I wrote this back in February and a few people seemed to like it on FB and FA.
When you buy artwork you aren't just paying an artist for a petty picture, you're paying for years of hard work--years of sweat, blood, tears.. Hunching over paper until your back is sore, your fingers cramp, your wrists develop repetitive stress injury, your eyes become bloodshot. You're paying for countless hours of painstakingly erasing and sketching, researching and referencing, practicing and practicing and practicing until you're in too much pain to go on. You're investing in thousands of dollars of art supplies, books, and materials/software/hardware used over the years to put their knowledge to use. You're paying for the calluses developed by holding pencils and pens and paintbrushes and styluses, for the carpel tunnel and the sleep deprivation developed due to deadlines and practice that nobody sees.
You're paying for the end result of an artists' entire life dedication to honing their craft into a finely tuned skill whose end result will be in your possession to enjoy and cherish. You are not just transferring funds to a one time scribble on a piece of paper or image on your computer... You're paying an artist for a craft, for a talent, and to a certain degree a piece of their Self.
Please consider this if you ever buy a piece of artwork. You aren't just paying for a pretty thing to lay your eyes on, you're paying for a fragment of someone's soul. Don't cheap out, artists put something of themselves into every creation they produce and your payment is seen as a real world token of appreciation for all that dedication they put into making that piece they're sharing with you in hopes that it means just as much to you as it does them. Not only is it a show of appreciation, it is often our sole means of income. Art, design, creative industries exist and are all legitimate goods and services which deserve proper compensation at fair living wages. If you are paying what equates to less than Federal (or your states'!) minimum wage per hour for the art you commissioned then you are getting a steal. Encourage artists and pay them a respectful compensation for their time. $20 for an image they spent 16 hours doing on a $250 tablet and $800 laptop or with $300 in supplies isn't going to give that artist any room to replenish their media or pay off their computer/pay for software licenses. It won't put food on their table or keep a roof over their head. Consider yourself lucky if you have never paid an artist true industry wages for their work, and maybe consider paying a little extra the next time you do commission a clearly undercharging artist to help them out. You wouldn't work for half your normal living wages, why do you expect us to?
Financially supporting an artist is communicating to them that you appreciate them as a person, you're acknowledging the immeasurable hard work they have done to reach the skill level they are at. Tip your artists if you are happy with the art you have commissioned them to do. They're providing you with a skilled trade service that does not come easily without years of hard work and fierce dedication. Send them notes of appreciation, comment on their uploads and portfolios, and an email with a quick "your art made me ________ " expressing how all that frustration and inspiration and work made you feel. Consider investing in an artist by donating monthly to their Patreon, allowing them freedom to create and grow as an artist but also giving you benefits that others don't have access to due to your subscription.
We're people too and we share our art because we love it, we're dedicated to our skills and our talents and we need that feedback to reassure us that everything we put into our work is worth the passion and pain involved in creating it. We wouldn't have started doing it if we didn't enjoy it on a personal level, but that extra boost of support from our viewers and fans and followers is what drives us to continue creating. Telling our story and realizing we can positively relate to others is a beautiful motivation.
Please appreciate artists, without you we wouldn't always have the motivation to try as hard as we do some days and your support is an assist to our own natural predilection towards creative expression. Love your artists.
If anybody has anything else to add feel free to. I think someone elses' journal on FA inspired the original post, but I embellished it a bit for clarity on this DA Journal. I am always up for discussion, debate, feedback or just any indication that this might have touched someone somehow. Comments encouraged.