A conversation with Lapin from “An Illustrated Journey”

Here’s the next interview with the contributors to my new book An Illustrated Journey: Inspiration From the Private Art Journals of Traveling Artists, Illustrators and Designers


Lapin is an extraordinary artist, a Frenchman who lives in Spain and travels the world. His work is unique and bound to inspire you. First of all, the man can draw anything and give it enormous character and wit.  Secondly, his pages are uniquely his — he draws in old (decades and decades old) lined, ledger books, in ink and watercolor. He has published several books of his work, beautiful replicas of his journals exactly as he created them on various trips .

bJjUCM08reqPY1-kKbxX6131IAvttrgKcZpuKnG7qJs%2C2SLd5rhaNIrUUxY0eipO524n_JDkjSY9No8EmTAa4YQ%2CRCA7k-Yau_T25O3KR02oSWQ2pvJ28Ur9YnnJAN6sIqw%2CU14TB5QCcBqcrt2b2EgNKlJ3CXxw9ndnmH5_qeXsGJA XT1HGIpGGYPBGkcwg-bQTH8rWtf_8wljbu_eteQ4cDM%2CyaaYf684UTVulbVH6Jj8Twwef5RrLBJ6mhB0nQcz1LA%2CMejvklqhoSBu_Qx3NmEGExtA_GIXxTmkEKMX6HLXtT8%2CvwC1KVcDukuJBk4S_k_-RPd-bq_iHlmUS27qTIVghR4

Lapin discusses his history and technique at length in the book. Here’s an excerpt:

“I grew up in Bretagne near Saint-malo, and now I live between Barcelona and Paris. I started drawing in my very first sketchbook when I was around 4 years old. It was a small notebook with penguins on the cover. All the pages were fully doodled with planes, houses, people, even a “man-house” only sketched with ball point.

Then, as far as I remember I’ve always had some drawings in my school notebooks, and caricatures of the teachers. I sketched some horses to please the girls, some…” (continued)


We had a great, far-wheeling chat in this video and immediately after I started looking for new and interesting surfaces to draw on.  He’ll get you going too.


See more of Lapin’s work on his blog and his website.



Dear readers of my new book, An Illustrated Journey. You may have noticed that there are several references to something called “pare” watercolors throughout the contributor essays. To clarify, there is no such thing. This was an error that slipped through copyediting process unnoticed.

My editor and I cannot explain how this strange gremlin appeared; my only theory is that somehow a spellchecker caught the British spelling of “watercolours” and instead of just replacing it with “watercolors” added “pare” as well. Cursed machines.

I hope it doesn’t it diminish your pleasure in reading the book. It will be corrected in the next printing. Damn.

Addendum 2/22: Just heard from my editor:  An Illustrated Journey is going right back on press as the first printing is already sold out! And the new printing will not contain any “pare” watercolors … or any other sorts of mistakes! :)

A conversation with Prashant Miranda from “An Illustrated Journey”

Here’s the next interview with the contributors to my new book An Illustrated Journey: Inspiration From the Private Art Journals of Traveling Artists, Illustrators and Designers

prash-1I just love Prashant Miranda for so many reasons. First of all, I love his freedom — he travels through India, apparently sleeping on couches and beaches while using his art to serve others. Then he pops back to Canada, works on animation and illustrates books, and as soon as it gets cold, he heads back to India.  His paintings are full of love and color with a gentleness and wit in every panel.  And, as you’ll see in this video, he is a supremely happy and contented person who makes me feel happy and relaxed whenever I talk with him.

prash-2I have included Prash’s work and story in several of my books — you will remember him from An Illustrated Life and The Creative License. But it is as a traveller that he is most inspiring and exemplary and I hope you will enjoy his work in my newest book, An Illustrated Journey.

prash3I chatted with Prashant when it was well after midnight in his temporary home in Goa. He was sitting on a balmy verandah by the sea, an owl roosting in a tree behind him. I was  hunkered down in frigid New York, envying him once again.

Prash shares a lot more in my book. Here’s an excerpt:

“I am a migratory bird. I spend my summers and autumns in Canada, and when it starts getting cold, I travel to India. And within Canada and India, I travel around.

Travel is a very important part of my life because it is a dose of reality, widens my perspectives and gives me an objective viewpoint of the places that I live in. Like not taking for granted that we get fresh drinking water out of our taps here in Canada, hot water too! And when I’m in India in certain places I’m thankful for that!

Often when I draw while travelling, it attracts…” (continued)


(See more of Prash’s work in the book and on his blog — it’ll make you rethink your own journal, I promise).

A conversation with Liz Steel from “An Illustrated Journey”

Here’s the next interview with the contributors to my new book An Illustrated Journey: Inspiration From the Private Art Journals of Traveling Artists, Illustrators and Designers

Liz Steel is a lovely, bubbly person who has fallen madly in love with drawing over the past few years.  In our chat, she shares the story of her journey from office-bound architect to world traveler and rabid journalista. (See more of her work in the book and on her blog).


Liz shares a lot more in my book. Here’s an excerpt:

“I was born in Sydney and have lived here all my life and LOVE it! I have always loved to draw but at high school, maths was my favorite subject (a family trait) and I dropped out of art after one year because I spent 6 months drawing a spark plug! Although I entered my degree in architecture from a more technical basis, my love of drawing was soon re-kindled and it was during my student years that I started keeping travel journals. These early journal were mainly made up of little …” (continued)


An Illustrated Journey: The Chat Show

One of the best things about working on my new book, An Illustrated Journey: Inspiration From the Private Art Journals of Traveling Artists, Illustrators and Designers, has been the chance to talk to so many people who have inspired me. In the course of the last couple of years, I have had the chance to collaborate with dozens and dozens of gifted artists, illustrators and travelers and they all have unique lessons to teach and wisdom to share. To enhance the experience of reading the book, I have been recording video chats with the contributors and I’ll be sharing them here, on YouTube and a special channels on Vimeo.  Each one is 20-60 minutes and I’ll be posting them twice a week.

Introducing “An Illustrated Journey: Inspiration From the Private Art Journals of Traveling Artists, Illustrators and Designers”


What!? Another book from Danny Gregory?! Gimme a break.

Yes, folks, I have yet another new book from HOW Books. And it’s a doozie.

A few years ago, I published An Illustrated LIfe which collected together the sketchbooks of fifty artists whose work I admire. A lot of people seemed to have enjoyed the book and so my publisher and I decided we should make another. This time the focus is a little tighter — my new book, An Illustrated Journey, is all about travel journals.


This book is enormously rich. It has hundreds and hundreds of wonderful sketchbook pages filled with drawings and paintings and calligraphy and ephemera. Each artist is also profiled in a lengthy essay based on an in-depth interview in which I asked them about their history as artists and travelers and specific recommendations of their favorite media and sketchbooks. It’s inspiring and useful too.


The book is available today. Copies have already shipped from the HOW warehouse. If you’d like one, it’s probably in your local store. I know Amazon has many copies and they are heading towards those who have ordered it early.


Not convinced?  Let me tell you a bit more.


Fabio Consoli

“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”   — Saint Augustine

The travelers I have assembled in this book have voyaged all over the world, and they come from every corner of it too. Frenchmen who love New York, New Yorkers who visited China, small town folks who enjoy being overwhelmed by big cities, day trippers and long term adventurers, San Franciscans in Rome and Italians in Africa. Some are animators, designers, illustrators, and artists, but equally many are teachers, missionaries, business men, retirees — happy amateurs with no loftier ambitions, for whom drawing is a passion and a companion. And no matter from where they hail or where they’re headed, no matter how they earn their airfare, there’s remarkable similarity in their experiences and passions.

Bryce Wymer

Bryce Wymer

When we document a journey in a sketchbook, we discover the difference between vacationing and traveling, we become adventurers and explorers, discovering new worlds through a thousand tiny details. And we refresh our brains in a way a couple of weeks on a poolside lounge chair never can. Unlike those who hide behind a pudgy mystery novel and a pina colada, the travel journal-keepers clears his mind, refresh his eyeballs, and builds a cache of lovely and enduring memories.

Enrique Flores

Enrique Flores

Almost everyone in this book agrees: drawing while traveling has made them more deeply in love with both, has rekindled their love of sketching and made the adventure of new destinations something they look forward to and plan for years.

Cathy Johnson

Cathy Johnson

They discover the differences and particularities of each destination through drawing, the different flow of every city, the specific lines that make up each city’s signature, the way people dress and park and eat and shop. They record thoughts and overheard conversations, jot down factoids in their margins, maps of their personal paths, phone numbers for hotels, restaurant recommendations, airline flight numbers.

Earnest Ward

Earnest Ward

Soon they travel because they draw rather than vice versa. And drawing enhances and deepens their experience. They discover that drawing is like an excited travel companion, who rouses you out of bed in the morning, waving a map and a guidebook in your sleepy face, insisting you get up and start drawing breakfast right away.

Ch’ng Kiah Kiean

Ch’ng Kiah Kiean

This book is full of memories, of autobiographies, of souvenirs. It has few recommendations about where to eat, to stay, to visit, but lots of advice on the brands of paint and pens and paper and even furniture you should pack in your bags. I discovered in interviewing people for the book that to talk about art and travel is to to talk about life, to learn people’s stories and their loves. Sketchbooks reveal that though we may travel to the same points on the map, we are each actually visiting very different places, and the pages show how all of our accumulated experiences make different impacts upon us, create different windows through which we look. Two artists sitting side by side with their sketchbooks produce very different records of the experience. And even the same person, returning to a place visited long ago, produces a new impression as time changes us, day to day, trip to trip. Our sketchbooks become records of these changes and perspectives, invaluable slices of personal history  which we can revisit and look deeper into time and again.

Don Low

Don Low

Every artist I spoke to concluded with the same piece of advice for you and every traveler: join them. Keep a travel journal and draw the things you see every day on your trip.  Even if you haven’t drawn since you were in elementary school, take a sketchbook on your next vacation and draw, if even just for yourself. The point is not to create works of art that will hang in galleries or museums but to form a permanent record of your experience that you can go back to to recapture the nuance and the revelations discovered on your trip. Don’t worry about the quality of the drawings. Don’t be intimidated by the many lovely images you find in these pages. Make your own — and you will make your own memories. If you persevere, it will begin a lifelong habit that will take you on many adventures to come.

Chris Buchholz

Chris Buchholz

I learned an enormous amount putting this book together.  It inspired me and challenged me. I hope it does the same for you. And I hope that the next time you travel, alongside your camera and your guidebook, you’ll pack a trusty sketch book and pen.


In the weeks to come, I’ll be sharing a lot more about the artists in An Illustrated Journey, including a special video channel containing dozens of incredible filmed conversations about art and life.  Meanwhile, please grab a copy of the book and let me know what you think of it.

Progress Report

Breakfast project 3

I know I have developed an annoying new habit of teasing you with vague announcements of upcoming projects. So here’s a status update on a few of the pots bubbling on the stove.

My next book, currently known only as “The Patti Book” is coming along very well. I have shared the first draft with my editor Bridget and she has had a lot of useful input. The second draft is almost finished and I will soon start polishing it for final transmission to San Francisco. I’ll probably do a third before I officially submit it bto Chronicle — my deadline is in the early fall. I am struggling with the best title for the book — that’s always the hardest part of the process for me.

• I have received lots of spectacular suggestions for artists to include in my book on travel journaling. Thanks so much to everyone who sent in submissions and refferals. If you have any other ideas, I am a still wide open, particularly for journals that include both great drawings and writing. Even if all of the artists don’t end up in the book, this list of travelling journalistas as a wonderful resource that has already inspired me a great deal. Post your suggestions here in the comments section; I check it regularly.

• We had a sneek screening of the first drawing film this week. Everyone seemed to like it a lot and we got lots of suggestions that will serve to make it even better. We’re heading back into the editing suite and hope to have a world premiere very soon. Here are stills from a few of my favorite scenes:

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• My travel schedule continues. I will be taking a quick jaunt down the C&O canal, cycling 100 miles or so in what may prove to be debilitating heat. Then Jack and I head to Paris and Rome for a brief sketching interlude. I’ll be shooting in California in September and may or may not go to Indonesia and Kazakhstan in the fall as well. I think I will have circumnavigated the globe (or the equivalent) three times by year’s end!

Cathy Johnson’s book is #1 on Amazon’s Drawing best steller list! Wahoo!

• I have been invited to apply to speak at the HOW design conference in Boston next spring. I had a great time when I did it last time, addressing thousands of designers and encouraging them to draw. I really hope I get to go again.