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Books that Inspire Creativity

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I like to think of myself as a creative person. I’ve always enjoyed drawing, painting, and different kinds of sculpture. On more than one occasion I have considered giving up on academia and ‘real’ work in favour of becoming a craft show guru (not that I’ve ever sold any of my creative endeavors to anyone beyond relatives and a few school friends). I haven’t done it yet, but every once in a while I come across a blog or a book that rekindles that flame.

So here are a few books I’ve read that make me want to turn my apartment into a studio, buy expensive art supplies, and become a painter/illustrator/jewelry maker/weird art lady.

The Cross Roads of Should and Must

The Crossroads of Should and Must

I got this little lovely from the folks at Workman Publishing Group when I visited with NYU SPI. It’s written by Elle Luna, an artist who had a dream and followed it (literally, she dreamed of a white room, found it on Craigslist, and made it a studio). She talks about pressures everyone feels to be responsible and do the things everyone says we “should” and the pull to do things we love, the things we must do to feel fulfilled. Also, it’s got wonderful painted illustrations throughout. The people at Workman said Elle Luna took over an office just to make sure the book ended up looking great. If you want to know what it’s about, take a look at the Medium article that inspired the book.

Steal Like an Artist

Steal Like an Artist cover

Like Cross Roads, this one is a short, fun, illustrated book. Austin Kleon is the author and he is a writer an artist. This book began as a presentation for a community college that discussed things Kleon wished he had known when he was starting out. He developed those ideas further into the book, providing tons of tips for living creatively, embracing influences, and being yourself. Also wonderfully illustrated, this one is a pleasure to read.

Show Your Work

Show Your Work cover

Another Austin Kleon book, because why not? What sets this one apart from the others, I think, is that it focuses less on embracing your creative side (though that’s certainly there) and more on how to be findable – something that is necessary if you want to make a career of your creativity. It talks about being creative in an internet age and gives tips for sharing your work, giving credit where it’s due, and finding success. Definitely a cool alternative to other more ‘feel good’ creativity manifestos.

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