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

4.7 out of 5 stars 159 customer reviews

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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.
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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: 10 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (159 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,937 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Length: 0:30 Mins
I've never seen a book like this before! These are a collection of private entries from the diary/journals of artists from around the world.

Included are some well-known ("R. Crumb") to the obscure. Teachers and professors, retired and entrepreneurs, housewives and the very affluent, they're all here side by side.

Apart from the illustrations the artists' kept, the most compelling thing are the notes. You get the real sense that if art weren't a part of their lives, in some active way, then they would cease to function as human beings. These are some very raw emotions revealed.

"The true purpose of my sketchbooks is to help me celebrate and truly experience my life...If I don't have my journals with me, I invariably miss them."
-- Cathy Johnson, painter & illustrator

"I draw with fountain pens. A Montblanc `Meisterstuck #149" and a Mamiki `Falcon.' I use ink from Noodler's and watercolors. When I restarted my sketching, I chose Moleskin sketchbooks"
-- Mattias Adolfsson

"Doodling in my books can also be therapeutic. I've genuinely had nasty or upsetting experience that I've been able to get through much more easily by documenting them."
-- Peter Arkle

"My sketchbook is an extension of my art studio. My sketchbook is a place where anything goes."
-- Rich Beerhorst

"A book means a sequences of pages. A sequence means a story and I like to tell stories, even if sometimes it's with no words...I often encourage my children, their friends and students to keep a sketchbook. It is...to consider drawing as a language, like writing."
-- Simonetta Capecchi

"I've gone through many in-out periods of drawing--especially in more recent times.
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