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I am reviewing two books here; The Art of Neil Gaiman by Hayley Campbell and Make Good Art by Neil Gaiman.

First up, The Art of Neil Gaiman by Hayley Campbell. When I first heard about this book, I thought it was going to be an art book, filled with drawings and illustrations from Gaiman’s works. But it is so much more than that.

While there is a ton of artwork at various stages of completion, this is also a biography, an interview and an intimate look at a popular cultural icon. Hayley Campbell is Neil Gaiman’s goddaughter, so her perspective is personal and deep.

There are reproductions of journal pages, letters, all manner of writing. Lots of quotes, snippets of various graphic novels, and lots of drawings, including a self portrait, illustrations from different stages of work, and more.

Gaiman is enormously talented, and as are many people in the creative world, he excels at more than one art. If you’re not familiar with Neil Gaiman, you surely will be after reading this book. If you are already a fan, run (don’t walk!) and buy this today. Every page feels like a gift, and I’ve been savoring every one.

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Speaking of gifts, here’s a heads up – if you can, run out and buy both of these for your graduating art major/minor. I would hate to have to choose between them but I will say if money is a factor (and when is it not?) Make Good Art is a beautiful little hardcover book that Amazon is selling for less than $8 and is truly the perfect graduation gift for anyone planning a life in a creative field.

The book is based on the 2012 commencement address Mr. Gaiman gave at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts. It went viral on YouTube, and a book was born.

The book contains the text of the speech, and as an added bonus, Chip Kidd designed the cover. Gaiman shares his thoughts on being brave, being strong, and mostly being creative and making good art. It’s a lovely book and I highly recommend it.

6/14 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE ART OF NEIL GAIMAN by Hayley Campbell. Harper Design (May 20, 2014). ISBN 978-0062248565. 320p.

MAKE GOOD ART by Neil Gaiman. William Morrow (May 14, 2013)  ISBN 978-0062266767. 80p.

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