Steal Like An Artist


            Despite its eyebrow-raising title, this book will not incite you to break intellectual property laws. But what it does is to push you to re-examine your beliefs about the creative process. Bold and provocative pronouncements such as ‘Nothing Is Original’ and ‘Be Boring’ pepper Kleon’s book, but don’t make the mistake of dismissing them as idealistic fluff. Delve into the often quirkily-lettered pages and what you encounter is a well-crafted manifesto that has much to offer to anyone involved in creative work – artists, white-collar workers, *cough USP cough* students…basically anyone who is a part of the knowledge-based society and economy of today.

This book is an expansion and deepening of a talk that Kleon delivered to a group of students, where he first outlined a list of ten ‘rules’ of creation which he had come to formulate over the course of his career as an illustrator, designer and writer. These range from the mundane  ‘Be Nice’ to the thought-provoking ‘Creativity is Subtraction’, and he puts forth a cogent argument as to why the specific ‘rules’ he advocates are essential. The writing is candid and forthcoming and does not insult the intelligence of the reader by glossing over the inherent difficulties and obstacles to be faced when doing creative work. The book then offers practical ways in which to face these issues and possibly surmount them in the journey of creation.

Even for the time-strapped student, this is an accessible book which will prove to be a quick read, but one in which the returns surely outweigh the time invested in reading. Who knows, something here might just help you ace that USP Arts module or the paper you have been fretting over! Definitely a must-read.

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