Make Good Art

( 8 )

Overview

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 encouraged the fledgling painters, musicians, writers, and dreamers to make good art.

This book, designed by renowned graphic artist Chip Kidd, contains ...

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Make Good Art

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Overview

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 encouraged 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.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

In the final words of his University of the Arts commencement speech, living icon Neil Gaiman implored his graduating audience to "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." He validated that message with a refreshing confession: "When I got out into the world I wrote, and I became a better writer the more I wrote, and I wrote some more, and nobody ever seemed to mind that I was making it up as I went along." Gaiman's inspiring talk deserves to be read by his legions of fans, but it also deserves perusal by all those nervous graduates and near-graduates who worry about the great world beyond.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062266767
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/14/2013
  • Pages: 80
  • Sales rank: 75,428
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 9.03 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Neil Gaiman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty books for readers of all ages, and the recipient of numerous literary awards, including the Shirley Jackson Award and the Locus Award for Best Novelette for his story "The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains." Originally from England, he now lives in America.

Biography

Neil Gaiman thought he wrote comic books. But a newspaper editor, of course, set him straight.

Back when he was riding the diabolical headwinds of his popular series of graphic novels, The Sandman, the author attended a party where he introduced himself as a comic-book writer to a newspaper's literary editor. But when the editor quickly realized who this actually was -- and the glaze melted from his eyes -- he offered Gaiman a correction tinged with astonishment: "My God, man, you don't write comics, you write graphic novels." Relating the story to theLos Angeles Times in 1995, Gaiman said, "I suddenly felt like someone who had been informed that she wasn't a hooker, that in fact she was a lady of the evening."

Gaiman's done much more, of course, than simply write graphic novels, having coauthored, with Terry Pratchett, Good Omens, a comic novel about the Apocalypse; adapted into hardcover the BBC miniseries Neverwhere about the dark underworld beneath the streets of London; and, inspired by his young daughter, put a horrifying spin on C.S. Lewis' wardrobe doors for Coraline, a children's book about a passageway into a magical, yet malevolent, land.

But it is The Sandman that is Gaiman's magnum opus.

Though he had told a career counselor in high school that he wanted to pen comic books, he had a career as a freelance journalist before his first graphic novel, Violent Cases, was published in England in 1987. DC Comics discovered him and The Sandman was born. Or reborn, actually. The comic debuted back in 1939 with a regular-Joe crime fighter in the lead. But in Gaiman's hands the tale had a more otherworldly spin, slowing introducing readers to the seven siblings Endless: Dream, Death, Desire, Destiny, Destruction, Despair and Delirium (once Delight). They all have their roles in shaping the fates of man. In fact, when Death was imprisoned for decades, the results were devastating. Richard Nixon reached The White House and Michael Jackson the Billboard charts.

Direction from newspaper editors notwithstanding, to Gaiman, these stories are still comic books. The man who shuttled back and forth between comics and classics in his formative years and can pepper his writing with references to Norse mythology as well as the vaudevillian rock group Queen, never cottoned to such highbrow/lowbrow distinctions. Comparing notes on a yachting excursion with members of the Irish rock band U2, the writer who looks like a rock star and Delirium and the rock stars who gave themselves comic-worthy names such as Bono and The Edge came to a realization: Whether the medium is pop music or comic books, not being taken seriously can be a plus. "It's safer to be in the gutter," he told The Washington Post in 1995.

In 1995, Gaiman brought The Sandman to a close and began spending more time on his nongraphic fiction, including a couple of short-story collections. A few years later he released Stardust, an adult fairy tale that has young Tristan Thorn searching for a fallen star to woo the lovely but cold Victoria Forester. In 2001, he placed an ex-con named Shadow in the middle of a war between the ancient and modern dieties in American Gods. Coming in October 2002 is another departure: an audio recording of Two Plays for Voices, which stars Bebe Neuwirth as a wise queen doing battle with a bloodthirsty child and Brian Dennehy as the Angel of Vengeance investigating the first crime in history in heaven's City of Angels.

Gaiman need not worry about defining his artistic relevance, since so many other seem to do it for him. Stephen King, Roger Zelazny and Harlan Ellison are among those who have contributed introductions to his works. William Gibson, the man who coined the term "cyberspace," called him a "a writer of rare perception and endless imagination" as well as "an American treasure." (Even though he's, technically, a British treasure transplanted to the American Midwest.) Even Norman Mailer has weighed in: "Along with all else, Sandman is a comic strip for intellectuals, and I say it's about time."

The gushiest praise, however, may come from Frank McConnell, who barely contained himself in the pages of the political and artistic journal Commonweal. Saying Gaiman "may just be the most gifted and important storyteller in English," McConnell crowned Sandman as the most important act of fiction of the day. "And that, not just because of the brilliance and intricacy of its storytelling -- and I know few stories, outside the best of Joyce, Faulkner, and Pynchon, that are more intricate," he wrote in October 1995, " but also because it tells its wonderful and humanizing tale in a medium, comic books, still largely considered demimonde by the tenured zombies of the academic establishment."

"If Sandman is a 'comic,'" he concluded, "then The Magic Flute is a 'musical' and A Midsummer Night's Dream is a skit. Read the damn thing: it's important."

Good To Know

Some fascinating factoids from our interview with Gaiman:

"One of the most enjoyable bits of writing Sandman was getting authors whose work I love to write the introductions for the collected graphic novels -- people like Steve Erickson, Gene Wolfe, Harlan Ellison, Clive Barker, Peter Straub, Mikal Gilmore, and Samuel R. Delany."

"I have a big old Addams Family house, with -- in the summertime -- a vegetable garden, and I love growing exotic pumpkins. As a boy in England I used to dream about Ray Bradbury Hallowe'ens, and am thrilled that I get them these days. Unless I'm on the road signing people's books, of course."

"According to my daughters, my most irritating habit is asking for cups of tea."

"I love radio -- and love the availability of things like the Jack Benny radio shows in MP3 format. I'm addicted to BBC radio 7, and keep buying boxed CD sets of old UK radio programs, things like Round the Horne and Hancock's Half Hour. Every now and again I'll write a radio play."

"I love thunderstorms, old houses, and dreams."

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    1. Hometown:
      Minneapolis, Minnesota
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 10, 1960
    2. Place of Birth:
      Portchester, England
    1. Education:
      Attended Ardingly College Junior School, 1970-74, and Whitgift School, 1974-77
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2013

    The anonymous reviewer obvious has no respect for good art or br

    The anonymous reviewer obvious has no respect for good art or brilliant book designers like Chip Kidd. This is a beautiful book to give as a gift or to just have on your personal collection. It is for book lovers and art lovers alike.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 19, 2013

    Short and sweet, inspiring and inspired. A must read for all cre

    Short and sweet, inspiring and inspired. A must read for all creative types and recommended for everyone else. Neil Gaiman shares important lessons and critical reminders. Chip Kidd puts those words together in a brilliant layout. A perfect little book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2013

    Quite Inspirational

    Now I know excatly what to do if my leg is crushed and then eaten by a mutated boa constrictor.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2013

    One of the most inspiring pieces I've ever read or heard.

    One of the most inspiring pieces I've ever read or heard.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2013

    Fantastic Design

    This little book is one of the most beautifully designed books I have ever seen. The limited red and blue color scheme really allows the artist, Chip Kidd, to focus on pure design and he suceeds in every possible way. The subject matter and the design are so well matched. I highly recommend this amazing little book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 17, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    lets make money off an 80 page essay and call it a book

    lets make money off an 80 page essay and call it a book

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2013

    This book uses different fonts. That's the only difference betw

    This book uses different fonts. That's the only difference between it and the text of the speech available for free online. Skip it.

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews

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