By Nina J P Evans

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Steal Like An Artist

Austin Kleon’s new book titled Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told Me About The Creative Life looks like something for the desk rather than the bookshelf. The black and white graphic styling has free flowing textual information with handwritten visual presentations. Kleon’s illustrations have a talent to amuse and entertain, interplaying with the narrative style aptly with their honest hand drawn integrity. Interestingly the book was published after presenting a guest lecture to students at Broome Community College, upstate New York. The book is about everything with nothing new, really… it's sage wisdom and lists are useful learning methods for the designers consideration. This is a manual for students and professionals alike, as the funny thing is, that mistakes are made equally. Feedback and testing is a vital part of any design process especially considering the viral nature of the web.

The title of the book: Steal Like An Artist can be helpfully explained through the visual diversity of graphic styles, ranging from Saul Bass’ iconic inspired illustrations to cute though sometimes menacing Japanese graphics. These are just two styles out of many… that could complement each together. Though designers adding graphic styles to project pieces, should take note of Kleon’s advice: “Steal from many, not one!” As with other industries research is key, a designer needs to compare and contrast design genres. Below are some further quotes from the book.
You are the consumer. Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use - do the work you want to see done.
It’s the side projects that really take off. The stuff that you thought was just messing around. Stuff that’s just play. that’s actually the good stuff. That’s when the magic happens. Bounce between them. when you’re sick of one, switch to another.
Don’t worry about unity from piece to piece—what unifies all your work is the fact that you made it. One day, you’ll look back and it will all make sense.
The messages are simultaneously direct and poignant with visual presentation that is delightful.