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The Creative License: Giving Yourself Permission to Be The Artist You Truly Are
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The Creative License: Giving Yourself Permission to Be The Artist You Truly Are

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  16,180 Ratings  ·  118 Reviews
The author of "Everyday Matters: A New York Diary" teaches readers to open their lives to creativity and fulfillment by relearning how to draw. Handwritten and illustrated in color throughout.
Paperback, 208 pages
Published January 1st 2006 by Hachette Books (first published December 21st 2005)
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Dec 05, 2012 Parka rated it really liked it
Shelves: art-books

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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
Mar 09, 2010 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Since discovering Danny Gregory's book, I've filled two illustrated journals. I really love doing it, too. I find that when I take the time to "illustrate", my memory of that particular event/place/whatever is so much sharper. I love Gregory's spirit and enthusiasm; I feel like he really believes in me, personally. I never would have discribed myself as "creative" before owning this book, but when I look back at my journals and the one I'm working on now, I think I should maybe reconsider :) Tha ...more
Black Heart
Jan 09, 2010 Black Heart rated it it was amazing
Shelves: americans, art
Great book on giving yourself permission to dabble--or even push yourself more seriously--in various artistic spheres. Gregory will teach you to draw (hint: you already know how!), and to journal, giving you your own "creative license" to do what you like and embrace your inner artist. Whether you're a frustrated, failed, first-time or burnt-out artist, this book will help get your creative life back on track. Like he says: "Art ain't fancy or special. True art is democratic and human." It's abo ...more
Colby Purcell
Jun 16, 2008 Colby Purcell rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who want to be creative/think they aren't creative
I just wanted to say "amen" a whole lot while reading this book by Danny Gregory, which basically is one big argument for why we should still be artists and why being an artist has gotten such a bad rap in our society.

We have been trained by our society several tragic things:

1) Creativity is a you-have-it/you-don't issue.
2) Great artists are great because they were born with a lot of talent.
3) Art only has value if the artist makes money off of it.
4) Art is a selfish venue/not a real occupati
Bill Lancaster
Mar 17, 2014 Bill Lancaster rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014-books
Danny Gregory, the author of “Creative License” has carved out a unique niche for himself. Benefitting from the pervasive spread of the internet, Gregory created an influential blog years ago that described his re-entry into the practice of drawing for personal pleasure. And through his books and his blog (and now, his newly monetized online instructional website (“Sketchbook Skool”), he has been quite successful in doing so.

I first read this book several years ago. This is my second reading. I
Jan 11, 2008 Lydia rated it it was amazing
This book tells you how to start an art journal and gives you mini-assignments so you can get off your but and trust that there is a creative genius inside of you, YES YOU!
Sep 25, 2008 Kristen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art
i'm enjoying the experience of "drawing" and thinking about drawing again. I'm really looking forward to work on some art journaling very soon.
Mar 05, 2010 Travis rated it liked it
Shelves: art-design
The first book read for my 2010 reading list. A older selection that jumped out at me in a strange time, after the Holidays, when I received a plethora of books to read. I bought this book in 2006 after reading select passages in a HOW magazine. I was in the early years of design school and trying to regain my confidence to draw after year away from the art board. I grabbed the book and shortly realizing the book was gauged for someone entering the art world for the first time and not some who k ...more
Apr 23, 2013 Amy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art
What can I say that others haven't said? If you have the creative urge to draw but can't get past some block, this book will help you out. I was constantly drawing as a child, graduating to water colors & pen and ink in adolescence. Then I entered the world, felt my art wasn't good enough, and stopped. Years later, I still have that quiet urge to draw, to paint, to simply create things of aesthetic value. All these years, I've been a little down on myself for not being creative, not being go ...more
I used to drawn a lot in my teens, but like many others then suddenly quit. Now, years later, I started drawing again... because of Danny Gregory's wonderful book.

The book is incredibly inspiring and encouraged me to pick up the pen again, just draw and keep drawing. Now, I carry my Moleskine sketchbook and a pen *everywhere* and whenever I have a chance, I try to draw. It's fun, it's great...

The only downside of this book is the all capital font which is designed to look handwritten. It takes
Aug 13, 2013 Cathryn rated it it was amazing
I credit this book with getting me (properly) back into drawing after a hiatus of something like 15 years. I found it motivating, inspiring and maybe for the first time I felt that it was ok to just create, and was able to more or less put to one side my perfectionist tendencies. Danny encourages you to keep drawing but simultaneously go easy on yourself. The book isn't a formal drawing course but is more about learning to really truly see what you draw and to recognise the beauty and value in t ...more
Aug 11, 2008 Ctk rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: creative darlings
This book is awe inspiring. I have read it twice this year already. The author feels like a mentor and a friend. The tasks are comprehensible and manageable for even the busiest lifestyle and most procrastinating of individuals. The wording of this book is magical, as though this person is truly thankful to write a book about something he believes in so much. If drawing is not your prime creative endeavor, this book and it's soulful wisdom can be applied to anything with creative merit. Chances ...more
Jesse Blazewicz
Oct 01, 2007 Jesse Blazewicz rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I keep saying I am going to buy this book next time I go to a bookstore, and I haven't yet, but it's amazing. If you need a kickstart to your creativity, get this book. I guess the main message is to draw EVERYTHING around you...contents of your medicine cabinet, your tie collection, what you ate for breakfast, etc.... The author has a great sense of humor and makes you view your drawing in a different light. Tons of great ideas. It's also a fun book to read because it is full of his own drawing ...more
Sherry (sethurner)
Oct 28, 2008 Sherry (sethurner) rated it really liked it
Shelves: art, nonfiction
Danny Gregory is a force of nature when it comes to creativity and especially creating illustrated journals. This book works as a sequel to Everyday Matters, and has looks of support for the aspiring sketcher. His argument, if you can learn to drive a car, you can learn to pay attention to the ordinary aspects of your life and draw/write about them. There are lots of illustrations and motivational quotes, lots of suggestions for getting started and overcoming self-doubt.
Mar 09, 2009 Amanda rated it it was amazing
Let me admit that I did not really finish reading this book but already within the first day of reading it I had returned to some of my creative roots and began drawing again. I have since spent my weekends outside, enjoying the spring time while sketching into a composition book. I am thankful for having the courage to pick up this book and admit that I missed the creative side of myself. I will definitely pick this book back up and keep reading.
Armando Alves
Feb 21, 2012 Armando Alves rated it it was amazing
Shelves: creativity
Coming back to drawing, the book seemed an interest introduction, even if the amount of sketches and handwritting instead of typesetting were suspicious.
How wrong could I be ... Danny Gregory's book is much more than a book about drawing or journaling, it's a journey into the world of creativity.
Not only my love for drawing has reborn, but the mundane things now seem an opportunity to be creative.
Mary Kenyon
Jan 20, 2014 Mary Kenyon rated it it was amazing
Beautifully illustrated with the author's drawings, this book made me want to go out and purchase a thick, handmade journal and start drawing again. I read this book to inspire myself as I begin writing another book, this one about creativity. It didn't make me finish up my proposal, but it did make me take some quiet time to contemplate just what creativity entails. Lovely, inspiring book~
Feb 27, 2014 Erin rated it it was amazing
There are so many great ideas for nudging your creative muscles in this book. I didn't read it straight through, but jump around. I find it a great way to rest and think about something different at the end of the day.
Jess McCabe
May 16, 2011 Jess McCabe is currently reading it
Yep, I'm reading an art self-help book...
Jul 20, 2016 Mii rated it it was amazing
This book was a great read!
Nov 30, 2012 Cassi rated it really liked it
I have a lot of really good books ... but this one goes a step beyond. I've been inspired by the work of Danny Gregory for a while, but I wasn't sure I really wanted this book at first; I tend to abhor those preachy "you, too, can find unleash your inner creativity, blah, blah, blah." This book has been a huge and wonderful surprise. It has the honesty and openness of his other books, but goes a step further; the simple discussion of the reluctance many of us feel - and the why behind it, and ho ...more
Mads P.
Sep 21, 2008 Mads P. rated it really liked it
A fun read--every page is covered with interesting illustrations. It was very inspiring and encouraged me in my drawing. I thought it would be about the arts in general, but it mainly focused on drawing, particularly illustration and drawing journals. So that was a bit disappointing, but it was still inspiring.

He's spot on about the way artists "see." He says, "This is where drawing comes from. You can look at something slowly and carefully and refuse to see it for anything but what it is--at t
Aug 29, 2013 Pamela rated it liked it
For some reason the title of this didn't "click" with me, and it turned out to be more of a self-help type book than I was expecting. I give it three stars because I wasn't looking for a self-help book.

My expectations aside, the main problem I had with the book was the hand-lettered print. This was very difficult to read (too small? all caps? too much on a page?).

Otherwise, a nice but short bit on how-to-draw, and lots of encouragement on drawing more. Sort of a "there's no bad drawing, as long
Miranda Lemon
Aug 14, 2014 Miranda Lemon rated it it was amazing
This book is the most fantastic book I have ever found related to art and about being an artist. It has everything you need for motivation and inspiration. It is really encouraging, it talks about all the different problems people face as artists. It talks about confidence and fear, procrastination, it is really fantastic! It also has advice on keeping a sketchbook and learning to draw, time management too.
I borrowed it from the library and I loved it so much that I didn't want to give it back.
Jan 10, 2009 Emily rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
I really enjoyed it and if you are someone even who just dabbles in creativity and feel the need to get inspired I would suggest this book.
It is written by a guy who ignored his need to be creative for years and then embraced it and it changed his life and he is happier now. It is motivating in you don't have to do much just do a little, try this, try that type thing. The book is full of his drawings, little tidbits of information about famous artists, and quotes. Very enjoyable, quite read, mo
Apr 04, 2012 Sharon rated it liked it
Shelves: spirituality
As someone who does not care to draw (perhaps one can blame all of my art instructors), I must admit that this book left me a little flat. The heavy emphasis on drawing wherever you were, and sharing your "illustrated journal" with people was not really what I had hoped to find here.

I will admit that there is one page that shares other art forms that people might try ... before the book goes back to being all about drawing.

If you want to draw every time you turn around, you'll love this book.
Feb 19, 2009 Kat rated it it was ok
I couldn't get along with this book. The all-capitals font, designed to make it look hand-written, just made it hard to read and a little inaccessible.
I was disconcerted by the mention of god on page 6. And pissed off by a decision later in the book for a paragraph to be printed in white text on a yellow background. I had to get within an inch to make it out.

That being said I'm trying to sketch more to keep my artist skills up to scratch and the exercises earlier in the book were helpful.

It's no
Aug 07, 2009 Heather rated it liked it
I liked the book, I even liked the format, although to be honest, some of the type/writing was very difficult to decipher.

Although I didn't feel that the book offered any earth shattering insights or ideas, it has inspired me to start a sketching journal, and I came across several qoutations and ideas that I'm keeping with me.

Overall I think it's a good book if you'd like a kick start to motivate you to appreciate and develop your own creativity.
Joy Murray
Jan 02, 2013 Joy Murray rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful book to kickstart or re-start any creative endeavor. Danny Gregory is very insistent that you are an artist -- you sitting there reading this right now. All you have to do is pick up your pen (you know you want to) and start drawing your cup, or your hand, or your bagel. With wit, insight and lots of wonderful drawings, the Creative License will give you the confidence and the techniques to add art and journaling to your life.
Bea Elwood
Mar 13, 2016 Bea Elwood rated it liked it
Shelves: crafty
Inspiring. I marked a lot of pages to share with others. "Giving yourself permission" I think beautifully sums up the first hurdle in just loving your life and creating the art of your own unique expression. Celebration and being present, giving priority to yourself and quiet meditation. There's a lot going on here, but also blank canvas to work on too. I know that my own journal keeping has flourished from this simple message.
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How do you "read" this book? 5 21 Dec 04, 2014 03:17PM  
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“This day is full of extraordinary things that you are missing. Wonderful sights, like the sun on your counterpane, the hairs on your cat's tail, the cracks in the paint on your radiator, the leaves piling up against the curve. Wonderful smells, wonderful sounds. Wonderful people. Wonderful opportunities. Today is wonderful. But perhaps you have lost your sense of wonder.” 0 likes
“Birds sing, wolves howl, crickets chirp. But why? Money? Fame? Record contracts? Endorsements? What's it all for? They do it because they're alive. They do it because life is about making things.” 0 likes
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