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An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers Paperback – December 1, 2008


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An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers + An Illustrated Journey: Inspiration From the Private Art Journals of Traveling Artists, Illustrators and Designers + The Creative License: Giving Yourself Permission to Be the Artist You Truly Are
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: HOW Books (December 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600610862
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600610868
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 9.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best of the Month, December 2008: Danny Gregory's An Illustrated Life is a visual delight of color and texture--a funky and frenetic "book about books people have made," perfect for chronic doodlers, journalers, and art lovers. Sharing vibrant excerpts from the notebooks of 50 illustrators, artists, and designers, each accompanied by an introduction by the artist, it's a gorgeous, intimate exploration of the creative process. Gregory's passion for the "illustrated journal" is infectious--for him, artist's sketchbooks represent a nonthreatening place to record "risks, mistakes, regrets, thoughts, lessons, and dreams." Whether you are charmed by the illustrations of Amanda Kavanagh, or intimidated by the musings of Stefan Sagmeister, poring over this eclectic group of fledgling and famous "artists" will inspire you to tackle an illustrated journal of your own. --Daphne

About the Author

Danny Gregory has lived all over the world from Australia to Pakistan. He is currently Executive Creative Director of ad agency McGarry Bowen. His visual journaling Yahoo group has more than 2,300 members and his Everyday Matters blog receives thousands of visitors a month.

More About the Author

I spent most of my life not believing I had the right to consider myself an artist in any way. But then I started drawing about eight years ago and it changed my life. It led me to travel, to meet people, to get books published, but most of all it transformed the way I see the world around me and how I experience every day.

I believe that everyone has the same opportunity. Not to become a Professional Artist but to make art into a regular part of your everyday life. It doesn't matter what your elementary school art teacher said, or your parents, or your boss. You have it in you to draw, to play an instrument, to write poetry, whatever you choose. You can and should express your self. Regardless of what you fear anyone else may thinks of the results, you can become a creative person and achieve a new view of the life you lead.

I often wonder what the world would be like if every adult was as creative and free as we all were as kids. I think it would be calmer, lovelier, more peaceful place. And I'd like to do something about it.

Several years ago, I started writing about my experience of creativity and sharing it on my website, dannygregory.com. Within a few months, the Everyday Matters group was formed and now over a thousand people get together regularly to encourage each other in drawing and painting and making beautiful things. They chat on the Internet and they get together in cities and towns around the world to collaborate and share.

My book, The Creative License, was written to help the sorts of people I met in our group. Some are students, some were artists and designers. But most were just people like me who had suddenly decided, when they were well into adulthood, that they wanted to return to making creativity a regular part of their lives. Most of them don't want to make a living painting or have their drawings hung in galleries and museums. They just want to have the pleasure and satisfaction of creating things.

If you would like to incorporate more creativity into your life, check out my new book, visit my site and drop me a line. I'd love to be inspired by you.


Meanwhile, here's some more of my story:


I was born in London, which we left when I was three or four. We moved briefly to Pittsburgh, Pa. then to Canberra, Australia. When I was nine, I went to live with my grandparents in Lahore, Pakistan. Next we went to a kibbutz in Israel then moved to a small town called Kfar Saba. As the Yom Kippur War broke out, we relocated to Brooklyn where I went to a Quaker high school. I was editor of the school paper and organized a Marxist study circle. I graduated from Princeton University, summa cum laude, with a degree in Politics. It was my 21st school.

When I was eleven, I began my first job - assisting the vet at the local slaughterhouse. I've worked in a record store, in one of New York's finest restaurants, and my congressman's office. I was a White House intern (Jimmy Carter lusted for me only in his heart) and a McDonalds' fry cook. I have also worked in a half dozen advertising agencies, and illustrated books, newspapers, and magazines. I am currently Executive Creative Director of a NY ad agency and Contributing Illustrator to The Morning News.

I live in Greenwich Village with myson, Jack Tea, and our miniature longhaired dachshunds, Joe and Tim. If you are in the area, come draw with me and my group.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 133 customer reviews
This is a unique book full of inspiration and practical ideas.
Russell L. Stutler
I only read one or two artist stories every day or so, so this book will give me much pleasure over a long time.
Art Chik
This is a book that can be read and savored for a long, long time.
Book Lover & Artist

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

112 of 115 people found the following review helpful By Parka TOP 50 REVIEWER on March 9, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Length: 0:22 Mins
When I was searching for information about the book, I found a lot of positive reviews. And I really mean A LOT. It's one thing that a book is well liked. It's another when it's so well liked people are actually talking about it.

An Illustrated Life is a compilation of sketchbook pages from 50 illustrators all over the world. Each journal is packed with sketches, captions and a narrative as the artist talks about his sketchbook. At 266 pages, some of the scans are a little small if you want to read the writings. One reader I found bought a magnifying glass just to make sure every detail isn't missed.

Every page is a surprise, every page is a discovery, a glimpse of what the artists is thinking, seeing and feeling. It's the perfect book to go to when you're looking inspiration and motivation.

Most artists have their websites listed. It's another avenue for exploration. Jjust to name some, they are R. Crumb, Christoph Niemann, James Jean, Peter Ankle, Cathy Johnson, James Kochalka, Brody Neuenschwander, Chris Ware, Stefan Sagmeister etc.

Danny Gregory has published a truly wonderful book. I really love it. It's well worth every single cent.

(More pictures are available on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
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Format: Paperback
Danny Gregory has done it again. He's nurturing and encouraging people from around the world to draw the little treasures of their lives. This book is a celebration of that special part of us that needs to draw, record, interpret, and play! When I got my copy, I was drawn like a magnet into the pages. This is a book that can be read and savored for a long, long time. There is so much, and it is all so rich. I carry it around with me throughout my day. Just looking at the beautiful cover makes me smile in anticipation.

The 50 artists have very different styles and approaches, which I found broadening. It is so much fun to read about their approaches, supplies, and ideas.

I have taken a magnifying glass to some of the images already, so I can marvel at the smallest of details.

I have found myself hoping that Danny Gregory will create a sequel - or - hopefully, a series of these books.

An engrossing read. Buy it...you will love it. While you're at it, buy a moleskin or other journal because you won't be able to stop drawing!
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Price on December 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
I have known Mr. Gregory for over ten years now and am convinced that there must be clones of him out there working to create all the wonderful books, ad campaigns, personal pieces of art and fascinating correspondence that go out with the signature D. Gregory atttached. This, his latest work of genius, is simply yet another example of what can be accomplished when there are several creative minds working on one project. I think it's time Dan came clean with his fans. Just how many Dan Gregorys are there? Seriously, this needs to be an annual affair so that we can all be inspired in book form by the endless wonderful pool of drawing talent out in the world. I, like many journalers and sketchers, receive copious amounts of inspiration to continue our work when we see others doing similar things in our field of endeavor. So talk to your publisher Dan. Get them to talk you into doing one of these every year or so. The world will be a better place because of it.
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50 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Mountain Artist on December 18, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
OK, I think Danny Gregory is terrific, and his encouragement for other artists is and always will be a blessing. The concept for this book was just fine. My problem with the book is that it is so poorly printed, it's difficult to even make out much of the wonderful detail within. Also, the text is absolutely tiny. The only bright colors in the whole book are on the cover. I imagine this book was just too ambitious, and that Danny and the publisher traded quality for quantity. I would have rather seen this same book with half the pages and twice the printing quality; also with a text at least slightly larger. For me this book was sort of torture, like that room in Hell where spirits are surrounded with gorgeous food, but none of it can be eaten. Sorry to be the wet blanket on this one. Obviously 22 other reviewers did not feel this way. I was so disappointed with this I considered sending it back to Amazon, but had misplaced the invoice by the time I'd considered it. If this book were published again with quality, I would be happy to buy it for twice the price.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By M. C. Marsh on December 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
I ordered this book in March or April and was so excited when it arrived in the mail early!! The images in this book are amazing and do a wonderful job showing a vast array of artists who are fanatics about drawing in small journals for so many reasons. It is satisfying to see that there are people who find as much joy in drawing in a book as I do! I would recommend this book to anyone who even considers drawing or journaling! Once again Danny has created a work of art that is so hard to put down and will surely inspire a multitude of people to pick up a sketchbook and a pen! Love it! Love it! Love it!
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful By J. Grossman on December 20, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love the concept of this book. It's truly an inspiration for anybody who is into sketchbook journals. One of the most interesting aspects of the book is the segment written by each artist about their process, techniques, materials, and what they find valuable in sketching and journaling. So, you can imagine how disappointed I was to find that the type size for these articles is so small that it's a struggle to read them. Instead of sitting down with the book for an hour or so at the end of a long day, I crawl my way through it one segment at a time, straining with the tiny font size and tiring quickly. I understand that it would have taken many more pages to have expanded the size, but I'd rather pay more for a larger book and be able to read it. I hope that if this print run sells out, it will be reprinted with a larger font size.
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