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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— 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, Art Before Breakfast teaches readers how to develop a creative habit and lead a richer life through making art.


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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— 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, Art Before Breakfast teaches readers how to develop a creative habit and lead a richer life through making art.

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

  1. 4 out of 5

    Peter Derk

    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 yea 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.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Super motivating book with creative prompts to get you creating. The overall message of positivity and the beautiful illustrations make me happy. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative is equally as wonderful. Don't miss either. LOVED. Recommended. Super motivating book with creative prompts to get you creating. The overall message of positivity and the beautiful illustrations make me happy. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative is equally as wonderful. Don't miss either. LOVED. Recommended.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    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 s 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.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ruby

    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, 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.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    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.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Manuel Antão

    If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. "Art Before Breakfast: A Zillion Ways to be More Creative No Matter How Busy You Are" by Danny Gregory It is about willpower--you have to have the willpower, high self-control, and motivation to get yourself to initially undertake "white-knuckle struggles"--you cannot introduce a new, fully-formed habit in your life from out of nowhere, without actually going through the process of forming the habit and getting through the difficult par If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. "Art Before Breakfast: A Zillion Ways to be More Creative No Matter How Busy You Are" by Danny Gregory It is about willpower--you have to have the willpower, high self-control, and motivation to get yourself to initially undertake "white-knuckle struggles"--you cannot introduce a new, fully-formed habit in your life from out of nowhere, without actually going through the process of forming the habit and getting through the difficult part when it's still unfamiliar, uncomfortable, hard, unpleasant--when it's not yet automatic, learned, practiced, routine, habitual.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Charlie

    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.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    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.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth A

    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 cr 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.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Elle Kay

    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.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    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.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Maya Gopalakrishnan

    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!!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Madisson

    "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 e "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.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Grace Kao

    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 w 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.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    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.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kate Robertson

    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.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Cara

    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.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Joliada

    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!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Ball

    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 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.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    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.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer B.

    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.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amy Cook

    Liked it well enough to get me a small sketch pad and some decent drawing pens...

  23. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    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

  24. 4 out of 5

    Cathy Carpenter

    This was a quick and inspiring read. Danny really does give you a zillion ideas to be more creative, and many of them don't take a lot of effort or cost, so it's all very accessible. The point of the book is to fit art into your life so you can DO it and not just think about doing it or wish you were doing it. I'm excited to work some of his zillion ideas into my sketchbook practice.

  25. 5 out of 5

    jimtown

    Quick to read, hands on, inspiring little volume that I hate to part with. It's another art resource from Danny Gregory that I would return to again and again. It offers broad based suggestions for when you're short of ideas but want to create, experiment or practice art. Good sketches, a nice starter tool list that is very helpful. Tips on how to use the tools. All in a short, sweet format that even kids could use and enjoy.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Macgurrl

    This is a motivational workbook, meant to be a guide. It is for anyone that doesn't think they have time to do anything creative. Perhaps, you have children or a demanding job and keep putting off those things until you retire. Mr. Gregory puts it simply, if you can watch TV, go on a coffee break or spend hours on your computer, you can find 15 minutes a day to draw. He says give yourself a month and see how you feel afterwards. Plainly put a good sketchbook is the price of a pack of cigarettes This is a motivational workbook, meant to be a guide. It is for anyone that doesn't think they have time to do anything creative. Perhaps, you have children or a demanding job and keep putting off those things until you retire. Mr. Gregory puts it simply, if you can watch TV, go on a coffee break or spend hours on your computer, you can find 15 minutes a day to draw. He says give yourself a month and see how you feel afterwards. Plainly put a good sketchbook is the price of a pack of cigarettes and a pencil or pen the price of a lighter. I say all this is less then a couple Frappuccinos at Starbucks. My own experience after a month has been eye-opening. Not only has it taught me that not every drawing has to be perfect but, it has also given me the kick that I needed to rediscover art in my everyday life. I sit every morning with my sketchbook and coffee discovering a new side of the world I encourage anyone of any age to give this book a read.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lindegard

    Cheerful little book, impossible to dislike. However, I have the impression the artist had all these sketches sitting around and didn't know what to do with them, so he put them together in this book, with the title and intent as afterthoughts. I enjoyed listening to his interview on NPR and hope to sketch more as a result. There is still a stigma, though, of people drawing in public. Our culture, regardless of what our leaders say, is hostile to the arts and views them as a waste of time and mo Cheerful little book, impossible to dislike. However, I have the impression the artist had all these sketches sitting around and didn't know what to do with them, so he put them together in this book, with the title and intent as afterthoughts. I enjoyed listening to his interview on NPR and hope to sketch more as a result. There is still a stigma, though, of people drawing in public. Our culture, regardless of what our leaders say, is hostile to the arts and views them as a waste of time and money, showing off, even a threat. Adults who take music or art lessons are viewed as self-centered and selfish, although children are still encouraged to take lessons as long as it doesn't interfere with sports and passing exams. I think a subversive, revolutionary approach to drawing would be more effective.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Meredith

    I carry a notebook in my purse to jot down all the things I'd forget otherwise, but sometimes I use it to doodle. I don't draw nearly as much as I used to -- my kids are the ones who always have a sketchbook in their bags and pencil smears on their fingers -- but every now and then, the itch to create something is strong. Danny Gregory's book is a reminder that art doesn't have to be ART! Ten, fifteen minutes of creativity a day, to do something for yourself, is art. It doesn't have to be perfect I carry a notebook in my purse to jot down all the things I'd forget otherwise, but sometimes I use it to doodle. I don't draw nearly as much as I used to -- my kids are the ones who always have a sketchbook in their bags and pencil smears on their fingers -- but every now and then, the itch to create something is strong. Danny Gregory's book is a reminder that art doesn't have to be ART! Ten, fifteen minutes of creativity a day, to do something for yourself, is art. It doesn't have to be perfect. You don't have to like it. You never have to show it to anyone. All you need to do is make some time for the creativity we all have inside of us, be it drawing, writing, painting, knitting, etc. This book focuses on drawing, but can easily be applies to all other forms of creativity. Remember, Earth without Art is Eh.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Shelli

    Danny Gregory's books are always entertaining and always a visual feast for the eyes. However, this isn't really a book on general creativity as its subtitle makes it sound, but specifically and wholly on drawing. And unfortunately, while it offers many tips and tricks – some of which are used when teaching drawing – as a technique primer, this book only does half the job. People serious about learning to draw would be better served by a more formal approach, and people who don't *think* they're Danny Gregory's books are always entertaining and always a visual feast for the eyes. However, this isn't really a book on general creativity as its subtitle makes it sound, but specifically and wholly on drawing. And unfortunately, while it offers many tips and tricks – some of which are used when teaching drawing – as a technique primer, this book only does half the job. People serious about learning to draw would be better served by a more formal approach, and people who don't *think* they're particularly serious are still going to find themselves stymied in their progression if this book and practice are all that they rely on. Still, if you're just looking to enjoy Danny's drawings, this is as wonderful as all his books are, and will not disappoint in that regard. Two and a half stars.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    This is a super dynamic, entertaining, and helpful guide to get one back into a creative groove. I love, love, love Gregory's art and his philosophy and this is the only one of many guides that I've read that actually made me want to try contour drawing while reading that section. And if you don't like one page, turn to the next--it's totally different!

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