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131 Reviews
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111 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A treasure trove of surprises and sketchbook goodness
Customer Video Review     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...
Published on March 9, 2009 by Parka

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48 of 57 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unfortunately disappointing
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...
Published on December 18, 2008 by Mountain Artist


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and sooo rich, December 4, 2008
By 
Jane LaFazio (San Diego, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers (Paperback)
First, I'm a huge fan of Danny Gregory and everything he does. And this book is exceptional! Danny has gathered 50 artists and their sketchbooks, included fascinating interviews and a dozen or so pages from each artist. I think you could read and savor the whole book for a couple of weeks, and then start all over again from the beginning--it's that rich.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gift!, April 21, 2011
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This review is from: An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers (Paperback)
Incredibly inspiring! Kept hearing from other artist friends about keeping an art journal and the confusion ensued. Poked around, trying to figure out just what it would/should look like, be made of, be about, materials to use . . . nothing was quite "fitting" my own (lack of) expertise or lifestyle. Reading through this book, I finally realized what it was all about. . . whatever suits ME! Am reading this straight through, even if it takes all week over morning coffee. Oh, and have already started my own art journaling. Finally. At 63. With no hesitation, qualms or confusion. Just enjoying. Bless you, Danny Gregory!!!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and Fascinating Visual/Textual Book, April 29, 2010
By 
Barbara (Taos, NM, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers (Paperback)
This is the best book I've bought in a long time, and I buy a lot of books. Plus, I found it accidentally, while looking for another illustrator's book on Amazon. The author (Danny Gregory) appears to have collected a bunch of his friends, who happen to draw in sketchbooks. It feels like they all got together and showed their books to each other. What each artist has to say about his or her work (in their own words, first person) is as inspiring as what they have drawn.

I am not a visual artist of any kind, but while reading this book on a bus in Europe, I started drawing the people around me. They were amateurish sketches, but people would lean in and say, "Wow, did you draw that?" That was in March, and I have been drawing in my dream book and on sheets of paper since then. I'm sure it'll only be a matter of time before I buy a Moleskin of my own and a nice Rapidiograph pen and some watercolors, or maybe some watercolor pencils.

Speaking of which, each of the artists talk about their media. I love reading about what materials they like to use; everyone works so differently (although Moleskins do seem to be the predominant book of choice). I've already bought "An Illustrated Life" as a gift, too, for my son, who stopped drawing a few years ago but who has so much talent I wanted to inspire him to start again.

Also, I keep marveling at the price. So much color, great design and layout, and tons of scans must have gone into the making of this book, not to mention all writing in such different voices. It's even edited well, and that's a little bit surprising, considering I always find tons of errors in everything I read! I want the price to stay the same so I can keep buying it as a gift for others, but I also think it's worth twice as much.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars wonderful gallery, March 29, 2012
This review is from: An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers (Paperback)
What a fantastic gallery this book is. It displays lots of sketches from 50 illustrators, designers and artists and an introduction (sometimes over a few pages) to each of them, their work, why and how they sketch and titbits like which pens they use. What I especially like is that so many different artistic styles are represented: drawings, paintings, illustrations, doodles, comics and mixed-media art journal pages. The subjects include everything from landscapes and scenes to lists and records of daily living, food eaten and places visited. The more than 250 pages provide wonderful glimpses into the lives of the artists, who come from a variety of backgrounds.

I'm not enamored of all the artists showcased - in fact, I personally found a lot of the works rather ugly - but there is no doubt the book is a treasure trove of inspiration and ideas for what we can all do in our own sketchbooks and journals. My main beef with this book is that while there are loads of photos, some of them are not all that big and it's hard to see the details in the pieces. Make sure you have a magnifying glass!

4.5
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Variety, November 25, 2009
By 
C. Dalaba "Commonplace" (DeWitt, MI United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers (Paperback)
Danny Gregory has put together a wonderful book full of variety. It's very freeing for the budding artist, because it frees you up to be the artist you are supposed to be. You learn you don't need to be like someone else. The different personalities, types of expression, articles, and examples of work all add to the excitement of this book. There are URLs connecting you to the websites of the different sketchbook artists. The book has a very pleasant layout, and I find myself picking it up time and time again just to browse, get ideas, and just enjoy. Well worth the money.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If You're in Need of Inspiration, October 14, 2009
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This review is from: An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers (Paperback)
Every now and then you find just the right book you need to fill a hole in your life. In many ways, An Illustrated Life filled that bill for me.

I'm a writer and editor (my latest book, The New Horror Handbook, came out a few months ago), and spend most of my time editing other people's work, with little time left to actually enjoy the process of creation myself.

When I stumbled upon this book, I had something of an epiphany. Here were people every bit as busy as the rest of us, yet they had found another way of saving their thoughts and documenting the world around them.

So many different styles are represented in this book, from astonishing water colors to simple cartoons to the strange illustrations of Robert Crumb.

But these full color illustrations are only half the story. The accompanying essays by the sketchbook artists themselves really spoke to me. I found it extremely inspiring to read about how these talented artists work, how they manage to snatch the time to sketch their thoughts, and perhaps most importantly, how making a sketch or watercolor of a scene in front of them actually allows them to better remember what they saw than simply taking a photo. If you've taken hundreds of digital photos of places you wanted to remember, only to barely remember them at all, you can see what a revelation this can be.

Enough of my blatherings. This book is best summed up this way: A fascinating look into the creative process, and a good way to jump-start your own.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enough variety to induce head spin, May 1, 2009
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This review is from: An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers (Paperback)
I bought An Illustrated Life initially thinking I was going to plow right through. To me, it's much better in small doses. With as many varying personalities, ideas and "art," it was a little daunting to continually read for longer than 15 minutes. The more I read at one sitting the more the people in the book would blend into one another. I guess I have a really short attention span. Either that, or can't handle the idea of being jolted from one artist to the next. Once I started to get into an artist, it was over.

The features ranged anywhere from slightly boring to downright amusing. Robert Crumb's was great with his unabashed straight-up honesty (at least I think he was being honest). The nice thing about featuring so many artists is that if you didn't like one you could move right onto the next.

I wish the format was a little larger so the images and text could be easier to view and read. Having said this I still think it's pretty well executed and presents the artists in a very attractive manner. I think it's a great coffee table book to pick up every now and again. It would certainly make a great gift to aspiring artists or to anyone who enjoys art or its process.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, March 13, 2009
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drunkpotatoes "drunkpotatoes" (Southwestern United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers (Paperback)
Brilliant idea, flawlessly executed. It's something every artist in every medium will benefit from but may not even realize how invaluable it is until they see it and spend some time with it themselves. Truly a great source of inspiration and I hope the author releases new volumes with new artist journals in the future. In fact I'd love it if it were an annual publication.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the best, December 12, 2008
This review is from: An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers (Paperback)
An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and DesignersDanny Gregory has put together a book he says he has always searched for. Well, he's put together a book, I too, have always searched for. I learn more from looking at artists sketchbooks than I do from their finished art. This book gives you an opportunity to see the process, inspiration, experimentation and priorities of a large group of very talented and interesting artists. The book is huge! And it's a HUGE BARGAIN! Even if you pay full price ($19.99) you are getting 10x your money worth. It is a reference book that will travel from my nightstand to my work table for a long, long time. Thank you, Danny, for a terrific book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! Went and bought a journal today and two more books!, December 10, 2008
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This review is from: An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers (Paperback)
WOW! What a fantastic book! I'm a graphic designer and sometimes artist and I've been floored by this book. I went out today and bought a brand new sketchbook and am going to buy two more (at least) of the book for gifts. I was not expecting the quantity of journals that are included in the book and have been devouring it all morning! Thanks Danny!
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An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers
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