A week or ago I talked to Danny Gregory (author of books like Art Before Breakfast and An Illustrated Life) in anticipation of my keynote at SketchKon in November. We talked about a variety of things: the power of paper, banker’s boxes, my notebooks, paper monuments to human effort, David Sedaris, something small every day, Thoreau, collage, zines, finding your voice, etc. Listen here.
Back in February I sat down with Mike Rohde and recorded a conversation for his Sketchnote Army podcast about how I work. It was recorded on an iPhone in a noisy coffee shop downtown, but it has a casual, candid feel to it that I enjoyed.
I was right in the middle of writing the talk that would become my new book, and while I don’t talk about the book at all, I talk a lot about the process of getting to it: going back to daily blogging, putting out the newsletter, having a repeatable daily practice for generating work, reading Thoreau’s journals, watching Ralph Steadman draw, etc.
This interview with the Adobe Make It folks was posted today, but it was filmed nine months ago, last August, which makes it odd for me to watch now, because I had no clue I was already working on the book I’m working on now. When Paul asks me what’s next, I say something about my kids and thinking about what creative people can learn from the way kids play. So funny. A lot can happen in 9 months. Whole humans can be conceived and born. Books, too…
Chase is one of my favorite interviewers, and we always have a good time.
- Documenting your process helps your progress.
Keeping track of what you’ve done helps you better see where you’ve been, where you are, and where you’re headed. It’s also a great way to hold yourself accountable — if you dedicate yourself to sharing a tiny bit of your process every day, you’re forced to actually do the work you should be doing.
- Sharing your process reaps the benefits of self-promotion without the icky feelings.
People are often just as interested in how you work as much as the work itself. By sharing your process, you invite people to not only get to know your work, but get to know you — and that can lead to new clients, new projects, and all sorts of other opportunities.
- Building an audience for what you do creates a valuable feedback loop.
Christopher Hitchens said the best thing about putting out a book is that it’s a “free education that goes on for a lifetime.” As you gain fans and followers by sharing your work, they will, in turn, share with you. Even when the feedback is bad, it can lead you down new paths.
That’s a short version of the why. The book will teach you how.
Leslie Barker, a writer at the Dallas Morning News, got in touch with me way back in October and asked me about a subject I consider myself an expert on: the benefits of boredom.
Here’s what I wrote in Steal Like An Artist:
When it comes to the benefits of boredom, I’m certainly not the first to write about the subject…
About a decade ago, I read Peter Turchi’s Maps of the Imagination: The Writer As Cartographer. The book had a big impact on me, so I was delighted to be asked to interview him last month at the Texas Book Festival about his new book, A Muse and a Maze: Writing as Puzzle, Mystery, and Magic. I recorded our discussion and edited it down (liberally) to the post below. Enjoy. [Read more…]
I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Kara Miller at Innovation Hub about being an artist in the digital age:
“I get impatient with artists today who still want to pretend like they’re living in the 19th century,” Kleon says. “This isn’t the 19th century and you’re not some French painter. A big part of being an artist is understanding what context you were born into, what the surrounding culture is like, and how you can add to it.”
Read more from the interview here.