How to win by losing.

This is going to be mortifyingly embarrassing but I may as well tell you about it. When I was a teenager, I loved the Newhart show. Not The Bob Newhart Show where he was shrink in Chicago married to Suzanne Pleshette but the later one in which Bob had a different wife and lived in Vermont. You may remember that show, a not-terribly funny precursor to Fawlty Towers, in which Bob ran an inn and there were the three local brothers named Larry, Daryl and Daryl.

I loved this show because of Bob’s second career, his real career. He was a successful author of “how-to” books. This struck me as the perfect ambition. To sit in a cozy study and churn out books that were effortless to write. Not to strive for Pulitzers or National Book Awards but just to crank out shelves full of books on animal husbandry, basket weaving, and transmission repair. Real books nonetheless, arrayed on shelves filled with one’s name over and over on the spines.

Continue reading “How to win by losing.”

How to make anything.

I spent a lot of time in school learning to conjugate latin verbs.  I ground my way through trigonometry. The dates of medieval wars. I memorized the key exports of African countries, the table of elements, and the names of all the US vice presidents.

But I never, ever studied the very thing I’ve made a living from my entire adult life. 

Continue reading “How to make anything.”

How to get naked.

A few nights ago, my boy Jack and I went for a drink at a dive bar near our life-drawing class. We’d spent three hours in a warm room drawing a naked lady and it was time for a beer and further discussion of a central question: why were we doing it?

What was the point of filling up paper (or my case, an iPad screen) with lots of drawings of a stranger? Was it art? Was it exercise? What should we think about the drawings we’d made. Should we share them with other people? Should we hold on to them? What had those three hours been for?

The central question is one that Jack has been asking himself a lot since graduating from art school: why continue to make art?

Continue reading “How to get naked.”

Podcast 14: Doing Your Thing

In this episode, I explore dozens of examples of creative people either being limited or exploding the labels that define them.

I hope it inspires you to make some changes  and take some risks of your own.


COMPLETE TRANSCRIPT OF EPISODE

Continue reading “Podcast 14: Doing Your Thing”

Podcast 13: Breaking Creative Blocks

This week on the podcast  author/coach Jill Badonsky gives me sage and funny advice on breaking down creative barriers and getting to work.

Listen and subscribe to podcast

Or here


COMPLETE TRANSCRIPT OF EPISODE (transcribed by robots, vaguely checked by humans) Continue reading “Podcast 13: Breaking Creative Blocks”

Podcast 11: Austin Kleon

This week I interview best-selling author Austin Kleon on the creative process.

Austin is one of my favorite writers and thinkers about the creative process. He is a poet, a collage artist, a blogger, an author, a diarist, and a writer who draws.

Listen to the episode here.

Mentioned in this episode:


COMPLETE EPISODE TRANSCRIPT: Continue reading “Podcast 11: Austin Kleon”

Podcast 05: The seasons of creation

I woke up super early with a thought in my mind and, as fast as I could type, I wrote this script for the new episode of  art for all, the Sketchbook Skool podcast.  It’s all about  the creative process. How the brain recovers from a burst of productivity, the value of inspiration, how to tackle a giant project, coping with setbacks, and more.

I hope it make some sense.  Let me know.

CLICK TO LISTEN HERE if you don’t have a podcast app.

If you haven’t yet, please subscribe to art for all on your favorite podcasting app.

Links to stuff mentioned in the episode.


EPISODE TRANSCRIPT: Continue reading “Podcast 05: The seasons of creation”