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The Creative License: Giving Yourself Permission to Be the Artist You Truly Are Paperback – December 21, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Danny Gregory is the author of Everyday Matters: A New York Diary, Hello World: A Life in Ham Radio and Change Your Underwear Twice a Week: Lessons From the Golden Age of Classroom Filmstrips, which was named one of Amazon's top 10 humor books of 2004. His weblog, Everyday Matters, is visited regularly by tens of thousands of creative aspirants form around the world. He is an award-winning copywriter and creative director who has created global advertising campaigns for clients like American Express, IBM, Ford Motor Company, Burger King, Chase, and AT&T. He was born in London, grew up in Pakistan, Australia and Israel, is a graduate of Princeton University and lives in Greenwich Village with his wife and son.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Books; 12.2.2005 edition (December 21, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401307922
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401307929
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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 in my mid-thirties 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, Within a few months, the Everyday Matters group was formed and now thousands of 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.

Many of my books -- The Creative License, Everyday Matters, An Illustrated Life, An Illustrated Journey, and Art Before Breakfast --were written to help and celebrate 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 now am co-founder of sketchbook Skool an online art and creativity school with dozens of teachers and thousands of students worldwide..

I live in Greenwich Village in New York City. If you are in the area, come draw with me and my group.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

248 of 255 people found the following review helpful By Roslyn M. Stendahl on December 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
I was fortunate to be able to read the proofs of Danny's new book, "Creative License: Giving Yourself Permission to Be the Artist You Truly Are."

First a disclaimer: Danny is a pal. We've corresponded, chatted on the phone, he's visited, we have drawn together. You could stop reading this right now because of that, expecting a bias.

But I also am a life long journaler and I teach visual journaling at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts and in a variety of workshops in the schools, so I read almost all the books that come out in this field. I like to provide up to date recommendations for my students.

I think both these things put me in an interesting position to tell you something: reading this book is just like spending time with Danny. His sense of humor comes through. He is silly and playful, wry and sarcastic by turns, but always engaging. Something is always popping out of his brain. He's gathered all this up and put it in a book. And he wants to encourage you to draw and tap into your creativity.

There are a lot of books on creativity on the market. Some of them try cheerleading and cajoling, some encourage you through psychology, and others practically shame you into picking up your art materials. Danny's approach is different. Like the great pitch man he is, he creates an analogy (creative license is like a driving license) and then joyfully explains and expands until you want in. The nice thing about this approach is that you don't end up with two dozen vegematics in your attic like Opus. You'll end up with a visual journal that records what's important to you and you'll be more connected to your life.

Danny's book is organized in such a manner that it can be read straight through or dipped into.
Read more ›
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103 of 106 people found the following review helpful By Parka TOP 50 REVIEWER on April 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
Length: 0:18 Mins
This book is full of pointers on drawing, on creating something on paper with ink. There are a lot of ideas on what to draw ,when (now) to draw but not how to draw. Every page feels like a call to put pen to paper.

The text is typeset in a handwriting font, which might make it hard to read for long periods of time. The good thing is this book can be picked up and read in portions from any page.

It's a very inspirational and motivating book to read, especially when in a artist block. As I finish the book, I begin to see objects in life differently. Everyone can have that creative license, as suggested by the book title.

(More pictures are available on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Mary M. Wilkins on April 10, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a fantastic book on believing in your ability to be an artist. It also teaches you to do art on a daily basis to stretch and grow in the varied mediums.

I have kept journals for years, but never art journals. I was amazed at all of the fantastic work that can come from drawing on a daily basis. I even started drawing with pen rather than pencil to allow the mistakes to be there and not be afraid of them.

I would recommend this to anyone who doesn't believe they have any talent in art and for those who do and have been told over and over again that they just aren't quite right for 'today's art market'. Get out there and draw!
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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Vegastar on January 10, 2011
Format: Paperback
I give the book three stars because this is not a terrible book. Although I did not get much out of it, other people may find this book invaluable. If you're the type of person with a strict daily routine who's never done anything remotely artistic, then you're likely to get a lot out of this book.
My main problem with the book is the drawing chapter. He specifically instructs people not to "sketch" in their journal but to follow the contours of the object as you see it. I suppose there's a merit to that drawing method when you've just started out, but I find that if you want to get better at drawing realistically, you need to move beyond it quick. In the "draw a bagel" exercise, instead of quickly drawing the general shape of the bagel and then doing the details, the author says to start with the details. It's like drawing a fish scale by scale. Drawing in this way is very tedious, and you generally get very crooked drawings. And in fact, Danny Gregory's drawings are crooked. His art has a certain charm, but I don't want to draw like him. Not to mention that this drawing method is useless if you want to draw moving subjects like animals and people.

Next he gives suggestions on what to draw, like "draw your entire cd collection (using the tedious drawing method I outlined before)", "draw all the fish hooks you have", "draw all the medicine in your medicine cupboard". His suggestion leads me to believe he has some sort of obsessive compulsion. Some people may just love this Proustian endeavor of cataloguing every aspect of their life, I find it terribly dull and boring.

I think the best part of the book is the motivational part, where he says not to get discouraged after one bad drawing, not to give up on the journal etc...
Lastly, the copy is laid in a handwritten font, so the book mimics the look of an actual journal. I actually think the design suits the book, but some people may have problems reading pages of text in a funky font.
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56 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Linda Woods on March 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is fantastic! The Creative License is funny, it's inspiring, it's open and honest and egoless, it's encouraging, and it's entertaining. Danny's passion for art and life jump off the pages and tickle you with delight. His philosophies can be applied to any creative endeavor that excites YOU and he genuinely encourages his readers to find their creative passion whether it is drawing, knitting, or blogging (or whatever you dream up).

Thank you, Danny, for writing and illustrating such a wonderful, heartfelt book for the artist in all of us.
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