A waste?

global art junkieI was flattered when “Global Art Junkie” posted my Art of Breakfast video on her blog along with some lovely accompanying words. Then I was struck by a comment by a lady who said,

See, this is why I don’t get art journals. Here he’s made something wonderful, and it’s spread over two pages in a book. What a waste! Now he’s going to have to do it again if he wants it to be on one whole piece of paper, and it’s never going to be the same. At least, that how it would be with me. (emphasis added)

I appreciate her POV but felt obliged to explain myself in a comment of my own. You can read it here. What do you think?


  1. shebicycles

    Your reply says it perfectly.

  2. Sulphur Blue

    See that’s the thing. People don’t understand, we don’t do it to “sell” anything, or make money, or anything like that. It’s not about someone else’s journey, it’s about ours; its about filling our minutes, seconds, with meaning; stopping to take a moment and reflect on the things we find beautiful. It’s a chronicle of US, not of somebody, or TO somebody else. For me it’s meditative and that’s all that matters. I do other art to sell. My journals and my dreams are for me.

    • dannygregory

      And you paint in eyeshadow!

      • Sulphur Blue

        AHAHAHA! I do, totes. Among other things. Pretty much whatever I can get my hands on. Super glue was the latest experiment and it was fab. XD

    • Barbara Daley

      Sulpher Blue, I love your reply! In fact, I am writing it into today’s journal….

      • Sulphur Blue

        Aww thanks! I had someone tell me once one of my best spreads was ruined because I did it in my Moleskine and couldn’t sell it.

        And I was like, I made that for me why would I want to? :P

  3. Richard Sheppard

    Whether or not you created your beautiful drawing in a book or on a loose sheet paper has no relevance to its value. Either way, you still would have been able to share it with the world by creating the video. I can think no better way to express ones self that to record one’s life experiences in a book.

  4. Ellen

    Well,I think several things are at play when a visual journal is not understood as an art piece in itself, and as memoir/journalism. One is ego based: some people possibly do not feel their own moments are ” worth” the time to draw or write about them—and the idea that so many of us spend our time this way seems wacky to them. Another is skill based: Meaningful daily practice is the key to building any skill/depth/ feeling of command in all the applied and fine arts. If one has never engaged in a lifelong journey of exercising a muscle daily, it may be hard to understand that we do this activity not to ” arrive” at some golden moment of mastery—-but to engage in the joy of pursuit. The last? Well, art education in the US is still in its infancy. Most folks have not had the benefit of drawing all through the first 12 years of school. Art is bigger than just a framed piece of paper on the wall. It is good that your work is challenging another person’s notion of art : it will make them think a bit perhaps, make them question that narrow definition…maybe have some fun in a journal once the wall is broken down.

  5. Dorothy

    I absolutely loved your video and I’m so happy you share your process. The joy of creating the work is what matters. The fact that you painted across two pages makes it very free and much more charming!

  6. Chris

    Ultimately all art has to be for yourself-whether in a journal or anywhere else. If it works for you, then it will work for other people. The joy of creating a journal page just for yourself feeds everything else in your day and all your other creative endeavors. The fact that you do in pictures what some people do in words obviously confuses some people. It doesn’t make it a public work until you care to share it with us. (which I always enjoy immensely)

  7. Darlene Propp

    A perfect reply to this woman who just doesn’t “get it”. Ultimately, what matters is what pleases us as individuals. One of the reasons I stopped doing commissioned work. I hated having to make art that pleased (or didn’t) someone else, and on their timetable.

  8. Lynn

    I think Barbara Backer-Gray learned something new today….and I’m willing to bet it’s going to open up a whole new creative world for her! She commented “I realized that art journaling might help me in that it would take the pressure off to produce something awesome every time.” She will probably move from the mind-set of what-will-someone-else-think about her work to “Hmmm…I LIKE THAT!” How nice. ~ Lynn

    • Heidi

      Lynn, that was my reaction too! How wonderful that she was able to have that epiphany, and how rare it is that an internet dialogue (especially one rooted in divergent perspectives) can yield such positivity. Danny, thank you for being so open in the scope of your creative outreach :)

  9. boomerontario

    Danny – I’m the Art Junkie who posted on you, and I want to thank you for sparking the fascinating exchange of views going on here on your site, and also on my blog this evening. You’ve incited some fabulous passions, and I’m all for passion wherever we find it!

  10. Antares

    In all fairness, she was commenting about herself. It is difficult for some to make the mental adjustment from sketchbook to finished piece and settle on the middle between the two; the art journal.

    Since you asked what we think;)


  11. Carol Lee Beckx

    In a strange way, Barbara’s reply has opened the way for many “unbelievers” to see the light – Barbara included. Daily drawing for me is an oasis of calm in a frenetic world. Thank you for sharing your process in the great video, Danny.

  12. Chelle Destefano

    NOT a waste! I’m appalled by her opinion. Yes its her opinion but I don’t agree at all, How could she say it’s a waste when it’s an art form of our own choice. Danny you said your point of view perfectly! I feel the same way you do about chronicling my life in a sketchbook, I’m crazy about self made books, having done these as a kid and teen, would make books of drawings about things that happened in my life that piqued my interest or would write stories and draw them :)

  13. Pauline Leger

    art journaling – a waste of time?!? ok, now i’m hyperventilating.

    I cannot imagine my life without art journaling. It’s become a part of me (thanks to you, Danny). If i had nothing else to draw/paint on, i would use a piece of toilet paper. It means that much to me. It is how i make sense of my world. Your answer was perfect Danny. Such class. ;-)

  14. Joy Corcoran

    I liked that after your response, the woman clarified and changed her mind. There actually aren’t a lot of people who do value themselves enough to keep a journal, a spiritual practice, or even a good mirror. I gave a workshop last week and not one of the 9 people there could imagine keeping a visual journal. And arts education often promotes a removed, conceptual idea of art. I love that you want art with a small a. It’s even better that you share what you know.

  15. twistnpout

    I can sort of relate to the woman. But I can also appreciate you or anyones reason for keeping an art journal – I don’t see it as a waste at all, in fact it is something I have been aching to do for several years. But I just cant seem to get past the idea that everything I do should be great – and so often it isn’t, so when I pour myself into something that comes out looking half way good, it seems like a waste to me to have it hidden a way in a book. If I had half the talent you do, I’d journal everyday! My sad attempts at art journaling have ended with pages of ugly scribble and muddied paint drippings being ripped out and tossed away. Not sure why, as when I make my art – I rarely have a plan and love the process of problem solving, fixing mistakes and incorporating mishaps into something I find enjoyable to look at. Hmmmmm

  16. Mary Walker

    You were passing time relaxed and drawing while enjoying breakfast. Watching television reruns a hundred times now that is a true waste of time.

  17. Anthony

    She may have spoken too quick, but my initial reaction to keeping an art journal was similar. I had in my mind that if I took the time to paint something, it had to be on a canvas, or something that I could hang on the wall and display. I’ve been drawing in a journal for about seven months now, and really enjoy it, but I understand her thoughts.

  18. Matthi

    Dear Danny (I’am from Germany),
    in January 2012 I was deeply inspired by your book:
    “The Creative License” -
    I startet to paint, when I was about eightteen, but in the beginning of 2012 I startet to draw almost “every day” in my sketchbook, semiliar to you.

    I helps a lot and changed my life in many ways:
    - drawing for me, is like “meditation” –
    I get more relaxed, sorrows and fears seem to melt away, while I’am drawing :-)
    - drawing everyday, opens my eyes for wonderful “little things” in my everydaylife
    - it is a good practice, for the eyes and for the sketches, they getting better and better
    and for me it’s a joy – it gives me a “good feeling” – I become more self confident!
    - while I’m drawing I often forget to be angry (mad) about incidents around me -
    “everyday-drawing” makes me to feel more thankful…
    - I use sketchbooks (ink & watercolor) – yes -
    - but also I draw and paint on papers or canvas (pastel, acryl, gouache)
    - many of my drawings are only for me, for my dreams…
    some other I try to sell (Calender, FineArtPrints etc.)
    - 2012 I startet my art-blog “Matthi’s Art Journaling”
    - since 2012 I’m very motivated to learn “portrait” and “figure” (anatomy)
    and since Christmas 2012 I’mtryoing Pin Up’s (ooops) :-D

    I’m an incurable “draw-junkie” – ;-)


    - Matthi(ias) from Germany

    • dannygregory


      I am so happy to hear from you and to know that you have gotten so much from my book. Keeping drawing and making and having fun!

  19. oboeart

    With 4 illustrated picture books, doing a double page spread was a challenge — mostly working with the printing process. Danny, your watercolors breath life from the brush. Thanks for sharing your skill. AND hopefully you will earn enough money from the project to keep doing what you love. The grocery store was paid long before the bagel was painted. Feed — and pay — living artists!

  20. Vicky Williamson

    I LOVE your reply to the comment! You have expressed what I have not been able to get my grown children to understand concerning my own sketchbook journals.

  21. juka503

    Danny, you are a legend! Thank you for being here… :)

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