Steal Like an Artist & Show Your Work by Austin Kleon – November Book Club
Our November book club books – that’s right! Plural – were recommended by Sarah. She first heard about them from CharliMarieTV, a designer she follows on YouTube who shares the books with all her creative friends as gifts. These two books are full of information and advice for creatives while being fun and quick to read. The many large text and graphics, small square size and many quotes make it an easy read for anyone.
Steal Like an Artist
No…it doesn’t mean literally stealing! The idea of stealing like an artist is that we are always taking in inspiration from the things around us and using those elements to create new work. In a sense, no idea is ever new, rather it is an adaptation or an inspiration of something that already exists. For example, when Sarah creates a design she might find a color pallet she likes in one piece, a font from another, a style in a third and is able to use those three inspirations to create her design.
We love that it takes the pressure off of artists and creatives that we have to create something new and original. When we realize we are not going to reinvent the wheel and something crazy and unheard of we can do what we love and do it well, taking inspiration from what we love.
It’s interesting that the book is almost a representation of stealing like an artist. Kleon uses quotes throughout the book to help support his ideas. He gives credit of course. which brings up the point that there is no shortage of appreciation for credit given where credit is due. Be generous and over-credit or honor people that inspire you.
But chapter 6 is a pre-cursor to the second book…
Show Your Work
Kleon’s second book is all about overcoming the fear of putting your work out into the world for others to see, whether that fear is that someone may steal it or that it won’t be well received. Be true to you, do your work and be willing to put it out for others who may enjoy it. Of course, don’t overshare! Shaunae gives an example of how she decides what is okay to put out – will her parents read it, or an ex-boyfriend, and is it something they should see? If not, then it doesn’t get posted. But showing up to share your work consistently is what will help you be noticed for what you are putting out. If you only share work from time to time, people will forget about it.
It is also important to have your own little space on the internet! It has been brought up by many influencers, what happens when your social media account disappears? How do you reach your audience. Having your own website to document your work gives you that much more of an opportunity to be present. It is also truly a documentation of you work, especially if you blog. Shaunae mentions how her blog is like a diary of all that she has done in her business and even the personal parts of her life that she shares.
We loved these books and know we will go back go them again and again for creative inspiration. We’d love to hear from you what you love about these books or a favorite quote you have.
Buy the Books
Mentioned in this episode:
• Podcast on taking time to think: https://seanwes.com/podcast – not currently out at launch of episode, watch this link
• Seventh Week Sabbatical idea: from Sean McCabe – https://seanwes.com/podcast/390-schedule-a-recurring-sabbatical
• Facebook: facebook.com/sarahschraderdesign