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Video Mashup: Neil Gaiman’s Speech & Zen Pencils Comic Come Together To “Make Good Art”
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Promo image for Neil Gaiman & Zen Pencils 'Make Good Art'

What happens when you take Neil Gaiman‘s 2012 commencement speech and the Zen Pencils comic of a tiny bit of that speech? A video mashup happens, my friends. This is the internet after all. Drop below the cut to watch the video and read the tale of how I came to make it. It’s alright if you skim the tale and watch the video. I won’t judge.

Neil Gaiman is a prolific writer of fantasy, science fiction, poetry, and life. He became a beloved writer of mine *mumble mumble* years ago. Amazingly, it wasn’t love at first sight. I tried The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes & Nocturnes and barely got past the first issue. What can I say. I was younger and still hung up on superhero comics. That’s not a bad place to start but it’s not a place one should stay forever, I think. After a year I gave Mr Gaiman a second try and jumped to The Sandman Vol. 4: Season of Mists. The key to Hell segment of Morpheus’ five year journey in Vertigo comics. That was my key to Gaiman’s pantheon of works. I was hooked on fairy tales, ancient myths and, oddly enough, religion in a brand new way.

Zen Pencils is a comic website by Gavin Aung Than that I ran across around two years ago. He finds inspirational quotes and turns them into damn fine inspirational comics. He’s made comics from knowledgeable people like Neil De Grasse Tyson, Stephen Fry, Alan Watts, Charles Bukowski, Henry Rollins and many, many others. It was a slow love for his works, too. I gradually went from checking his page once a month to once a week(which is his regular-ish schedule).

Neil Gaiman’s “Make Good Art” commencement speech (watch below) happened at the University of the Arts Class around this month of May in 2012. Once it was released onto the internet, it spread like geek wildfire. Of course I, being a low level internet stalker of all things Gaiman had heard of his advice to writers and others who are creatively inclined. “Make good art,” he advises. “In the bad times and the good times.” For years I would forget this advice when it mattered most. But now with video of him wearing his funny knowledge hat and standing in front of the next generation of artists it was a new hit of inspiration.

The Zen Pencils got a hold of a small piece of the speech and turned it into a memorable piece of art. (Check out the comic here.) It is definitely what I want on my wall to remind me that I need to write more fiction, more articles or just do more in general. After viewing this comic and seeing this speech, my mind turned and churned.

For a while now I’ve been dabbling with becoming a video maker but I had no idea what kind of videos to make. These two pieces of inspiration literally screamed at me to put them together as a video comic. I’m surprised that I haven’t seen more people make a mashup of this. You’re slacking, internet. It took a while to convince the artist in me that I was good enough to take a stab at it. Then it took a while longer to build up the courage to share it. After being on the internet and sharing my thoughts on the world for almost ten years you’d think it would be easy for me by now. But the fear of trolls and their need to cut you in your creative unberbelly kept me from following through.

That’s how this video mashup came about. I redoubled my FILDI. I summoned the entirety of my top-seated amateur powers of Camtasia (because I’m too poor to afford Adobe After Effects). I got over myself and got it done.

I decided to follow the lead set by Neil Gaiman and reinforced by Zen Pencils. I decided to ‘Make Good Art’.

Well, it’s at least “okay” art.


I strongly suggest that artists and non-artists watch the entire speech.

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