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How to Be an Artist

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  1,437 ratings  ·  179 reviews
"Inspiration leaps off the pages from Jerry Saltz's new book on creativity. . . . This book is for the artist or non-artist, for the person who gets plain English, for the person who understands that practical talk can coax out the mystical messages that lie underneath." —Steve Martin

Art has the power to change our lives. For many, becoming an artist is a lifelong drea
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published March 17th 2020 by Riverhead Books
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Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,437 ratings  ·  179 reviews

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Apr 19, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: arts
I should have known better.
Jesica DeHart
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am married to an art professor and what started as nonchalant peruse through this book found me hours later having read it cover to cover and hand-selling it to my husband as the book he absolutely must include as required reading for all his classes going forward. The cadence and thoughtfulness of this book completely drew me in and the storytelling kept me engrossed throughout. This is already at the top of my top titles for 2020 list.
The Artisan Geek
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such a great read! In less than 150 pages Saltz manages to convey a lot of fundamental ideas concerning art and he does so in a way that leaves enough space for you to establish your own philosophy and views, which I believe you will end up benefiting greatly of! Be sure to find this on a segment of Seji Recommends soon :)

Riverhead Books kindly gifted me a copy of this book! :)

You can find me on
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Neelam Babul
Mar 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
So you want to be an artist, painter or writer, then this is the book to read. How to be an artist is a small book that provides guidelines on how you can start and maintain a creative practise, survive the creative life and continue living a creative life for as long as you live. It is a very inspirational book.

It is full of practical ideas, different art forms and paintings as well as exercises to help apply what you have read/

Overall, I liked this book’s motivational style.

I might just sta
Cátia Vieira
4.5 stars rounded down to 4. How to be an artist by Jerry Saltz is the perfect book if you’re a creative spirit!

My work involves creativity. And we can’t definitely take it for granted. Sometimes we feel creative, sometimes we don’t. But we have to work anyway. So this book is an amazing guide. Jerry Saltz gives us a few tips to keep us going! Some of the greatest advices I got from this book is to always leave a bit of work undone for the next day so I have a starting point. And if I feel bloc
Tess Malone
May 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Even if you aren’t a visual artist, this book has applicable advice and philosophies for writers, entrepreneurs, and anyone who regularly needs to be creative. This is an art manifesto, self-help motivational text, and honest memoir that is an expansion of his New York Magazine column with art for reference and exercises to try. What makes it work is how knowledgeable but not snobby Saltz is with a strong, honest voice. It’s a quick read, but more a book you’ll return to.
Mar 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
It's a little simple at times, but it's also the kind of guidebook that I want to keep on my desk near my DREYER'S ENGLISH and my THE MYTH OF SISYPHUS and my WONDERBOOK. It's a reminder of how, why, and what it means to make art -- and I needed it today, when I read it, so damned if that's not enough, you know? ...more
Jason Diamond
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Very fun and inspiring. Especially good for times when you're stuck and unable to work. Was really glad I picked this up when I did. ...more
Jen B
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I highly recommend this book to ANY artist out there! Saltz gives excellent advice on how to overcome the fear and insecurities many artists come across. It’s a quick read that holds a powerful message on embracing creativity through hard work, self-belief, and persistence. I have a feeling I will be referring back to this book over and over again for inspiration.
Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this. Pretty quick read, and not so much of a do it this way and be successful but try these things and methods to look at similar problems in a new lens and try to think about things this way to change your view on things. Will probably read it again.
Apr 02, 2020 added it
I really enjoy books about making art that aren't about writing. All of the benefits, none of the pressures. ...more
Aaron Hertzmann
Apr 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Good, punchy, high-level advice about making art, clearly written. Probably the best book of this particular kind I've read. ...more
Anna Morgenstern
Aug 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
This short yet concise eye-opening little book I consume in just one sitting (whilst drawing, appropriately.) could have so much impact on every aspiring artist.
I wouldn't say this book is for everyone, some might not relate to the thems or the writing style but if you do, you may earn a lot out of it.
The part that most resonated with me was when the author said to not get stuck on one piece, as it will keep you in the same place and will prevent you from moving forward. It may sound obvious t
Peter Heisler
May 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this book after hearing an interview with the author, mostly for more of his wit and insights into the art world, and it definitely delivered. It does make me want to create something, too, even if I don't have the materials or workspace yet. Some parts are geared toward career artists, but they are all accessible and interesting. Nice pairings with pictures, too! You get a little bit of non-linear art history along with the life lessons. ...more
Diane Hernandez
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: edelweiss
So you want to be an artist. A painter or a writer? It’s no matter. What is the matter is you have no idea how to start? Sure, it’s easy to say writers write and painters paint. But what does that really mean? What you really need to know is How to be an Artist.

Will this short little book make you a great artist? Maybe not. But it will help you do the most difficult part. Starting. It is a very inspirational book. How to be an Artist is better savored in small doses. Here’s an example that I’ve
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This really is a fab little book of wisdom, anecdotes and humor. I've read quite a few of these 'art' books, and I'd have to say this is the first one that actually ticks all the boxes for me. I'm pretty sure most creatives (like folk in general) don't want lecturing, but rather engagement and understanding about the reality of the creative journey, particularly the obstacles and how to find the path forward. Saltz does this in spades: he writes not only from experience, but keen observation, em ...more
Kevin Eggleston
Apr 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There is so much one has heard before here, but like a great pastor's sermon is worth hearing again. I am ever grateful for a writer who is wise and succinct, who understands time is the most valuable resource we have, and Jerry Saltz understands exactly that. Worth your time, for artists of all types. ...more
Mar 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ng, artists
A nice, inspirational book, albeit one that covers some frequently-trod ground. The author maintains a humorous, encouraging tone, so it's a quick and easy read. I have to admit, I didn't expect to laugh out loud, but point 25 cracked me up. This would be a good gift to yourself or a blocked artist (along with Julia Cameron's and Austin Kleon's books).

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a digital ARC for the purpose of my unbiased review.
Apr 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Artists and art dabblers alike have a ton to learn from this absolutely lovely short read that rivals any self-help book currently on the market.

Straight to the point advice and real world talk make Jerry Saltz style so easy to consume.

I love how the wisdom shared could be paralleled to any industry if the reader chooses to think of their craft as art.

Really, really well done.

I wish I could give it more stars.
Mar 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
I’ve been in a creative lull lately and this book was recommended to me. I found it to be enjoyable, enlightening, and entertaining (the three E’s). I particularly liked the prompts throughout... this added an element of engagement that very much complemented the inspirational nature of Saltz’s message.
Apr 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: art
Short read focused on motivating artists to create. This is structured almost like a self-help book for people looking to become more artistic. The author presents guidelines on how you can start and maintain a creative routine. Many of the ideas presented are practical examples for a variety of art forms.
May 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This audiobook was recommended to me by my godson, the beginning of the year and I just got around to start listening to it.

I never heard of this author but his delivery on being an artist, no matter the medium is spot on. If you find yourself doubting, comparing yourself to others, becoming envious/jealous of someone else's success, please stop. You should know that everyone has their own gifts and talents which are specific to you and who needs them, it will never be for everyone and you have
David Kobe
Sep 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Do the work! Saltz plainly spells out what you need to do to be successful in art and in life.
Oct 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of the most inspiring and motivating books I read!
You dont need to be an artist, everything Jerry wrote applies to whatever you are trying to do or to be.
Great read! 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Ivona Tautkute
Jan 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A good piece of inspiration to live your life a bit more creatively
Jun 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
A small treasure of a book. Saltz, an esteemed art critic, offers 63 homilies (the vast majority of them one page or less) on developing the mindset, discipline, and thick skin needed to be a creative person. The book is geared toward painters and visual artists, but most of the principles could translate to writers, film makers, etc. Practical, philosophical, funny, and steeped in art history. Includes some short training exercises and a number of beautiful paintings and photographs. Will be a ...more
Jun 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you are an artist, or trying to be one, then read this book. It won't tell you how to become a successful artist necessarily, but it will inspire you to do the one thing you need to do in order to BE an artist, and that is to DO THE WORK. Jerry Saltz writes this in a way that makes you want to do just that. I'm already thinking about all the things I want to paint next, so I'm already half way there. ...more
Dec 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was wonderful, so many things to think about, and overall it really felt helpful.
Apr 25, 2020 rated it liked it
I was unfamiliar with the original list that this book was based on and I thought it would be interesting to read an art critics perspective on "how to be an artist" but it becomes quickly obvious as soon as you open this that there's little substance to the book and serves as a light read with most topics covering less than a single page, instead I would have preferred if the author delved a little deeper.

There isn't really anything new here apart from a few artists I hadn't heard of, as I'm no
Jun 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Irreverent art critic Jerry Saltz, who has always sought to demystify his profession through his work and effectively move the profession to come down off the mountain, seeks here to further pull back the curtain on the art world, this time offering a delightful little instruction manual on how one might become an artist.

As with all of Saltz’s work, it’s a jaunty, fun read, though I’m a little lost as to who the target audience is. I can’t imagine an aspiring artist paging through this and think
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