Why I illustrate all our blog posts, as a CEO

Lately, I’ve been getting asked more frequently: “Claire, do you illustrate your own blog posts?”

The answer is, “Yes.”

To date, I’ve written hundreds of blog posts. With the exception of a few (where I’ve used a photograph as the main image instead), I’ve illustrated each one myself.

I’m not a professional artist by any means (I grew up drawing and painting thanks to my mom, who’s an artist). A much better idea might’ve been to hire someone else who I’m sure could produce higher caliber work and save me some time…

But I insist on doing the illustrations myself. Why?

An illustration I did last week.

It shows we care.

These days, everyone is writing something— be it blog posts, e-books, newsletters — and a lot of it sounds and looks the same. A high-resolution, parallax scrolling image as the featured photo. A brightly-colored, minimalist infographic. You can even hire ghostwriters or outsource your writing to content marketing firms who’ll both write and illustrate the posts for you.

See the same thing enough times in enough places… and you start to smell the lack of authenticity when you read it.

You think to yourself, “Do these people even give a shit?”.

Here at Know Your Team, we do give a shit. Our sole purpose for writing is not to increase our SEO ranking or “growth hack” our business. We write because we truly care about creating more open, honest workplaces. And we believe sharing our insights can help more people influence their own workplaces to be that way.

Illustrations done by me, the CEO, is one way for us to show this. We don’t hire out anyone else to write our stuff. We don’t even hire anyone to illustrate our stuff.

We give a damn, so we do it ourselves.

Doing something yourself — whether or not you have to — shows that you care.

This past January, I received a birthday card that my mom made herself. Admittedly, I cried when I opened it. It meant so much more to me than if she would have picked up something from the store. (By the way, my mom has handmade me a card almost every year since I was born!).

The birthday card my mom made me this year.

The same goes for business. When a CEO writes, illustrates, etc. herself, it shows she cares.

Sure, it’s time-consuming and a bit tedious. I first google some images to get ideas for what I want to draw. Sometimes, I draw a few images and riff on them before deciding on one. I sketch out the final image. Then it’s Sharpie time. I use watercolor pencils to fill it in. I take a picture of it with my phone, adjust it in Photoshop… And voila! The illustration you see is on our blog post.

Is that all too “in the weeds” for a CEO to be doing? Meh, I’m not sure that I care.

The fact that something takes longer and requires a little more effort matters less to me. What matters is that we’re trying to communicate authentically with whoever is kind enough to lend us their time.

Even if it’s not “perfect” quality or the most efficient thing to do… So what?

If it shows you care, I say do it.


Big news! We’re now Know Your Team. Check out our new product that helps managers become better leaders, and get the full story behind our change.

P.S.: If you did indeed enjoy this piece, please feel free to share + give it ❤️ so others can find it too. Thanks 😊 (And you can always say hi at @clairejlew.)

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