Sunday, May 12, 2013

Book #35: Make Good Art

Title: Make Good Art

Author: Neil Gaiman

Date started reading: May 12, 2013
Date finished reading: May 12, 2013

Publish date: May 2013
ISBN: 9780062266767
Number of pages: 80

Official summary: "In May 2012, bestselling author Neil Gaiman stood at a podium at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts to deliver the commencement address. For the next nineteen minutes he shared his thoughts about creativity, bravery, and strength: he encouraged the students before him to break rules and think outside the box. Most of all, he encouraged the fledgling painters, musicians, writers, and dreamers to make good art. This book, designed by renowned graphic artist Chip Kidd, contains the full text of Gaiman’s inspiring speech. Whether bestowed upon a young artist beginning his or her creative journey, or given as a token of gratitude to an admired mentor, or acquired as a gift to oneself, this volume is a fitting offering for anyone who strives to make good art." (

How I obtained the book: Got a free copy through my now-former employer (a newspaper)

My commentary:
  • My husband is a fan of Gaiman, so I've heard a lot about him since we started dating, but I don't have much personal experience with his work. I grabbed this book for my husband, but I ended up really loving it myself.
  • The book takes Gaiman's 2012 speech and displays it in one of the most creative ways I've ever seen using different typography. After we both read the book, my husband and I watched the speech online (I've posted it below). We agreed that it was a little more interesting seeing the speech in this printed book than listening to him actually giving the speech, but in the end, it is the most profound graduation speeches I've heard (and I've heard lots that were so boring I wish I could've missed out on them). I can definitely see why it was turned into this book.
The speech:

Memorable quotes:
  • "Looking back, I've had a remarkable ride. I'm not sure I can call it a career, because a career implies that I had some kind of career plan, and I never did. The nearest thing I had was a list I made when I was 15 of everything I wanted to do: to write an adult novel, a children's book, a comic, a movie, record an audiobook, write an episode of Doctor Who... and so on. I didn't have a career. I just did the next thing on the list."
  • "The problems of failure are hard. The problems of success can be harder, because nobody warns you about them."
  • "Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do. Make good art."
  • "Be wise, because the world needs more wisdom, and if you cannot be wise, pretend to be someone who is wise, and then just behave like they would." 
  • "Make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make good art."

Buy on Make Good Art

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