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Bricks, Magic Lamps, And Getting The Most Out Of An Illustration

March 2, 2015

Recently I came across a quote from the late David Brinkley that made me laugh. Mr. Brinkley was an American journalist and television newscaster.

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A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.

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There are many great quotes and inspirational sayings, of course. I think they all benefit from a spot drawing which grabs readers’ attention, makes the quote more memorable, and also makes readers more apt to share it.

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I decided to draw up a spot for the Brinkley quote. Michelle Schwantes, who runs the marketing communications firm Catura Creative, had tweeted the quote originally. I wanted to acknowledge that when I tweeted it myself.

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Successful man lays firm foundation with bricks thrown at him by others David Brinkley guy on brick wall with cement trowel brick hit head I.V. bag plasma blood transfusion

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The quote is both funny and wise. I liked the premise that we should try to learn from setbacks, failures, criticism, rejection. Such “bricks” are a normal part of life. Resenting them is a waste of time. I decided to write a LinkedIn post on the subject. LI posts require a header image with specific dimensions, so I revised my graphic.

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Successful man lays firm foundation with bricks thrown at him by others David Brinkley guy on brick wall with cement trowel brick hit head I.V. bag plasma blood transfusion LinkedIn post bricks of the trade

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As I’ve mentioned before, an illustrator learns to ask himself if he can get any further use from a drawing. I thought the image and idea would make a great motivational poster that I could sell in my online store.

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When life throws you bricks build a foundation guy on brick wall with cement trowel brick hit head I.V. bag plasma blood transfusion

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Here’s a detail image.

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When life throws you bricks build a foundation guy on brick wall with cement trowel brick hit head I.V. bag plasma blood transfusion detail image

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Back in December, I did my first-ever guest post. The subject: how freelancers need to be proactive if they want to attract clients. Part of the appeal was getting to create the header image. I had some fun with the famous Middle Eastern folk tale about Aladdin and the magic lamp.

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Aladdin magic lamp guy looking at silent lamp second guy by pile of lamps rubbing lamp emitting genie money cloud Freelance 101 how proactive are you 10 point checklist

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I realized I had the makings of another motivational poster. All I needed was a tagline
to go with “Be Proactive.”

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Aladdin magic lamp guy looking at silent lamp second guy by pile of lamps rubbing lamp emitting genie cloud be proactive not every lamp has a genie

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Here’s a detail image.

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Aladdin magic lamp guy looking at silent lamp second guy by pile of lamps rubbing lamp emitting genie cloud be proactive not every lamp has a genie detail image

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Are you someone who likes quotes? Care to share a favorite?

Do you include images with your posts to help grab people’s attention?

Run into any genies lately? OK, spill it– what did you wish for??

Hope you’ll leave a comment.

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Other Posts You Might Enjoy:

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About Face: Some Thoughts On Redesigning My About Page

Fish Story: How To Use Sales And Social Media Tools To Create A Feeding Frenzy

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footer for all future blog posts showing picture of blog author Mark Armstrong, along with short bio and contact information

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26 Comments leave one →
  1. Mia Moravis permalink
    March 2, 2015 3:14 PM

    What a wise and wonderful post! Perfect reading for today!

    Like

    • March 6, 2015 4:38 PM

      My dear Mia! A thousand apologies for this tardy reply! No, make that 1001– ’cause yer special… : )

      Thanks for your lovely comment, and for always being so supportive!

      Like

  2. March 2, 2015 6:06 PM

    Mark, you are so clever! These are great. Five knots on that guy’s head! I love the genie design. What fun it must be to have a brain that delivers so much entertainment (meaning your brain!).

    I’m not one for quotes. I like to read them but rarely think to look them up. Images in my posts are just to keep things from being too mundane. And the last time I encountered a genie, I wished for a new Mark Armstrong blog post, and BAM!, here it is. Love my genies!

    Like

    • March 6, 2015 4:45 PM

      Maddie! I’m overwhelmed by your kindness, which is to say, business as usual where you’re concerned… : )

      5 knots on the guy’s head– hey, he should be a boat, maybe. My brain delivers entertainment?? In that case, I’m gonna ask it to really be useful, and deliver a pizza!! : )

      Your outrageous and thoroughly wunnaful quip about wishing for a new MA blog post had me grinning from ear to ear. In fact, my grin was so wide, my ears are further apart now. Same ol’ vacuum between ’em, tho, so I’m awright… : )

      Great to see you, thanks a mil for your lovely comment!!

      Like

  3. March 2, 2015 8:54 PM

    Great interpretation on the ‘Bricks’ quote, although the poor fellow does look incredibly concussed 🙂

    Like

    • March 6, 2015 4:50 PM

      My dear Malvika! You’ve been gone so long, I was just about to saddle up my elephant and go looking for you! Glad you showed up when you did, ’cause I couldn’t find my ladder which I need to put the saddle on ol’ Jumbo… : )

      Yes, the li’l “Bricks guy” received some hard knocks, but not to worry: no one was injured during the making of that cartoon… : )

      Always great to see you, thanks so much for your jolly comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      • March 6, 2015 8:41 PM

        Lol! Where do you come up with stuff like ‘saddle up an elephant’! 🙂 I keep looking up the people I follow, its you who seemed to have disappeared 😉 Good to see you well and kicking 🙂

        Like

        • March 6, 2015 9:51 PM

          Saddle an elephant?? That’s my civilized side talking. Most of the time I ride bareback. It’s a technique I picked up watching old Tarzan movies… : )

          Well, I’m guilty as charged– haven’t been over to see you for awhile (blush, blush!). I’m way behind on blog visits to dear chums, and naturally you’re in that esteemed group. I shall make amends!! I shall visit soon. Please have a pot of coffee and a small platter (or two) of tasty delicacies prepared, and Jumbo wouldn’t say no to a succulent bale of hay… : )

          Liked by 1 person

        • March 9, 2015 1:49 AM

          Will Do! 🙂

          Like

  4. March 3, 2015 6:23 AM

    Thank you for sharing that most perfect quote, Mark.
    Perfectly illustrated too!
    AnnMarie 🙂

    Like

    • March 6, 2015 4:55 PM

      Speaking of “perfectly,” your comment was perfectly delightful, AnnMarie– and clearly an extension of your perfectly delightful self… : )

      Is that a new gravatar? I’ve just polled my mouse and my coffee cup, and we’re all in agreement here– it’s a winner!!

      Thanks as ever for your kind support!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. March 3, 2015 7:07 AM

    Ah, yes indeed! Mr. Brinkley would be very proud, my dear Mark.
    Just as well I went shopping for hats yesterday, I am well prepared for laying down another one while bowing down to your talent! 🙂
    About that genie… if you see him around, would you please direct him to me too? 😉
    Here’s a nice short quote by Mr. Friedrich N. “Without music, life would be a mistake.”
    I like that! 😉
    Enjoy a wonderful March, my friend. 🙂

    Like

    • March 6, 2015 5:43 PM

      My dear Marina! I rubbed a flashlight, and a genie popped out and said he’d grant me a wish. I said: “A comment from marina@mt.olympus.com would be nice…” Presto!– and there it was!! My happiness is complete… : )

      I gave the genie your address, but I saw him walk down the street and turn into a Greek restaurant. POOF!!– and just like that, he was a Greek restaurant. Oh, well… : )

      Love the quote. I would just add one further thought: “Without MK-O music, life would be a BIG mistake.”

      Thanks for the hat-tip, and I’m rooting for your new album to be a tremendous success!! : )

      Liked by 1 person

      • March 8, 2015 7:06 PM

        I have to visit that restaurant and ask that he brings you nectar of the gods, in tons!
        Thank you, my dear kindest friend.
        🙂

        Like

  6. March 3, 2015 6:53 PM

    I can still hear him telling Chet goodnight at the end of the Huntley-Brinkley Report.

    For some of us, we get curve balls thrown at us. But we keep swinging away! I wish I had more time to write more, make more art, and keep up with my LinkedIn account and other social sites. Those are curve balls I have trouble hitting regularly.

    Love the illustrations and posters. Keep up the great work.

    🙂

    Like

    • March 6, 2015 5:52 PM

      “Good night, Chet.” “Good night, David– and good night from NBC News.”

      OK, now I’ll do Rod Serling’s introduction to The Twilight Zone… oops, no I won’t… : )

      Dear me! The things that linger in one’s brain after a indolent childhood spent lolling in front of the tube… : )

      Thanks, Steven. Those kind words, coming from an accomplished artist like yourself, mean a lot– as does your ongoing support. It might seem like I’ve achieved some kind of work-social media balance, but nothing could be further from the truth. I appreciate social media, and I enjoy it, but I suspect a lot of it’s a waste of time. If you figure it out, do let me know– ASAP!!

      Thanks again for your kindness and support.

      Like

  7. March 3, 2015 9:26 PM

    David Brinkley’s quote is so right. Learn from your setbacks, thrive and survive during the lean times, and keep on keeping on. Your illustrations, as always, amazing. The genie quote is genius.

    Mark … One of my favorite quotes is: “If you learn to respond as if it were the first day of your life and the very last day, then you will have spent it very well.” (Benedictine Monk David Steindl-Rast quoted on Louie Schwartzberg’s “Gratitude” video – a TED talk.)

    And, you know, of course that I do include illustrations and photos to grab people’s attention. 😉

    Like

    • March 6, 2015 9:43 PM

      My dear Judy!! You’re so charismatic, just seeing your little gravatar grabs my attention! Hey, when ya got it, ya got it… : )

      Thanks for sharing that wonderful quote. How easy it is to fall into some mindless routine, seeing nothing, taking it all for granted, saying “There’s always tomorrow,” thinking we’re gonna magically live forever. Sad to say, I’ve been there. It’s all a gift, and we seem to squander so much of it.

      And on that happy note: thanks for your wonderfully kind comment, good humor, and steadfast support!! : )

      Liked by 1 person

  8. March 7, 2015 1:59 AM

    Good Mornig Mr. Bricklayer, you made me laugh out loud! My favorite are the genies in a bottle. I’ll sew some lamps and try it, too. Great suggestion!

    How clever you are in reusing. Very efficient – you could be German. 😉

    I love quotes!

    “The world is not how we see it. The world is how we are.”

    Like

    • March 7, 2015 11:43 AM

      Ha!! There aren’t too many fashion designers skilled enough to sew a lamp. But are you sure it’s a good idea, dear Tutti?? I mean, your light shines so brightly as it is!! : )

      I could be German?? A magnificent compliment! Hmm. My hair was very, very blond when I was a handsome child. It’s still pretty light. So’s my head… : (

      Great quote! So true– we see what we want to see. Which explains why I see so much goodness and beauty when I look in a mirror… : )

      And speaking of goodness and beauty– always delightful to see you, my dear Tutti!!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. sn9alltime permalink
    March 8, 2015 8:50 AM

    Ah! the disappointment when we find an empty lamp. Surely, we need to be pro-active! That was a cool thought. Rather impressive as we all have our Aladdin moments and wish the genie would solve our problems. I’ve had one recently, thankfully my friend was pro-active.:D

    The foundation? Nursing the quite cute bump-its you’ve drawn there might interfere with the cementing actually;)

    Like

    • March 10, 2015 2:03 PM

      Ha! Many thanks for that very jolly comment. “Aladdin moments”… when we hope someone else will magically solve our problems! I think you’ve just coined a new term that’s destined for the glossaries of psychology textbooks– I like it!!

      “Bump-its”– another great term! They’re cute, yes, but they make it very hard to comb one’s hair… : )

      Great to see you, thanks so much for your support and good humor!

      Like

  10. March 13, 2015 10:42 PM

    “When life throws you bricks… make a foundation.” Maybe not as catchy as the lemon and lemonade version, but, hmm, maybe it just needs a good media campaign 😉

    Like

    • March 14, 2015 5:03 PM

      Ha! Right you are, Jak. There’s something about a brick that resists popular appeal– altho the Smart Little Pig who built his house out of bricks might disagree… : )

      Lemons might be naturally sour, but as anyone who’s had a piece of lemon meringue pie can testify, that’s a problem that can be neatly solved… : )

      Good to see you, and thanks for your good-humored comment.

      Like

  11. Lily permalink
    March 31, 2015 5:21 PM

    Hahaha, that’s a genius illustration for the “bricks” quote!

    It reminds me of another quote: “A setback is really just a set-up for future accomplishment” from the TV show Gilmore Girls. Both are very encouraging, teaching us to fight through the setbacks and allow them to shape us into being even better!

    Like

    • April 8, 2015 8:24 AM

      Thank you, dear Lily!! Sometimes I get these ideas and they hit me like a ton of, er, bricks… : )

      One of your greatest strengths is your sunny, positive nature. Thanks for your good example, and your very kind comment!

      Like

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