Everyone acts as if the creative process is some mystic, magical process. In some ways it is. But, at least in my experience, it more has to do with the fact artists and creatives cannot always explain how their minds work. We know how our minds work, but we cannot always explain our rather abstract thought processes to those outside our heads (makes it sound like there are people in side our heads, but that isn’t always the case).
The book “Steal Like an Artist” tries to demystify the creative process by showing that creativity is as much an external process as well as the unseen internal process. It is a really quick read and I highly recommend picking up a copy, even if it means borrowing it for the library.
However, I do realize that most people won’t take the time to read it. Heck, most people who see the link to my blog won’t take the time to read it. But whatever. I will post my notes on here anyway. If anything, it is a good reminder for me. Some of these steps i need to follow. 6 and 7 are things i need to work on. The author, Austin Kleon, says to post links to things and works that interest you. I am not very good at doing that, as I try to post my own work. Yet I currently have little to show at the moment. I need to keep blogging, so might as well start posting things like this.
Here are my notes:
Steal Like an artist
- How does and artist look at the world? You figure out what is worth stealing, then you move on to the next thing
- If you consider something original, 9 times out of 10 you just don’t know the references or original sources
- Good artists understand that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is original
- There is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9
- “Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again.” Andre Gide
- Embrace influence instead of running from it.
- Originality is just undetected plagiarism.
- Every good idea is just a remix of one of more previous ideas
- We are shaped and fashioned by what we love
- an artist is a collector. We collect what we love.
- You’re only going to be as good as the the stuff you surround yourself with
- Your job is to collect good ideas. The more good ideas you collect, the more you can choose from to be influenced by.
- Study a particular artist
- Google Everything
- Use the library
- Don’t worry about doing research. Just search
- Put things on paper, don’t just cary them in your head.
- Take ideas and put them away for later. Keep them in one place
Don’t wait until you know who you are to get started
- Its the act of making things and doing our work that we figure ourselves out.
- Most creative people will say the don’t know where the good stuff comes from. They just have an idea and follow it.
- Fake it till you make it. Act like and do the things of the type of creative you want to be.
- We learn by copying
- Don’t just steal the style, steal the thinking behind the style.
- Emulate your heroes. When you fall short, you begin to develop your style. merely imitating your heroes is not flattering them. Transforming their work into something of your own is how you flatter them. Adding something to the world that only you can add.
Write the book you want to read
- All fiction is fan fiction.
- Don’t write what you know, write what you like. Write the story you like best.
- When we love a piece of work, we are desperate for more. Why not channel that desire into something productive.
- The manifesto is this: 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.
Use your hands
- Step away from the screen.
- Computers kill creativity.
- We need to move, to feel like we are making something with out bodies, not just our heads. Work that only comes from the heads isn’t any good.
- Find a way to bring you body into your work.
- Motion kickstarts the brain into thinking.
- Disconnect from the digital. Work with something physical.
Side projects and hobbies are important.
- Its the side projects that really take off. Side projects = stuff you thought was just messing around
- Multiple side projects is a good thing.
- If you get stuck or sick of one project, move to another. Get sick of the project, move back to the other.
- Allow yourself to be bored. Creative people need time to just sit and do nothing.
- Mundane tasks help focus the mind.
- Keep all of your passions in your life. Don’t throw away any hobbies. The unifying piece is you.
- Creative passions and hobbies feeds into your work (that which puts food on the table)
- A hobby is something creative just for you.
- A hobby should be regenerative.
Do good work and share it with people.
- In the beginning, obscurity is good.
- Most of the world doesn’t care what you think.
- There is no pressure when you’re unknown. You can do what you want.
- Experiment, do things just for fun.
- Do work and share it with people.
- Doing food work is incredibly hard.
- Make stuff everyday.
- Put yourself on the internet
- Wonder at something, invite others to wonder with yourself. Wonder about things no one else is wandering about
- The more open you are about your passions, the closer people will feel to your work.
- Be open about your creative process.
- You don’t put yourself online only because you have something to say – you can put yourself online to find something to say.
- The internet can be and incubator for ideas that are not fully formed.
- You are only as good as your next blog post.
- Connect with others.
- You don’t have to share everything. Be selective. Just show a glimpse of what you are working on.
- Reference other sources in posts.
- If you are worried about giving your secrets away, share the dots without connecting them with lines
Geography is no longer master
- Use internet to build community
- A bit of solitude is good as well.
- Leave home. Discover new places.
- You need to be uncomfortable every now and then.
- Your brain gets too comfortable in your everyday surroundings. You need to make it uncomfortable. You need to spend some time in another land, among people that do things differently than you. Travel makes the world look new, and when the world looks new, our brains work harder
- live around interesting people, and not necessarily people who do what you do.
- You need to be fed creatively, socially, spiritually, and literally.
Be nice (the world is a small town)
- If you talk about someone on the Internet, they will find out.
- The best way to vanquish your enemies on the Internet? Ignore them.
- The best way to make friends on the internet? Say nice things about them.
- Stand next to talent.
- You are only as good as the people you surround yourself with.
- Pay attention to what they are talking about, what they are doing, what they are linking to.
- If you find that you are the most talented person in the room, find another room.
- Quit picking fights on the internet and go make something.
- Be angry, but keep your mouth shut and go do your work.
- Write blog post about someones work that you admire and link to there site.
- The important thing is that you show your appreciation without expecting anything in return, and that you get new work out of the appreciation.
- The trouble with creative work: Sometimes by the time people catch on to what’s valuable about what you do, you’re either a) bored to death with it, or b) dead. You can’t go looking for validation from external sources.
- Ironically, really good work often appears to be effortless. People will say, “Why didn’t I think of that?” They won’t see the years of toil and sweat that went into it.
- Not everybody will get it. People will misinterpret you and what you do.
Be boring. (It’s the only way to get work done)
- It takes a lot of energy to be creative.
Creativity is subtracting.
- Nothing is more paralyzing that the idea of limitless possibilities. They idea that you can do anything is terrifying.
- The way to get over a creative block is to put some constraints on yourself.
- Working with limits gives you more freedom.
- Work with what you have right now, don’t make excuses for not working.
- The right constraints can lead to the best work.
- It is often what an artist chooses to leave out that makes the art interesting.
- You must embrace your limitations and move on
- In the end, creativity isn’t just the things we choose to put in, it’s the things we choose to leave out.
- all art is collaboration
- Make things for people you love. For people you want to meet.
- Steal from yourself. Dreams and memories.
- Always be reading. A book is a lens to see the world through.