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Book Review by Ms. Sentgeorge: Everyday Matters by Danny Gregory

November 12, 2015 Leave a comment

everyday matters

This book would be an interesting pick for people who like looking in other people’s sketchbooks (or diaries). It would also be a good read for people who like to read non-fiction about someone overcoming great obstacles. I like both, and sometimes when reading Everyday Matters, I got so caught up in the narrative that I almost forgot to look at the drawings. However, with each page being 60%-90% covered in drawing and it is definitely a sketchbook and hard to ignore the drawings. It is also possible to enjoy Everyday Matters by skipping over the hand written narrative and just enjoying the book from the visual perspective.

Danny Gregory began keeping a journal after his young wife slipped and fell off the subway platform while going out to buy a cake. She was run over by 3 wheels of the train, paralyzing her. You get to know Danny and read his inner thoughts as he takes up drawing and journaling to cope with this major change in his life, and the life of his wife and infant son. It is full of small Zen-like epiphanies as he learns that by slowing down and drawing everything around him from his coffee cup to his medicine cabinet, he is put into the moment and can appreciate the beauty of everything around him and that everyday matters.

Check out this book to read, or to just look at the drawings.

As an aside: This book started a movement among sketchers called EDM (Everyday Matters), with a numbered list of items to draw everyday of the year. If you see drawings online with EDM #17 or some other number written in the page, you will know they are part of the Every Day Matters movement.

EDM (Everyday Matters), with a numbered list of items to draw everyday of the year. If you see drawings online with EDM #17 or some other number written in the page, you will know they are part of the Every Day Matters movement.

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Book Review by Ms. Sentgeorge: Art Before Breakfast

October 22, 2015 Leave a comment

art before breakfast coverIf you would like to learn to visually record ideas and improve your creativity, you might want to check out a new book in the HS library called Art Before Breakfast by Danny Gregory.  Danny believes that you do not need to be an artist to record the world around you visually, and says that, “Creativity is the act of shaping the mush of the world around us into something – of creating your own order.”

Art Before Breakfast is written in sketchbook style with each page covered in drawings. It is a visually rich text that is part philosophy, part exercises, motivating the reader to start sketching the world around them. Each exercise requires no more than15 minutes and is intended to get the reader to start down the road towards keeping his or her own sketchbook practice and gaining confidence in sketching. It lays out a week-long set of 5-15 minute starter activities to prove to you that one does not need to be an artist or talented, to be able to draw and record your life visually. The book encourages the reader to maintain a visual journal for the 30 days, the amount of time it takes to build a new habit.

Danny says that sketching isn’t about creating art; it is about recording what you are living through and what you are learning about it. You do not need to be an artist to keep a visual journal. Danny Gregory views sketching as a meditative practice, much like doing yoga at the start of each day. He advocates starting the day with a short drawing to bring ones mind into the present moment, hence the title, Art Before Breakfast. As he says, “Creativity can become a habit that fits into you life, like Pilates or flossing, only a lot more fulfilling.”

Check out this book if you are interested in beginning or resuming the practice of keeping a visual journal, or if you are interested in Sketchbook Skool.

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