doing the work to test it out, myself.
47 deviants said Taking classes, courses, and/or mentor-ship programs taught by successful professionals that are doing what I want to do.
30 deviants said Watching YouTube videos and listening to podcasts on Marketing and business strategy, often.
8 deviants said Reading books on marketing and business strategy, often.


Add a Comment:
Pippasaurs Featured By Owner 15 hours ago  Hobbyist General Artist
Fantastic work I really love your colouring! I was wondering have you done any tutorials on colouring? If they were on patreon do you have a gumroad or anything to buy it off?
RoninDude Featured By Owner 6 hours ago  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you! No, I don't really do tutorials. My way of coloring isn't really any different than most other digital artists, so it would be easy to search youtube for tutorials that would tell you the same thing I would. Here's a place to start:…
This guy does a lot of the same sort of techniques I do. Not all, but a lot. Check his stuff out, he has a lot of well made tutorials!
Pippasaurs Featured By Owner 14 minutes ago  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much for the video! I found it super helpful! Also thank you answering <3 Keep up the amazing work!
Hpixel Featured By Owner 5 days ago
!H,nice art style/characters
Do you do commissions?
RoninDude Featured By Owner 5 days ago  Professional Digital Artist
Hi there! Yes, I do take commissions normally, but I am currently on hiatus. I am not accepting new work at this time, but I will be sure to post a journal when I am available for hire again. :)
Hpixel Featured By Owner 5 days ago
kyratzaki14 Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2017  Student Writer
I really love your fantasy drawings. Especially the half-orcs -have a really soft spot for them (although they are no soft at all. Look past this pun, please :lol: ) and it's amazing how good you draw the elves. Really makes me want to write about elves.

Keep up the good work.:D (Big Grin) 
RoninDude Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you very much! I am glad you enjoy my work. :)
Galaxy-Of-Stars Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow, dude, your art is awesome and I really do enjoy your coloring and your style for sure. Like, your style is gorgeous and I love how you draw. I really do like how your characters and art look realistic and not quite at the same time, if that makes sense? XD But anyway! Keep up the great work! Your art actually really pushes me to keep going harder with my characters and art as well. It gives me hope! Thank you. :) You're awesome. I also really love Lin. She's adorable. :heart:
RoninDude Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
Hey there! I am glad you enjoy my work! And it makes me very happy to hear that you feel inspired after looking at my drawings!
Keep practicing yourself, and there's no limit to what you can dream up. :)
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