I have to be honest, I was putting off writing this review because… well.. I’m a bit disappointed by this book. I will tell you why later on, but first let me tell you why this is a great book.
Danny Gregory is a well-known name when it comes to art journaling, or keeping a sketchbook diary, or however you’d like to call this drawing and writing combination. He has a very populair website and blog, published a a few books from which a 7000+ member Facebook group sprouted, all of which are a huge inspiration for people who want to draw and keep some kind of record of their lives.
Art before breakfast, Danny’s latest book, focusses on finding the time to do just that. If you get up a few minutes early and draw your breakfast, that’s a drawing a day. In this book, he suggests ways to finding (or rather, making) time to make art. And he shows you how to do it, too.
The books starts you off with a week’s worth of drawing lessons, and then you’re off! It has a chapter on art materials, and how you can switch them up and get different effects, how a page full of ‘bad’ drawings still look cool and that there’s always something to draw, because you are always there to draw from. Toes and hands and selfportraits will keep you busy for a while.
So yes, it’s a great book with lots of inspiration and creative ideas to try out. So why the disappointment?
I fist came across Danny’s blog and books some time in 2011, in august I ordered his book Everyday matters, a memoir and for Christmas that year I received Creative License: giving yourself permission to be the artist you truly are. I love those books, read them cover to cover more than once and am rather familiar with Danny’s style of drawing, and writing. And that’s where it goes wrong with this new books.
I understand that Danny Gregory wrote this book and provided all the art work for it, and so it will have that familiar feel to it, but honestly, this book feels like a re-write of The Creative License.
The drawing lessons of drawing negative space first, he’s done that before. I know what’s in his bathroom cabinet because it’s in the other books, the bagel in The Creative License is a piece of toast in this one…
Keys, copying children’s art, pets, salt and pepper shakers, I know Danny likes to focus on the ordinary, the everyday, but it all seems a bit repetititve.
It’s probably just me, and I should look beyond the artwork and instead concentrate on the message this book is sending: draw more! You’ve got time, there’s stuff to draw right in front of you. Just do it, you’ll feel better for it.
So yes, if you are looking for inspiration and motivation, this is a great book. I do recommend it.
If you already own Danny Gregory books, maybe not so much. Or, if you’re a ‘collect them all’ kind of fan of his work, it’s another good one.
(And now I’m going to press ‘Publish’ and try and avoid the knot in my stomach as I don’t like being negative about someone’s work when they have inspired me so much over the years….)