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Review: 'Steal Like an Artist' by Austin Kleon

Steal like an artist by Austin Kleon

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Here we go again another book on how to become a more creative artist. Except this one is a little different than any other book I've ever read. For one it is a shorter and more to the point than other books in the genre. For another thing it does not have any exercises to get the creative juices flowing. You know the kind I'm talking about, "If you had a favorite dog, write about what made the dog your favorite," and so on.

There is a lot to cover about this so let's get started.

In his book 'Steal Like an Artist' author Austin Kleon looks at the "selective borrowing" side of being an artist. He states, "What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original."

He goes on to say, "It's right there in the Bible: "There is nothing now under the sun." (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

The rest of the book is dedicated to the fact that an artist (no matter what form of art it is, writing, painting, music or acting) is a collector, who take bits and pieces of what they love and incorporate that into their art. Kleon also advises every artist to carry a notebook, sketchbook, or smart phone where ideas can be recorded when they pop into your head.

In another part of the book Kleon tells the budding artist to learn to copying their heroes, 'the people you, the people you're inspired by, the people you want be." The idea of copying is not to plagiarize another's work but to learn from them and then use what you learn to grow as artist. I have used this technique in the past when I wanted to expand my writing into a new genre like fantasy or romance.

I found this to be a great book, not so much as a strict how to book on creativity, but a book which after reading it once, twice, as many times as necessary, will help any artist take their creative instincts and expand them to a new level.

Get out there and borrow or better yet buy this book, in paper form if possible, so you can make notes in it. Happy reading.

Also if you're into it read Kleon's companion book, "Show Your Work."

Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company (February 28, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0761169253
ISBN-13: 978-0761169253