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.