Tag Archives: neil gaiman

Art Matters by Neil Gaiman. Illustrated by Chris Riddell

Art Matters by Neil Gaiman. Illustrated by Chris Riddell Title: Art Matters
Author: Neil Gaiman
Illustrated by Chris Riddell
Publisher: Headline Publishing Group, Headline Review, Hachette Books
ISBN: 9781472260086
Genre: Nonfiction
Pages: 112
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5 stars

It has been established the world over (if not, then it should be) that Neil Gaiman is one of the most prolific writers that we have, and we must never forget that. In fact, we must cherish what we have every single day and celebrate him by reading more of him, but obviously, day after day.

Art Matters is a collection of his short essays (all previously published individually and collectively in The View from the Cheap Seats) about art, reading, libraries, and why all of it is so important even more so in today’s time and age.

I love what Gaiman writes, and even though I’d read these pieces earlier, with Chris Riddell’s illustrations, they seemed different, more invigorating, and captivating to say the least. There is something about the power of the written word, isn’t it? That’s what this book is about primarily – about words, reading, and how the world can be changed, one book at a time.

Of course, the piece that stands out for me is Make Good Art, in which Gaiman talks to us about how he started writing books, how to do what you really want to do, push boundaries, and be what you set out to be. Yes, it does sound self-help like and maybe it is, but coming from Gaiman, everything is great and achievable and inspiring.

I am not saying this as a fanboy, it’s just that this book really inspires you to step out and make good art. And not to forget that the Make Good Art piece has come from his commencement address at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts in May 2012, which I am linking below. The illustrations by Chris Riddell are as usual stupendous and go hand in glove with Gaiman’s prose. Though, I would love to see how this book comes alive in colour as well. Maybe, even a graphic version of these four pieces and more.

Make Good Art just makes you want to go out there and create. Be it anything. A sentence even, or just those two hundred words you’ve been telling yourself you will write, or the composition you are stuck at, or when you feel that you just cannot create anything, this book will at least inspire if nothing else. Read this. Read it again like me, if you have already read them. The illustrations and the reminding of what great art can do is absolutely worth the experience.

Link to the commencement speech:

 

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Zen Pencils by Gavin Aung Than

Zen Pencils by Gavin Aung Than Title: Zen Pencils
Author: Gavin Aung Than
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
ISBN: 9781449457952
Genre: Graphic Novel, Comics, Cartoon
Pages: 176
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

If you have to read a self-help book this year, that is not condescending at all, but only helps you move on page by page, then you have to read “Zen Pencils”. It is a book made after the very famous website created by Gavin Aung Than and there are these cartoons there along with many more. I bumped on to the site after reading the book and could not have been happier than this.

Zen Pencils - Image 4

There is something so reassuring about reading these snippets of self-help and motivation. Maybe that is what is needed in times such as these, which is ridden with cynicism and utter hopelessness. The anecdotes and quotes are from famous people – from Neil Gaiman to a Tibetan monk to Henry David Thoreau to Confucius, their words are heart-warming, sobering and mostly just there to shake your existence.

Zen Pencils - Image 1

“Zen Pencils” makes you realize that perhaps it is not all that bad and that there is so much hope still for all of us on this world. These quotes otherwise maybe scoffed on and probably ridiculed as well, however when combined with some fantastic art-work, it is literally work of genius. One can relate to it and also think of applying what can be to life.

Zen Pencils - Image 2

“Zen Pencils” is a definite read for almost everyone if you ask me. The graphics and the cartoons are simply charming and the book will surprise you for sure – more so when you sense that you are crying and if any book can make you do that, more so a book in a graphic format, then it is worth your time. I will reread this book perhaps multiple times and cherish it as much. Gavin’s work has enabled more people to think beyond and look at life differently.

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Buy Zen Pencils: Cartoon Quotes from Inspirational Folks

Zen Pencils: Cartoon Quotes from Inspirational Folks

Make Good Art Speech by Neil Gaiman

Make Good Art Speech by Neil Gaiman Title: Make Good Art
Author: Neil Gaiman
Publisher: Headline, Hachette Book Group
ISBN: 9781472207937
Genre: Speech, Non-Fiction
Pages: 80
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4/5

I picked this book only because of Neil Gaiman. Even though this was just a commencement address made by him in the year 2012 at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, I knew I would enjoy it immensely and I did. There is something about such speeches that are so positive, that it makes you want to believe in a better world for one and all. I remember feeling the same when I read George Saunder’s speech on kindness in the form of a small book, “Congratulations, By the Way”, and this time it was a speech on making good art, aptly titled, “Making Good Art”.

“Make Good Art” speech is all about making good art and the purpose of art in our lives and generations to come. He encourages all artists – from painters to writers to musicians, to do just one thing – break all barriers and think out of the box (I know it is clichéd but it works) and make good art. That is all there is to it.

The book is a small one and doesn’t take time to finish, however, for the words to seep in, especially if you are an artist, means that you have read and reread it. You have to be one with what Gaiman says and the advice he dispenses. I love Chip Kidd’s illustrations and the ones that he does in this book, just blend effortlessly with Gaiman’s words.

“Make Good Art” is for everyone out there who have wanted to create something. It is about successes and failures and how it will not be an easy road every time you decide to create art. “Make Good Art” is perfect to be gifted to one who is confused about what he or she should do in life. It is a read for all of us.

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The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman Title: The Sleeper and the Spindle
Author: Neil Gaiman
Illustrator: Chris Riddell
Publisher: Bloomsbury
ISBN: 9781408859643
Genre: Graphic Story
Pages: 72
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

Another Neil Gaiman that I read this month and loved it as much as “Hansel and Gretel”. This one is called “The Sleeper and the Spindle”, takes on Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. This one I found better than “Hansel and Gretel”, maybe because I have loved these two fairy tales most as a child. “The Sleeper and the Spindle” is again fascinating because of the illustrations by Riddell and the tales weaved by Gaiman.

“The Sleeper and the Spindle” is a fun read. It is not a light reader but neither is it as dark as “Hansel and Gretel”. The stories are just the same with some twist here and there, but what really will make you want more as a reader are the illustrations of Chris Riddell. They are stupendous and beautifully drawn.

Neil Gaiman’s storytelling is inventive. The stories merge together and as a reader you are just fascinated by the writing style and narrative. This one is also creepy but not so much. There are a couple of minor changes but that is passable in the name of creativity. It is a dark and innovative spin that you must read and reread for the illustrations. A short read for a lazy Sunday.

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Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman and Lorenzo Mattotti

Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman Title: Hansel and Gretel
Author: Neil Gaiman
Illustrator: Lorenzo Mattotti
Publisher: Bloomsbury
ISBN: 9781408861981
Genre: Graphic Story
Pages: 56
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

We have all read and loved “Hansel and Gretel” when we were growing up. Everything about fairy tales was fascinating and intriguing. Nothing could take away the beauty of a good fairy tale, so much so that its macabre underlined meaning was lost on us. Neil Gaiman’s “Hansel and Gretel” does not drift away from the real story at all. It stays true to it and yet there is something about this version that both your dreams and nightmares will be made of.

Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman - Image 1

“Hansel and Gretel” tells the tale of a brother and sister and yet there are so many layers to it – of poverty, the parents’ role in sending the children away, the witch but obviously and the children with their intelligence and wit. What makes this edition so unique of course are the wonderful illustrations of Lorenzo Mattotti. They are dark, brooding, and melancholic to the core. They are of course wonderfully done. And while others might say that it is too dark, it is really not that dark.

Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman - Image 2

The book delivers creepy fantastically. The images are in black and white, so that is another twist to it. “Hansel and Gretel” is a delight to read, even if it is just fifty-six pages long. There is something redeeming and at the same time something so unforgiving about this tale, that it will make you think over and over again. We have all heard it in our childhood, but I feel that for most stories, different versions are always welcome. They somehow change your perception as well, over time and years to come.

Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman - Image 3

“Hansel and Gretel” is a work that is beautifully reproduced by Gaiman and Mattotti and a definite read for both children and adults. Also, please ensure that the children have read the earlier Grimm’s tale as well, more so for literature’s sake.

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