A New Me
All my social media, website, and portfolio sites were branded with a photo of me beset by a green bird (see below). The selfie was taken several years ago, upon which I added the whimsical avian upon my shoulder. Responses were great and it served well. I was compelled to update my social media photo, as this pic of me is a bit dated. One of my pet peeves is really old photos of authors on book jackets.
Here’s the original, for comparison.
A couple weeks ago I took a new selfie at a local cafe. The next task was to incorporate an image that played off the cartoon/real photo motif. I decided to add Kitten Kaboodle, the protagonist in a four panel snippet I drew for self-promotion. After a bit of Photoshop fun, correcting shadows and highlights on the cat and retouching myself a bit, I changed out my FB photo, as well as the image on this website’s About Me page.
Whimsy or Wry?
While I was (am) pretty pleased with this. I did get a bit of feedback from a much respected and market savvy Friend. Friend is capitalized because she’s my best friend. She prefers the original, because she says it is friendlier and more fun. I look happy, even if the bird is ambivalent. It readily sparks joy (thank you Marie Kondo) .
I like it too, but the newer one sparks coy (sorry Marie Kondo).
I think it has a fun, if ambiguous, interplay between the cat and me. Our mouths are symmetrical, our eyes meet with uncertainty, and I think it expresses some mild drama. Kind of a story waiting to be written. I’m a children’s book illustrator and tories are important to me. To me this has a “what’s going to happen now” hook.
I sometimes have to encourage non-artistic authors to resist giving everything away in the art. Unless it’s a book without text, the illustrations should draw in rather than spell it all out. Even a wordless picture book should compel the reader to turn the page. Since I’m promoting myself for my specific craft, I like that this image leaves the results of this encounter hanging.
I’m not perfect, and my sensibilities don’t always translate. I’m interested in your thoughts, how you, see this picture as social media branding. Suffice to say I’m not using myself in the image because I’m model material. I like that friends, clients and prospects can attach a face to my business. I’m a relational guy.
So this image isn’t just about me and my happy face, but about me and my ability to convey a story with my art. While I may not look exuberant, the fact that I’m a serious business person injecting a weird cat into my brand photo should (I hope) tell all the world that I’m fun. And wry.
Cast your votes, share your thoughts, and please peruse my portfolios. Thanks for you input.
Green Bird and Kitten Kaboodle ©2019 Ed Koehler