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Zen Pencils: Cartoon Quotes from Inspirational Folks Paperback – 20 Nov 2014
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"Inspired by motivational posters that match uplifting sayings with dramatic images, Than fuses inspirational quotes with his own comics panels and in the process creates something finer than simply the sum of the two in this debut collection. A combination of quotes from both the classic (Thoreau, Twain, Confucius) and contemporary (Neil Gaiman, Ira Glass, Neil DeGrasse Tyson) are melded with cartoon art whose simplicity initially disguises its energetic dynamism. Than has chosen a range of stimulating and nurturing ideas, but the interconnection with competent and amusing comic strips pulls this above the usual collection of "never say die" anthologies. The book's emphasis is on artistic creativity: how to rise above the complications and setbacks (online trolls, discouraging relatives, mundane life) to find your own happiness and success in creating something. The sometimes literal, sometimes metaphorical adaptations are charming, funny, and pointedly invigorating. Than's website has been an online success and the book will introduce him to an even larger audience. A lively and sparkling collection with a potential long life as a gift suitable for kids and adults, ideal for graduates and career seekers." (Publishers Weekly)
"Zen Pencils deftly blends the inspired thoughts of our great creative and moral thinkers with its own fresh visual wit. Because these work as pithy history lessons illuminating timeless human truths, it's no wonder Gavin's engaging comics go viral." (Michael Cavna, The Washington Post, "Comic Riffs")
"Sometimes all it takes is a clear, original vision and a talented hand. Gavin Aung Than and his genius of Zen Pencils gives us that together, and so much more." (Chris Hadfield, retired astronaut and former commander of the International Space Station)
"If you read this book and don't get a lump in your throat and a stirring in your heart at least once, check your pulse. You're dead." (Roger Plait, The Bad Astronomer)
About the Author
Gavin Aung Than is a freelance cartoonist based in Melbourne, Australia. After working in the corporate graphic design industry for eight 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.
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The book itself is great, the cartons are excellent and so are the quotes.
My only tiny quibble is that there isn't much in the way of separation between each comic....The headers that introduce them seem almost an after thought (very small and plain lettering). It is (generally) visually obvious when a comic "starts" but i feel its a bit of a shame as the book just tends to mould into one large random comic (more apparent when flicking though at random. Did i miss something!? :p
Dont let that put you off though, the book is a must buy and i shall be getting more for my family and friends.
Gavin is an inspirational guy, but i don't have to convince anyone of that. Nor do I have to convince you that Stephen Fry is inspirational or that Bruce Lee is.
This collection of amazing work has loads of quotes that challenge you, inspire you, educate and enlighten you. Some quotes you will have heard, but the way they are brought to life in this book makes them memorable and they will stay with you.
I've already read this twice and have.no intention of putting it on the shelf.
Cheers gav you've genuinely improved humanity (or at least me)
I was so pleased by the mix of comics in this book, I've followed Gavin long enough to know that certain copyrights etc. would have preventing him from including some, and that's why you should go find his website. A website where he lets us just see the projects he's worked so hard on, and for free. On the content of this book, well, I cried about four times. Not only because of the inspiring words, but because Gavin really knows how to draw out the meaning of them. You won't make it through a quarter of this book before you start thinking about your own dreams, your own future, and the possibilities open to you. And not just because of the words of these famous people but because of Gavin himself. This is a man who gave up all the things we're meant to have, a mortgage, a steady job etc. to pursue his dream. And within only a couple of years of "giving up everything" he's found it all again, on a path he's happy to be on.
I say all this so you know that this isn't just a 'comic book', it's an testament to the many words in this book that say you should discover what you love and pursue it at all costs. Even if this brings you pain or makes you unpopular, defend your right to love it. I have one of Gavin's posters, a speech by John Green, hanging over my bed. Every day I see it and every day I'm reminded to stay the course. :-)
Gav is giving a body (in this case using comics) to great inspirational quotes: it's great for children (who will be amazed by cartoons and by the positivity of the message given by the quotes) and adults (remember that you can make a change, always).