Steal like an artist: The world according to Austin Kleon

Reading Time: 2 minutes

artist with paint

The best selling author Austin Kleon calls himself ‘a writer who draws’. His recent book, Steal like an artist, is a mixture of musings, insights and ideas on creative living. Fortunately, I experienced his inspirational talk and killer powerpoint presentation at the Pepcon conference in Austin, Texas. He shared the following 10 tips:

1/ The brain needs to be uncomfortable
Austin believes our brain gets too comfortable with routine. To challenge it we need to travel or feel uneasy. This forces our brain to work harder. In this way, thoughts and situations gain clarity so we return home with a fresh perspective.
2/ Look at the world like an artist
Objects are neither good or bad but are evaluated as to whether they are useful to the artist or not.
3/ Save your thefts till later
Always carry a notebook and pen. The most famous thinkers, including Darwin, Hemmingway and Beethoven, wrote down ideas and sketched or composed music while they were out and about. Snippets of conversation, background music, images glimpsed on walls or in cafes — all helped to inspire great thinkers. But first they had to take notes.
4/ Stand next to talent
If you are the most talented person in the room then you are in the wrong room.
5/School yourself
School is one thing, education another. Continue to learn about the world long after you leave a learning institution.
6/ Climb your own family tree
Who inspired the person who inspired you?  Who inspired them? Trace back all sources of inspiration.
7/ Start copying
What we are born with and what we become are a process of copying others.
8/Step away from the screen
The computer doesn’t give you inspiration. Stand back, look at the world and get ideas.
9/ Write fan letters
Let people know you admire them. They might not answer but the important thing is to acknowledge their contribution.
10/ Share everything you’ve learned
Be generous, don’t hoard knowledge. Everyone benefits from sharing.

Steal like an artist

Related Post:
How to be a better designer: Nigel French leads the way

Author: Sue Bell
Sue Bell is an entertainment writer and author of Backpacked: A mostly true story, Beat Street and When Dreamworks came to Stanley.

2 thoughts on “Steal like an artist: The world according to Austin Kleon

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *