How to Get Likes And Reblogs On Tumblr. Or Five Empty Panels.

Lars Brown writes,

It started in January. "I have to finish this comic, but this desktop background of green hills and a blue sky is so distracting! What to do…"

I hastily made five empty panels on a yellow background in Photoshop.


"Perfect. I should share this on Tumblr." At the same time I also uploaded a drawing of my son wearing a tiger jacket sitting next to a tiger, as opposed to drawing my comics. "A day well spent."

The next day I checked my phone and found that I had 953 notes on my Tumblr. "That is something." An hour later I found I had another 400 notes. "Goodness."

I posted my surprise on Facebook and before too long Faith Erin Hicks pointed out that Tumblr had graced me with a Tumblr spotlight for the drawing of my son and the tiger. At the end of the day that drawing had garnered 2,103 favorites and reblogs, I had gained 1,200 new followers and my drawing of empty comic panels was at 115 favorites.


The next day I was eager to post a new piece of art, so I posted a character design of the character Alma from my current work, Penultimate Quest. It got 24 notes, which was about normal from before I had a Tumblr spotlight. I immediately lost 200 new followers because I had bothered to post something new. "So it goes," said Kurt Vonnegut. The empty comic panels gained an additional 509 notes.

A week went by, I finished a chapter of my comic and posted about it and received an endearing 13 notes. I went to a small convention and posted my sketches and netted 21 notes. A drawing of a little girl and her protector robot (in color) pocketed 26 notes. All the while the empty comic panels gained another 359 notes.


Every day they trickled in, bit by bit. "I made this in 3 minutes and it's going around the world." 115 new notes. "Yellow isn't even a color that aids creativity or productivity." 59 new notes. "It's just empty panels!" 258 new notes.

I pushed everything to the side and focused on finishing my new comic. 264 new notes. I posted a link to my Kickstarter and got a reblog by Farel Dalrymple. The Kickstarter post got 33 notes, the empty comic panels another 193. It was madness.


From this point I can see what the future holds for me. Soon after my next book comes out I'm picked up by a small literary agency. The empty panels gain 709 new notes. They get me in touch with ABC Family. "You want to turn one of my books into a show on your network? What's even on ABC Family?" "No, no. We're interested in those boxes you drew." 1,985 new notes. I appear on Conan O'Brien. "So tell us about the comic panels drawing." "Well, it's five panels that make for a good first page to a comic. I could show you one of my comics-" "Up next is musical guest Smash Mouth!" 9,382 new notes. I begin to preface everything I do with "artist of Five Empty Panels."  The movie adaptation will be directed by Ridley Scott.  81,392 new notes.


753,982 total notes. The amount is recorded on my tombstone.

Lars Brown is the artist of Five Empty Panels and the author of Penultimate Quest and North World. His latest book, the second volume of Penultimate Quest, is on Kickstarter. All of his comics can be read on his website,


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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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