Zen Pencils: Creative Struggle by Gavin Aung Than

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the Author:

Gavin Aung Than is a cartoonist based in Melbourne, Australia. Gavin launched Zen Pencils at the start of 2012, a cartoon blog which adapts inspirational quotes into comic stories. Zen Pencils has been featured by various renowned news channels and blogs. It was named as one of the best 100 websites of 2013 by PCMag and there are two New York Times bestselling book collections of Zen Pencils comics currently available.

Publication Year: 2018


‘Creative Struggles’ is a perfect book to read when you’re in a slump or you’re too demotivated to do anything. In this inspirational comic strip, each chapter is dedicated to one of the distinguished personalities in the field of Science, Art, Literature, and Music. This comic illustrates not only the creative struggles faced by them in their respective fields but also the rules and methods they followed that led to the creation of their Magnus Opus.

The drawings were humorous and well- illustrated. At the end of each chapter, there’s a brief summary of their life story along with a quote. It’s a good way to get introduced to the stories of these legendary people who made a huge contribution in their fields. In the last chapter, the author describes his life as a cartoonist and the struggle he faces every day.


If we look at the lives of these famous people, one thing all of them had in common and which stands out distinctly is that they did not create these masterpieces effortlessly as you know, ‘Rome was not built in a day’. All of them had their fair share of troubles when it came to their work or personal life such as lack of motivation, lack of opportunities, physical impairment, internal struggles, and unsupportive environment just like ordinary people do. But they persevered in spite of the problems and through their hard work dedication, they were able to induce a breakthrough.

On the whole, this was a fun and inspiring comic. The takeaway is that you should keep on working on what you’re passionate about, even if you face innumerable difficulties. Who knows, you might just end up creating your own masterpiece!

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I'm an introvert, agnostic-atheist, insatiable reader, fitness enthusiast, daydreamer, music-lover, cat-adorer, eternal optimist with a touch of cynicism, curious soul, annoying preacher, OCD for cleanliness with a teeny affinity for messiness!

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