Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Five Things I Learned from Steal like an Artist

Steal like an Artist. Image credit: Austin Kleon
"10 things nobody told you about being creative — a manifesto for creativity in the digital age."

This book is written by New York Times' best-selling author Austin Kleon. This is an illustrated book aiming to promote creativity and productivity by the ten tips listed below.

This book was gifted to me by my friend as part of my Christmas wishlist! I finished reading it in approximately in one to two hours but I had to go back every now and then to digest everything and go deeper. 

From the title Steal like an Artist, it is important to note the use of the word steal as figurative. It does not mean to plagiarize but to simply be inspired and steal the thinking behind the ideas of your heroes and role models.

Steal like an Artist. Image credit: Austin Kleon
Here are the five pearls from the book that got stuck in my head.

Google everything. 
This lesson means to school yourself, look things up, and expand your curiosity. It can also be taken as it is. Google everything. Before you ask someone a question, research and find the answer for yourself. Don't be the annoying person who asks everything before even trying to find for the answer. *cough* Guilty here! *cough*

Nothing is original.
Coming up with an original idea must be a tedious task simply because there is no such thing as an original idea. Every new idea is a collaboration of previous knowledge and concept known to the person. This is where the title of the book comes in. Steal ideas from your heroes, your role models, the people that inspire you. 
Start copying what you love. Copy copy copy copy. At the end of the copy you will find your self.
-Yohji Yamamoto
Choose what to leave out.
Nothing is more paralyzing than the idea of limitless possibilities
I agree with this statement more than anything else. I often read several blogs and get inspired but then I will have a what they call a creative block. Ironically, sometimes limitations mean freedom. What I mean is, there will be times when we will get overwhelmed by the huge amount of information and diverse sources of inspiration. Although it is good to be exposed to different styles and ideas, it is necessary to know which ones are useful for your needs. You don't have to share everything you know. You just need to filter which ones will resonate with you the most.

Keep your day job.
Although this book somehow teaches us to follow our passion, It does not tell us to quit our day jobs. This is under the premise that our passion is not our job. It may seem contradictory at first but the reason behind it is very sensible and practical. Your day job gives you a connection to the world and relieves you from financial stress, thus more freedom in your art. I guess the only tricky thing here is to find a day job that pays well and does not take a huge amount of time and energy away from your passion.

Carry a notebook and a pen wherever you go. 
Living in the age of smart phones and tablets, some of us choose to list our thoughts, ideas, and to-do list on our digital toys. I prefer carrying a notebook and actually jotting down notes. A notable idea can pop out of nowhere - a recipe to search for, an app you want to download, a blog idea, lyrics heard, a lipstick to try, a kitchen item you need to buy, I could go on and on. It is convenient if you have a notebook with you and write those ideas before it slips your mind.

Why I love this book
The lessons written inside are very practical and does not leave me overwhelmed and stuck. This book is for everyone, not only for artists or those who are in the creative industry. While I was reading it, I experienced multiple Eureka moments. Probably the most number of Eureka moments I encountered in a short span of time. I had fun taking notes and doodling on this book. It was helpful and refreshing.

This book can be purchased at Fully Booked for 550 pesos. You can find out more about this book, the author, and his other creations here. Check it out guys and you will not regret getting a copy.

Any other book recommendations? I would love to hear about them by commenting down below. 

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