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December 05, 2022

Review: "The Creative License" by Danny Gregory

By Cheryl Haimann

"I could never write like that."
"I wish I knew how to play the piano."
"I used to take dance lessons, but I wasn't any good."
"I can't draw anything but stick figures."

Most of us have said something like this at some point in our lives. Danny Gregory did, too, and he spent years denying his creative urges because he didn't think they were practical.

Luckily for him, he learned that it was okay to be a creative person, and luckily for us, he has written a book to tell us how we can do the same.

In "The Creative License", Gregory compares the act of being creative to learning how to drive. You learn the rules of the road, you practice driving, and then you get a license that gives you permission to drive. In the same way, he says, the book will help you practice so that you can give yourself permission to be creative.

As an artist, he begins this process by teaching you to draw. Never fear. This is not a stuffy art instruction book with chapter after chapter on texture and perspective and whatnot. There are a few instructions and suggestions about how to slow down and look at things so you can draw them. He also reassures the reader, often, that it is okay to be bad. In fact, if you are going to make mistakes, he says, art is a relatively safe way to do it.

After drawing, the next step is keeping an illustrated journal as a way to make creativity a habit. The rest of the book is full of suggestions for drawing, ways to overcome your own resistance to creativity, and ideas for integrating creativity into every aspect of your life.

Each chapter has a number of short articles and exercises, most no more than a page or two, some of these which came from entries on Danny Gregory's website. The book is written in a handwriting-style font, and is full of illustrations from Gregory's own journals, which gives the reader the sense of peeking into the author's own notebook. The font can be tedious to read after awhile, but you are likely to read it in short spurts anyway, as you work through the instructions, or dip into it for a random bit of inspiration.

Whether you are already active in your creative pursuits, or just dipping your toe into the water, "The Creative License" will help you learn to have fun while you create.

Article © Cheryl Haimann. All rights reserved.
Published on 2006-12-04
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