This unusual two-section resource directs creative people toward their personal best. Internationally renowned artist Paul Stankard provides a practical, personal guide outlining his philosophy based on self-directed learning. First, by referencing his own career path, he offers readers what he yearned for during his 45-year journey toward international acclaim: a practical, intimate guide showing how successful artists achieve excellence in their work. Next, he introduces a cross section of dozens of masters who are respected by experts on the American craft landscape. Stankard walks you through a selection of 150+ top works from these artists, each of whom also offers candid advice. With this guide, learn to compete with the best from the past and the present as you pursue a personal journey in the studio, or consider a career in the arts. This book promotes self-directed learning, and is destined to be a classic.