While the sketched illustrations might have you considering this book as one for kids, rest assured that Art Matters by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell is for everyone and anyone. And not just for artists and creators but also for those who are bookcore for life and adore reading, and those who want something positive to filter into their life amid the bitter winter months.
I picked up this book from the library last week on a lark, remembering how I always enjoy Gaiman's books and tweets and especially his invigorating commencement speeches. This guy knows how to engage an audience, no matter the medium, and he really absorbed me right from jump in this battle cry for creating great art in this slim 112-pager.
He waxes poetic on the allure books held for him, especially libraries, before delving into his main thesis: no matter how ugly and evil the world may seem, we can find some light in the books we read and the art we create.
Gaiman drops delectable gems of wisdom in the book, which may sound obvious to those of in the trenches of creating art, but nevertheless still deserves to be bullhorned: "When you start off, you have to deal with the problems of failure. You need to be thick-skinned, to learn that not every project will survive."
Also, Gaiman recounts how success, once you're lucky enough to find it, can be intoxicating and a whirling dervish of an experience, so much so you might let it all fly by too quickly: "The hardest lesson for me, I think, was to let go and enjoy the ride, because the ride takes you to some remarkable and unexpected places."
I could keep going but this book is too good to spoil all of its tips and insight, so I'll finally urge you to pick up this book, or maybe gift it to a teen who's just embarking on their book-loving or art-creating ways. No matter the age of the reader, they'll undoubtedly feel that spark of inspiration begin to brighten in their belly as they read Art Matters.
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