How starting a Patreon campaign gave me confidence to start drawing again

Anyone who knows my background probably knows I went to art school prior to going to the University of Pittsburgh for my B.A. There are multiple reasons why I dropped out, but none so strong as the fact that I lost all confidence in my own drawing ability about a year in.

When I started classes at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, I had dreams of becoming an illustrator. All of my hopes and dreams were really pinned on this. I loved the artwork that the Brothers Hildebrant - Greg and Tim - did for the Dungeons & Dragons and Magic the Gathering series, and I wanted to draw just like them. Unfortunately, I quickly discovered that I didn't have the same talent that they did, and no amount of instruction helped me get even close.

Even cartooning seemed to be beyond me. My instructor for the cartooning class I took had the mantra that if you couldn't draw your character in three dimensions, you had no future as a cartoonist. You might as well give up. So, I did. I quit art school shortly after that semester.

After art school, I didn't really do another drawing, other than doodles when I was bored. I threw away most of my art supplies, and I put making art totally out of my mind. Even after my spouse and I kicked around the idea of an illustrated children's book, I still wasn't sold on the idea of trying my hand at drawing again. Art school broke me. That is, until I created a Patreon campaign.

When I initially started my campaign, I didn't have a really good direction for it, other than the hope that I might be able to drum up some support for my writing. But, looking at the other campaigns people are running, I noticed that the ones with illustrations and humor seemed to be the most visited ones. Suddenly, an idea was born: "stick writer" and "how to feed a writer".

I couldn't resist the urge to try one little sketch. I downloaded Autodesk's Sketchbook. Before I knew it, I had this:


I just kept doodling. The more I did, the better I felt about my sketches.

Are they perfect? No. My cartooning instructor would have fits if she saw my sketches. But, guess what - I don't care! I like them. They make my spouse laugh. And, other people seem to like them, too. And, really, that's all I care about. Drawing has been made new again, thanks to a little site called Patreon.