I was writing an article for The Bello Collective, and I had this idea to compare podcasts to books. I sketched out some ideas of what a bookshelf full of podcasts might look like and decided to create a version digitally using various pencil brushes.
It was one of the first times I created an image for something other than my own site, and I was proud of how it turned out. This also fully solidified in my mind the creative satisfaction that comes with pairing your own words with your own art.
At a podcast conference, I was blown away when Tamar Avishair, creator of The Lonely Palette, told me she cried when she saw her show included with so many players like Radiolab and This American Life. My writing had certainly never made anyone cry, and this was a strong signal to me that art is worth pursuing even if it’s not something that would ever be in a museum.
Creators working at the intersection of writing and art that inspire and motivate me
Tim Urban’s Wait But Why is a blog I love, particularly when he was putting out content much more regularly (he’s currently working on a book). His writing and the topics he chooses really scratches a certain itch for me, but it was his admittedly amateur art that I really loved. Here’s this extremely popular blog that has stick figures and poorly drawn graphs as a feature, not a bug. You don’t need to be an Artist to communicate with art.
Just like Kevin Kelly gave me permission to write, Tim Urban gave me permission to create visuals.
Now I am continuously impressed and inspired by any writer who also creates their own images, hence the reason for this entire site. There are so many creators within newsletters and on Twitter that are killing it with their creativity. I’m starting to compile my favorites in a public Twitter list.
Advice for anyone who wants to start adding visual creativity to their work
For anyone thinking of starting to draw or design their own images, I highly recommend it. The world really does have too many bland stock photos and I for one get downright pleased when I see any kind of original art within writing. It also stands out in a good way against the rest of the noise of the internet. And if you are worried at not being good, just look at anything I do for proof that the technical bar isn’t very high to get started.
Also, avoid drawing people at first. I learned that quickly. People are really hard at the beginning (or anytime really). There is no shame in going the stick figure route if you need to.