Ask the man on the street who Danny Gregory is and they probably haven’t heard of him. However ask that hunched figure huddled under the shop canopy who looks up sporadically to check that their pen marks are sketching out the buildings opposite, and you’re likely to get a different answer.
I wonder how many hundreds of people Danny has inspired to pick up a pen or pencil or paintbrush and create? For those of you who know who is, I’m sure that my story is similar to yours.
I stumbled across one of Danny’s books and his enthusiasm and energy sprang from every page; whether it be in his joyful text or his exuberant sketches.
He advocates drawing regularly, or journaling; and as Danny likes to put a lot of text around his drawings; this helps to not only explain context and feelings but helps the drawing become more than just a simple picture, or a half-completed drawing. It becomes a record of a life.
Trying regularly. Danny advocates drawing everyday. After all how can one improve at something without regular practice?
Varying your materials to explore different media and seeing how different media work together. Some will work and new combinations may be discovered that produce effects that you like and didn’t expect. Others may fail miserably, but may lead to discover further combinations.
Setting yourself little tasks and challenges. There’s a page in “The Creative License” (p98 if you must know) that is titled ’10,000 Things to Draw’ and is a long list of collections of things; all the pens on your desk, all the windows in your street. Some large, but mostly the small and , some might say, insignificant. But not insignificant to the sketcher on a journey. Everything and anything is fair game to be drawn. But not just drawn – try to find connections, get lost in themes and subjects, studies of photographs, of lamps, fire hydrants or manhole covers.
It all combines into a reflective whole; reflecting on the large and small, reflecting on the meaning and importance of your mark making and of the subjects that you choose.
Creating drawings and journaling is not an exact science; there is no right or wrong way to do it. But the important thing about creating is just that. Creating. It doesn’t really matter if the angles are skewed, or the shapes aren’t quite right, what matters is the process of creating.
Want to find out more?
… click on the book illustrations
Summer 2009 – as I was browsing in the art section of a local book shop I came across Danny Gregory’s latest book. I have always considered myself a keen sketcher, but had lapsed. Lapsed into occasionally taking my sketchpad and pencils away when we went on holiday, and even then perhaps only using them once or twice.
‘An illustrated Life’ was a revelation; here were artists and creatives who were sketching every day, using a sketchpad like a doodle book, keeping a record of anything and everything. Drawing life around them, using whatever materials they wanted.
… and I recognised something in Danny Gregory’s style, something familiar. I remember sitting in the bookshop pouring over Danny’s introduction, pouring over the examples of his drawing and saying to myself that his style seemed similar to my own.
I fell in love with the idea of keeping a sketchbook journal.
I bought the book. Even though I hadn’t bought an art book in years and quickly ordered a couple more books by Danny Gregory…
There are 50 artists profiled here. They each have about four to six pages in which we see multiple pages from their sketchbooks and journals. We also find out about why they draw, what materials they prefer and something of their philosophy too.
In addition to the book – At the time Danny interviews several of the contributors and released them as podcasts. As far as I’m aware these are no longer available on iTunes, but they may be lurking around somewhere on the internet.