For some reason I have challenged myself to do a book review blog in less than 30 minutes. Let’s see how that goes.
On Sunday morning my wife and I decided to head to South Beach, a new foodie, hotel, office building in the centre of Singapore. We had just discovered a new restaurant that is vegan friendly, Real Food. We wanted to try their breakfast menu. It was great. We got the vegan French toast. Macron! Yay!
So, the book review
By our table was the magazine & book rack. I saw the words ‘like an artist’ on the cover of one book, and got curious.
So I grabbed the book, and got more curious when I saw the word ‘steal’, which was hidden by part of the magazine rack. I was touched by the spirit of Abby.
Five years later I found it in a cafe and read the whole thing while eating my vegan French toast with a long black coffee and some water on the side. Cold soy milk in the coffee.
The book; It’s one of those books you wish you held in your hands during your youth. Better late than never.
As a multi-media graphic illustrator writer researcher analyst artist hybrid I found so many affirmations I was in tears, and regularly read aloud to my wife across the table, interrupting her reading of a book about Beijing, then and now.
So what grabbed me?
Quotes from my heroes, like these (stolen with my iPhone6 camera);
So thanks to Austin Kleon I am getting to know my heroes better than I did before and he removes any residual guilt I may have had regarding the use of some stuff that others have created before me.
Let it be known that I prefer to post my own photos, illustrations, multi-media graphic mash-ups, videos, poetry and prose – what appears above are photos from Kleon’s book. It’s rare that I’ll just post other people’s stuff without any manipulation.
Two points on that: This is a book review. These are only a few excerpts. There’s much much much more in the 160 pages, so buy the book!
The other point? Hmmmm….. oh yeah: Nothing is original. So even if I compose a poem and insert it here, it was influenced in some way by previous stuff. Not just previous poems that others have composed, but songs, books, films, paintings, photos, forests, sunsets, break-ups, deaths, births, politics, floods, religion, and food.
Get it? Nothing is original. Nothing.
As Kleon puts it;
Kleon has much more to say about that. Like this on YouTube if you’re not into buying books.
If you are passionate about the creative process, you should like this…
Think of the apprentices of the great Masters. Think of cover bands. Kleon makes an amazing related observation about the Beatles in his book, so there’s a teaser for you. Now, start copying!
If you still hesitate to copy, think about this: Your output will not be an exact replica of the original. Whatever you do has modified your subject. Some may find that what you did is an improvement. Others might think it’s crap. You might be undecided. But one thing is true: You got some practice, and your skills will be better for it, as explained above my water;
And GET OUT!
(subtle move reference)
The last temptation of Bill Gates
Ok, personally I’m an Apple guy. Anyway, the point is, don’t ignore the computer, Google, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr. These things feed your head with images and ideas that can energise and inspire, if you understand how to use what your are exposed to and who you engage with.
My wife has said similar things to me, and if I am not careful, I can use too much time in the comments areas of YouTube, arguing on Twitter and Instagram threads, and seeing what’s up on Facebook. Time management and self discipline is required when venturing in to these arenas with the goal of finding something inspiring, grabbing it, and then doing something with it. Another thing that may take some practice.
Manual or Auto: FOCUS!
I guess one way to say it is; focus on the useful stuff;
I’m gonna take more than 30 minutes with this, but I’m gonna finish!
What images remain? My checklist says “six”
The good computer
Now don’t hate your computer, just don’t be overly dependent on it. Use paper, pencils, pens erasers, newspapers, magazines… grab your camera, canvas, paints, brushes, clay… cook something, try a new beer. Then switch the computer on. Consider it as your editor.
Ok, a scanner also helps.
No no no, not always! I probably don’t need to remind you to procrastinate, maybe you’re procrastinating now by reading this blog (by the way, thanks for reading this blog!) I am definitely procrastinating right now by writing it – analysis work awaits – but when you do procrastinate, do it without feeling guilty about it, ok?
Pay the rent
Unless you are born into wealth, you’ll need an income. Don’t feel special, most people are in your very same situation. So a day job helps.
Nobody likes to vomit, at least nobody I know!
Ok, the grand finale…
Kleon’s book, a best seller, offers many useful tips and a lot of guidance. When I got to the end (yeah, spoiler) I was relieved to find a checklist so I could start applying his wisdom immediately. And it goes like this;
Some of these are understandable as they are, others require paging back to the relative chapter – and I want you to buy this book, so buy it, page back and forth and read it!
As Kleon says;
45 minutes later and I’ll wrap this up here. I hope it took you less time to read it!
If Kleon’s lawyers chase me for stealing his stuff, I’ll use his book as my defense!