Posts Tagged ‘steal like an artist’

First Line

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Can’t see the video? Watch it here→

Took the family to Houston last weekend to see some new Wayne White paintings. (Owen’s first art show!) While we were there, we stopped at the terrific Brazos Bookstore. The folks there were super nice and asked me to be part of #FirstLineVine—so I read the first line of Steal Like An Artist. Shortest bookstore reading ever!

Keep your overhead low

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

do with less

“The key to eternal happiness is low overhead and no debt.”
—Lynda Barry

Anybody who tells people to “do what you love no matter what” should also have to teach a money management course.

Low overhead + “do what you love” = a good life.

“I deserve nice things” + “do what you love” = a time bomb.

A good life is not about living within your means, it’s about living below your means.

When Instapaper creator Marco Arment was asked about his business model, he said, “I sell an app for money, then I spend less than I make.” Sell something for money, spend less than you make. Is there a better model?

“The trick is,” film executive Tom Rothman says, “from the business side, to try to be fiscally responsible so you can be creatively reckless.”

The 80s underground band The Minutemen used to call this “jamming econo.” They knew the music they wanted to make would probably never be mainstream, so they kept their day jobs, made their records for cheap, learned how to fix their own tour van, and hauled their own equipment.

Live frugally so you can do the work you want to do. Save up some “screw you” money, so you can quit a job you hate to take a job you like better. Turn away venture capital money and bootstrap so you can keep control over your business.

To “jam econo” might not be the flashiest way of life, but it’s the best way to stay free.

[I cut this post from Show Your Work! because it felt too much like the "Keep Your Day Job" section of Steal Like An Artist.]

Steal Like An Artist now available in over half a dozen languages

Saturday, February 16th, 2013

Steal in translation

This week my publisher sent me author copies of the Czech, Dutch, Italian, Japanese, Swedish, and Turkish editions of Steal Like An Artist. (For some reason, the Spanish publisher hasn’t sent us copies yet.)

You can find out more about all the translations available here.

It’s very strange to have versions of your book that you can’t actually read.

Translation is always a creative challenge, but probably more so for Steal, which is a book not just full of writing, but pictures of writing.

I never made a font of my handwriting (all the headers in the book are a scan of my actual writing), so the foreign designers had to start from scratch.

Some of the publishers had an illustrator swap out words in the blackout poems so it would make sense:

Dutch-subtraction italian-subtraction

The Dutch publisher, Lannoo, actually went to the trouble of finding different signs for the de-sign pages:

kwaad werken

I’m not sure whether the Japanese publisher’s choice to switch the red accent color to a lime green was a purely aesthetic choice or if red has some meaning in Japan that I’m unfamiliar with. Their edition has a cool dust jacket with nothing but the arrowhead man on the cover of the actual book:


We’ve sold the rights in several other languages, but I should note that I have next-to-nothing to do with the foreign editions, so I don’t really know in advance when they’re going to drop. I’ll announce new editions on Twitter when they do: @austinkleon

Steal in translation

Signed copies of Steal Like An Artist

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

Signed copy of Steal Like An Artist

Folks ask me a lot for signed copies of Steal — the demand is just a little to high for me to handle myself, but the good folks at BookPeople, one of my favorite indie bookstores right here in Austin, TX, have offered to keep a bunch of signed copies in stock. (Yesterday I signed almost 100 copies!) Each one comes signed with the little arrowhead man doodle. You can order in store or online — they even ship overseas.

Order a signed copy→

Bookseller Flippo and the huge stacks of STEAL!

Video: Steal Like A Writer

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Here’s video of “Steal Like A Writer,” a talk I gave back in June at Cleveland’s Weapons of Mass Creation festival. It’s sort of a remix of the ideas in Steal Like An Artist geared towards designers, musicians, and anybody who wants to get better at writing. Here’s the original description:

No matter what your discipline, it’s hard to get any good work done without clear, straightforward communication. Simply put, being a good writer makes you better at your job. Using a few school supplies, a little visual thinking, and a whole lot of creative theft, this talk will help get you started on the way towards becoming a wordsmith.

Here’s the remixed list of ten:

And here are the slides:

And here are the links to the recommended reading:

It was a fun talk to give and a really nice audience — thanks to Joseph Hughes and the folks at WMCFest for having me.

See more of my talks→

UPDATE: Wanted to share these cool sketchnotes of the talk by Carolyn Sewell:

Sketchnotes of STEAL LIKE A WRITER by Carolyn Sewell

10 Things I Learned On Book Tour

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

A few things I thought a lot about while on the road touring behind Steal Like An Artist:

1. You are a traveling salesman.

Look, if you’re lucky enough to have a publisher that sends you on book tour, they’re sending you out there to do one thing: sell books.

A lot of writers don’t like to think of the commerce side of what they do, and to them I say: look at the back cover of your book. See that fucking barcode? That’s a product. Products need to be sold.

You may not want to be in sales, but the quicker you can embrace the role, the more comfortable you’ll be, and the better you’ll get at it.

Unless you wrote a shitty book, you have something every salesman dreams of: a product you believe in. Don’t be shy. Sell the thing.


Tour Sketchbook #2

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Tour Sketchbook

Here are some sketchbook scans from the second half of the Steal Across America tour. Here’s what I wrote about my first tour sketchbook:

I use a large Moleskine sketchbook because it has heavy bristol-like pages that don’t tear, it’s big enough to stick a boarding pass in the pages, and it has an envelope flap in the back for travel receipts.

I’m on the move a lot, so I don’t have a lot of time to sketch while I’m walking around, but I do have time to collage when I’m back in the hotel room, so I’ve started carrying transparent tape, Japanese Washi tape that my wife gave me, and a pair of safety scissors (TSA says under 4 inches is okay).

Tour Sketchbook - Portland

Tour Sketchbook - Newspaper Blackouts

Tour Sketchbook - San Francisco

Tour Sketchbook - Milwaukee

Tour Sketchbook - A note on comic delivery...

Tour Sketchbook - Stamps from the kid's activity area at the Denver Art Museum

Tour Sketchbook - Lichtenstein / notes

Tour sketchbook - packing notes

Read more about the Steal Across America tour→

Steal Across America Tour Diary #8: Austin, Colorado, Ohio, and Chicago

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

I just finished up my book tour promoting Steal Like An Artist. This is the last entry in the tour diary…

How I felt by the end of the tour...

Bookpeople Me and my young fan, Tori!

Started out with a kind of homecoming talk at Bookpeople in Austin, Texas, with a packed house. It was crazy thinking about how much has changed since the last time I talked at Bookpeople…


Denver Denver Denver Art Museum Boulder Book Store

Hopped a plane to Denver, spent a lot of time at the Denver Art Museum and the Clyfford Still Museum, then I drove over to Boulder to talk at the Boulder Book Store. Didn’t get to spend much time in Boulder, but the few hours I did spend there were really nice.

Ohio License Plate collage at the Ohio State student union

The Newport Corey Gillen and me

Stayed a night in Columbus so I could get to see Corey Gillen, my best friend of 15 or so years, drum with Josh Krajcik at a sold-out show at the Newport. Awesome night.

Weapons of Mass Creation

Weapons of Mass Creation John Drain, me, and Chris Glass

Next morning my Mom drove me to Cleveland to give a talk at the Weapons of Mass Creation Festival in Cleveland, Ohio. Unfortunately, I had to hop on a plane to Chicago, but I got to see my good buddies John and Chris.

The Bean

The stoop! Art Institute Printer's Row Printer's Row

In Chicago, I drank beer on my friend James’ stoop, then the next morning I went to the Art Institute and then participated in a panel at the Printer’s Row festival.

And then it was home to Texas. It’s been a wild couple of months and I’m still processing it all. Glad to not be in motion for a bit. Thanks to everybody who made this tour so great!

See the previous entries from my tour diary?

Steal Across America Tour Diary #7: NYC

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

I’m on book tour promoting Steal Like An Artist. See all upcoming dates or follow me on Twitter?


Foursquare NYC Jason Polan, me, and Drew Dernavich at Housing Works NYC NYC NYC

Had a nutty week in Manhattan at the end of May: we celebrated my wife’s 30th birthday, walked the wonderful High Line, had a lovely, bourbon-soaked dinner at my friend Lauren’s place, gave a talk at the Foursquare and 20×200 offices, ate at Szechuan Gourmet (some of my favorite Chinese food, ever), led an awesome panel with my friends Maud, Maria, and Maris at McNally Jackson, celebrated Steal‘s success and Boom’s impending arrival with my friends at Workman, and gave a talk at the agency 360i. Crazy couple of days…too much, really. Also: it was HOT.

You can see more from my tour diary or follow along as it happens on Twitter: @austinkleon

Video: Creativity and Curation Panel with Maria Popova, Maris Kreizman, and Maud Newton

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Creativity and Curation Poster

Can’t see the video? Watch it here→

I was so thrilled that my friends and favorite bloggers Maria Popova, Maris Kreizman, and Maud Newton agreed to be part of this panel last week in NYC. It was really really fun, McNally Jackson was packed, and best of all, someone was there filming and has posted a video of the conversation online for your viewing pleasure.

Also, dig these hand-drawn notes by @mosteverybody:

Notes by Derek (@mosteverybody)

curativity Creativity and Curation with Austin Kleon, Maria Popova, Maris Kreizman, and Maud Newton

Creativity and Curation with Austin Kleon, Maria Popova, Maris Kreizman, and Maud Newton

Creativity and Curation with Austin Kleon, Maria Popova, Maris Kreizman, and Maud Newton

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