1 – So Dale, you’re telling me that money, in fact, grows on tweets, not trees?
Not quite, but the hashtag #1k1tweet rolls off the tongue pretty nicely, agree?
2 – Yeah, let’s NOT go down the rabbit hole. Right, back track: how did this begin?
Okay, back in 2014 I started a ‘365 days of drawing’ project to reunite me, a wayward creative, with a childhood obsession of drawing. I drew something every day for an entire year and posted it daily to my Instagram. Sure, my following was modest (that’s not a euphemism), but over the year this challenge helped it exceed 1000. Daily challenges, when done consistently, definitely help grow social followings (although I’d take Facebook out of this which, without viral content, really does need a shit ton of money in ads to give you any traction).
3 – That’s on Instagram though. Where does Twitter come in to it?
Patience young Skywalker. Many of the doodles were conjured up from the most infantile corners of my imagination, coming into being as visual takes on puns and cheesy jokes. At the time I was working out of a freelancer studio, and often ate lunch at a takeaway spot called Magic Wrap. One day I made the connection of ‘wrap’ with ‘rapper’ and decided to make that day’s doodle about a wrap that could rap.
4 – Dale, forget ‘cheesy’, that’s swimming in metaphorical melted Mozzarella…
‘Don’t hate the player…’ as they say. Anyway, I ended up tweeting the drawing at Magic Wrap’s Twitter handle-
5 – Wait, you said you only did Instagram?
True, but for the sake of hooking up your FB, Twitter and other social platforms and sharing when you post, it’s only a few more seconds work for what could potentially be a lot of exposure. Different markets exist on different social platforms, so it’s worth spreading your bets and, even when you’ve focussed on one, keeping the others active.
6 – So why was Twitter significant?
Unlike Instagram, very often a like fest and nothing more, it allowed me to connect directly to the company itself. The MD DM’d me (yeah, I’m down with the kids’ lingo!) and said he’d love to commission me for some shop artwork. A few minutes’ extra work googling a website to find all their social handles is often worth the time.
7 – So now you’re a graffiti artist?
Not quite. One year passed-
8 – One year?!
What did I say about patience? Never give up on a door that’s ajar. I’ve often got replies from initial contact 2-4 emails later. If you’re feeling particularly tenacious, I met a guy on my travels who ended up being sent to Iceland to write for the Huffington Post after googling for the editor’s email and emailing him 8 times. On the 8th, he finally responded.
I should have chased this up earlier, but regardless, one year later I get a call out of the blue, and it’s the MD saying he’s finally ready to talk about artwork. He loved the character, and commissioned me to design five, one to represent each outlet’s location. Now we were cooking on gas.
9 – Wraps are panini pressed, not pan fried, Dale. Anyway, was that it?
Not at all. From there, I also did a series of banners and special edition characters for their breakfast and summer menus. And, best of all, I got to work with a local business who handed me creative control: an artist’s dream.
10 – I won’t inflate that ego of yours anymore but, finally, care to sum up the ‘takeaways’ from all of this?
Remind me again when your stand-up tour is? But no, in all seriousness, one thing stuck with me here. The MD told me his designer had said of my designs ‘I could have done that for you’, and he replied, ‘but you didn’t’. People often don’t know what they like, want or need until it’s in front of them, and as a creative you can take advantage of that.
Never be afraid to tag, send to or purposely design for particular people or organisations, especially if you’d love to work for them. Instagram’s ‘sharing’ features also allow you to exist on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest with minimal effort, all of whom harbour different audiences: don’t be afraid to try them all. Catanacomics got huge on Tumblr two years ago, and I didn’t even know Tumblr was still a thing!
11 – The handy work of the hipsters?
I guess we’ll never truly know. Until next time superstar…