Book: Steal Like An Artist

Book cover of "Steal Like An Artist", by Austin Kleon.
Book cover of “Steal Like An Artist”, by Austin Kleon.

While I was on vacation earlier this year and waiting a few minutes at FedEx for my turn in line, I noticed a book on display titled “Steal Like An Artist” (by Austin Kleon). I only had time to flip through a few pages, but I was intrigued enough to jot down the title and look it up when I got home. A few weeks later I looked up the book on Amazon and bought it.

 The book is fairly short and the pages do not have much text. I was able to read the entire book in 2 short sessions over 2 days. And I have already re-read the book, which I did in one session while taking some barebones notes.

But although the book is short, it has some great ideas and suggestions for improving your creativity, as an artist or in any line of work.

The title conveys the central idea of his work: find what you like, make it your own (“steal” it), and then improve it. The more you “steal” and improve, the better and more unique your work will be. This method works because (a) you are working on things that inspire you, (b) by working on things you like you’ll be more consistent in spending time on your craft, and (c) by spending more time on your craft you’ll continue to get better at what you do. Ultimately, you’ll end up integrating all of the aspects of what inspire you to form your own voice, and you’ll no longer be “stealing” anything but creating your own unique pieces!

Besides the central theme, Austin Kleon also gives a bunch of suggestions to use in your daily life to help find your inspirations and others to keep you focused on your craft. In fact, I am starting to use a few of his ideas for tracking (and creating) my goals — writing in a logbook and tracking my goals using a checklist-style list are both suggested in his book.

During my second read of his book, I also kept a running list of tasks and ideas to follow in the near future. I have yet to implement all of them, but it is exciting to find motivation and inspiration this book, hopefully to push along my development in LightWave and my creativity in general.

I highly recommend this book to anyone with a desire to improve their own creativity and productivity. If you read it, post a comment and let me know what you think!