Thursday, August 06, 2009

An Illustrated Life

It's been a long time since I did a rave about Danny Gregory here on my blog. I started this blog originally to share the challenges I drew for his Everyday Matters group. At the time his books weren't available in Australia so I initially just interacted with the group online. Then I bought The Creative License from Amazon and waited a couple of months for it to arrive. (With the exchange rate etc I couldn't justify the cost of air freight.) When it did finally arrive I could not believe how perfect it was for me. I have revisited that book so many times! I do loan it to friends from time to time and by the time it comes back to me I'm desperate for a Creative License 'fix.'

Challenge #27 Books
Originally uploaded by DannyGregory

I'm a bit backwards at times, so after the success of my first Danny Gregory purchase I went back and ordered Everyday Matters, his first book. Wow. It too is wonderful, different to The Creative License, but just as wonderful.

So, I was excited when he released his latest book An Illustrated Life, drawing inspiration from the private sketchbooks of artists, illustrators and designers. Thanks to the global economic downturn, I was reluctant to buy it when it first hit the virtual shelves of Amazon but on a recent trip to Sydney I was thrilled to find it on the analogue shelves of Kinokuniya (my favourite book shop in the real world). I snapped it up, brought it home, looked at the pictures and put it on the side table next to the chair that gets the morning sun and... well, life went on, as it does, and the book sat there.

Purchase guilt set in. I don't know if you suffer from it, but I do. That truly annoying voice in my head started saying things like "you bought it and now you're not even reading it!" in a guilt-inducing tone. OK! I'll read it.

An Illustrated Life from DannyGregory on Vimeo.

Well, it turns out those voices in my head have a purpose! This books is, dare I say it (?) the best book I've bought in a very long time. I don't know what you look for in a book but I'm looking for a) inspiration to actually do my own work, b) I want that inspiration to be 'open' so I can do 'my' work and not be prescribed to or overly influenced and c) a gentle hand on my shoulder that says "you're fine! We all feel like this and it's OK. Just do the work and you'll be fine." This book does and says just that. The strength of the book is that it says it in fifty voices! Fifty unique voices and hundreds of sparks of inspiration.

If you like to imagine you are someone who keeps sketchbooks or a journal or such then this book will help you to see how easy it is and reinforces the fact that you just have to touch pen (or pencil) to paper and be yourself within the pages of your own book to create something that not only records the visual aspects of the world, your life, etc, but also improves the quality of that life. It seems intangible, strange, unlikely, but doing this does create a preciousness of what usually just slips by us - our 'everyday' life.


Jan Allsopp said...

I apologise to those who read this in rss feeds etc. Yes, I had a bit of bother getting this post just how I wanted it!!! Sorry for the multiple posts if you got them!

Jo Horswill said...

Thanks for your insight into these books Jan.
They look like a "must have" to me :)

Amanda Fall - PersistentGreen said...

Oh, this book sounds just fantastic! I'm trying art journaling for the first time--I've always been a traditional written journaler, but there's definitely power in adding visuals. This book might be invaluable to me in loosening up my style even more.