Erik Jones Doodles the Podcast Industry 🎨
Does he get it right, or does he get it RIGHT?
If you’re active on Podcast Twitter, you’ve probably seen one of Erik Jones’ podcast illustrations on your feed. They’re playful, meta, and spot-on. I love ‘em!
So today, I wanted to share a few of them with you — plus a lil Q&A with Erik about how he got started making them. His whole approach is pretty inspiring.
First of all, fill all the Besties in on Hurt Your Brain and how you got interested in podcasts.
EJ: Hurt Your Brain is my newsletter full of podcast recommendations and links that will make you think. I drive a lot for my job, and about ten years ago, I dabbled in podcasts to help pass the time. My obsession was immediate! I was drawn toward nonfiction and anything where I could learn a little bit about how the world works. Podcasts are this amazing source of knowledge, and I eventually started the newsletter as a way to share the best episodes I came across.
What inspired you to start doing the brilliant podcast illustrations you post on Twitter?
EJ: It all started because I have this slight hatred towards the overuse of generic stock photos. When I created Hurt Your Brain, my goal was to always create my own images, even without knowing exactly how to do that. I never considered myself artistic, but I became fascinated by how creativity works — and the idea that learning anything is simply a matter of having the interest and putting in the time. I wanted to prove to myself that the self-talk of “I’m not artistic” is just a bunch of B.S. Who says I can’t decide to be a person who draws?! Since I started, I’ve been all over the place with style and content, but it continues to be a blast and touches a part of my brain that nothing else does. Posting them primarily on Twitter is relatively new for me, and I really like the immediate gratification (don’t we all). I don’t make visuals solely about podcasts, but most of my audience is in the podcast world, so I try to lean into that and have a little fun along the way.
Do you have a favorite or two?
EJ: If it’s not cheating, here are two threads of recent favorites. This one is full of my favorite charts and graphs I’ve recently made, and this one is full of various visual metaphors about podcasts. My all-time favorite is probably the idea of the podcast bookshelf.
What’s your process for creating them?
EJ: I’m always writing down ideas in various notebooks and documents that would make for interesting visuals. I sometimes doodle ideas as well. Then I review them when I have free time and gauge how long they might take. Not to out myself, but you can really tell how much time I had by what kind of drawing I post (graphs are my friend). For the drawings themselves, everything is with an Apple Pencil on the iPad Pro using Procreate, which is a combo I can’t say enough good things about.
What’s been the reaction thus far from the podcasting community?
EJ: A few months ago, I decided to go all-in on a 30-day challenge on Twitter that focused just on podcast-related visuals. The response was stronger than most things I’ve put out there, so I’m thinking that’s a signal I should pay attention to. Lots of people found my newsletter and subscribed, and several people have reached out looking to use the visuals in various ways, which was unexpected and thrilling. In general, the podcast community is just the best.
Anything else you’d like to add?
EJ: If you are trying to communicate something, visuals are an incredible medium to experiment with. Hand-drawn visuals really do stand out. I click on any article where I can tell the author created the header image, and I love seeing other visuals on Twitter (which I way prefer over Instagram). For simple visuals, the idea is 10x more important than any kind of skill. Give it a try! Also, if you want to see my wild, all-over-the-place visual journey, take a look through the archives of my website. Start on this page and go backwards. You’ll end up thinking, “oh yeah, I could totally do that.”
Such great inspo. Thank you, Erik!
➡️ Follow Erik on Twitter to stay up to date on his latest doodles.
➡️ Check out Erik’s newsletter, Hurt your Brain! You’ll love it if you’re into podcasts and you like to learn new things. There are also tons of links to his visuals within it.
The Ultimate Guide to Your Best Podcast Publishing Schedule - Dan Misener of Pacific Content continues to be a podcasting rock star on all things audience development. Check out his recent jam about episode release cadence.
Using Pinterest to Boost Your Podcast - Let Lauren Passell and Twila Dang take you to school about why you need to add Pinterest to your podcast promo strategy in a recent edition of Podcast Marketing Magic.
Twitter is Creating a Dedicated Space for Podcasts - Twitter’s encouraging podcasters to connect with listeners on their platform. Is this a sign of more to come?
Inside the Surprisingly Big Business of Spotify’s White-Noise Podcasts - Ashley Carman blew my mind and made me question my content strategy with this one. Apparently, there’s a vast appetite for soothing sounds to play while you fall asleep, and Spotify’s lucrative white-noise genre is quietly becoming a podcasting powerhouse.
Producer (full-time) at WABE | Atlanta, GA
Audio Editor (contract) at Softer Sounds | Remote
Podcast Coach (part-time) at Castos | Remote
Supervising Editor, Audience and Social Platforms (full-time) at NPR Digital | Remote
Podcast Producer (contract) at Next River | Remote
Multiple Positions, House of Pod
Producer | Colorado or Remote
Audio Editor | Colorado or Remote
Samoan Producer | Pacific Islands
Fact-Checker | Remote
Freelance Producer | Remote
We’re revisiting one of our most popular episodes: a deep dive into why women cheat. First, we speak to an Ashley Madison member going by the alias of “Nikki,” then Ashley Madison’s Chief Strategy Officer, Paul Keable, and finally, their Communications Director, Isabella Mise, who co-authored “The Good Wife Study” on female infidelity. You're gonna want to check your presumptions at the door for this one!
Check out the trailer for my *BRAND NEW PODCAST* about book writing and publishing. I’ve been having fascinating conversations with authors, and I can’t wait to share them. The first episode drops this Thursday, June 9th. In the meantime, make sure you subscribe to the companion Substack.
So… ROLL CALL! 🗣
How do YOU incorporate visuals into your podcast strategy? If you have any cool examples, please share!
Follow me @courtneykocak on Twitter and Instagram. For more, check out my website courtneykocak.com.