Austin Kleon

New York Times Bestselling Author, Show Your Work! and Steal Like An Artist

A guide to creativity in today's world.

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Biography

Austin Kleon is a writer, artist, speaker, and New York Times bestselling author. His work has been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition, PBS Newshour, TIME, The Atlantic, Forbes, and The Wall Street Journal. Now he's brought his depth and range of experience as a creator to his book, Steal Like An Artist, an illustrated manifesto for creativity in the digital age.

Steal Like An Artist is a lesson in applied creativity. It's based on a list Austin drew up one day of key insights he wishes he'd known when he started out. He boiled them down into pithy phrases: "Steal like an artist", "Use your hands", "Creativity is subtraction", and many more. He turned that list into a talk, the text and slides from the talk "rocked the creative world" (GalleyCat) and went viral — and since it’s been online, the original blog post has reached millions of readers. 

His most recent book, The Steal Like An Artist Journal, is an interactive journal and all-in-one logbook to get those creative juices flowing and keep a record of ideas and discoveries.

"Immersing yourself in Steal Like An Artist is as fine an investment in the life of your mind as you can hope to make."
The Atlantic

The followup, Show Your Work!, is a guide to the next step: getting known. Organised around another collection of pithy phrases — “You don’t have to be a genius”, “Share something small every day” — Show Your Work! shows you how sharing generously can work in your favor online. Ranging from broader life lessons about work to the practicalities of internet life, it’s an inspiring manifesto for succeeding as any kind of artist or entrepreneur in the digital age.

Austin is also the author of Newspaper Blackout, a collection of poetry made by redacting newspaper articles with a permanent marker. His art has been called "brilliant" by New York Magazine and The New Yorker said his poems "resurrect the newspaper when everyone else is declaring it dead." Austin speaks on creativity, visual thinking, and being an artist online.

Books

The Steal Like an Artist Journal

A Notebook for Creative Kleptomaniacs

Austin Kleon

Exactly what the hundreds of thousands of readers inspired by Austin Kleon need — an interactive journal and all-in-one logbook to get those creative juices flowing and keep a record of ideas and discoveries.

Following Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work!, both New York Times bestsellers with 614,000 copies in print, The Steal Like an Artist Journal is the next step in the journey. It combines Kleon’s unique and compelling ideas on being creative with the physical quality that makes journals like Moleskines so enormously popular. Its page after page of ideas, prompts, quotes, and exercises are like a daily course in creativity — a portable workshop and sourcebook of inspiration. Each spread has one page offering a prompt or exercise, and the other blank for writing, drawing, doodling, whatever. There are lists to fill in — 10 Things I Want to Learn, 10 Things I Probably Think About More Than the Average Person. Challenges to take. Illustrated creative exercises — Make a Mixtape (for someone who doesn’t know you), and Fill the Speech Balloons. Pro and con charts — What Excites You?/What Drains You?

The journal has an elastic band for place-marking and a special pocket in the back — a “swipe file” to store bits and pieces of inspiration. Because if you want to steal like an artist, you need a place to keep your loot.

Workman Publishing (1 Oct. 2015)

Show Your Work!

10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered

Austin Kleon

In his New York Times bestseller Steal Like an Artist, Austin Kleon showed readers how to unlock their creativity by “stealing” from the community of other movers and shakers. Now, in an even more forward-thinking and necessary book, he shows how to take that critical next step on a creative journey — getting known. 

Show Your Work! is about why generosity trumps genius. It’s about getting findable, about using the network instead of wasting time “networking.” It’s not self-promotion, it’s self-discovery — let others into your process, then let them steal from you. Filled with illustrations, quotes, stories, and examples, Show Your Work! offers ten transformative rules for being open, generous, brave, productive. 

In chapters such as You Don’t Have to Be a Genius; Share Something Small Every Day; and Stick Around, Kleon creates a user’s manual for embracing the communal nature of creativity — what he calls the “ecology of talent.” From broader life lessons about work (you can’t find your voice if you don’t use it) to the etiquette of sharing — and the dangers of oversharing — to the practicalities of Internet life (build a good domain name; give credit when credit is due), it’s an inspiring manifesto for succeeding as any kind of artist or entrepreneur in the digital age.

Algonquin Books (division of Workman) (1 April 2014)

Video

Get Your Creative Work Out There

Praise

"[Show Your Work is] timeless; readers can return to it repeatedly throughout life and still glean useful ideas and tips... Anyone starting out (or starting over)...will find upbeat encouragement here."
Library Journal

“Some people are natural self-promoters. For others, it’s painfully difficult to put their work out there. In this creatively designed pocket-sized book, Kleon offers the latter group effective strategies that allow them to share their work without leaving their comfort zone…. Kleon’s advice is sassy and spot-on.”
Publishers Weekly

“[The] subtitle could just as easily be, ‘How to Self-promote Without Being a Jerkface.’ It’s an incredibly useful and compulsively readable short book.”
Fast Company

“Kleon addresses with equal parts humility, honesty, and humor one of the quintessential questions of the creative life: How do you get ‘discovered’? In some ways, the book is the mirror-image of Kleon’s debut — rather than encouraging you to ‘steal’ from others… it offers a blueprint to making your work influential enough to be theft-worthy.”
— Brain Pickings

“A must-read for anyone involved in the creative process.”
— LibraryReads

“Kleon’s powerful advice makes this small-format book not-at-all little.”

— Booklist

“In this motivating book, packed with smart approaches, ideas and quotes, Kleon teaches you how best to navigate through creative work in the present day. . . . A certain and deserved bestseller.”
— The Bookseller

“Austin Kleon is one of the brightest new minds on the creative landscape. And Show Your Work! demonstrates why. With simple yet profound insights, and an array of his amazing images, he casts aside old stereotypes of the creative life and tells what it’s really like. You’ll want to share this remarkable book far and wide.”
—Daniel H. Pink, author of To Sell Is Human and Drive

Steal Like an Artist

10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

Austin Kleon

You don’t need to be a genius, you just need to be yourself. That’s the message from Austin Kleon, a young writer and artist who knows that creativity is everywhere, creativity is for everyone. A manifesto for the digital age, Steal Like an Artist is a guide whose positive message, graphic look and illustrations, exercises, and examples will put readers directly in touch with their artistic side.

When Mr. Kleon was asked to address college students in upstate New York, he shaped his speech around the ten things he wished someone had told him when he was starting out. The talk went viral, and its author dug deeper into his own ideas to create Steal Like an Artist, the book. The result is inspiring, hip, original, practical, and entertaining. And filled with new truths about creativity: Nothing is original, so embrace influence, collect ideas, and remix and re-imagine to discover your own path. Follow your interests wherever they take you. Stay smart, stay out of debt, and risk being boring — the creative you will need to make room to be wild and daring in your imagination.

Workman (1 April 2012)

Praise

"Brilliant and real and true."
— Rosanne Cash

"Austin Kleon is positively one of the most interesting people on the Internet... Kleon makes an articulate and compelling case for combinatorial creativity and the role of remix in the idea economy."
— The Atlantic

"Breezy and fun and yes, scary. Scary because it calls your bluff."
— Seth Godin

"A quick, easily digestible read that is particularly relevant in today's digital world."
— School Library Journal

"Filled with well-formed advice that applies to nearly any kind of work."
— Lifehacker.com

Newspaper Blackout

Austin Kleon

Poet and cartoonist Austin Kleon has discovered a new way to read between the lines. Armed with a daily newspaper and a permanent marker, he constructs through deconstruction — eliminating the words he doesn't need to create a new art form: Newspaper Blackout poetry. Highly original, Kleon's verse ranges from provocative to lighthearted, and from moving to hysterically funny, and undoubtedly entertaining. The latest creations in a long history of "found art," Newspaper Blackout will challenge you to find new meaning in the familiar and inspiration from the mundane.

Newspaper Blackout contains original poems by Austin Kleon, as well as submissions from readers of Kleon's popular online blog and a handy appendix on how to create your own blackout poetry.

HarperPerennial; 1 edition (1 May 2010)

Praise

"The poems are exquisite. Some are funny, some are ironic, some are moving, some are deep....poetry about love, children, teenagers, relationships, drummers, Cleveland, and the universe....This is a thought-provoking, fun, and inspirational book that will bring out the poet in you, if you'll only let it."
— Blogcritics.org

"The technique of 'finding' a hidden text within a text is not new, as Austin will tell you, but his approach is. He has liberated it from the left-field manifestos and postmodern posturing which have usually accompanied it. These poems are sweet, poignant, evocative, and funny."
— Drew Dernavich

"...pieces that work exceptionally well both as poetry and works of art....one of the year's most striking (and often surprising) books."
— David Gutowski, largeheartedboy.com

“Part ‘writing with constrictions,’ part happy accident, part found art, part design challenge...the collection...gives a well rounded and consistent view into a guy most of us would want to buy a beer.”
— Radio Exile

One can imagine taking up blackout poetry on their daily bus commute in place of sudoku or the crossword puzzle.
Toronto's National Post

Instead of starting with a blank page, poet Austin Kleon grabs the New York Times and a permanent marker and eliminates the words he doesn’t need.
NPR's Morning Edition

Sort of like Michelangelo carving away the marble that imprisoned what he saw within.
Cleveland Plain Dealer

“[A] sense of play infuses the poems—short pieces that touch on first sex and outer space, in a voice that slips from funny to elegiac…”
Austin Chronicle

“Some of the results are hilarious, some are profound and even unsettling, but they are never bland or boring.”
The Ephemerist

“Highbrow/brilliant…It’s better than it sounds.”
New York magazine

“…hidden bits of Zen lite that occasionally bump up against brilliance….Kleon manages to turn the paper of record into visually stark nuggets of poetry and wit. All the Muse That’s Fit to Print, you might say.”
Texas Monthly

“…a kind of Rorschach approach to reading newspapers…”
Wall Street Journal

“[The poems] resurrect the newspaper when everyone else is declaring it dead…like a cross between magnetic refrigerator poetry and enigmatic ransom notes, funny and zen-like, collages of found art…”
The New Yorker

Topics

Austin tailors each presentation to the needs of his audience and is not limited to the topics we have listed below. These are subjects that have proven valuable to customers in the past and are meant only to suggest his range and interests. Please ask us about any subject that interests you; we are sure that we can accommodate you.

Steal Like an Artist

Creativity

Videos

30 Days of Genius | Chase Jarvis CreativeLive

The Steal Like An Artist Journal Talk

Steal Like An Artist | TEDxKC

How to Make a Newspaper Blackout Poem

The Economist's Human Potential Summit