7 Tips For Choosing The Right Visual Artist
If you use social media and content marketing to build your brand, you need images.
To attract reader attention, and because readers are much more apt to share content that includes images.
There are plenty of stock photos floating around, but they tend to look like, well, stock photos.
What you need here is hardboiled, no-nonsense advice— the kind Mickey Spillane would give you.
Spillane wrote a series of thrillers about private eye Mike Hammer. He died in 2006, but he left behind some colorful quotes. Here are seven of them that point the way to choosing the right visual artist.
Stephen King. Now I’m not crazy about him, but he’s a great writer.
At first glance, there’s nothing profound here: Spillane is saying King’s not his cup of tea, while acknowledging King’s talent and ability.
But look again: he’s stating an important truth: there are lots of talented people out there (writers, artists, etc), but some, despite their obvious talent, aren’t right for you, aren’t right for the job.
A funeral home wouldn’t put cartoons on its site, and a skateboard dealer wouldn’t hire someone who paints old barns. At least I don’t think so.
So take a careful look at an artist’s portfolio: his style has got to be a good fit for your brand.I’m a commercial writer, not an author. Margaret Mitchell was an author. She wrote one book.
There’s nothing wrong with writing one book. Or pouring your heart and soul into one or two paintings. But a successful illustrator doesn’t have that luxury. He has to be good, and he has to produce. He has to have more than one idea. He has to focus on making you and your business successful.
I know an awful lot of Hollywood people, who are so self-important, I can’t understand it. My father was a good Irish saloon-keeper, my mother always said to him, “Jack, how come you know everybody here?” and he’d say, “because I say hello.” I’m just like that, I’ve always been that way.
We like to work with people we feel comfortable with. People who are easy to talk to. It’s no good hiring a nice person who can’t draw, but most illustrators have superb technical skills. Shop around, look for testimonials. You want an illustrator who listens; someone who’s easy to work with.
In other words, it works. Whether it’s a book, a website design, or an illustration. It’s not just “good in places,” it delivers. You want an illustrator whose work helps you get likes, shares, and comments. Someone whose illustrations make people come back for more.
You’re hiring the illustrator, so we can assume you like his work. But the key test is whether people respond to it. Whether it causes them to engage with your business,
and spread the word via social shares. You want an illustrator who builds your brand.
Spillane succeeded because he was first— he more or less invented the sensationalist paperback thriller. But he also succeeded because he stood out. You want an illustrator who helps you do the same. Somebody who produces images that stand out and attract attention in a cyber-world teeming with images.
“Merchandiser” means maximizing the use you get out of an illustration, a blog post, whatever. Spillane worked in comic books, magazines, television, movies. Today he’d have a blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and an online store. You want an illustrator who will help you “stay in every avenue you can think of.”
Mark Armstrong is an illustrator specializing in humor, branding, social media, and content marketing. He creates images that get content seen and shared.
What kind of images do you use for your content marketing?
Ever hired a visual artist? Any advice you’d care to share based on that experience?
Have you ever heard a slice of bacon and an egg discussing design issues??
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