This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

The difference between writing and copywriting

I get a big kick out of writing. I write in several blogs, from Phoenix history to gardening. And my style (if you can call it that) is copywriting.

No, I'm not a professional writer, nor have I ever been one. As a Graphic Designer, my job has been to take photos, drawings, and writing, and put them all together, for brochures, for ads, for the web. So I've seen a LOT of copywriting in my day.

Copywriting is a term used by advertising people and newspaper people for writing that's not quite as polished as regular writing. You know, polished like the writing that your English teacher insisted on? Your English teacher would absolutely hate the casual breeziness of copywriting, and instead insist on certain rules like, uh, well, I don't know those rules. I just know that I would get my knuckles rapped if I turned in something like this. Oh yeah, in case anyone asks you (and I doubt they will) the word copy in copywriting simply means that the words are meant to be copied - you know, like in newspapers or ads. That is, they're worth copying. It must be cool to see your words copied in the thousands after writing something one day, and opening up the newspaper the next day.

Anyway, this is copywriting, which works well on the web. Copywriting is supposed to sound as if someone were talking to you, like an eyewitness to a news event (Oh, the humanity!), or a recommendation for a new car (how about those white wall tires?). So I like the feel of copywriting.

Magazines fall in between real writing and copywriting. Some articles are written with strict rules of writing, some aren't. And the ads are always written in copywriting style. Can you image how turned off customers would be if an ad said, "Ask not for whom the white wall tires toll?" (unless of course they were being goofy). And being slightly goofy and cheerful is what makes advertising copy (yes, that's what writing is called in the ad world) so appealing to read. And make no mistake, people read ads.

So there ya go, copywriting!

Common misunderstanding of Patreon

If you've never heard of Patreon, that's not surprising. It's been around for a few years, but really hasn't got much exposure. And since it's a brand-new idea, it confuses people who think that they already know what it is. So, I'd like to say that there are several misunderstood things about Patreon, but there's only one: it's not a pay site.

That being said, real money is being exchanged there. If you're going "huh?" I don't blame you, it took me a long time to wrap my little head around it, and I think I'm finally there. I'll tell you what I know, but it may take a point of view that's different from what most people have (possibly you).

Patreon is a donation site that allows someone, like you, to donate on a monthly basis to encourage your favorite creative person. It could be someone who draws, it could be someone who makes videos, anything. And here's the important part - you're paying for something you could get free. The name "Patreon" is a combination of two words - patron and eon, meaning someone who supports the arts, and does so over time.

So if you're the kind of person who would consider it stupid to pay for something when they don't have to, then relax, you're among the majority. Most of the people walking past someone playing the violin in the street don't throw money in the hat, even if they sit and listen. Many people will even shout out suggestions for the artist to play, and then just walk away without even a thank you. That's the simplest way to look at a setup for a donation to the arts.

I've been a commercial artist all of my life, and I charge for what I do, just the same as the kid who mows your lawn. I give a price, I do the job, and I get the money. That's pretty straight-forward. But last year I decided to try to understand Patreon, and it meant giving stuff away, and then asking for money.

I can't recommend doing Patreon if you're interested in selling your product. There are many ways to sell your product, doing what's called a "pay site". The most famous one is eBay. Or you can sell your stuff on Etsy, or a thousand other places. You create, ask for money, get it, and then ship the product. You will need a way to accept payments, process returns, deal with complaints. And if that's what makes sense to you, stay with it.

However if the idea of supporting an artist to encourage them to continue creating their art appeals to you, then you understand Patreon. Because it's not a "pay site". And based on the confusing comments I read on the web all of the time, the people who are trying to use it as a pay site are getting all confuzzled.

My Patreon page has nothing to do with my commercial art - it's about my hobby, which is collecting old photos of Phoenix and writing about it in my blog. It's something I do for the pure love of it, and I would like to do more of it, and less commercial stuff. Unfortunately, it costs me money to do this (not that I'm complaining) because I need software, an up-to-date computer, that sort of thing. And so my nice patrons on Patreon aren't paying for anything, or being charged for anything, they're donating to me because they like my stuff, and want to see more of it.

If all of this makes sense to you, I'm glad. If not, I understand, and I really can't explain it any better. I hope this helps.