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Finding My Path As A Visual Artist

March 21, 2016

Mark Armstrong Illustration is one of millions of blogs on WordPress.com.BlankVertSpace.2pixelsBlankVertSpace.6pixels

In case you’ve ever wondered:BlankVertSpace.8pixels

WordPress.com is a blog web hosting service provider.

WordPress is also the name of the open source software that powers all the blogs.

WordPress.com is owned by Automattic, Inc. The name derives from the first name of company founder Matt Mullenweg.BlankVertSpace.8pixels

Automattic has an editorial team that produces a blog called WordPress Discover. It includes editors’ picks, must-reads, undiscovered writers, and conversations with artists.

I was flattered to be featured in the March 10th edition.

Here’s the header and the opening question.

You can read the entire interview here.BlankVertSpace.8pixelsblank vertical space, 32 pixels high

Wordpress Discover feature commercial illustrator Mark Armstrong interview on art design humor blogging business of illustrationWordpress Discover feature commercial illustrator Mark Armstrong interview on art design humor television theater editorial controversy advice opinion social media marketing

blank vertical space, 32 pixels highblank vertical space, 16 pixels highYou can read the rest of the Q&A interview here.BlankVertSpace.4pixelsBlankVertSpace.2pixelsBlankVertSpace.4pixels blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

    *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

BlankVertSpace.6pixelsHas anyone else bounced around a bit before finding the right career path?

Do you have a blog? Do you use it to attract clients by demonstrating your expertise?

Did you read the whole interview? Did you do it without falling asleep??

Hope you’ll leave a comment.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

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Other Posts You Might Enjoy:BlankVertSpace.8pixels

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Oh, No– Abducted By The Cake People!!

He Never Got To Shoot An Elephant In His Pajamas
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footer for all future blog posts showing picture of blog author Mark Armstrong, along with short bio and contact informationblank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 32 pixels high

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20 Comments leave one →
  1. March 21, 2016 5:50 PM

    Oh Mark. Congratulations on your well-deserved recognition!! It couldn’t have happened to a nicer, funnier, more talented fellow than you. And I loved reading the article and getting to know more about you. I too loved Mad Magazine and their cartoonists! I’ll never forget the cartoon about this guy who goes into a barbershop with a big tangle of hair and the barber lifts it up and it’s just all one big long hair. I often think it needs an update with Donald Trump’s hair. Your work ethic and professionalism on your blog is inspirational. But I think the best thing of all about blogging is gettng to know people like you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • March 21, 2016 9:20 PM

      My. Dear. Linda… : )

      Your tremendous comment knocked me plum outta my chair! No, wait– it knocked me avocado outta my chair… Or was I klobbered like a kiwi?? I forget. Must be the concussion. Anyway, my pet parrot flew over, grabbed the one long hair I have on my head, and was able to flap up and thread it thru the pulley I have on my ceiling for just such emergencies. After tugging on the hair for about 5 hours, I was able to hoist myself up. A lot of work, especially for a sloth like me, but definitely worth it for a wunnaful comment like that… : )

      One hair! Haw! That sure sounds like Don Martin humor to me. I googled around hoping I could find it for you, but only came up with this barber-related Martin cartoon. You can see more of his old Mad stuff here.

      Thanks for all your veddy, veddy kind words, and I can certainly echo your last line. If I hadn’t started blogging, I never woulda met you, which means I never woulda experienced your wild and wacky humor, which means my emotional impoverishment woulda sunk to veddy dangerous levels, and my one hair probably woulda fallen out. Thank you for saving me! My parrot and I are both very grateful… : )

      Thanks, dear Linda, for your lovely comment and all your support– may your OnYum bag always be half-full, never half-empty!! : )

      Liked by 1 person

  2. March 22, 2016 4:40 PM

    Okay, funny guy –
    Superb congratulations are in order for mentioning Harvey & Tim;)
    You, my friend deserve this and so much more. I hope this WP interview springs forth even more doubloons for you and your illustrious career. I so enjoyed reading about you as a younger, yet still funny, funny man. I’d call your career prolific and still prolificking (there’s a new word for you free of charge). I sensed some mathiness (gosh, another freebie word) behind the carefree, carefully planned line work – a secret creative person numbers-outed of his own accord. I’m so glad. Who else could I ever exchange colorful, bloggish banter with.

    And now, yes, I must be quite serious – you are superbly talented and I’m so very glad our paths crossed. It is quite clear the amount of thought you put into each and every illustration you do. I’m so impressed with your background and your outstanding work ethic. But mostly, I’m a huge fan of your selfless humor. Mark, people who can make us laugh and smile are rare – you – my friend, are one of the rare ones.

    am:)

    Liked by 2 people

    • March 23, 2016 9:36 PM

      It was a lucky thing. Yes, most fortune-nate, as they say at the cookie factory. It’s not every day I decide to mop the carpet. So my mop was close at hand when I read your comment. And I was able to clasp it to my face to stem the tide of happy tears. I’ve been wringing it out for hours now, and it’s still soaked…

      My dear AM! You’ve reduced me to mush! It’s a good thing there aren’t any sled dogs in the neighborhood. Ah, and all those wunnaful AM twists and turns of phrase: prolificking, mathiness, numbers-outed… you’d better have a care, or you could wind up being a famous writer-poet-wordsmitty-versifier extraordinaire! Oh wait, you are already, but not everyone knows it yet– only cool, hip, with-it guys like me who happened to hang a right at the corner of Fickle and Fate and stumble into your blog. It may be the only time I’ve been ahead of the curve, as the runaway girdle said to the bartender…

      OK, time for me to be Sirius, as the Dog Star said to the satellite radio: Thanks for that wonderful comment. It means so very much coming from you. I shall think about it as I drift off to sleep, as I microwave my cuppa coffee for the 16th time, as I watch the squirrels in my feeder, as I wring out my mop– yes, it will add a luster to my already glamorous day… : )

      I, too, am very glad our paths crossed. There are certain people that just make you happy. Some people are true bantermeisters. And some people write this poetry, see, where conflict and emotional honesty are churning away just under a fantastical and bemused surface. Hmm. You’re a pretty rare person yourself. I should probably report you to the Human Genome Project. Thanks again!

      Liked by 2 people

      • March 24, 2016 7:46 AM

        My dearest funny man,
        Now you’ve gone and done it, you’ve made me cry and sob happy tears.
        I sure hope that mop of yours is big enough to reach NY – otherwise- I’ll have to reveal my witchy broom (also doubles as a mop when I refuse to clean my house, ’cause I’m in my basement studio trying to be creative). I think perhaps, you have found the little thorn in my lioness paw – but shhh, don’t tell anyone. I’m going to leave it in my meaty thumb. The constant throbbing keeps me going;)
        Thank you back for these gilded words, my dear creative pal. I shall tuck them away in my faux fur treasure chest forever:)
        am:)

        Liked by 2 people

        • March 24, 2016 10:20 AM

          Bad thorn! Wait– every artist uses their boo-boos for inspiration. Good thorn! But it hurts! Sigh. It’s a thorny issue… : )

          Liked by 1 person

  3. March 22, 2016 7:10 PM

    Congratulations Mark. A well deserved honor!

    Like

    • March 23, 2016 8:34 PM

      Very sincerely appreciated, Steven, thank you. There’s always a bit of luck involved in these things. I know there are thousands of great artists out there in cyberspace– and that includes you, my friend. Thanks as always for your kind support.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. March 25, 2016 3:39 AM

    Wow! Congratulations, Mark 🙂 I was pleasantly surprised to see your name on Discover. You just amaze us every time.
    P.S : The illustration for the Kashmir issue is very powerful.

    Like

    • March 28, 2016 11:48 AM

      Thank you, Vandy! Your kind words made me spin around in my chair three times!– and that’s rather remarkable since it’s not one of those chairs that spins… : )

      It’s especially gratifying to get your feedback on the Kashmir illustration. Always so nice to see you, and thanks as always for your kindness and support!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. soul . to . earth permalink
    March 29, 2016 5:11 PM

    Congratulations and thanks for making us all laugh unreservedly through the years! 😀 Imagine the panhandler’s surprise when you told him to “embrace change” when he asked if you could spare any!!!

    I read the whole interview. Even without falling asleep, it was easy to spot the bright, shining star-artist! I loved this –

    Illustrators never become celebrities. Even in their prime, they only acquire a cult following. They fade away and are transient, just like their work.

    The way I see it – we’re all buskers of one kind or another in human life. Sharing our talent – whatever that may be – is instrument in making all of life more human than before we showed up. So, this India native is glad to know her earthly feedback made a difference.

    You and your blog, Sir LOL, have sirius soul, I say! 🙂 Kudos, mon ami!

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 30, 2016 9:43 PM

      Yes– I like people to laugh unreservedly. There is no need to make a reservation– just come as you are. Unless, of course, you just got out of the shower and are wearing a hairnet and bunny slippers, like I am… : )

      Embrace change!! Yes, sage advice for both panhandlers and babies with full diapers. Ebenezer Scrooge was also fond of the saying. That’s why he slept with his piggy bank… : )

      My dear Radhika! Many thanks for your usual superlative comment. You liked that transient business, eh? Yes, I stand up at Illustrators Anonymous meetings and say: “Hi, I’m an illustrator and I’m a transient.” That’s when I usually get arrested for vagrancy… : )

      Loved your humanizing busker analogy. That sounds really profound. I’m gonna hire you to rewrite all my press releases before they’re tossed out the window and released into the wild… : )

      You were indeed the mysterious India native mentioned in the article. I would have mentioned you by name, but then you would have been besieged by reporters and autograph-seekers, and I can tell you from my own personal experience that such notoriety gets old fast, uh-huh… : )

      Sirius soul?? Sounds like I’m broadcasting from the Motown Quadrant. Excellent! I always wanted to channel James Brown and be The Hardest Working Man In Sketch Business. After I finish an illustration, you can hurry over and do the cape routine, then stow me safely in the broom closet. Merci, mon amie!! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  6. March 29, 2016 6:25 PM

    You are so lucky to be recognized several times in different ways by wordpress.com. I think you provide a more mature, yet fun voice for the world of comic illustrators.

    Like

    • March 31, 2016 11:28 AM

      Hi, Jean! I don’t mind being recognized by WordPress, I just don’t want to be recognized in a police lineup, that’s all… : )

      I do feel very lucky, very blessed– absolutely! And it’s the support of wonderful people like yourself that keeps me going. I don’t think I’ve ever been described as a mature voice before. Perhaps it’s time to start dyeing my toupée. I should probably trim my beard as well. Go with knee-length instead of floor-length. Bet it would take years off my appearance. Well… months, maybe… : )

      Thank you for your lovely comment!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • March 31, 2016 8:56 PM

        Witty, yet humble, Mark. Hope your spring inspires you more with other illustrations….and maybe some bike rides!

        Like

  7. April 11, 2016 6:38 AM

    Hello Mark – hope you’ve been well. Great article – very interesting to see how you started. Was intrigued to hear you haven’t managed to get clients through your blog. Have found exactly the same! Which is why I’ve given my blog site a complete overhaul (have shut down The Creative Corner 😦 ) and am trying to be a lot more focused. Will see how it works out. Good luck with the LinkedIn cross-over tactic. Sounds like a very good idea – hope you get more visibility that way! — Claire

    Like

    • April 12, 2016 11:49 AM

      Hi Claire, thanks so much for your very kind comment. Yes, it’s been an interesting journey. Occasionally, I even have a vague idea of where I’m going!! : )

      The blog-client disconnect has always been frustrating. I’ve wondered about it over the years, and I think it’s mostly due to my own ignorance starting out. I didn’t make acquiring clients my goal. What I posted was unfocused– all over the place, really. I picked up a lot of fans and followers, and have made some wonderful, sustaining friendships, but I wasn’t ruthless enough, focused enough on acquiring clients. I let the blog become a hybrid: a mix of personal and professional. Blogging with a view to business success requires some tough choices, strict discipline, and unremitting focus on business goals. It just wasn’t something I understood when I started the blog. A lesson I had to learn the hard way, I guess.

      As mentioned in the Q&A interview, I’m trying to “parallel blog” now, meaning: repost my WP blog posts on the LinkedIn business network, tweaking them as needed for a business audience. It’s an ongoing experiment, trying to find the right balance. We shall see. Important note: I don’t depend on my blog for leads. Never have. I research and reach out to potential clients one at a time by writing a highly personal email to a single individual. It’s a good way to demonstrate one’s knowledge and professionalism. FWIW.

      I like your blog’s new look– beautiful job! Thanks for being so supportive– I’m always rooting for your success!! : )

      Liked by 1 person

      • April 14, 2016 6:47 AM

        Loved reading the way you started! I thought I was the only one, who had/has no clue of what to do next 😛 Good to know! Takes the stress out!

        Liked by 1 person

        • April 14, 2016 8:25 PM

          Glad to hear I functioned as a stress-reliever. Let’s face it: reading a blog post is easier than doing meditation or drinking 6 cups of chamomile tea… : )

          No clue? Join the club! It’s a big one, too. Especially when you’re starting out. And even after… : )

          Hang in there, and thanks for your good-humored comment!

          Liked by 1 person

      • April 14, 2016 12:56 PM

        Great to hear about your blogging experience Mark. Sounds like you have a very constructive plan that you’re moving forward with and I wish you the best of luck with it!

        Liked by 1 person

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