Graphic Design & Illustration


This is the personal and professional blog of Illustrator and Designer Bryan E. West. Blog focus is on illustration as a business, the artist's journey, freelance, and the online art community. 


Being a creative professional means that you have to be very aware of how you present yourself on social media. This is true for most responsible adults as well, but if you are a creative professional social media can define your brand. If you are trolling in one tweet, and asking people to look at your work in the next tweet, it’s safe to say that your creative career will not go far. 

Generally speaking, most people try to present themselves as hard-working optimistic people. I think this is overall a good thing. There is already more than enough hatred  and ignorance being dumped on cyberspace.

I would hope that for most people it doesn’t take effort to just not be jerk on the internet. However, sometimes in pursuit of being kind we hesitate to express ourselves for fear of being perceived as negative. Where does one draw the line? Do you want to work for Warner Bros? Then maybe you shouldn’t rant about Batman V. Superman?  

Of course whether or not you decide to mock Zack Snyder’s abilities as a director probably isn’t THAT important relatively speaking. This issue of self-censorship really becomes a problem when you get into political, environment, and social issues. On the simplest level, expressing yourself can result in those with conflicting beliefs to stop supporting you. This may not be so bad in some cases, as I would rather have one less follower than interact with some mysoginist. This does become a little more complicated when you want to be seen as a positive person. If you are constantly expressing your distaste for Donald Trump, even the staunchest anti-trumpper would grow tired of your rantings. 

Still, it is extremely important to express yourself. If people didn’t talk about politics or social issues nothing would ever get done. Fear of losing followers, offending people, or coming off as negative could be stunting our growth as a creative community and a society. 

I think it is very possible to express yourself and retain a positive image. First, it is all about balance, people want to be delighted by social media not berated so maybe limit your rants and balance your critiques with fun or humorous content. Most importantly, be creative with your social/political commentary!

YOU ARE AN ARTIST, FIND A WAY TO EXPRESS YOURSELF ARTISTICALLY. Don’t like Trump? That’s great, but don’t just say “Trump Sux”, create something that will help your audience understand why Trump sucks.

There is a very real opportunity here to express yourself and delight people with your content. The best case scenario of expressing yourself on social media is not gaining followers but finding a way to effect how people think about a social or political issue.

I am a straight edge, vegetarian, socialist, art snob, punk rock, agnostic, green party member, and illustrator. Casually discussing my day can be a minefield of controversy. It’s important to express myself and it is something that has been lacking in my work lately. Last week after having a discussion about gun-control with a friend of min a created this:

While this may not delight my audience, I hope people can find value in the way the message is presented. It’s blunt, but not abusive and I hope it will get people to think about this issue. More importantly, it feels great to express myself regarding an issue that I think is very important. 

How do you feel about self-censorship in the art community? Comment below!