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Art Before Breakfast

Danny Gregory, author of Art Before Breakfast shares why it’s always worthwhile to start creating—even if you haven’t done it in awhile, and even if you’re very busy.

When I was little, I drew all the time.
Dragons, wizards, aliens, stallions, and racecars.
I never took an art lesson. I never cared what anyone thought of my drawings.
I drew because I liked to.
Then I stopped.
Years passed. I finished junior high. The Soviet Union collapsed. My hair got thinner.
And then one day, I started to draw again.
I picked up where I’d left off. I drew like I was still seven. Then eight.
Over time, my skills improved. But more importantly, my life improved. I discovered that making art made me calm. Focussed. Happy.
I drew because I liked to.

Illustration of a bicycle
I talked to people about my experience and they told me that it was different for them. They couldn’t draw a straight line. They had no talent. They had no time.
More years passed. I had a busy life, a career, a family—but I made a few minutes here and there to draw something or other.
I didn’t do it to make pretty pictures, but because of how it made me feel.
Centered. Clear. Connected. Creative. And other feelings that didn’t begin with C. Like appreciative. Rejuvenated. Happy. Fulfilled.

 

Drawing of apples

This feeling was too good not to share, even though I kept running into resistance from people who were too busy, too “untalented”, too whatever.
I decided I’d sit down and explain why art-making isn’t scary, isn’t self-indulgent, isn’t just for the pros.
I call it art with a small a.
art for all of us.
art you can make in while the kettle is heating or your muffin is toasting.
art before breakfast.
art you make ’cause you like to.
Anyone can do it and feel the feeling. Even my accountant. Even my dog. And even you.

Danny Gregory

Danny Gregory

Danny Gregory's blog, Everyday Matters, is visited regularly by tens of thousands of people from around the world. He lives in New York.
Danny Gregory

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11 Comments

  • Curious Clare January 21, 2015 at 5:03 am

    I’m so glad I stumbled across this article today. I’m an artist & teacher currently on maternity leave and my head is full of stuff I’d like to make and do but my little one has other ideas right now & I’d pay good money for some proper sleep! You’re absolutely right, I’m resisting the urge to create and it’s making me unhappy. I suppose I’m worried that the drawings won’t be good enough in snatched moments, but you know what who cares! I’m going to find a pen when baby has finished feeding. Thank you 🙂

    Reply

    • Kathryn Jaller January 21, 2015 at 11:48 am

      This warms our heart, Clare. Thank you for sharing your story. Now go forth and draw!

      Reply

    • susan January 21, 2015 at 10:36 pm

      HI Clare,
      I remember when my girls were babies. I had such creative urges but never got more than snatched moments. I was always looking for one handed crafts I could do while looking after little ones. I wish I’d discovered sketching and quick drawing back then. So good for you! Go for it!

      Reply

  • Pat Goodspeed January 21, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    I am so looking forward to this book. I have all the other Danny Gregory books. I actually tried to see if I could get it faster than Amazon like at the Book Depository or this Canadian bookstore. No go. Anyhow I have preordered and awaiting anxiously. I draw for fun and relaxation. Occasionally I draw my friends dogs as gifts for them. Today I was drawing a very loud, heavy and talkative lady at my cardiologists office.

    Reply

  • Shirley Kern January 21, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    Thank you for making me laugh out loud just now. Loved it all. Hoping soon to sign up for your classes. Enjoy all that you do. Thank you for the inspiration and the confidence building.

    Reply

  • Lori Mitchell January 21, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    I love how simply you put this. I’m going to have my art students check this out. It’s not always about making a grand piece of art, sometimes it’s just about spending that time being creative and being present. Thanks so much for sharing with all of us.

    Reply

  • Kate Robertson January 21, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    Oh this was great Danny, loved it. I already have preordered your book, can’t wait for its release.

    Kate

    Reply

  • Jane January 21, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    Danny, you make me think I can do it, too! Thank you for the reminder.

    Reply

  • Darlene Campbell January 21, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    I have to have all of his books. Love him. Love his Sketchbook Skool.

    Reply

  • Marisa Greenfield January 22, 2015 at 6:07 am

    I am looking forward to your new book! I am slowly catching up on Sketchbook Skool Boot Kamp in the meantime. This is such a great way to get in some sketching without having to commit to an onsite class.

    Reply

  • Susan Bass January 22, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    More videos starring Tim please! What a talent!

    Reply

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