Steal Like An Artist: Ten Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative is written by Austin Kleon. He is an amazing guy who encourages anyone and everyone to become inspired, be artistic, stop questioning yourself and your abilities. Kleon, who is also a musician, believes emulating your heroes allows you to find your own creative style. His book is distilled from talks he’s given to young people on the subject of successful creativity.
He says, “What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original. Some people find this idea depressing, but it fills me with hope. If we’re free from the burden of trying to be completely original, we can stop trying to make something out of nothing, and we can embrace influence instead of running away from it.”
Kleon advocates using analog tools once in a while instead of a tablet or laptop. For example, he has two desks: one has a stash of paper, markers, and Post-its and one houses his tablet, computer, and scanner. As Kleon prepared to publish his book of poetry, Newspaper Blackout, the process was nearly all hands on: he used a marker to black out words in newspaper articles, scanned the poems he had created, and printed them. Then Kleon moved the poems around until he had decided how each should be arranged in the book.
Steal Like an Artist embraces an organized plan for self-development with chapters like:
- Don’t Wait Until You Know Who You Are To Get Started
- Use Your Hands
- The Secret: Do Good Work and Share It With People
- Creativity is Subtraction
Within this short little book you will find quotes from lots of successful people including Pablo Picasso, Steve Jobs, Jay-Z, Kurt Vonnegut, Gustave Flaubert, Tom Waits and Jack White. Kleon pulls from all kinds of resources to support the idea behind Steal Like an Artist. He has written a great book for the recent graduate, or the young artist or musician, but I found it to be inspirational myself, and I’ve been around a while!
Reviewed by Leigh