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
I had always labored under the assumption that drawingss or sketches had to be of something ‘painterly’; a pretty castle or a cottage on a hill. But here Danny Gregory advocates just drawing; anything. Anything and everything around you.
I suddenly realised that I was not going to improve as an artist by drawing only ‘proper’ subjects. I would have to practice, practice, practice and draw much more often.
Through delightful sketches and endearing anecdotes Danny introduces an ocean of ideas and inspiration;
- Kickstarting your creativity and learning to see – What basic materials do you need and how can use draw with them
- Making creativity into a habit – Finding out when you can draw
- Blasting your butt out of a rut – Doing things differently
- Re-connecting with reality – Seeing the world around you and living in the moment
- Winning the fight to go on – Fighting against external pressures
- From enemy to ally – Fighting against the inevitable negative thoughts; about mistakes and worries
- Who you are and why that’s fine – Finding your greater identity through your art
- Broadening your creativity – Finding art in other places and sharing your art with others
- Creativity in the real world – Where Danny introduces us to some artists who journal regularly
This isn’t a ‘How to..’ instructional manual that will guide you to draw a perfect tree, but it will help you experiment and discover how you draw a tree. Danny’s book is more a state of mind, an attitude towards drawing and journalling more than anything and for that reason I would recommend this book to anyone with even the slightest interest in either drawing or journaling. Well, to be frank (Hello, I’m Frank), I’d recommend this book to any creative type; they’re sure to find more than enough of interest to them.