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Make Good Art

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  8,904 ratings  ·  1,093 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
Hardcover, 80 pages
Published May 14th 2013 by William Morrow
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Average rating 4.29  · 
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 ·  8,904 ratings  ·  1,093 reviews

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(B+) 78% | Good
Notes: A tonic for timidity and doubt, it balances enthusiasm with expectation, flourishing in spite of its own artistic design.
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
‘go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. break rules. leave the world more interesting for your being here. make good art.’

continuing my tradition of starting off the new year with some words of inspiration and much needed positivity (see last year).

neil gaiman has such a charm to his words that he could tell me to jump off a cliff and i would legitimately consider it. luckily, his message in this commencement address is nothing to that
Confession: I often find myself really funny.

A lot of the time this is due to the fact that I have the same sense of humor as myself, so my internal monologue and occasional conversations between me and me have an advantage in being amusing.

But some of the time, I am laughing at my expense.

One such time is right now, because why did I think I needed to write a full review of a book so short it can be, and was, read aloud in under 20 minutes? Including pauses for laughter and introspection?

I just
Jesse (JesseTheReader)
Feb 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
May 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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?
May 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
I have learned that I enjoy these words of wisdom speeches that these artist make at graduation services. I read this and the one J. K Rowling gave. They are full of great bits of advice and wisdom.

Neil talks about making your own rules. He says it's ok not to know what your doing, it's usually a good thing. He learned to write by writing. He learns more from his failures and he was scared of success.

It's 19 minutes of good tidbits and advice. I will be looking for more of these and I want to
Feb 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: essays
Good art.
Perhaps the hierarchy is the High Art key?
Sam Quixote
Jul 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Anya (~on a semi-hiatus~)
“And when things get tough, this is what you should do.

Make good art.

I'm serious. Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by mutated boa constrictor? Make good art. IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Somebody on the Internet thinks what you do is stupid or evil or it's all been done before? Make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, and eventually time will take the sting away, but that doesn't matter. Do what only you
Feb 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pretty-cover
"People will tolerate how unpleasant you are if your work is good and you deliver it on time. They'll forgive the lateness of the work if it's good, and if they like you. And you don't have to be as good as the others if you're on time and it's always a pleasure to hear from you" ...more
Marianna Neal
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I will never NOT tear up reading or listening to this speech.
Paola Ramos
Jul 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, own
ALL THE PRAISE TO NEIL GAIMAN!!!!!!!!!!! I literally would read his grocery list if I could.

I feel very inspired rn!
Jan 06, 2019 rated it liked it
The first read of this year and it was quite inspiring! :)
Dec 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
For 2019: I saw this going around on my dash, and felt a very strong urge to watch it again. I then went back and looked at a transcript as well. This is just such a wonderful speech. I think I need to print out bits a hang them up. I forgot about my work for a larger part of 2018, and thanks a class I found my way back to it. There truly is nothing I love more than I love creating even when it's difficult and not turning out how I want it to, and this speech is a great reminder of that. That ev ...more
Ian D
Apr 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
“So be wise. And if you cannot be wise, pretend to be someone who is wise and then just behave like they would. Now go, and make interesting mistakes. Make Interesting. Mistakes. Make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for you being here.
Make good art.”
Kayla (BOOKadoodles)
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Super inspirational! The typography is outstanding and definitely outside-the-box, which is just an added bonus. This would be perfect to give as a gift to any aspiring creators out there!
☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. (c)
Richard Wright
Jul 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013
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
Nov 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All

Lovely edition! Nice quick read! It's Gaiman’s inspiring speech designed by the graphic artist Chip Kidd.

It's a really good book to read when you feel sad.

It'll cheer you up.

"The old rules are crumbling, and nobody knows what the new rules are, so make your own rules."
May 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, nonfiction
A beautifully designed, hardbound edition of Gaiman's famous commencement address. Inspiring for authors, artists, anyone who is or wants to be in a creative field. The design of the book is sumptuous and fun, and makes for a perfect gift. ...more
laura (bookies & cookies)
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Exactly what I needed after a disheartening day. Brilliant for anyone feeling uninspired, lost, or aimless with their creativity. I'll definitely have to check out the actual speech soon! ...more
Apr 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art-design
Neil Gaiman's soul-stirring speech on the essence of art, spurred such wide resonance that it was soon adapted into a small and lovely hardcover book titled "Make Good Art".

He imparts several pieces of life-wisdom on young people beginning a career in the arts. A summarized version, courtesy Open Culture, appears below:

- Embrace the fact that you’re young. Accept that you don’t know what you’re doing. And don’t listen to anyone who says there are rules and limits.
- If you know your calling, go t
Deborah O'Carroll
Sep 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
I love this little book so much. I'm so very very glad that I picked it up at the library. Now I want to own a copy of my own so that I can read it whenever I like.

Every writer should read this. EVERY WRITER. Every artist of any kind. Read this.

Or, if you don't, at least go watch the video of the author speaking (in a fabulous British accent) all of the words in this book and a few more, at the commencement address at which he presented this speech. It's 19 minutes long, and well worth every sec
Jessica (Books: A true story)
I liked how Neil Gaiman talked about how he made life choices. He had a goal of becoming an author that he imagined as a mountain in the distance. He looked at the choices in front of him and decided whether they got him closer or farther to that mountain. I thought that was great advice. This is a great gift book. It has beautiful typography. In a nutshell, here's the six pieces of advice he gave:

1. When you start art you have no idea what you are doing. This is great.
2. If you have an idea, do
Aj Sterkel
Feb 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I watched Neil Gaiman’s Make Good Art speech on YouTube soon after he gave it. It’s a pretty good speech, so when I saw the slightly battered book version of it for $1 at a scratch-and-dent sale, I picked it up.

This little book contains the full text of the speech. The text is beautified by a graphic artist who makes it artsy and colorful. Unfortunately, the beautifying of the text is the book’s biggest issue. If you have eye problems (like me), then you’ll know that light blue font on shiny whi
May 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gen-nonfiction
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
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
"And now go, and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make good art."

Honestly, I can't picture a better story - well, speech in this case, - to begin the year with. Technically, this isn't the first thing I've read in 2020, but it's right at the beginning, so we'll count it. I absolutely adored this speech, mostly because of how purely brilliant this is. Neil Gaiman is one of t
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