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117 of 120 people found the following review helpful
TOP 50 REVIEWERon March 10, 2009
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
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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47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on December 5, 2008
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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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
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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52 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2008
Format: PaperbackVerified 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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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2008
Format: PaperbackVerified 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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
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. I just don't have as strong a compulsion to draw all the time as I used to. Sometimes, you just have to give it a rest or Life, itself, just overwhelms you and forces you to lay it aside for a time."
-- Robert `R" Crumb

"At about twelve, I stopped drawing all together. My mind was too chaotic to draw or even think in a deep way. I went along like this through high school, college and five years into a job in publishing. At twenty-eight, I found myself in the countryside of France studying skills I realized I longed for all my life."
-- Peter Cusack

This book is a rich testimony of what it means to want to be AND need to be an artist.

5 stars.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 7, 2009
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I think this book has a nice collection of quite a few artists I am familiar with and a few I'm not. Sketchbooks shows the creative process of artists and it's inspirational to see how others think and what they draw. The only thing I didn't care for was the cover design of this book I am reviewing. I almost didn't buy this book because of the cover design (did not care for the handed lettering of the title), it looks like a how-to-do drawing book, not a collection of other artist's sketchbooks. I would have love to see more pages on Everett Peck, Mark Fisher, and James Jean. Other than that, I enjoyed the content and find this book to be inspirational.

There are a couple of other books similar to this that I like to recommend, "Drawing From Life; The Journal as Art", by Jennifer New and "Drawing is Thinking", by Milton Glaser. The latter is a wonderful collection of just one artist's works.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
Over the past 30 to 40 years, I've dabbled as a hobbyist and enthusiast in oils, watercolors, acrylics, serigraphy, and illustration. In that time, I've collected a wide variety of books in those various topics. However, if I could only keep a single book from all of those, it would definitely be this one.

Since buying this book around 6 months ago, I've spent time with it nearly every single day. Likewise, the amount of time I've spent with my sketchpad has greatly increased. This book is inspiring, motivating, and has eliminated many creative inhibitions and insecurities I've struggled with in the past. I simply can't rave enough positive about this wonderful book.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
A really magical book, full of top secrets, prayers, passing moments, treasure maps, spilled ink & confessions. So great. Thanks, Danny.
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