I’ve been hearing a lot about this book, so I decided to check it out. It’s written by an artist for artists, so the book itself is very creatively presented. The title is the real attention getter, of course. The word stealing makes me uncomfortable, but the author makes his point across very convincingly: The human mind is incapable of making a perfect copy. So even if you’re copying, you are already injecting yourself into your work. It’s great advice for creatives who are just starting out, and still haven’t found their own style. Start by copying work that you like. Don’t just steal the style, steal the thinking behind the style. Copy from people you’re inspired by, and not just one person. That’s how you find what your own thing is.
The hardest part about creative work is starting it. As artists, we are often plagued by doubt and indecision. A blank canvass can be so intimidating to someone just starting out (or even to a more experienced artist). Draw the art you want to see. Write the story you want to read. Play the story you want to hear. Isn’t that a great manifesto?
There will come a point where you’ll move on from imitating other artists to emulating them instead. Kleon explains that imitation is about copying, but emulation is about breaking through into your own thing. Don’t just become a replica of someone else, otherwise you’ll end up being called “the next ___”. Once you find your style, you will start creating more authentic work.
Here’s a summary of the 10 points Austin Kleon made in the book:
- Steal like an artist
- Don’t wait until you know who you are to get started
- Write the book you want to read
- Use your hands
- Side projects and hobbies are important
- Do good work and share it with people
- Geography is no longer our master
- Be nice (the world is a small town)
- Be boring (it’s the only way to get work done)
- Creativity is subtraction
I won’t go into the details of each one of them, but they were great reminders. It’s a fast and easy read, so it’s great for those with short attention spans too.
Katrina Centeno says
I’ve read this two weeks ago. Simple ideas yet very practical and easy to follow.
The book looks interesting… Thank you for sharing this, Patricia! ❤️ *me: runs to the bookstore*
I love this book. I read it about a month ago although it took. awhile before I actually read it because as you said – stealing like an artist felt uncomfortable to me. I realized upon reading the book that I have been ” stealing” all these years. I’ve been using others’ artwork as inspiration, and it’s OK!
It’s a great short read, isn’t it?
How interesting! It would be great for me who is afraid to start, afraid of a blank page. I can so relate with the doubts buzzing in my head. I am scared the output will not look like what I had envisioned. The word ‘stealing’ also makes me uncomfortable.
Believe me, Ceemee, I totally understand! It’s so intimidating, isn’t it?
Thank you for sharing this wonderful book. I’d love to have my own copy. 🙂
I listened to his Ted talk, but not yet read the book. Would love to get a hold of it! It was an awesome and encouraging talk 🙂
Oh, I have to check that out! Thanks Van!