You don’t need to be a genius, you just need to be yourself. In Steal Like an Artist, Austin Kleon writes about the things he wish he knew in college.
I enjoyed this book, it was easy to read and felt real. While reading this book, it felt like I was talking to a friend who was giving me advice. Each chapter had steps that felt realistic and simple.
The following are some things that stood out to me while I was reading the book.
Nothing is Original
“What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original.” -Austin Kleon
Once you accept that nothing is original, it opens a lot of doors for your creativity. Kleon recommends that you look at all forms of art, don’t only look at work similar to yours. (ie: photography, painting, movies, books, architecture nature, etc).
When you find something worth stealing, write it down in your sketchbook or keep a file on your phone. This way, when you need inspiration you can look at many images and take pieces of them. Eliminating the risk of copying someone else’s work.
Also known as the “psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments.” In other words, you feel like a phony and don’t have any idea what you’re doing. This is something that everyone deals with at some point in their life.
Side Projects and Hobbies are Important.
“The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.” – Jessica Hische
By side projects, Kleon means the stuff you make when you think you are just messing around. It’s important to have several projects going on at one time. This allows you to bounce back and forth and give your brain a break.
Your side projects don’t need to be related to your work. Your side project could be something that you are awful at but love doing. And you don’t need to share it – you can have something that is just yours.
Make friends, ignore enemies.
Be nice. The world is a small town (especially with the internet). The internet allows us to connect with people that we previously would never meet. You will make some amazing friends who support you and you will meet some people who hate your work.
Not everyone will like your work and that’s okay. If some people really like your work, then there will be people who really hate it. Everyone has different tastes, and that’s okay. It’s also okay to ignore the people who don’t like your work. Don’t be rude or mean to them, but you don’t need to defend your work to them.
This book is full of great advice, I highly recommend that you pick up a copy. It’s a great reminder to have in your studio, or where you make things.
Have you read Steal Like An Artist? What did you think of the book? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!