Friday, May 1, 2015

Review: Make Good Art by Neil Gaiman

Title: Make Good Art
Author: Neil Gaiman
Publication Date: May 14, 2013
Target Age Group: Adult
My Rating: 4 out of 5

Book Description (on inside cover)

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 urged 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. 

My Review

This is a book I received from the author at Book Expo America 2013. Thank you to Mr. Gaiman (whom I had the pleasure to listen to while I was there) and BEA for the opportunity to review it. 

I wish there were a way I could rate this book using two different ratings, one for the text and message of the book, and one for its presentation, but I'm not about to break my rating system to do so. So let me explain my only negative points right off the bat as they all relate to the book's presentation.

While I do commend the graphic artist's creativity and ability, I did have two distinct problems with the way the book was presented:
     * the white text on light blue background combination that was periodically used in
       the book made the text difficult to read
     * in some cases, the presentation of the text on the page (such as writing one line of text 
       both upside down and backward while everything else was written normally) was 

To give him credit, however, there were other cases where I thought the creative layout of the page worked very well. I especially loved the page where Mr. Gaiman's positive message, "Make Good Art", is juxtaposed on top of text describing negative things that you might be experiencing in your life.

As for the text and message of the book, I cannot say enough good things about it. Mr. Gaiman shares little tidbits of his own personal journey in a way that is sure to inspire anyone about to embark on, or is currently engaged in, a career in the creative arts. In his own unique way, he tells people it's OK to not have a plan, to break the rules, to make mistakes, and to emulate others yet have your own style. In fact, he has engaged in all of these things on his own career path and attributes all of these to his own success. Above all, he encourages people to enjoy the journey itself and to MAKE GOOD ART.

A highly recommended little book when you need a little creative inspiration.

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