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Zen Pencils: Cartoon Quotes from Inspirational Folks Paperback – November 11, 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.
Top customer reviews
However, I wish there were a couple more comics that weren't already online and a few of the comics online in the book. This might be because I'm buying a little later. I'm also not entirely sure about some of the page layout choices. A lot of them are great, but sometimes it feels like there is too much or too little comic on the page. Again though, this is nitpicky things because the comics are amazing it's just the book form I was just slightly disappointed with. I think in the future I might go with a poster or other merch over another book.
Gavin's work through Zen Pencils has changed many lives for the better. Including mine. Order a copy and see if it changes yours, too.
Every now and then, something pops into your life that stands out. Something that makes your life better just by existing. Something special that you can't wait to share with others. For me, Gavin's work fits that bill.
When he announced the book, I knew I'd own it. What I didn't know was that I would then purchase other copies to give to loved ones. If you are looking for a new twist on inspirational quotes, Zen Pencils is it. Gavin's artwork is clean, inspired and top notch.
The quotes are great, and how they are represented put them in a new light for me.
Someone mentioned the missing great comic of the Watterson quote. If I'm not mistaken, it was intended to appear, but they were not able to get permission.
Do yourself a favor and buy this collection. Either for yourself, a loved one, a friend or family member, or...like me, for your child, so they, too, can share in Gavin's delightful art.
His illustrations moved me and uplifted me during the ups and downs of my business. I always found great inspiration with his work, and his life.
It was a no-brainer to buy this book, if only to to say thanks for the work he has done.
I would have preferred that each set of illustrations start with a proper heading to distinguish them from each other. Those not familiar with the works may have difficulty telling one set from another.
Otherwise, this is great collection and highly recommended for someone's own use or as a great gift idea.