04 Steal like an artist.

When discussing topic about originality in creative industry always reminds me a book which I read before, Steal Like an Artist, 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative -by Austin Kleon. This time I refresh this book and share some quotes which related to my topic.

“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent.” — Jim Jarmusch

“If you think a man draws the type of hands that you want to draw, steal ‘em. Take those hands.” —Jack Kirby

“Sometimes I think everything I draw is just a combination of all of the millions and millions of drawings I’ve seen.” —Dash Shaw

“If you steal from one author, it’s plagiarism; if you steal from many, it’s research.” — Wilson Mizner

We work as creative people, we should always spread our view to wider range and absorb various things then take their essence to invent new things. Nothing is original, we will keep on improve ourselves when inspired by many great artists. I used to have my own inspiration collection like a visual library, I’ll observe same elements that I can put into my own projects. However, not every images have its credits or sometimes I just save beautiful images without knowing its original author. This come to the copyright issues or citation that we had to do as a student to prevent plagiarism.

Here’s a table from the book which Austin Kleon summarise the characteristics between a good theft (remix) and a bad theft (plagiarist). To become a good designer, we can practice to be a good theft first, not only create new things, but transform old or bad into good things also what designers do.


Austinkleon.com, (2010). 25 QUOTES TO HELP YOU STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST. [online] Available at: http://austinkleon.com/2010/02/10/25-quotes-to-help-you-steal-like-an-artist/ [Accessed 3 Jan. 2015].

Kleon, A. (2012). Steal Like an Artist 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative. 2nd ed. Workman Publishing.


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