How to support your artist friends
This is a really important article to me because I am an artist, and most of my friends are artists as well. Everyone should have the ability to make money off of their craft, if they so choose it. I know I work super hard in order to make sure that I can continue working for myself and creating a stable future for myself. And that's what almost everyone wants. So, here's some pointers on how to support your artist friends!
Pay them for their work. This should go without saying, but I still have "friends" that come to me asking for a discount. This tells your artist that you aren't worthy of their time, either work-wise, or friendship-wise. If you've been friends with them long enough, you have seen their work develop and become even more beautiful, and that hard work should be rewarded by keeping the lights on. Everyone deserves a comfortable place to rest their weary head. One you get that piece, show it off to everyone. Make sure to tag your friend on the social medias, so that they can get future orders from others. If you only share it with your friend, they will not get as many followers/orders/revenue.
Donate to their ko-fi/patreon/etc. If your friend has that, most of the time they'll have cheaper tiers ($1-5) that don't break your bank, but still support your friend. If I had a ko-fi from even half of my followers, I wouldn't have to worry about bills. I would also be able to give more content and be able to create more freely. If your friend sells small, pre-made art, you can also buy that.
Like/Comment/Subscribe. This is super important, because even though numbers shouldn't matter, many conventions, websites, and more won't give a second glance to those under a certain number. Also, with Facebook and Instagram's crappy algorithm, less and less people see our work. When you like, it adds a little bit to the reach, but when you comment, more people see it. It's really dumb and hurts the content creators that either have just started, or don't have as many followers. Even just a small comment of "Oh, I love this!" or even heart emojis helps with your artists' reach. It's also free, and that's pretty awesome.
Share your artist's content. This should go without saying, but even if you don't order something from your friend, just showing other people how amazing their work is can be enough to make up for what you might have paid. I can't tell you how many times I have had people come up to me with their friends at a show and rave about my kigus. It seriously makes me cry almost every time that not only do my friends love my work, but people that I don't even know believe in me too. Show your friend you believe.
Don't just support the popular artist. I'm not saying completely forget about them, but your friend who has been drawing just as long, with maybe not as popular work deserves love too. I want to throw my money at amazing artists like Hannah Alexander (one day I will cosplay some of her designs), or SKS Props (they sell foam now! O:) but I also remember that my friend Sarah (SarahAllenReed on Insta) should be able to continue her existence making comics.
Give reviews of their work. Creating is difficult. How many times have we heard, "Wow, you draw/sew/paint/etc? Man, you're so talented, I wish I could do what you do." Honestly, if I had a dollar for any time I heard that, I wouldn't need to sell my work. I could probably just give it away. If you like their work (and honestly, even if you don't, you should still encourage) review it on their page! Give them feedback when they ask for it. Don't put them down, but if they ask for advice, give it to them in a compliment sandwich. A compliment sandwich is where you say something you like or that is good about the piece, give helpful criticism (Oh, the color may seem a little off here, maybe brighten it if you can?) and then give another compliment (But I love how you did this stitch! It looks so clean!) Being real with them while also supporting them is fundamental in creating a happy artist.
Never ask for discount or free work. I think this goes without saying, but you never know. I've had plenty of people tell me I should give them a discount because I've made it before or that it's a really simple piece, but they always forget that I'm a human being and that I still need to eat. Everyone deserves to live comfortably and be able to live their lives without too much worry. I have only had to block a few people for their poopy attitudes thinking they deserve a discount for "helping me out" by crossing off a Pokemon, but I'm almost positive I will find someone that will pay for the onesie they are asking for.
If you are a fellow artist, Collaborate. I can't tell you how badly I feel we need to work together to create a better future. That being said, working together to create content for others to enjoy is also amazing, like, UGH. I want to cosplay with all my friends, and that's why I'm doing so much in my groups. Why I share them and do the shoutouts on here and share the crap out of my friends, because they are all worth it. The other awesome thing specifically about cosplayers, is that everyone has a different specialty. One of your friends might be great with wigs while the other is good with makeup and you're fantastic at sewing. Separately, you may be 8's, but together, you're 15s. Work together to build each other up.
Together we can do this. We can support our fellow artists and our artistic friends to give everyone the future they deserve.