These books are a must read for anyone who is working in the creative world or have dreams of doing so. There haven’t been many books that I have read cover to cover over and over again, however it is a must for these books. Each read through provides some new insight or tip that I had previously overlooked as I wasn’t at that stage yet or I held a different mindset at the time, but now is invaluable. The books are written by writer, poet and artist Austin Kleon, whose black-out poetry is incredible, and is also featured throughout the books.
The first book of this trilogy (trilogy at the time of writing) Steal Like An Artist, is an amazing insight into the steps needed to start out your creative endeavours. With chapters such as, Write the Book you Want to Read and The Secret: Do Good Work and Share it With People, it gives an incredibly easy insight on how to go about creating the art you want to make and how to take your inspirations, mash them together and create your own style of work. The book explains that it is ok to steal from your inspirations, as long as you steal from many and mix them up and add your own touch too. Starting out on my creative path, I thought it was always frowned upon to steal from other artists, however this book encourages it, and it couldn’t make more sense. If you think of any of your influences or inspirations, they too had influences and inspirations that shaped their work. This book tells you how to steal tastefully without imitating other peoples work.
The second instillment titled Show Your Work was one of the biggest helps and kicks up ass that I have had so far in my work. It’s simple but effective message is to do just what the title suggests - show your work! Now that you have an idea of what you want your work to be, after reading Steal like an artist, the next logical step is to share that work with the world. This book tells you how to simply do just that! I have read this book more than any other and I am still finding messages that I can use.
The third and newest instillment from Austin Kleon is entitled Keep Going. I have just finished this book and it came at exactly the right time. As every artist knows there are ups and downs and more downs, but the trick is to keep on your track and keep making your work. In this, again, simply explained book it opens your eyes to allow you to take a step back and asses where you are and gives help in keeping you on your chosen path. As well as this it also explains how it is ok to change path, which I think artists need to hear sometimes as a kind of permission to try new things. The permission that this book gives can be very inspirational and thought provoking. If you come to the realisation that the path you were walking is no longer right for you, change direction, find a new path. There is also no limit to time you can change your mind.
So as you can see, these books, if you allow them, can guide you through the tough times that come with making art. They show you that what you may think is just happening to you, happens to most artists and that if you ride it out it’ll be worth it. They really are an extremely helpful guide to making creative work.
These books have helped me and continue to help me with my work and I am incredibly thankful for them. If you too want a warm helping hand - pick these books up!
Also visit austinkleon.com