Austin Kleon Comes to Houston

This one is long overdue, but I was flipping through my notebook and found my notes back from one of my favorite days this year. Back in April, Austin Kleon made it to Brazos Bookstore in Houston on his “Show Your Work” book tour.

There were a ton of points I loved from his third book, but his talk reiterated something that got me thinking bigger than just self promotion, the basis of Show You Work. There is a chapter on this concept of a sharing spectrum that exists with one end consisting of hoarders and the other consisting of spam. Kleon spent a good amount of time on this and also drew and talked it out at the same time.

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Watercolors: Learning a New Medium in the Open


A while back, I was showing my work to a friend, expressing that I don’t know where my black and white doodles and notes were headed next. “Have you ever tried color?” they asked. I couldn’t remember the last time I tried using color, and if I could it was an awful attempt. So I decided, what the hell, let’s introduce some color. I’ve followed the work of Wendy Macnaughton for quite awhile and it would be a lie to say that I’m not influenced by her or her style of writing and drawing. It seemed clear that I would grab watercolors.

I posed a¬†question to Twitter along the lines of: since I’m obviously a beginner, should I grab cheap Crayola watercolors or pay an extra $10-15 and get something a bit better. The response was in favor of not being so cheap. I received my watercolors and opened them up, scared of them, not knowing where to start. I let them sit on my desk for awhile to acclimate.

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Making Business Writing Better

I write a lot. It’s a huge part of what I do both at my day job and outside of it. Getting my thoughts down on paper either with words or pictures (usually both) is how I think. When I say I write, I mean that I regularly make sentences that have a purpose, and I review and revise them like nobody’s business.¬†

Lately, I’ve become very interested in business writing and a trend I’ve seen ever since I’ve worked at a company where I consult and improve on other companies’ writing.

Most business writing is pretty bad.

How I’ve come to this opinion is solely based on the fact that so often after reading something business-related, I ask myself, “what did that even mean?”

How many times have you read website content, emails, descriptions, unique selling points…and not really taken away anything from it? How many times have you read business writing and it’s filled with loaded words that just feel like sales fluff? [Read more…]

“A Subtltree”

Yesterday on my afternoon walk with my dog, I had an interesting feeling. The best way to describe it is maybe to give some light on what was going on in my head during our walk. The work day was over. Dinner plans were set for later in the evening with friends. The only thing I really needed to do when I got home was feed my dog, which is part of our normal routine. Nothing else important was in my head, only the odd chill in the air for March, the quietness of the street I was on and the sound of my dog’s tags as she walked.

In the 20 minutes where I could really focus and just be present on the walk with my dog, I noticed a tree in the yard of one of the fancy houses I pass by on our normal route. It was a tree I’d never noticed before, which was odd for a few reasons — I’ve walked this street hundreds of times, it’s the first house on the street and it’s the only tree in their yard. Like most plants right now that have flowers, this tree was starting to bloom. I’m not sure why the tree stuck with me so much, but when I got home, I immediately pulled out my sketchbook and drew the tree. [Read more…]

Review of Show Your Work by Austin Kleon

show your work book review

There’s no secret that my favorite artist who draws is Austin Kleon. I like to call him my internet hero, and much like he suggests in Steal Like an Artist, I steal and remix from him as well as study his work and the work that inspires him. Recently he came out with a new book called Show Your Work, which sort of piggy backs off of Steal. Steal was all about, “hey, stop trying to create something no one has ever done before, because it’s all been done. Study the artists’ work you love and become inspired by it. And freakin’ make something.”

Show Your Work is more like, “hey, that stuff that you’ve been making? If you want people to see/notice/care, freakin’ show it off already. There’s beauty in the process.”

steal remix steal remixwork show work show

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