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…
A few weeks ago I gave a new talk at Bond in San Francisco. It’s a list of 10 things that have helped me stay creative in such chaotic times:
- Every day is Groundhog Day
- Build a bliss station
- Forget the noun, do the verb
- Make gifts
- The ordinary + extra attention = the extraordinary
- Art is for life (not the other way around)
- You are allowed to change your mind
- When in doubt, tidy up
- The demons hate fresh air
- Spend time on something that will outlast them
I really loved giving this talk. (And, as I’ve hinted, it is a preview of my next book.) If you’ve been struggling too, hopefully you’ll find something helpful in it. Please share it with anybody you think could use it. The full video is below.
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.
Video of a talk I gave last October at Book Passage in Corte Madera, while touring The Steal Like An Artist Journal. (I didn’t remember they were filming! I gave three talks that day on completely opposite ends of San Francisco — this was the third.) It’s the same as the talk I filmed at BookPeople (which has all the slides) but there’s a Q&A in this one that starts around the half-hour mark, if you want to skip straight there.
If you didn’t get to see me on tour, here’s video of the 30-minute talk I gave about the notebooks and journals that influenced The Steal Like An Artist Journal, filmed during the last stop of the tour at BookPeople in Austin, Texas.
A couple of links I mention in the talk:
- Interview with Mitch Hedberg’s widow, comedian Lynn Shawcroft
- Gary Panter on keeping a sketchbook
- Roger Ebert on drawing in a sketchbook
- A lot of slides come from the “notebooks” tag on my tumblr
The folks at Confab just posted video of my chalktalk based on Show Your Work! It’s my last talk of the year, the culmination of all the speaking I’ve done for the past eight months or so. It’s about 50 minutes long, there’s a drawing lesson at 8:14, and the real meat of the talk begins around 13:44. Enjoy!
As an amateur songwriter and musician, one of my favorite interviews during SXSW this year was with Chris Sampson, a songwriting professor and Vice Dean for Contemporary Music at USC, who uses my books in his classroom. The whole interview is only available to Grammy Pro members, but there are some clips below.