Nurturing creativity with art, animals, and science fiction

Tag: MALCon

A screen-grab from Lara's video on how to support small artists.

Seven great ways to support small artists

I’ve been looking forward to sharing this post for a longer time than I expected (because of my crazy life–it’s not Lara’s fault!). I went to her presentation at MALCon/Westercon in Denver last July and immediately knew I wanted to share it on this blog.

She’s created an 11-minute video that covers most of this information, so if you prefer to get your information that way, check it out at the link above.

A screen-grab from Lara's video stands in for the original video embed.
Lara’s 11-minute video is packed with excellent advice. (You Tube).

In her presentation, as in the video, she outlined seven excellent ways to help small artists thrive. Her advice goes for all sorts of creative types. She herself is a musician, but her advice applies for artists in many fields. That includes musicians, actors, dancers, crafters, visual artists, comics-creators, and writers.

How to Support Small Artists!

by Losing Lara

In this day and age with FacebookTwitterYouTube, and so much more, it is incredibly easy to create art and put it up online. Whether you are a musician, writer, or traditional artist the world is your oyster as long as you have a stable internet connection. What seems to be increasingly difficult is being a consumer of said art.

Day after day we are inundated with some new piece of entertainment and it can be hard to know what’s the best way to really support the people and art that we love. As a YouTuberwriter, and musician, I have found that my friends and family are surprised when I tell them even the simplest (and free) ways that they can support me.

Because of this I have made a YouTube video, a convention panel that I have presented multiple times, and now a blog post. With the help of artists in several different mediums, we have seven tips that you can help support the small artist in your life.

1 – Participation

This is the easiest step of them all. Even better, it’s free!  If you see a post online that is some sort of interest to you, whether you know the artist or like the subject, then click on it!

Whether it’s a YouTube video, a Soundcloud link, or takes you to a personal website, click on it. That is one more number added to an artist’s closely-studied metrics. The higher the numbers are, the more successful an artist. It starts with you!

You might think that your one view doesn’t matter. But in the grand scheme, every little bit counts!

2 – Go to Shows!

This feeds into participation. Because without an audience, it wouldn’t be much of a show.  A lot of times, this can be free too!

If your writer friend has a book reading at a local bookstore? Your friend is performing in an open mic?  Free art gallery exhibit? Check them all out!

Even if you can’t buy anything from the artist/bookstore/gallery, just be there. Seeing your face in the crowd is a show of support that means the world to artists! Also, if your friend is in theater, ask when the show’s industry night will be. You can usually get discounted tickets!

3 – Share the Thing!

This is one of the most important ways to support! Small artists don’t have a huge marketing team working behind the scenes to get their art in front of as many people as possible. We have you and your pointer finger.

When you see them post about their new book, their new album, video, show, artwork whatever it might be, hit that share button! Memes are great. If you are like me, you share about 200 in one day. Sharing work from a small artist is just as easy, not to mention, more important.

4 – Reviews

Now it’s time to add your voice into the mix! The comment section is a magical (though sometimes scary) place. It can be almost more important than views alone.

All these social media sites run on algorithms. If a post has a lot of views but no interaction its respective website won’t promote it. Especially if your friend is selling a book on Amazon, the more reviews, the more Amazon will showcase the book. Even bad reviews, but of course, good ones are always better. This is also very important on Etsy.

5 – Buy the Thing!

The majority of these tips are things you can do for free. But we live in a capitalist society. Unfortunately, being alive is expensive. An artist creates for the love of creation, but at some point we need to eat. That’s where buying our art goes a long way!

Spotify is great. But it takes 1,000 streams of just one album for the artist to make the equivalent of ONE sale.

Most importantly, exposure does not buy food! Exposure is great for an artist. But art takes a lot of time and work. It should be valued in the same way as spending time working inside of an office building.

6 – Tipping and Reward Sites

If you can’t afford to buy a item, then a lot of artists have a tipping and reward site! On sites like Patreon and Ko-Fi, you don’t necessarily buy a thing, but pay for a monthly subscription or one-time donation.  YouTubers who don’t necessarily create a tangible product go this route.

There are also sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo where someone can propose a project and you can invest in it.  On these sites and Patreon you can either donate or you can get something from the artist in return, while Ko-Fi is only donations.

7 – Don’t copy/illegally download

Whatever your feelings about large corporations, that does not apply to small artists. As I mentioned before, there is no giant team behind these people, they are usually doing everything themselves.

Yes, we are happy when people like our art, but not enough to completely give up credit. Please don’t repost art without an artist’s name. That is literally taking money away from them.  If you see art without credit you can report it and do a Google Image Search (Jan’s addition: or use TinEye) to find the original post.

As you can see, supporting small artists can be easy! I know every time one of my videos or songs gets a like or a share it feels so wonderful and encouraging.

We make art to share with people and even just a like lets us know that there is someone out there. There is someone who sees us and sees our work and takes even just a second to say, “Hey, I see you and I like it.” And really, isn’t that what everyone wants in life?
One of Losing Lara’s songs could be an anthem for the #MeToo movement.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Losing Lara makes videos for the internet, performs nerdy music, and occasionally writes a bit. You can find her on YouTubeTwitterFacebook, and Bandcamp.

IMAGES: The video and all the illustrated headers, as well as the text for today’s post, are all courtesy of Losing Lara. I found the cover image for her song I Said No on her Bandcamp site. Please share this post, and give her full credit!

Fencon Ho!

Headed for Texas

Ty and I are on the road once more.This time we’re set for the Westin DFW Airport Hotel in Irving, TX, and FenCon XV. It’s a new convention for us, but we hope to make new friends and meet up with some familiar faces. If you’re in the area, I hope to see you there! Please note: events on the schedule have been updated since this post was originally published. Please check the online FenCon schedule to make sure you have the most current version!

My Schedule 

Click the links for more details about these panels!

Friday September 21

4:00-5:00 p.m. (Chinaberry Room) – Women Heroes in a Male-Dominated World

5:00-6:00 p.m. (Chinaberry Room) – The Sexes . . . . in Space!

6:30-7:00 p.m. (Pecan Room) – Reading (see below!)

Saturday September 22

12:00-1:00 p.m. (Irving Lecture Hall) – We Can Make Them Faster Stronger … and Better!

1:00-2:00 p.m. (Chinaberry Room) – Yesterday’s Tomorrow

My Reading

As I did at Worldcon, I’ve created a postcard about my reading at FenCon. I’ll read an excerpt (or two?) from my soon-to-be published novel, What’s Bred in the Bone. 

I don’t yet have finished cover art from Jody A. Lee, but she sent me a color comp that gives a pretty good idea how the finished project will look. It illustrates a scene from around the middle of the novel, when Rex and LSA Shiva Shimon, an agent from the Station Bureau of Investigation, venture into the infamous underworld neighborhood known as the Five-Ten.

What’s Bred in the Bone is the first novel of an in-the-works trilogy about XK9 Officer Rex Dieter-Nell, his partner Detective Charlie Morgan, his mate XK9 Officer Shady Jacob-Belle, and their Packmates and friends on Rana Habitat Space Station. Look for it this winter. Subscribe to my newsletter for updates and exclusive extras!


My Artwork in the FenConXV Art Show! 

I laid all my artwork out on a measured-off box on my living room floor–and I think I can squeeze it all in! I’m taking an example of every current piece of paper sculpture in my collection to the FenCon Art Show. Don’t miss:

The Art Show Reception at 8:00 p.m. Friday at the Gallery

The Art and Charity Auction at 6:00 Saturday in the Irving Lecture Hall

Note: you can still buy art on Sunday morning.

This was my display panel at Westercon 71/MALCon 6. Most of these designs will be available at the FenCon Art Show.

IMAGES: Many thanks to FenCon XV for their website header/logo! The color comp for my soon-to-be cover is by Jody A. Lee, and is used by agreement. I took the photo of my own Westercon 71/MALCon 6 display. You may reblog or re-post it with my blessings, as long as you include an attribution and an link back to this post. Thanks!

An award-winning experiment finds a home

The Artdog Image of Interest

One of the nicest things that happened for me while I was at Westercon/MALCon in Denver earlier this month was receiving a blue ribbon in the 3D category at the Art Show. I feel very honored, because there was a lot of wonderful 3D artwork in this show.

The honored piece was a special, one-of-a-kind Artist’s Proof (abbreviated AP) of the Common Cliff Dragon–Male collection of multiple originals. I called it the “spiny ridge” AP because in a fit of madness I experimented with cutting out each individual scale on the ridge along the dragon’s back, then sculpting them to stand up slightly.

I took the second photo in December 2016 before I matted the piece. I have to admit it looked pretty cool, but it was a delicate operation, it took a long time, and when I’d finished I swore I’d never do that again. Granted, one should “never say ‘never,'” but now I’m officially on record that it was a one-of-a-kind experiment.

A one-of-a-kind experiment that was awarded this wonderful honor, and one which also has now been “rehomed” with a new owner. The owner got some prize-winning new art, but I was the one who got to keep the ribbon!

IMAGES: Both photographs were taken by me, Jan S. Gephardt, of my own artwork. If you wish to re-post or reblog either of them you may, as long as you include an attribution to me and a link back to this post. Thank you!

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