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Art Before Breakfast: A Zillion Ways to be More Creative No Matter How Busy You Are

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Packed with the signature can-do attitude that makes beloved artist Danny Gregory a creativity guru to thousands across the globe, this unique guide serves up a hearty helping of inspiration. For aspiring artists who want to draw and paint but just can't seem to find time in the day, Gregory offers 5– to 10–minute exercises for every skill level that fit into any schedule—whether on a plane, in a meeting, or at the breakfast table—along with practical instruction on techniques and materials, plus strategies for making work that's exciting, unintimidating, and fulfilling. Filled with Gregory's encouraging words and motivating illustrations, teaches readers how to develop a creative habit and lead a richer life through making art.

160 pages, Flexibound

First published February 17, 2015

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Danny Gregory

19 books418 followers

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459 (21%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 278 reviews
Profile Image for Peter Derk.
Author 24 books331 followers
July 6, 2015
Can I tell you something I hate? I hate that Malcolm Gladwell 10,000 hours theory.

For anyone who's avoided it somehow, the way it works is that Gladwell, who we'll get to, poses the theory that 10,000 hours of concentrated, limits-pushing practice is what separates the successful from the amateur, the pro from the bro.

First of all, no shit. If I just picked a huge, giant number, and if you worked on something that long, there's almost no way you're gonna be worse. 10,000 hours, that's over a year of 24/7 practice. If you were going 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, if you did this as a full time gig, you'd practice just a hair under 5 years. Hell, go ahead and take the day off on holidays, you're looking at 5 years.

Yeah, I would HOPE you'd be significantly better at something within that timeframe.

Now, it's obviously a very flawed theory. Do people tend to go towards things they're good at naturally, and therefore they only end up practicing things they are already pretty good at? To ask that a different way, would anyone be likely to stick with something they suck at for 10,000 hours? And obviously, most glaring, there are other factors at work here. Genetics. What kind of shape you're in to begin with. Whether you've perhaps engaged in parallel experiences that would inform your primary goal. Let's face it, there's no amount of practice that will make certain people good at certain stuff. And there's also a lot of stuff most people have done 10,000 hours and still suck at. Drive around Santa Fe. I'm sure most of the old folks down there have driven somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 hours in a lifetime, and they're terrible at it.

The theory is also so untestable. Who is going to pick up a basketball today, clock that 10,000, and then shove it in Malcolm Gladwell's face? Which is why it's the perfect theory to put in a book. It's pretty tough to debate. Which, to me, makes it a bad theory.

Okay, it's a bad theory, this 10,000 hours thing. But that's not really my problem with it.

My problem with it is that I think it serves as an excuse for people to not do shit. Because, basically, it's going to take a decade before they're truly any good. And even that is a gamble. A big, long term gamble.

Not having 10,000 hours is a great excise to never do anything. I'm never going to get in 10,000 hours of swimming, so why bother? I'll never be able to put in 10,000 hours of plumbing, so why even try?

Which brings us to what I like about this book.

Art Before Breakfast gives the two things you need to get started on something new. It gives you concrete tasks to perform that take less than 10 minutes apiece, and it gives you permission to suck. Not just at first, but maybe forever.

Not having time for art or artistic pursuits is an excuse. I'm sorry, but it is. If you're not happy with your life, if your work is unfulfilling and your relationships suck, I'd give art a try. Seriously.

Because like this book says, it's not just about putting ink on paper.

When I ran a lot, I had these experiences that were really good and really healthy that went far outside actually running. I felt really in touch with the seasons, which is a hippy stupid thing to say, but if you spend an hour+ outside every day, you really are in touch with what's happening outside. When you go down the same roads at a speed way slower than driving, you start to notice stuff like when the creek is really high or when a field is mowed. This isn't important shit, but there's something healthy, to me, about paying attention that way.

This book is like the anti-Gladwell solution. It's not about being great at drawing or watercolors or whatever. It's about just getting started and doing it.

The author makes this great point about art that never got made being similar to art that was made and then burned. Art that was never made because someone chose not to make it, that's art that will never benefit anyone.

Quit burning all that art and get to work, damn it.
Profile Image for Sandra.
193 reviews98 followers
December 10, 2015

Art is a business, an industry, a racket.
art is about passion, love, life, humanity—
everything that is truly valuable.

Artistically, I've been stuck in a rut for awhile now. I have ideas, many ideas, but to execute them and create an actual piece of art...now that's a different story.

Making art slows us down enough to see the details, the wrinkles, the world within worlds. Without it, life is just a blur of CliffsNotes, movie trailers, and microwaved entreēs.

So maybe I should start with small steps as Danny Gregory suggest. Just a few minutes a day, every day, before even having started breakfast.
Let mistakes happen, and not fixate on things being perfect. Cause maybe that is also what blocks me. If I can't get a project the way I see it, I tend to abandon it. So there are many of them lying around, never to be looked at again.
But it is okay to let them collect some dust and then pick them up again after awhile.

Now let's chase those dust bunnies away and pick things up.

See, I told you. You can do it. You are an artist, after all.

Profile Image for Ruby.
103 reviews
March 5, 2015
Meh. I start from a position of loving all of Danny Gregory's books I've read (so far) which is most of them. This one just feels like a money grab :( There are some fun illustrations, as you would expect. There are certainly ideas. But absolutely every topic, idea, what have you, is covered in about three sentences. Where Is The truly insightful writing we have come to expect? No in this one! If you are a complete-ist, I suppose you will want to get it. It is not expensive. But just to read it, not to carry out the ideas of course, takes about half an hour, and most of that is time spent admiring Danny's loose drawing style and delight in bold colours.

I'm sorry to say this, but, save your breath to cool your breakfast, and re-read Everyday Matters. You'll be more likely to be inspired, or re-inspired, plus, you can use the money you saved, from not buying this book, on art supplies.
Profile Image for Chris.
2,855 reviews204 followers
November 19, 2015
That I started this in early July and just finished it last week should tell you something - comfortable writing style, fun drawings, and yet I just wasn't drawn in.
Profile Image for Ksenya.
107 reviews85 followers
August 12, 2020
Абсолютно прекрасна книженція, яка дарує купу натхнення і класних порад до щоденного малювання. Величезне сердечко!
Profile Image for Charlie.
24 reviews
April 27, 2016
If you have followed Danny Gregory in Sketchbook Skool and read his past books, this is simply the same philosophy. Nothing new or inspirational that hasn't already been written or spoken about several times. I was disappointed…nothing new here.
Profile Image for Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance.
5,741 reviews280 followers
March 16, 2016
Art should be like breakfast: something you do every day. And if there is anyone who can guide you into seeing art opportunities in your everyday life, it is Danny Gregory.

You can spend a day with this book. You can spend a week with it. A month. A year. Probably a lifetime.

Full of delight.
Profile Image for Elizabeth A.
1,792 reviews107 followers
December 29, 2015
I'm a fan of the author, but if you've read his other books, there is nothing new in this one. If the last time you made any art was in Kindergarten, this might be the book for you. This little book, while delightful to peruse, seems rather like the author had all these journal pages, and decided to create a book around them. Check out of the library rather than buy material. I'd highly recommend two of his books - The Creative License and Everyday Matters - to anyone interested in being more creative.
Profile Image for Elle Kay.
383 reviews5 followers
January 24, 2016
A couple of ideas intrigued me but the majority of this book repeats the basic idea that you should carry a sketchbook with you everywhere and draw at any given chance you get. Now I draw and sketch when I truly have to but I find it restricts my creative bent so I do it in extreme circumstances only. This book and the 'ideas' contained were so boring and samey and nowhere near inspirational. An utterly one dimensional effort.
Profile Image for Marion.
658 reviews12 followers
May 28, 2022
I was in the Netherlands a few weeks ago with my two grown daughters. One of them brought a notebook and a small, portable watercolor set. She suggested that the three of us write journal notes and paint pictures to preserve our memories of the trip. I wasn’t sure my paintings would be worthy of the journal. They both encouraged me to not worry about the end product and concentrate on the pleasure of documenting a moment in time. It turned out to be so much fun I decided to incorporate this practice when I got home.
And what a nice surprise to discover this book offering tips on how to commit to a daily practice of creating art every day - even if only in snippets. It also offers plenty of suggestions on adding dimension and color to my drawings. Most of all, it tells me not to worry about how imperfect my drawings are. Just do it! And so my journey begins!
Profile Image for Олена Павлова.
Author 1 book49 followers
August 29, 2020
"У нових місцях тримайте очі відкритими. І скетчбук теж". Книжка Денні Ґрегорі допомагає від перфекціонізму та надихає малювати. Це ряд чудових ідей та вправ, плюс як гарна приправа — неабияка дотепність автора.

Головна ідея "Малювання на сніданок" — використовувати кожну мить для скетчів, наприклад, малювати колег на нараді (так!). І ще — д��ти собі волю, відрубити самокритичність на час малювання взагалі. А якщо малювати солодощі замість їсти — то це буде ще й корисно для фігури

А малювати з фотографії, особливо чужої — як заморожена піцца. Бо фотограф уже все вирішив за вас

Ще з цієї книжки дізналася, що якщо напряжно чекати, доки висохне акварель, можна покласти малюнок у мікрохвильову
Profile Image for Brittany.
360 reviews14 followers
January 8, 2017
Just do it

I loved the section on not letting perfectionism stop you. Just pick up the pen and paper and you'll be shocked it will come forth.
Profile Image for Maya Gopalakrishnan.
274 reviews31 followers
March 30, 2020
More like a crash course in art confidence than technique. It's about looking things around you with fresh eyes and managing 5 minutes a day. Encouraged to pick up the pencil and brushes again. Timely read when we need to stay indoors!!
Profile Image for Ihor Kolesnyk.
366 reviews
October 7, 2021
Одна із найгарніших книг цього року із великою кількістю вправ та жартів у процесі. Якби я починав зараз рисувати у скетчбуці, а не років 5 тому, то це була дуже гарна книга для підтримки навички/звички.

Чудовий подарунок друзям, які шукають самовираження через рисунок/малюнок.
Profile Image for Madisson.
76 reviews
March 7, 2015
"Creativity isn't a luxury. It's the essence of life."

{The preface}
This book is for people who don't have time to read it.
You don't have a second to catch your breath.
To smell the roses or the coffee.
Your life is getting more full and more crazy.
Which is why you need to add one more thing to your to-do list:
Make art.
Seriously, art? Yup.
{art with a small "a", I might add.}

This book is full of ideas of finding time for art and illustrating the beauty found in everything, every day. It has encouraged and inspired me to get out my notebook and pen from under my bed and start drawing again.
Profile Image for Grace Kao.
284 reviews25 followers
April 25, 2017
Like, it's fine. it's a fine book. It says what every person who has a secret burning desire to create needs to hear: stop talking about it and pick up your pen. I mean, he's right. Every movie I watch is 2 hours I spent not making art. Time, as I get older, grows increasingly fleeting and precious. So the basic premise of the book is this: hoard your time, snatch fifteen minutes here and there, and spend it like a miser. Make art your wealth, and do it for life. You'll regret living any other way.
Profile Image for Laura.
38 reviews3 followers
March 18, 2015
I like Danny Gregory and his approach to drawing very much, but this book seemed to be just a shorter version of The Creative License. There really wasn't much new, though what there is is fine. Even Danny rehashed inspires and encourages me, so I'm not sorry I read it, but if you've read some of his other books, there's really not much added here.
Profile Image for Kate Robertson.
153 reviews13 followers
January 10, 2016
Excellent, another wonderful book by Danny Gregory. Its full of ideas on finding time for art, plus many ideas of things to draw to document your life. Full of humorous anecdotes and fun drawings. If you want to draw this is a great place to start. If you already sketch this is a great resource.
Profile Image for Cara.
20 reviews
June 30, 2015
It felt like more of a list of all the things one could draw ("Look! There's stuff everywhere! Now draw it!") than something particularly inspiring. It could be useful to some.
Profile Image for Aly.
42 reviews2 followers
September 21, 2020
Such a sweet read. A quick-paced, down-to-earth inspiration for anyone wishing to draw or draw more.


“Art with a big “A” is for museums, galleries, critics, and collectors. art with a small “a” is for the rest of us. Art is a business, an industry, a racket. art is about passion, love, life, humanity— everything that is truly valuable. Art is sold, resold, put under the gavel, and insured up the wazoo. art with a small “a” is not a product. It’s a point of view. It’s a way of life. Art is made by trained professionals and experts. art is made by accountants, farmers, and stay-at-home moms at restaurant tables, in parking lots, and laundry rooms. Art takes Art School and Talent and years of Suffering and Sacrifice. art just takes desire and 15 minutes a day. You may not be an Artist. Big whoop. But I know you can make art— with a wonderful, expressive, teeny, tiny a.”

“Mistakes are lessons in disguise and accurate reflections of your true state. Maybe you need to slow down. Maybe your initial expectation was actually what was wrong. Maybe you need to draw more often.”

“These voices — the inner critic, the inner nag, the inner pest, the inner jerk and all the other monsters who try to talk you out of moving forward— are the part of you that is threatened by change and progress. We all have them. They are trying to protect you from new and scary things, but they are out of sync with you right now and not helpful. They hate what you are doing, but that doesn’t make them right.”
Profile Image for Nicole Joliada.
86 reviews2 followers
June 6, 2018
Wow! I don't know why I didn't read this sooner. As an artist I've read a lot of art books. They can be hit or miss. This book was a quick read but still filled with useful tips and inspiration that will keep you going back for more. I'm so glad I finally read this!

Longer review to come!
Profile Image for Nicholas Ball.
149 reviews1 follower
October 19, 2018
A deceptively simple little book, it definitely covers all the bases with the "anyone can do art. Lower case a 'art', don't worry about upper case A proper 'Art'" .. a D it does all that with a disarming conversational style and a reassuring air; as a pleasant surprise is the book goes a step beyond the stay positive platitude and has hidden some very valuable little art lessons about contour drawing, negative space and measuring in among all the feel-good text.

Thus it's an easy recommend for a literal 'first time trying anything creative' type because it'll subtely impart the vital building blocks but still make the journey a positive experience. Getting art burnout and second doubts about the quality of your work are major issues for art beginners and this book has some great techniques for dealing with it.

I've bought a lot of art books and read a few, but I regret that this wasn't one of the first I had discovered.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
476 reviews33 followers
January 16, 2020
Not what I expected. This is a book that encourages you to create art everyday via drawing/sketching. Later in the book, other art mediums are introduced for you to enhance your drawings. I thought it was going to be more about unleashing the creative process. It still is a very cool book and a quick read. A lot of the exercises will keep you loose.
Profile Image for Jennifer B..
1,279 reviews26 followers
February 10, 2018
Good for getting the creative juices flowing, and quench the excuses, like "I don't have time, I can't draw", etc.

A quick and easy read, and a great way to get started.
Profile Image for Katie.
149 reviews7 followers
July 8, 2018
This book can feel a tad disorganized at times, but nonetheless I think everyone should read it. Even if the extent of your interest in art is the halfhearted “I wish I could draw” everyone throws out, read it. And do it. Do everything the author says. I think it’s an important way to approach mindfulness and connect with your life. Anyway, the pictures are really cool
Profile Image for Olena Gavryshchuk.
50 reviews3 followers
November 21, 2020
Класні ілюстрації, дуже приємно погортати книжечку.
Щодо порад, про які пише автор, деякі були новими і цікавими, але як на мене мало чого нового.
Така книга, може бути непоганим подарунком)
Profile Image for Derek Sears.
15 reviews
March 6, 2021
Feel good book to help you unleash your creativity

This book is refreshing: I feel inspired and ready to pick up my pen and paint brush again. I was maintaining a creative habit really well for some time, but life managed to get in the way as it tends to do. Several weeks lapsed where I hadn't opened my sketchbook once. That was when I discovered "Art Before Breakfast." It seems we found each other at just the right moment.
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