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It's Never Too Late to Create

July 7, 2016 at 11:02 AM by Cathy Polovina

The Kenosha Public Library offers everything from writing workshops to adult coloring sessions— just check out our website or Adult Services Calendar.  And don’t forget all the great creative how-to do books available to everyone!


Who does not want to make something with their own hands, out of their own imagination that is uniquely theirs, that declares to the world, “I am here and I have something to say!”?  Many guides offer quotations and inspiration for getting started on creative projects, but poet and author Austin Kleon and cartoonist and memoirist Lynda Barry’s books stand out for their fun style and nonjudgmental encouragement for the artist in everyone. Check out Kleon’s Steal Like an Artist and Barry’s What it Is and you’ll be reaching for the nearest writing or drawing instrument to make your personal creative manifesto.   

 Austin Kleon reveals that the secret to finding original ideas is to steal them. Well, not exactly.  Kleon believes that the artist is a collector of ideas, and that from research and study, comes inspiration.  Even if you copy the work of an established artist, you can’t help but make it your own if you mix it up, add your own spin and aren’t afraid to look stupid along the way. Kleon continues by encouraging us to share our artistic output in his next book, Show Your Work!.                        

While Kleon advises us to look to other artists for inspiration, Lynda Barry believes we are all originals –any reader of “Ernie Pook’s Comeek” knows she is.  What it Is is part autobiography and part art instruction; all of it, entertaining.  With what might be called the power of positive doodling, Barry invites us to draw the beings from “inner space” as she prompts us most of all to remember—dreams, childhood play, old friends.  Simply to remember how it felt to be at certain moments of our lives.  And once you’ve made a start, never ask if your work is any good.  The author reveals much about herself along the way, her rocky childhood, her self-doubts about her writing and artwork, and her realization that there is no wrong way to express yourself.