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Zen Pencils: Cartoon Quotes from Inspirational Folks
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Zen Pencils: Cartoon Quotes from Inspirational Folks

4.54  ·  Rating details ·  1,843 ratings  ·  252 reviews
Zen Pencils is an exciting and unique new comic form that takes inspirational and famous quotations and adapts them into graphic stories. From icons like Confucius, Marie Curie, and Henry David Thoreau, to Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Calvin Coolidge, to contemporary notables like Ira Glass, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Neil Gaiman---their words are turned into sometimes ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published November 11th 2014 by Andrews McMeel Publishing (first published November 4th 2014)
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Autumn I borrowed a copy from my local public library.

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4.54  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,843 ratings  ·  252 reviews

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Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novel
Beautiful, Creative & Wow!

Gavin Aung Than`s Zen Pencils: Cartoon Quotes from Inspirational Folks is a must-read. Beautiful and meaningful illustrations. Visually awesome and inspiring content.

This book is a graphical collection of quotes and life lessons from learned people, both from the classic era and the contemporary world. The focus is on encouraging artistic creativity and to be the best yourself.

Your responsibility is not to the people you're making the gift for... But to the gift it
Undrakh Ganzorig
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is exactly what I was looking for. Words of inspiration and wisdom along with amazing cartoons by Gavin Aung Than. My younger brother loves this book and is now trying to really understand every quote in it (I'm so glad, thinking normally how difficult it's to make him read in English.)
Will buy paperback version at the first chance.
Sarba Roy
Jul 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Has there been a book in your life that has made you laugh uncontrollably, smile sheepishly and cry silently?
Has there been a book which had made wonder in amazement and left you deeply inspired?
Do you like getting goosebumps while reading an interesting comic strip?

This book is a big Yes to all the above queries ! It is superb, fantastic and fabulous. Go grab a copy, read it, gift it and spread the word.

P.S. Turn to the last page for a wonderful surprise :)
ستایش  دشتی
Mar 31, 2015 marked it as to-read
بالاخره خریدمش! به زودی میخونمش. ...more
Nov 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is the first book I've ever pre-ordered. So worth it. I read the whole thing in one sitting, although it is definitely one of those books you can just dip in and out of, I would recommend this book to everyone. It should sit on every coffee table as it acts as a remedy to this complicated world, where creativity is overlooked or worse, supressed. Read this if you want to believe you can.
Parthiban Sekar
May 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
I have always been an ardent follower of Zen Pencils comics. This cute, little, colored comic book is exactly what it claims that it is... "Inspirational" . Love the whole concept of cartoonic interpretation of inspiration quotes/poems from the greatest writers like Thoreau, London, William Ernest Henley, etc... and some of contemporary writers like Marianne Williamson, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Neil Gaiman, etc... I have no clue How Henry Rollins came here. But, his quote/poem is refreshingly new a ...more
Julie Ehlers
Oct 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
I saw this last month in a bookstore in the SF airport and really wanted to get it then, but my luggage was already crammed so full of books that I literally didn't have room for one more (not that I'm complaining). Anyway, now that I have procured and read this, I am happy to say it was worthy of my temporarily thwarted acquisitiveness. The art was lovely and most (not quite all) of the quotes were well chosen--beautiful and wise. This is the sort of book that makes you feel like you can do jus ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Sep 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great quotes. Clever illustrations.
A haiku here seems appropriate.
Completely worth your time.
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
You will most likely be inspired. Or, at the very least, impressed. The author actually followed all these great motivational advice, quit his job and figured out a way to make a living at doing what he loves...hence the book. And, of course, this doesn't bode quite so auspiciously for every art student (or insert any artistic calling ambition) waiting tables and serving overpriced lattes. But it worked for author (and many prolific figures whose quotes he uses) and naturally now he wants to sav ...more
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, re-read
wow !! I simply loved the book .... Makes you feel light and brightens your day !
Oct 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Tadinya baca komik-komik ini di web-nya (^ ^)

Dari kutipan-kutipan itu, kadang dibaca dulu tanpa melihat gambarnya, lalu dibaca ulang disesuaikan dengan konteks gambarnya... Menarik! (≧◡≦) ~karena kadang terasa "perbedaannya", dan ada "rasa" yang dihidupkan oleh komikusnya.

Secara keseluruhan, kutipannya bertujuan mengajak pembaca untuk menghidupi hidup yang lebih "hidup" \(^ヮ^)/
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Megha by: Parthiban Sekar
The foreword itself is so inspiring!
Onaiza Khan
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Love Love Love
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received this as an ARC on Netgalley. Cute. Quick. Fun. Filled with some good quotes to remember and live by. I plan to share some of these with my students in the classroom and with my yoga community.
Aditya Lotia
Pictures speaker louder than words. It is true in this case. I don't know of any words that could help me describe what the combination of words and pictures do to you when you read this. It is not the first time I am reading this. I have read all the comic strips on the website, multiple times. And then I read it again in the physical copy. This book is truly inspirational and gorgeous, to say the least. All these quotes that you read make you wonder if you are actually happy with your life or ...more
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a nice book to gift to the young readers in your life. Teens will read it because it's in comic book format and easy to read. The fact that they learn something will be an added bonus. The author Cavin Aung Than takes quotes from famous names like Confucius, Marie Curie, and Henry David Thoreau, to Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Calvin Coolidge, to contemporary notables like Ira Glass, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Neil Gaiman. Each comic panel is only a few pages long and is kept simple a ...more
Aug 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Awesome book for kid, but adult can benefit from it too. It present quotes and inspiration/moral stories from great mind of the world (Confucius, Roosevelt, Marie Curie, and many others) in the form of small cartoons (stories are about 2-3 pages). It made it easy to understand without making them sound stupid or «childish». Great, original and very well done. I think it could be useful in class, even with very young kid. You read one story with them and then discuss about it to make them think o ...more
Happy Priya
Aug 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Don’t make stuff because you want to make money — it will never make you enough money. And don’t make stuff because you want to get famous — because you will never feel famous enough. Make gifts for people — and work hard on making those gifts in the hope that those people will notice and like the gifts.

Maybe they will notice how hard you worked, and maybe they won’t — and if they don’t notice, I know it’s frustrating. But, ultimately, that doesn’t change anything — because your responsibility i
Ye Lin Aung
Nov 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2015
Got it during recent trip to DC. Needless to say, this one worth to keep and read it again and again. Ko Gavin Aung Than (Oh yes, he's a Burmese as well. I can't be proud anymore) did the amazing (and surprising work as he mentioned RPF in one page) job combing the great quotes from great people with easy to understand, beautiful comics. Love it. Meanwhile, it's also worth to check out ZenPencils website where Ko Gavin writes and draws stuffs.
Li Jia Li
Nov 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I knew the books from my friends and go checkout and read the comics at before getting the books. These are beautifully crafted comics and really love it. You would never get bored to re-read it again and again. There's also a poster included with the book and it's super awesome. :) And i'm also very proud to know that Gavin is a Burmese. Cheers !!!
Sushmitha Kanukurthi
I started reading Zen Pencils after a friend at work recommended it. This series will go down as one of the best recommendations I have received so far. I loved every single strip in this series... Gavin Aung Than is a genius.. We need many more zen pencils in our life to get it in order!
Shivali Chopra
Feb 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
there are some books which just makes you so happy that you want to cuddle them and not let go ever . thank you for making my day :)
Sooraya Evans
Jun 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Graphics indeed bring out the magic behind these inspirational quotes.
The take on Neil Gaiman was the funniest to me.
The 'cinema ticket' short made me cry.
Bhargavi Balachandran
Apr 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Nice stuff..gets a little repetitive after a few cartoons.
Nov 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of the best compilations
Isabella Mancini
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The book Zen Pencils by Gavin Than, entirely consists of inspirational quotes. These quotes where written by famous icons from Marie Curie to Theodore Roosevelt. The quotes went from being the best version of yourself and never giving up to living a happy life and having persistence. I completely believe that this is a phenomenal book.

Zen Pencils was very unique to me because I have not read a graphic novel/comic in an exceptionally long time. The book was very good because along with the li
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
One star less because in the 'Don't Compare Yourself To Others' story, Than's listed 'a pretty wife' along with other things you can acquire/desire like a Rolex and a holiday house :/
This little bit soured for me an otherwise wonderful book.
Sean Goh
Jan 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics, philosophy
Stayed up and binge read this the night before, it was that good.

I already follow Gavin's work at, so most, if not all the comics were not new. Yet there is a special magic about seeing the inks and pencils laid out before you on solid paper, rather than a screen. Almost as if the characters have come to life (a la Toy Story) to tell their story.

Even teared up at a few of them, especially the C.S. Lewis "To Love at All" quote (so shoot me, I'm a diehard romantic) and Roger Ebert'
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely love this selection of Than's cartoon/quote combos. This book is so encouraging and uplifting, especially in terms of getting out there and doing what you love with your life despite the hurdles. <3
VijayaRaghavan S N
Nov 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who knows to read
Shelves: favorites
Aah...sheer magic. To transform words into pictures and then make us think. Sheer brilliance. I have heard of people talking about poetic beauty. But now I have witnessed it.

There's a limit to which words stay etched on your mind. But when words are combined with pictures, that's where all the magic happens. Thank you Gavin for this masterpiece and evergreen work. One thing I can say for sure is that this book would never age. It can be passed down generations to generations and still evoke the
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Gavin Aung Than is a freelance cartoonist based in Melbourne, Australia. After working in the corporate graphic design industry for 8 years he quit his unfulfilling job at the end of 2011 to focus on his true passion, drawing cartoons. Gavin launched Zen Pencils at the start of 2012, a cartoon blog which adapts inspirational quotes into comic stories, and hasn’t looked back since.
“The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in battle.” 1 likes
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