Hi, I’m Stuart McMillen and I’m a comics artist.
I aim to be the first Australian comics artist earning the median Australian income from crowdfunding, as I create and publish my thought-provoking comics.
I am motivated by discovering and communicating world-changing ideas. My principal interests include environmentalism, post-growth economics, and human psychology. But that’s just scratching the surface.
I’m a self-trained cartoonist, and have made this my full-time career since 2011. As a former bureaucrat, I love the independence of following my own path and freely expressing my views. I decided that our problems were too urgent to wait for politicians and bureaucracies, so I went it alone as an independent commentator, hoping to inspire change.
Born and raised in Queensland, I now live in the Australian capital of Canberra, where I am a studio resident at Gorman Arts Centre.
About my comics
I draw long-form, non-fiction comics about social issues, and self-publish to my website without cost to my global readership. The length of my comics can range anywhere from 8 pages (e.g. St Matthew Island ) to 120 pages (e.g. Peak Oil), depending on the complexity of the topics I choose to cover.
My most popular comics include Rat Park (about drug addiction science), Energy Slaves (about the superhuman, fossil fuel-powered basis of our lifestyles), Supernormal Stimuli (about the biological instincts behind our habits), and War on Drugs (about our flawed drug prohibition laws).
I focus on global issues that will be relevant for years to come. Consequently, many of my comics are translated by my readers into languages such as Spanish, French, German, and Brazilian Portuguese.
My website features a list of the topics that I cover, as well as a Top 10 countdown of my favourite works.
Why I draw my comics
I draw my comics because I am compelled to research and learn interesting things about the world, and then share my lessons in an inclusive way that can help inform and inspire others.
I absorb ideas from books, talks, and documentaries, and reflect them back into the world through my comics . Why comics? It is simply the medium best suited to my storytelling style.
Rather than fighting ‘us versus them’ skirmishes, I approach issues where everyone has lessons to learn. After all, I am most compelled by the times where I have shifted my worldview on topics. Consequently, I put my efforts into social commentary that will resonate broadly.
Many of my comics have ‘gone viral’ and been read by hundreds of thousands —even millions—of readers. For example, my comics Amusing Ourselves to Death (2009), Supernormal Stimuli (2012), and Rat Park (2013) were each upvoted to the front page of influential website Reddit on multiple occasions.
My work resonates with readers beyond the traditional comics-reading crowd. The star attraction is my thoughtful tone and unique worldview. Readers who may not usually read comics find themselves drawn in, as I explore issues of importance.
In private messages, my readers have shared the way my comics have inspired them to rethink their attitudes towards issues like drug addiction, or energy waste. This powerful feedback validates my decision to draw these comics as my full-time pursuit.
My comics form part of the base of evidence calling for inclusive social change, on issues as diverse as fossil fuel depletion, post-growth economics, drug prohibition laws, and racism.
Please help me to continue doing this work, by becoming my crowdfunding supporter.
I am a full-time comics artist. Every weekday, I research, write, draw, publish, and promote my comics. And because I am interested in creating the biggest splash possible, I always freely release my comics to my website. These comics are often translated into multiple languages.
This is me reaching out to those who value my art, and who value my social commentary. To those who value me as an independent thinker and spokesperson.
Funding my work with a monthly contribution shows that you understand that the final comic artwork is just the tip of the iceberg of effort that I invest in my work.
By donating to this crowdfunding campaign, you are essentially giving me some of your time, so that I can do this ongoing work on your behalf.
Please help me by generously joining this crowdfunding campaign with a recurring monthly donation.
About Beyond Average, my crowdfunding quest
Beyond Average is my quest to be Australia’s first fully crowdfunded comics artist who is earning the median income.
Not more. Not less. Just average.
I am shooting for the median Australian full-time income of A$72,591, to prove to you—to prove to myself—that I am doing valuable work that is worthy of remuneration.
My campaign is called Beyond Average, because I operate as a small business. Therefore, I need to aim higher than my desired personal income, in order to pay my fixed and variable business expenses.
Although my ideas are far from average, I aim to be Mr. Average on the spectrum of Australian full-time incomes.
Please help me achieve Beyond Average by donating some of your income towards my artistic practice.
What does it take to earn the median Australian income?
I have budgeted my fixed and variable expenses, to understand what I need to be earning for me to earn the median Australian income.
In a nutshell, in order for me to earn the median full-time Australian income of A$72,591 per annum as an individual, I need to earn A$113,428 per annum as a small business. This is where my campaign title Beyond Average comes from.
I need to earn this higher target to pay for fixed business expenses like office rent and insurance, as well as variable costs such as printing and posting rewards to my crowdfunding supporters. I need to overshoot my final personal target by more than 50% to pay for these business expenses.
To achieve my Beyond Average goal, I have calculated that I need to earn US$7,452 per month through this Patreon campaign.
(If you are curious about my calculations, see more information about my budget in this blog post.)
Many artists and freelancers remain ignorant of the financial reality of their practices. Instead of shying away from finances, I choose to face the facts. I understand what it will take for me to sustain a multi-year, multi-decade career as an independent artist. Can you help to form part of my financial supporter base?
Your main reward for donating to my crowdfunding campaign is the satisfaction of knowing you are a patron of the arts. Knowing that your donation gives me the time to create my thought-provoking comics.
However, I also offer my supporters a variety of digital and physical rewards. These include access to Patrons-only behind-the-scenes videos and blog posts, where I reveal extra insights into my working methods and worldview.
Physical rewards include limited-edition, hand-written postcards sent to you on a regular basis, featuring the best artwork from the most recent comic your patronage has helped to support. As well, I am offering parcels of goodness, featuring a variety of comic books, greeting cards, and other printed material representing my last six months of work. Also, patrons have the option of receiving limited-edition, archival-quality art prints on a regular basis.
For those who truly value my work and want to make significant donations towards my work, I have set rewards which focus around building connections with my high-value supporters. These include ongoing opportunities for phone conversations and face-to-face meetings, as we create a relationship based around shared values and mutual curiosity.
See the descriptions of each of my reward tiers for more information about these offerings.
Click here to become my patron now.