I read a lot of books. Seriously.
But it’s not super often that I read industry books that connect with me as well as the work of Austin Kleon has in recent weeks. Perhaps Justin Ahren’s work in ‘Life Kerning.’ Over the years I’ve amassed a pretty significant library of books in all kinds of directions supporting creative thinking, art direction, design practices and standards, theory, etc. And only a few have served to be educational as well as enjoyable reads.
I’ve had Kleon’s ‘Steal Like an Artist’ on my endless Amazon wishlist for quite sometime. Always intending to buy it, but never pulling the trigger—opting for other books instead. So it was sort of fate that I picked up a copy at a local Barnes and Noble and flipped through it. So captivated was I, that I immediately bought it and set a calendar notification for the release of its follow up, ‘Show Your Work!’ Austin Kleon, in my opinion, is one of the more insightful and impressive contributors to the creative scene and he writes in a way that’s not forceful or overbearing. It’s a candid conversation—free of pretentious ego-swinging and vague artist statements. Reading through these two works, I just couldn’t put them down until I was at the back cover. Always wanting more. He speaks to the creative climate of present day and provides an important perspective for those both new to the business and those battle-weary. Encouraging us to find ways to grow and communities to be a part of.
Normally, I’d dissect these works and provide a summary, but it’d do a disservice to Mr. Kleon and his work. The best I can do is say that if I were ever to meet the guy, I think I could just chat with him at length. I can tell by reading his work that he gets it and that he’s just a rad guy. And that you owe it to yourselves to pick up these books and give ’em the ole looky-loo.