‘The Artist’s Way’ by Julia Cameron Book Review


Madeline Ungashick '22, Writer

The Artist’s Way is a book by Julia Cameron about being able to harness one’s creativity and learn to make art while overcoming blocks and struggles. In the book, Cameron emphasizes how she doesn’t necessarily teach people to be creative, she teaches them how they can set their creativity free. While The Artist’s Way is less about visual arts and more about general kinds of art, her words in it were able to ring true to me as a visual artist. Cameron builds off of the idea of having a growth mindset. She teaches how crucial creativity is to any artistic occupation and how difficult it can be to accomplish anything if your creative flow is restricted.

One thing that stood out to me about the advice that Cameron gives in this book is how she doesn’t force the reader to view things from one perspective or say there’s one solution to any problem the reader may be facing. She is very open with her teaching and encourages the reader to only perform the exercises in the book that they find appealing to them. In the past, I’ve tended to avoid books about improving your art skills because authors tend to act like they know the “big secret” to improvement and don’t consider their methods may not work for everyone. If there’s an exercise that they attribute to being the secret weapon to art improvement, then they treat it like it’s the reader’s fault if the exercise doesn’t help them in an intended way. Cameron seems to understand that the members of her audience may not always have the same experience or perspective, and respects that.

Cameron’s writing style is both casual and colloquial as well as respective and serious about the idea of art and what art is. Her words may be interpreted as pretentious to some people, but I actually find it pretty refreshing to see someone discuss art from a serious standpoint, and enjoy art for what it really is. But she also doesn’t act too serious about it to the point of not being able to relate to and engage her audience. In this book, Cameron finds a balance of being artistic and approachable, which is something I find is rare in most other art advice books. I recommend this book to anyone who writes, draws, or creates content of any kind. No matter whether you consider yourself an “artist” or the things you make “art,” this book can help any creative mind looking to expand their ability. It is not only informative but also hands-on, and both tell you how you can grow as an artist as well as show you how through activities and exercises. The author uses anecdotes from her own life to relate to the reader, and also discusses more abstract concepts of art and creativity. She does this all with the balance of an experienced writer, making it an engaging and worthwhile read.