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Dirty Trick Dept: I Will Now NOT Pull A Rabbit Out Of My Hat

June 25, 2012

A good visual makes a blog post more appealing.

A funny visual boosts traffic.

Best visual of all: one that prompts readers to share the post with their friends and/or associates.

Here’s a spot illustration I did for a post about press conferences. The author’s contention: hi-tech companies often call press conferences to announce a new product release, then leak the information to selected media outlets before the press conference.

Result: tech journalists attend the conference only to discover they’re getting the “news” secondhand, and that a competitor has already published the information. They’re understandably resentful, and have little incentive to help publicize the company’s new product.

My take: the magician can’t pull a rabbit out of his hat because the rabbit’s long gone.

cartoon illustration for blog post about reporters attending hi-tech computer product new release press conference and frustration of finding no real news because product details already leaked to some media outlet

What do you think? Are you more inclined to read a blog post that has some visuals? Have you ever “liked” or shared a post because an image made you laugh? Hope you’ll leave a comment.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

If you enjoyed this post, I invite you to subscribe. You can leave a comment and click the box that says Notify me of new posts via email, click the Subscribe button below the Portfolio Thumbnails, or just click + Follow in the blog menu bar.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

Other Posts You Might Enjoy:

Roll Out The Guillotine: Time To Behead My Old Header

About Face: Some Thoughts On Redesigning My About Page

Silly Me: The Beguiling Power Of Self-Mockery

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19 Comments leave one →
  1. June 25, 2012 1:20 PM

    Without doubt, I think a good visual does make a blog more appealing. I love your original artwork in this blog and I have clicked the “like” button on your posts from time to time.


    • June 25, 2012 4:20 PM

      Hooray for visuals! cried the illustrator a bit self-servingly… : )

      Thanks, TT. I appreciate the Likes and your very kind support.


  2. June 25, 2012 5:15 PM

    A great visual is a magnet that attracts people to your site/product. (Love yours by the way.) The visuals and the content, when they work together, are real crowd pleasers. Keep up the good work.


    • June 25, 2012 10:56 PM

      I think you make a very essential point, Judy: the visuals and the content have to be in sync. Posts with unrelated stock photos send a confusing signal which hurts their credibility.

      Thanks for your insight and very kind words– I sincerely appreciate your stopping by! : )


  3. June 26, 2012 6:31 PM

    Definitely agree. I know several posters who attract my eye and I cannot resist their blogs. I worry about clutter so I keep my blog sparse, but I worry it’s too cold and boring sometimes.

    One of the blogs I followed had this cartoon. I nearly died laughing and had to repost the whole backstory because it was so great.


    • June 27, 2012 8:59 AM

      I’m with you on the clutter. A website with lots of bells and whistles makes my eyes glaze over. But you know, I see a lot of clutter in the room I’m typing this in. I’m clearly a conflicted personality… : P

      Your blog cold and boring?? Never! Of course you’ve got that rabbit sitting in the snow for your header. Brr! Couldn’t you put a little jacket on him?? : )

      Good to see you, Amelie, and thanks for sharing the cartoon!


  4. June 27, 2012 12:43 AM

    Mark, I don’t believe that this is a simple question to answer. So many contingencies are involved however; in this time-short world a good pic and a funny caption seem to capture more audiences than a long amount of comment… My blog, unfortunately, is not made of such themes….

    However, to contradict myself, a good writer (such as yourself) will appeal to many… πŸ˜‰


    • June 27, 2012 9:18 AM

      Hi Carolyn, always nice to see you. As you say, we live in a fast-paced world with a short attention span, and that gives visuals a big advantage over print. You’d think that would have my unqualified support as a visual artist, but there’s reason for concern: visuals can’t capture nuances like print, and often oversimplify things. They can be very deceptive. Of course with a pure-hearted, 100% honest guy like myself that’s not a problem, but still… : )

      The right visual can add power to text, however, and help establish a mood, and an emotional connection. That’s the great power of a visual.

      Thanks so much for your kind comment, and it’s delightful to see you here! : )


      • June 27, 2012 8:02 PM

        “reason for concern: visuals can’t capture nuances like print, and often oversimplify things.”

        True, and yet the same could be said in reverse…! All depends upon the author and topic….

        No doubt about visuals capturing mood, etc., however, I believe that it’s still in the hands of the author as to whether his content/intention will reach his public in a fashion that will outlast the meteoric rise that came from splashes of pictures and imagery… for their sake…!

        Something to be said for qualities such as sincerity and good will…! πŸ˜‰


        • June 27, 2012 8:57 PM

          Well said, Carolyn. A great visual won’t save bad writing or a poor idea. The same holds true within visual art itself, actually.

          It might surprise people to know that cartooning and illustration both require good writing. Sometimes it’s a cartoon caption: struggling to find just the right word combination, pacing, etc. Illustrations don’t have captions but they need to be well thought out. You need a strong concept, a clear idea. You “write out” your idea by doing a rough sketch, working out all the visual elements. Then you can proceed with confidence because you know what you want to say.

          So I agree: writing is key. As for sincerity and good will, there’s no substitute. Which, of course, explains why you’re a successful blogger… : )


        • June 27, 2012 9:25 PM

          You do both the imagery of writing and the wording of writing so very well….

          Thanks for the compliment however, as I aluded to, good communication depends upon so many factors that only ‘time’ can construct and determine its success or otherwise…. So here’s to longevity as a crucible of truth… Hope to be writing to you for some good time to come…. πŸ˜‰


  5. June 27, 2012 12:46 AM

    I love that magician! He’s still selling it no matter what! You can practically see the sweat beading on his forehead. And I would have to say that visuals are so important.

    Oh if I could only draw like you, Mark! The Drawing Lady would be so proud and maybe she would even come in off the ledge!! πŸ˜€

    Not to mention all the fun I would have! πŸ˜€


    • June 27, 2012 9:38 AM

      Yes, there’s something very shady about that magician. He has “that look.” I recognize it. I see it in the mirror every morning… : (

      I’m very glad you don’t draw like me. And guess what? I’m not kidding!! The sketches and doodles you include with your posts make me roar with laughter. They complement your writing perfectly, and clearly endear you to your readers. Too many people think they have to be perfect before they step into the arena. Bad strategy. Enter arena first, dodge tomatoes second– that’s my motto!! : P

      Give The Drawing Lady a coffee and a donut, and tell her to stay out there on the ledge!! : )


      • June 27, 2012 2:53 PM

        You are always such a wonderful inspiration to me Mark! Enter arena first and dodge tomatoes second is a brilliant motto and deserving of a Mark Armstrong Illustration! HA! And Yes! I will leave that drawing lady out on the ledge! YAY! And now I’m off to get donuts! πŸ˜€


        • June 27, 2012 4:27 PM

          Really?? I said something helpful?? Gosh… : P

          Well, I’m delighted, and I meant every word. Hope you’ll excuse me now, I’m off to the shower. All this tomato juice is sticky… : )


  6. Robpixaday permalink
    July 5, 2012 3:51 PM

    YAY for escaping bunneeeez!!!! Who wants to live in a hat? Well, maybe The Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe. It might seem upscale to her…LOL…but seriously……your illustration is terrific! Lots of action and right to the point!

    I love posts with pictures, especially for those posts in that tinytinytiny print that only 12 year olds can see. Then I can skip the reading and comment on the image.

    Whoa. Did I just say that out loud!!??????



    • July 5, 2012 5:21 PM

      Say, you’re right– even rabbits deserve a two-room apartment. Hats– phooey!! : P

      I agree: it’s fun to skip the words and just look at the pictures. Which probably explains why I was the only 27-year-old kid in my third grade class… : (

      Huh?? Did I just confess to being the only kid ever sent home for having 5 o’clock shadow??

      ::jumps in cab, speeds to TV studio, attends Dr. Phil Academy, graduates cum masochist::


  7. July 10, 2012 9:55 PM

    Ahahahaha…very useful and amusing writing at the same time! Love it!

    I like to read a blog post that has some visuals but I don’t think so I am more inclined to do so. It depends on what I look for to read.

    I have often liked and shared a post because an image made me laugh and perhaps many including yours. πŸ˜†

    Great post, Mark! I’ve just noticed your new header. Very nice! Well done to you! πŸ™‚


    • July 12, 2012 1:51 PM

      Thanks so much, Inge! I sincerely appreciate your feedback and very kind comment. Humor certainly seems to put us all in a good mood and be more likely to click the Like button… : )

      You noticed that beaver waddling across the top of my blog, eh?? Maybe it will inspire you to start photographing rodents!! : )


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