Make Good Art – Neil Gaiman
In May 2012, bestselling author Neil Gaiman delivered the commencement address at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, in which he shared his thoughts about creativity, bravery, and strength. He encouraged the fledgling painters, musicians, writers, and dreamers to break rules and think outside the box. Most of all, he encouraged them to make good art.
The book Make Good Art, designed by renowned graphic artist Chip Kidd, contains the full text of Gaiman’s inspiring speech.
Review: I watched Neil Gaiman’s Make Good Art speech on YouTube soon after he gave it. It’s a pretty good speech, so when I saw the slightly battered book version of it for $1 at a scratch-and-dent sale, I picked it up.
This little book contains the full text of the speech. The text is beautified by a graphic artist who makes it artsy and colorful. Unfortunately, the beautifying of the text is the book’s biggest issue. If you have eye problems (like me), then you’ll know that light blue font on shiny white paper is no fun. Red font on white paper isn’t great, either. The book is only 80 pages long, but I got eyestrain from reading it. The graphics also chop up the speech in odd places. I backtracked a few times because I felt like I missed something.
The speech itself is inspirational. Neil Gaiman talks about how mistakes are inevitable. If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything worth doing. Mistakes aren’t always bad. You learn from them, and some amazing things have been discovered because someone screwed up. Go forth and screw up.
I know this is a tiny review, but Make Good Art is a tiny book. I’ll leave you with my favorite quotes:
“Go and 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
“The one thing you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can. The moment that you feel that just possibly you are walking down the street naked . . . that’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.” – Make Good Art
“And when things get tough, this is what you should do.
Make good art.
I'm serious. Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by a mutated boa constrictor? Make good art. IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Somebody on the Internet thinks what you do is stupid or evil or it's all been done before? Make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, and eventually time will take the sting away, but that doesn't matter. Do what only you do best. Make good art.” – Make Good Art