Want to change your look? Then change your tool.

Sharpie book cover_sm

I recently picked up a curious book called “Sharpie Art Workshop” by Timothy Goodman. 

Curious because it’s a book about using Sharpies. It lists all the different kinds of Sharpies. It gives a little history of the Sharpie. And as you might expect, it provides inspiration for using Sharpies. You know…on shoes, glass and dinnerware, and of course, skateboards.

For those of you who don’t know the author, Timothy Goodman, is an SVA-trained designer/ illustrator who has found his niche using, you guessed it, a Sharpie. His claim to fame is his brave and inventive mural work that he creates with his Sharpie. His most notable installations are for the Ace Hotel here in NYC and the AirBnB headquarters in San Francisco. But he’s done many others, both here in the States and abroad.

He put this book together with some of his friends and peers. The book provides exercises and assignments to do with your Sharpie. But for me that’s not where the real value is. The biggest and best takeaway from the book is this simple and elegant quote….

“Want to change your look? Then change your tool.“

This is apparently the phrase that stuck with Mr Goodman from his days at SVA as a student. It was something preached by one of his professors.

It’s a great quote. Just a great metaphor for life as a designer.

• Want to change what you do? Discover new tools.

• Want to change your career path? Make new tools.

* Want to change your business? Buy new tools.

* Want to change your life? Collaborate with others using new tools.

I’ve never been much of a Sharpie guy. I’m more of the mechanical pencil type. But I do like the power of a big black line. I prefer a Pentel Sign Pen in those cases. But that’s not the point. The point is to constantly evolve; up your game. Don’t get complacent. Try new things, talk to people you don’t know or agree with, and most of all, don’t be afraid to use your hands.

I could go on and on about the wisdom in those words. But for now, my advice is not to buy the book, but grab a Sharpie and draw that quote on something you’ll see everyday.


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