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I believe that art enriches and informs our lives everyday in many positive ways. Sharing those experiences, whether as an artist or as an appreciator, is part of the pleasure. I welcome your comments and hope you find something of value: a laugh, an insight, a new idea or just a happy moment. Enjoy art!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Steal Like An Artist

10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

Steal Like An ArtistI can't remember many books I have recommended via this blog but I have been sitting on this one a while and can't wait any longer!  If you have even the tiniest creative bone in your body (or wish you did) this little treasure should be in your library:  Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon.

Even before you open it the book will charm you: it has a nice feel, a different size, large type and an easy flow format.  Great to read straight through and easy to pick up for a 10 minute refresher.  But what else?

So many "self help/creative" books are a version of positive thinking.  And while Kleon is positive he is also proactive.  "Steal" is an action verb and it just so appealed to the goody-two-shoes side of me.  Even Picasso is quoted as saying "Art is theft."  HOW to steal is the key.  After explaining how to steal the author goes on with 9 other meaty pieces of insight all designed to unlock your creativity.  Each is creatively (of course) laid out and illustrated (being a visual person I can "see" the advice while I read it which helps my memory).  And, as he confesses early on, these are very autobiographical tidbits brought to life by real experiences and real failures. 

Here's a 'fer instance': #4- Use Your Hands.  We are all fabulous in our heads and most of us are quite free with criticism flowing from our mouth; what are my hands doing?  While the computer has opened up great new sources of ideas, all by itself it really is not making a darn thing.  Use Your Hands.  When my hands are engaged my mind goes into a totally different mode and works on incredible things I am not even conscious of.  I often knit (and I mean "knit" as that is the only stitch I know) just to work out a problem in my head.  And when painting my hands are the most important tool.  What are your hands doing?  Simple, huh?  Are they writing (or thinking about the book you want to write), are they creating in the kitchen (or watching the cooking channel); use your hands, they are the God-given tools of your trade.  (My summation does not scratch the surface, in about as many words as I have used, Kleon goes miles further!)

The 'mother' in me is also partial to the #9- Be Boring chapter; but I will leave that one for you to discover. 

I got my copy from for $10.95 and it was the best $11 I have spent this summer...fits in my purse and I can get re inspired when ever I have to kill time waiting on an appointment I am inevitably too early for.

Finally, if you don't believe me, just check out his website by clicking on the book photo above and meander through this guy's head for a bit.  You'll either take notes (and lose them ) or you'll invest the bucks.  Have fun and let me know what you think.  Meanwhile I am off for a long walk in the woods because #5- Side Projects and Hobbies Are Important.


  1. Great post Cindy. I am off to check out his website. (It's a scary thought to imagine you more fired up than usual!)

  2. Someone sent me this book (and I later found out who) and it was a delight to read. Nicely reported, here, too.


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