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Make Good Art

4.29 of 5 stars 4.29  ·  rating details  ·  2,619 ratings  ·  409 reviews
In May 2012, bestselling author Neil Gaiman delivered the commencement address at Philadelphia's University of the Arts, in which he shared his thoughts about creativity, bravery, and strength. He encouraged the fledgling painters, musicians, writers, and dreamers to break rules and think outside the box. Most of all, he encouraged them to make good art.

The book Make Good...more
ebook, 80 pages
Published May 14th 2013 by William Morrow (first published May 29th 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jesse (JesseTheReader)
Wow! This was amazing. I wasn't going into it expecting much, but coming out of it I feel inspired and motivated. This speech really made me think about my life and what I'm doing with it. I'll definitely be returning to this book when I'm needing something to lift me up!

favorite quotes:

“Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here.”

"Somebody on the internet thinks what you do is...more
Four stars for the content itself, I saw the speech previously and it is, of course, awesome. Worth having this around, and thank goodness Gaiman's speech is actually why I bought this, because... damn stars for the awful layout and design of the pages. Some are upside down, others have the print too small, and others are designed so they're extremely difficult to read. I've heard Kidd is excellent on other projects, but this one resembles the creativity of a 12-year-old girl back in the he...more
Sam Quixote
Make Good Art is the transcript of Neil Gaiman's commencement speech at the University of the Arts, Class of 2012. It's an inspiring message of encouragement to artists everywhere to keep doing what you want to do, no matter what, and contains some nice ideas and quirks that only Gaiman could conjure up to make it a memorable talk.

The whole thing is worth reading as its kind of an instructional manual to creativity by being anti-instructional. If you don't know it's impossible, it's easier to do...more
Jun 02, 2013 Bill rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: favorites
Neil Gaiman is, if you'll pardon the coarseness of my language, a fucking genius.

"So be wise, because the world needs more wisdom.
"And if you cannot be wise, pretend to be someone who is wise, and then just behave like they would."


"Make good art."

Seems simple enough, yeah?
Raeleen Lemay

I really want to write a book right now
Richard Wright
A written transcript of a speech Gaiman delivered in 2012 (and which is easily found online, but I wanted a copy over of it). The speech is a glorious thing, about courage, and choices, and art. Everybody should read it. The book? It's basically an attempt to practice what Gaiman preaches, a exercise in visual design. It fails on every front to impress, or even just to FUNCTION, because it makes reading the actual speech extraordinarily difficult. It gets in the way. It's a barrier, where if it...more
after a video recording of neil gaiman's 2012 commencement speech at the university of the arts in philly went viral, it only made sense that it would soon find it's way into print. make good art, designed by chip kidd (of dust jacket/cover art infamy), is an inspirational message relevant to anyone pursuing creative endeavors and/or a life in the arts. throughout the address, gaiman, now of course at the peak of his craft, recounts his own early trials as he set out writing, as well as the doub...more
I have not watched the speech that this is based on. Commentary on the book solely.

meh. This was recommended to me as inspiration for any artist or creative-type. To me it is just another bit of coffee table-gazing. A momentary ah-ha that quickly fades into a "oh yeah, I've thought about all of this before" leaving you back where you started. Back in your own head trying to figure out what the hell to create and where to start. Perhaps I ask too much!

This is a very short read, so pick it up if...more
Lamar Bakhsh
What a gem of a book, and brilliant as well. Iinspiring and motivating, I seriously want to print this and hang it on my wall. A great piece of advice for aspiring writers and artists.
The problems of failure are hard. The problems of success are harder. Neil puts it beautifully here.
"The old rules are crumbling, and nobody knows what the new rules are, so make your own rules."

The kind of inspiration that fits for creators of any age or genre or medium.
"The things I've done that worked the best
Rich Stoehr
For the artist, for the graduate, for the creative soul, for the person looking around at their life and wondering "now what?" - this is a beautiful little book.

Neil Gaiman's words are beautiful - some of the wisest, smartest, most clever and most heartfelt words I've read from a writer I admire a great deal. His words give hope in the face of failure and warnings of the pitfalls of success. Though his speech was aimed at graduates of an art school, they can be taken to heart by anyone who depen...more
The speech, if you haven't seen it, is worth seeing:

The book version is an interesting exercise in graphic design (all aqua and red text). Some pages work better than others. I liked the reminders of some of my favorite parts of the speech:

"Something that worked for me was imagining that where I wanted to be -- an author, primarily of fiction, making good books, making good comics, and supporting myself through my words -- was a mountain. A distant mountain. My goal. A...more
As usual, this post was originally written for my library’s blog Read @ MPL.

If you are an artist or a creative type, Make Good Art by Neil Gaiman will likely appeal to you right off the bat. Originally given as an address at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, the speech was adapted to this playful little tome. I say “playful” because it was designed by Chip Kidd (if you don’t know who he is, I think there is a good chance you’ll recognize his design work. Ignore what I said before.) and...more
Yes, I know this speech is readily available on the internet, so a book containing only this speech might seem superfluous. But if, like me, you could sob over Gaiman's shopping list & will indiscriminately purchase anything that comes out of his head, you won't care.

Fantabulous speech--five stars. Graduation speeches usually rank right up there with oral surgery & cauliflower for me, but this really is inspiring. My very favorite bit was, "Nothing I did where the only reason for doing...more
Alex Ristea
Can I just go ahead and give this one a bajillion stars? It deserves it.

Make Good Art is Neil Gaiman's commencement address, put into pretty words and colours.

(If you haven't watched that yet, do yourself a favour and remedy that situation ASAP:

This book struck all the chords, hit me right in the creative gut, made me feel all the feels. If you have any sort of artistic inclination, you need to read this book.

Now, about this particular edition. I mean, you can get the...more
The speech itself is rousing and inspiring and empowering and all those things commencement speeches should be. That's not why I'm giving it two stars. I gave it two stars because of the godawful graphic art Chip Kidd employed to present it. I hated the colors (some sort of salmony-orange-red and seafoamy blue) so much it was distracting. And the way the words were arranged on the page made no sense. It's like it's 1995 and Chip it just fucking around with the WordArt function on his new desktop...more
Dayle Lynne
Okay, so I haven't actually read this book. I have watched the YouTube video of Neil Gaiman's speech about a half a dozen times and I am sure I will watch it a bunch more. It's amazing. He's amazing. . . . When I saw that his speech was coming out in book format, I was super excited. The impression I had was that it would kind of like a graphic novel or at least some kind of art book with the words to the speech. I flipped through it at the bookstore the other day and it's just the speech laid o...more
The first problem of any kind of even limited success is the unshakable conviction that you are getting away with something, and that any moment now they will discover you.

I saw Harper Collins post/Neil Gaiman retweet something about this book and say it was ideal for graduates. I remember watching the speech, but it hadn't crossed my mind in a long time and I thought, hey, I'm graduating next month, I'll go with a nice little To: me, From: me.

And what an unsurprising delight it was!

If you're...more
Jeffrey West
Always inspirational as a creative type pushing myself through life and trying to make a place for myself in a creative environment.
L. Alexandra
Like many of the other readers and reviewers of Neil Gaiman's 'Make Good Art'speech, the layout of this speech-turned-book gave me pause. The content itself needs no introduction nor additional praise; it is simply put, excellent advice that's eloquently and often comedically worded. However, the layout is immediately distracting. I found that the more I read, the more it didn't so much as grow on me, as I grew to tolerate it, and eventually, adapt to it until the words transcended their format....more
"This book is for anybody who is looking around and thinking: NOW WHAT?"

This is the first time I actually buy a book I knew almost by heart.

I loved this speech when I first heard it on YouTube, at Philadelphia's University of the Arts, and I heard it a few times after that. I never have enough of it. It gives strength to anyone who wants to make art and live by it, it's encouraging and teaching you that you shouldn't be concerned about making mistakes or fail - just go ahead and break rules, th...more
Phil Gaiman's underlying message in this commencement address given to the Philadelphia University's art students of 2012 is to make "fantastic mistakes." The font selection and layout on each page adds to the meaning and emphasis of his speech. It's a pleasure to read from that standpoint alone. He credits the misspelling of "Caroline" to "Coraline" one day as giving him the inspiration for the character Coraline. This book could provide some heady inspiration to any aspiring artist. Neverthele...more
A nice, quick read. You’ll finish this in half-an-hour if you feel like it.
It’s about daring to conquer your own dreams, and how do deal with failure (and success!). It’s a very vibrant and colourful book, I think the graphics were very pretty. But I wouldn’t call this book “amazing”. It wasn’t that inspiring, or that groundbreaking. It was OK. The main message is good, but a little plain, these thoughts are repeated over and over again everywhere. I think they lack substance. Follow your dream...more
This little book/speech is yet another proof: Neil Gaiman is wise and inspirational beyond belief.

"Make Good Art" encourages its readers to chase their dreams, choose their paths, and to break the rules. Gaiman implies that failures can be fantastic; that mistakes can be good, and that it all depends on finding your own voice and creating your own originality. To witness such an artistic man as Neil Gaiman share his views on good art is truly fascinating.

Some people have complained about the l...more
WOWOWOWOOW!!! This inspired me so much like seriously I am in love with Neil Gaiman and I need to purchase my own copy of this STAT so I can pick it up whenever I need inspiration! SO MUCH LOVE!
Jetzt hab ich nach Beendigung der Lektüre doch gleich wieder Lust zum Schreiben. Nur wenn man 40 Stunden in der Woche arbeitet, hat man nicht die nötige Gelassenheit und Konzentration kreativ zu werden. Das ist irgendwie das Traurige an der Kreativität ... Neil Gaiman erklärt es auch in seiner Rede ... denn nichts anderes ist dieses Buch. Kreativität muss man wollen und man muss auch den Mut für Fehler haben, damit man im Kreativen besser wird. Niemals verzagen ... und immer Schritt für Schritt...more
Dear Neil Gaiman

Thank you. You are the best.

Jessica Harmon
Gaiman's Make Good Art speech was excellent. Sometimes I was a little confused reading it because a) spoken words and written ones have a little different flavor, and b) sometimes the typesetting and colors were hard to follow. But I have to say, it made me slow down and appreciate the words just a little more. I am not an artist, and my humanities field of linguistics is trying really hard to move into the sciences, but almost every word of this speech could have been spoken directly to me. Thi...more
Make Good Art is a book representation of the commencement address Neil Gaiman made in 2012. It is his advice and experience in a short book that he gave to the students at Philadelphia's University of the Arts. There is so much I love in this book, the message for certain, but I also love the way it is presented. The design and layout of this book is done by Chip Kidd, a graphic designer and writer, and while it may be unconventional, I believe it is just the right way to express the message Ga...more
Phoebe Andamo
I first heard Neil Gaiman's speech from a video that became viral in the internet. His speech is really inspiring. It is transcribed here word for word, nothing more, nothing less.

Why would you buy it? The typography of Chip Kidd is pretty good, and it emphasizes words that should be highlighted in it. And it's a physical copy of Neil Gaiman's speech!! You don't have to watch it over & over. haha.
The book cover, however, is not really enticing.
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“Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here.” 175 likes
“I hope you'll make mistakes. If you're making mistakes, it means you're out there doing something.” 137 likes
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