Zen Pencils: Creative Struggle by Gavin Aung Than

Creative Struggle

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Release: January 16th 2018
Received: NetGalley
Rating: 4 kitty rating

I received a copy of Zen Pencils: Creative Struggle from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Zen Pencils: Creative Struggle is a wonderful compilation of stories about real people, all of whom were visionaries of their time. The focus isn’t just on their successes however, but on how they persevered or their viewpoint on how to get through a writer’s block or find their inspiration. The stories included are: Vincent van Gogh (The Blank Canvas), Albert Einstein (Life is a Mystery), Leonardo da Vinci (Step Away from the Canvas), Mary Shelley (Teenage Dream), Marie Curie (Our Happy Place), Creative Pep Talk #1, Ludwig van Beethoven (Art Has No Limits), Stephen King (the Desk), Akira Kurosawa (the Notetaker), Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (In the Mood for Work), Creative Pep Talk #2, Nikola Tesla (Visions of the Future), John Coltrane (the Power of Music), Frida Kahlo (Heroine of Pain), Ernest Hemingway (A Lonely Life), and Creative Pep Talk #3.

What I truly loved about this book is just how inspiring it is. I believe any artist (or writer, musician, composer, anything creative you can think of) should read this book when they find themselves struggling. Seeing other people, real people that we’ve grown up idolizing, be in the same position? Well it certainly puts a new perspective on things, to say the least.

I think everyone has felt like they’ve fallen into a creative rut at some point in their life, even if they wouldn’t personally consider themselves to be terribly artistic, and that is why I think reading empowering stories like this is so important. I know I certainly felt a bit better about my creative blocks, both past and present.


About Liz

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, graphic designer, and much more. I love to create art, and am willing to try and artistic technique at least once. I am particularly fond of artworks involving a lot of emotion and color. The purpose of my blog is for me to be open and honest with myself and the world about my attempts to grow as an artist. The facts: My favorite color is constantly changing, so don’t worry about trying to keep up with that! I’m in my 20’s, married, and looking to find the perfect job for me (ideally something that can involve my creativity or my love of animals). I have 6 cats (If we’re being technical, I have 2 cats and my parents have 4), a bearded dragon, a parakeet, and two betas. I adore all of them, and they frequently are my photography models. My blog will primarily be consisting of my 365 (366) photography project, updated daily (hopefully). I’m also working on a 52 weeks project, where I try a new type of photography style or technique each week. That will be updated as the photos are processed.
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