Danny Gregory is “the Executive Creative Director, Managing Partner of a major NY ad agency” and he is also becoming a pen and ink illustration guru, of sorts.
His book THE CREATIVE LICENSE: GIVING YOURSELF PERMISSION TO BE THE ARTIST YOU TRULY ARE introduced me to a method of working in pen & ink that truly changed my life. I picked up a copy in Barnes & Noble in 2005 and I was immediately hooked. I went directly to the art supply store and picked up the moleskine book he recommended, the Koh-i-nor pen he used and I started drawing from life with ink directly on paper.
Before this, my “sketchbooks” were filled with painstakingly crafted drawings that I would sometimes try to ink. But Danny’s ideas were revolutionary to me. He said to forget the pencil, take the pen, look at what you want to draw and start drawing it directly with the pen. It turns out that the pencil was giving me too many options. If I knew I could erase, I concentrated less. And, without the option to erase, I had to make different decisions about how to salvage my drawing after I messed up. My sketchbooks became instantly filled with unique, vibrant, interesting pen & ink drawings.
Danny Gregory has much more to say about drawing, sketchbooks and creativity in that book and the other books he has published. Another of the books, AN ILLUSTRATED
LIFE, is both inspirational and instructive. It shows the private sketchbooks of artists, illustrators and designers and interviews them about their process and artistic visions. He has two memoirs filled with his illustrations called EVERYDAY MATTERS and a brand new one, just coming out, called A KISS BEFORE YOU GO. Both of these deal with the harrowing story of his wife’s paraplegia and death. His resilience and their love is uplifting despite the painful subject and his use of sketching as therapy or distraction or expression in the darkest of times makes the argument that art is so much more than marks on paper.
Mr. Gregory has expanded beautifully into the world of social media over the last few years. He tweets. You can follow him on Facebook, Flickr, Pintrest, and more. But, his YouTube and Vimeo channels are where it’s at. They contain well produced video shorts of himself and others creating pen & ink sketches on the streets of New York and other cities. The best of these videos are a joint venture between he and his son, who lends his creative talents to making the videos slick and a pleasure to watch (unlike a lot of other “this is how I draw” videos out there on the interwebs).