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

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion; 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 (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

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, 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

So I lent them a copy of this book or sent them the title.
S. Kira Harding
You forget about the things you "think" you can't do...and just go for it...whatever "it" is!
N. M. Patterson
Both books by Danny Gregory are helpful to those who are afraid of drawing.
Art Teacher

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

230 of 237 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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87 of 88 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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52 of 53 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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29 of 29 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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48 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Trurl on November 27, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The idea behind this book is great: "start drawing and start a journal." However you can skip to page 142 before you get any good advice. The earlier chapters are just stuff like "draw the details of the bottles in your medicine cabinet"or "draw something else that isn't particularly interesting." I understand the point behind it is draw what you see, but that is the only drawing exercise mentioned.

This book might be useful if you are new to drawing and making journals, but I would recommend just starting the journal without this book. You'll either like or dislike the opinions in this book. I did not like that creativity was describe as being the most important thing and then be told to draw the medicine cabinet. I also didn't understand why people can't experience creativity across all fields of there interest. Though it was better latter in the book when the author gives examples and tells the reader drawing has helped in other parts of his life, like taking guitar lessons with his son.

I recommend a book on drawing instruction and working on your own. And yes, keep a journal. You need a book of drawing exercises and drawing warmups. Something like figure drawing or drawing from reference, or drawing from the imagination. Let people discover their own meaning for drawing. They'll get it naturally. I think those last 2 sentences are what the author was trying to say. But he takes 200 pages to say it.
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