Book Review: The Creative License by Danny Gregory

By Jodi Wiley

Danny Gregory is a bit of a poster boy for sketchbook journaling, having written several books about it and published thousands of his own journal pages online. He's an advocate of the idea is that everyone is an artist, and everyone is creative, whether or not you're in a so-called 'creative' profession.

I've always been interested in journaling. In the past I've kept the written kind but recently I've become more interested in the illustrated form. So this book is right up my alley.

The Creative License inspires you to pick up a pen and just draw. Gregory wants us to draw no matter what, even 'badly', as a way to access our own innate creativity. This book is full of advice such as 'celebrate your mistakes' and 'give yourself deadlines' to complete pages in your journal. Gregory wants us to draw the mundane and the commonplace and in the process see the beauty in everyday life.

By drawing daily, Gregory believes we tap into our creativity. 'I want to show you that it is possible. That you can do it. That you can draw and write and sing, and live more richly, and find and be the real you.'

The book is filled with practical instruction on drawing (although it's always in the spirit of fun and never boring, technical lessons), lists of things to draw as well as pep talks about things like procrastination or calling yourself an artist ('an artist is someone who makes art' Gregory insists).

The book's design lends itself to the lucky-dip style of reading: you can just open it at any page and be inspired by what you see and read. It's full of Gregory's own drawings from his journals and the eclectic layout means your eye is constantly drawn to new material. After spending time with this book I always go away energised and motivated to draw.

And just as an aside, if this is the kind of thing you're interested in, you may also like another book by Danny Gregory - An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers.

The Creative License is fantastic for people who love drawing or want to be inspired to draw. But even if you've never considered this form of creative outlet, after looking through this book you may begin to feel like picking up a pen and beginning.

The Creative License: Giving Yourself Permission to be the Artist You Truly Are is published by Hyperion Books.

Jodi Wiley is an artist, writer, teacher and blogger. She has written freelance articles and book reviews for magazines and newspapers, as well as education curriculum. She has won awards for her artwork and been a finalist for several art and illustration prizes. Jodi is currently on maternity leave from high school teaching and is on a (quite frankly deranged) quest to update her blog daily: