When I sit down to draw something, I often start by looking at the negative space, the parts of the picture that aren’t the subject. I draw the sky behind the building, the floor under the chair, the wall behind the person. It’s a way of overcoming assumptions and getting a fresh perspective on what’s right under my beak.
Let me tell you about the negative space that defines the past few months of my life. The things I stopped doing — so I could do what I did instead.
The most obvious decision is that I stopped writing posts here. I had been writing pretty regularly on and off since 2003 and it has been a really valuable part of my process. This blog has given me a place to try out ideas, to get perspective in what I’m doing, to scratch my writing itch, to make jokes, and to talk to you. But.
When I went to summer camp in my tweens, we had to write a letter home twice a week. It wasn’t a suggestion. It was a rule. In fact, these letters home were called “Meal Tickets” because if you didn’t have a letter in a stamped, addressed envelope clutched in your grubby hand, you couldn’t have dinner that day. No one vetted the contents of the letter itself, it could say anything, but you had to show up with it or starve.
Of course, being a snotty pubescent, the letters I wrote grew more and more perfunctory, a simple “how are you? I am fine” and my parents would probably have preferred I saved the stamp money.
When I started to blog, back in the days of coal-powered laptops, I was really only writing for Richard Bell and Roz and a few other pals, and this was just a place to play, to experiment, to record ideas and muck about. I’d write thoughtful things, silly things, fantasies, pseudo-academic theories, advice, and what have you.
But in the ensuing years, while I was playing, blogging became a science, a marketing platform, a job, and I became “a blogger” and felt I had to follow the emerging code.
Earlier in the year, a well-meaning friend told me I must blog consistently and regularly to be taken seriously. She told me I should have a theme for each day so people knew what to expect on Tuesdays, say, and every other Friday.
For a whole I tried this, diligently churning out themed pieces, ripe for sharing. Not sure if you noticed.
Then another friend said I should make quotes in sharable visual form and put those out there. “I tried that too.”—Danny Gregory
Someone else said my blog posts needed to be shorter and pithier for busy people. So I cut back on my verbosity and shelved my thesaurus.
Then I worried I was blogging too much and wouldn’t have anything left to put in my next book.
Then I went through a dark and insecure time of not feeling I had anything useful to say at all but had to write anyway.
I know that you, dear reader, are saying ‘what a lot of poppycock and hornswoggle’, but such is the predicament of an aging hipster in skinny jeans trying to remain current. Like it or not, in an age of diminishing marketing support from publishers, blogs and the attendant audience-building have become an essential part of an author’s job. You and I are just working for the Man, making up for the publishing industry’s declining fortunes, by developing a strong bond into which books can be inserted and credit card charges extracted.
I hate to think that this was the purpose of all these posts, to sell stacks of paper and feather executive nests, but such is the reality of life in the trenches.
A friend told me last week that her agent said that thanks to her Facebook following (built on pithy illustrated quotes) she could expect a seven-figure advance for any books she chose to write. What should it be about, she asked? Doesn’t matter, he replied, just see what you can do to get your numbers even higher, then you have carte blanche.
Now, I don’t want you to think that I went on blog strike or anything. My days at the barricades are long gone.
But I did decide that I am going to blog just because I want to and if that means that a lot of casual first-time readers looking for quotes to jazz up their Pintrest boards miss out on a few of my pithier jpegs, so be it. If the sales of Art Before Breakfast–the Workbook are less than stellar because of my principled stand and shirked responsibilities, I will gladly resort to eating day-old bread, shaving with dull blades, and selling one of my dogs. Sorry, Tim.
And if the head counselor has to call my parents again because I have refused to hand in any more meal tickets and my ribs are sticking painfully through my delicate birdcage of a chest, I will hang my head and take the tongue lashing.
By the by, I expected that suddenly vanishing from the scene would cause some sort of ripple, that people used to getting a regular 7 a.m. email of my latest musing would notice the void, but that didn’t happen. Not by a long stretch.
In the two months I stopped blogging, I got a single plaintive message asking if I was okay. Otherwise, radio silence from my myriad ‘fans’. The hordes I imagined waiting with bated breath for every pearl of wisdom that dripped from my keyboard were evidently all out playing Pokemon Go. My moment appeared to have passed.
Blogging was the one thing on the Internet I occasionally missed. I didn’t feel that way at all about Twitter, which I similarly vacated. I have always found the limitations of 140 characters to be a pointless ball and chain on my verbosity. I realize this platform is an essential one of our age, propelling some even to the gates of Pennsylvania Avenue, but if you want me to write punchy headlines and short body copy, you’ll have to pay my day rate. I wrote thousands of 30-second TV scripts that had to be 72 words or less and I’ll chafe at the limitation no more.
I find reading Twitter posts to be mindless gum-chewing, looking for meaningful insights in fortune cookies. I like language and can take it undiluted. And I don’t care what you think of what someone else said about something else somewhere else all telegrammed in cryptic #s, contractions and acronyms. If you have some thing to say, just say it. At length. Thoughtfully.
Increasingly, brevity is the essence of the halfwitted.
This spring, I launched a podcast. It was based on my most recent book, Shut Your Monkey. Podcasting has become quite the thing these days, I like to talk, and I have a lot of interesting friends so I thought I’d give it a go.
I intended the podcast to be an ongoing discussion about the inner critic and I brought in a fairly impressive group of experts to discuss with me.
I asked listeners to help turn it into a dialogue, a forum on this all-important subject, an opportunity to swap ideas and experiences. I set up a system for people to record their own ‘monkey tales’ so I could put them on the air. I invited questions and thoughts via email too.
The dialogue part of the effort didn’t pan out. Two listeners recorded messages and one of them was mainly of a dog barking.
Nonetheless, I got quite a lot out of the experience and the discussions and enjoyed much of it.
But over time and as my plate got filled with lots of other things, the podcast became a bit of a Meal Ticket too. Each week I was writing a show, lining up an interview, recording and mixing it, then writing a newsletter and a blog post on dog.com and monkeypodcast.com to explain my experience of the discussion and share other bits and bobs to flesh things out. That in addition to the Skool, my blog, my books, drawing, other projects, navel-gazing and haircuts.
I came to realize that a) the expectations of recording quality in a podcast have gone way up since I had my first go at it ten years or so ago (most of the emails I did get were to complain about my sound mix) and b) that all the podcasts I admired were actually produced by a whole team of dedicated, qualified people doing what I was trying to do alone.
Without explanation, I suspended the podcast and again, heard from no one wondering why. That meant I could chill, not feel guilty at my latest abrogation of duty, and think about other things.
I have material for another half-dozen episodes and when I get around to it, maybe when the evenings grow long and cold, I’ll cobble them together, at least for my own benefit. I have learned so much from all my wise guests and I look forward to listening to all these interviews again.
Another thing I got out of my monkeypodcast experience was the fun of writing a newsletter. It’s quite different from blogging. It feels more one-to-one and more disposable and I found myself writing in a nuttier, more provocative way, tossing off jokes and asides.
What with all the obituaries being written for blogs, I have been thinking replacing (or maaaaybe, augmenting) this blog with a weekly newsletter.
Would you like that?
I’d make it fairly weekly (but not in a meal ticket way), and it would be delivered right to you, in full.
It would mean you would no longer be in the position of saying “Whatever happened to Gregory?” or “I wonder what he’s griping about now.” Instead, you’d know, because it was all there — in your spam folder.
“Newsletter” is such a dreadful term, though. It smacks of Rotary Clubs and dentists and earnest Methodists. And now of “Growth hackers” those horrible, young hard-salespeople who churn out clickbait headlines like “10 ways to immediately transform your sales funnel/diet/credit rating — just sign up for our free newsletter/ebook/infographic…” (I should probably shut up about this. At Sketchbook Skool we sometime resort to this sort of thing and it works embarrassingly well. I’m an old-school brand marketing guy and all this sort of DM, John Caples stuff makes me cringe.)
Anyway, if you think I should do this, I probably won’t call it a newsletter. Maybe , I dunno, a love letter?
Oh, yeah, Instagram. Most of my artists pals love it and boast of their zillions of followers and likes. It leaves me cold. I’m not into mindlessly thumbing through hundreds of drawings representing thousands of hours of work. It’s too much like Tinder for my liking. And besides I’m married.
Same thing. Been there, done that, don’t care. Maybe if I was going to reredo my kitchen or pick out a bridal gown, but it feels like too much of a mindless mind-suck for me. One clueless grouch’s opinion.
It’s nice, it’s friendly, but I do not miss it. This summer, Facebook felt like standing on the bank of a broad, fast-moving, and very shallow river. Like wandering through a work Christmas party at a huge company, full of people I sorta know, gussied up, sharing banalities, till occasionally someone has one drink too many and says something honest and embarrassing.
It’s an important place, Facebook, the gathering spot for today’s community, but there’s too much din for me, too much chaff, and I figure if anything important goes on, someone I know in the real world will tell me about it, probably in person.
The exception: the Sketchbook Skool group. I love feeling the creative energy there, a community of people who have gotten to know each other over a long time and through a shared passion and that feels like a real family. So I hung out there some this summer, but even that less often.
I was thinking I’d write a new book this summer. I had two (!) out this year but the wheels of the publishing industry turn slow and today’s notion is 2018’s publication.
I started off with two ideas. One was to write a memoir of my family, an unusual bunch. I’d delve into why my grandparents went from Germany to Italy to India in the ’30s, why my mother got married three times before I was ten, why I went to 18 schools on four continents, why my uncle’s estrangement from the family was on the front page of the NY Times, and other questions.
I also thought about writing some sort of more definitive book about creativity, to go beyond drawing to everything I have experienced and researched about how we do and don’t make things, where ideas come from, how to get better at it, why we fear it, how to encourage a new generation of creators, why society is so ambivalent toward creative people, why there’s so much myth around the whole thing, and why and how the role of creativity in our culture is changing so much right now, from the disintegration for publishing and music to the explosion of startups and technology.
I couldn’t commit to either project yet. The first felt too personal and limited in its appeal. The latter too well trammelled.
I also hesitated because I am unsure about the form. Do I need to write another book? I’ve written ten or so already — what would an eleventh accomplish?
I am resigned to the fact that I will never be Elizabeth Gilbert or Austin Kleon or Julia Cameron or Betty Edwards or SARK or Bob Ross. With no false humility, I know I occupy a narrower orbit. Maybe I lack bravura. Or hair. Maybe I am too prone to beard stroking and muttering into my teacup to be in the pantheon of creative diagnosticians.
So that’s one thing. But also, whither publishing? I had a fairly disastrous experience with the publisher of Shut Your Monkey, a book I expected to be of much broader interest than they were able to drum up. What am I getting for the 93% of my book sales they keep? I conceive, write, illustrate, design and market my books. They print and ship ’em. My editor at Chronicle is lovely but she costs me a lot.
So, should I make more books? Should I just publish them myself? Should they just be digital? How will I sell them?
Or should I put my energy into making courses instead? I have lots of ideas for things that I could teach and talk about in videos and that seems to touch people in a more direct way than books people read once (hopefully) and put on the shelf.
Or should I just blog? Write everything I am thinking here (or in my hypothetical news/loveletter, remember?)and find some other way to buy dog food?
This summer, I had a lot to think about in the negative space. Positive stuff that will help make me more balanced, creative, and happy.
I also realized I do too much. I go in too many directions and not far enough. If I can decided to focus on one thing rather than all the many directions I pull myself, maybe I will discover a new sense of being.
I have lots of plans, lots of dreams, but I have newfound respect and understanding for the importance of empty space, to set priorities among those many ambitions to do the things that I truly care about and enjoy the most.
Life is short, I only have about fifty years to go, so I better get to it. By next summer, things will be pretty different.
Let me know what you think about all this. I really appreciate your feedback.
Meanwhile, my meal ticket is done and I’m going in to lunch.
83 thoughts on “What I didn’t do this Summer”
I’d really look forward to a weekly Newsletter Danny. Thanks for the gutsy, very real rambling blog post……you were wondering where we all were? I guess we’ve been on hiatus too…and some of us burdened by ‘working for the Man’. I’m scrambling around looking for ways to get over a months and months and months long sketchers ‘black hole’ into which I have fallen and cannot get up (yet).
I would love a weekly news/loveletter Danny!
Just do what makes you happy. Yes to a newsletter please, I like a bit of detail and a proper read.
You said a lot there Danny. I missed your blog very much. I read and look forward to everyone.
Take a gander at The One Thing by Gary Keller… Or its companion website. You might find it helpful.
Such a fan of Sketchbook Skool, I’ve enrolled in most of the courses. Still haven’t finished one. :). Gotta work on that (and I am). It’s a great gift, so thanks to all who put it together.
Love pretty much anything you write, didn’t listen to the podcasts much…
Just follow your heart… And make sure there’s time in it for you and your family.
All the best, Milla Wisecarver
I enjoy your blog, but your thoughts for a newsletter sound very interesting. In the interest of trying new things, you might give that a go. You can always go back to more blogging if you find you prefer that. I also hope you keep a focus on producing more Sketchbook Skool classes. Your creativity combined with the input of the outstanding artists you work with make for great ideas and inspiration. Many people indicate that they don’t think their story would be of interest to others. However stories are what our lives are about and many of us are very interested in reading the stories of others. The tidbits you shared about your life here make me want to read more, so I hope you pursue that avenue too.
Did I miss you over the summer? Yes. Did I wonder why? No. The last I heard you and your son had rented space for a studio and you wanted to spend the time with him playing at doing a different kind of art. I was very jealous and when you disappeared, I hoped you were having a blast and creating all sorts of pieces. Hint, hint, would love to see more of that work when you are ready to show off.
As for this long, rambling and terribly authentic post – hurrah for you! Getting to know you as a person and finding that we share more than just SBS is a joy. These two sentences describe my predicament right now at age 69 perfectly. “I also realized I do too much. I go in too many directions and not far enough. If I can decided to focus on one thing rather than all the many directions I pull myself, maybe I will discover a new sense of being.
I have lots of plans, lots of dreams, but I have newfound respect and understanding for the importance of empty space, to set priorities among those many ambitions to do the things that I truly care about and enjoy the most.”
I suspect that’s the mess most creatives find themselves in. I know I need to focus more on a few things rather than race around after many. Glad you’re back! Yes to an occasional newsletter when you are inspired to write one.
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I wholeheartedly agree with your comments about social media today. At least by trying so many things you have an informed base from which to give positive criticism. I feel there’s got to be something that touches a person at a deeper level to maintain interest and so an occasional dip into your projects, thoughts and self analysis helps to link in to my questioning mind. I’m constantly searching for the next thing to move me on in some way – educationally spiritually or practically. Hopefully we’ll reach our century because we find life exciting and full of opportunities. As long as you feel self fulfilled why worry about anyone else out there in the ether.
First of all, I did miss the podcasts and the blog. When it comes to media I feel like I’m standing in the middle of a river full of fabulous uplifting important life-saving stuff floating by and I just have to let some of it gently swirl by. I always grab whatever you put out there. I like your style, your humor, your perspective on life, and the way you think. Just keep making stuff, the stuff you’re inspired to put out in the world, in whatever form makes you happy, and let us know where to find it. It will make us happy too.
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Comment? ok…I think you do too much. I am tired for you, you are stretched in so many directions. Personally my favorites are things from Sketch Skool, your blogs (keep them short and sporadic so I can enjoy them when they come without being overwhelmed with too many or too much). I love your personal books about your life and struggles and seeing how art can actually pull people through grief and turmoil and become a celebration during the good times. I don’t like podcasts I would rather read the interview than listen to it, but perhaps that is just me. I have dropped several other ones I get as well since I don’t have the time to just sit and listen and find that without something to look at, my mind wanders and I miss most of what is being said. When you do so much and produce so many different things I am left wondering how you have time to enjoy your own art and your life. I need to feel that you make time for yourself so I am ok doing that for myself. Too much contact is overwhelming for me to keep up with. I treasure the things I have learned from you (by the way, I found you first through Pinterest), the way you have motivated me to do something “arty” every day whether it is for 5 min or 5 hours, and the way you have helped me look at the world and my art differently. Good luck with whatever direction you find yourself taking. Just remember to take time for yourself too so you don’t burn out and begin to hate doing the things you love.
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I enjoy reading your thoughts however you want to share them. I assumed if no blog was being put out there, it meant you were taking a well-deserved break, or writing, or any one of the zillion other duties you have. I believe for a happy life we need balance and sometimes that means stepping back, or saying “no”, or trimming our schedules however needed. If you burn yourself out, then there is nothing left to share with others, so please take whatever steps is needed to create balance for yourself. I look forward to reading your future pearls of wisdom however and whenever you see fit to share them.
Ah yes, trying this n that… been there too and have decided to let my social media reflect what I do rather than dictate it (although that’s not always easy). I did notice that things had gone a bit quiet around here lately but figured it had to do with the studio and your painting experiment… besides, it’s not really any of my business when and what you choose to post. I’m happy to read it whenever you feel like writing it, Danny. Keep rockin’ those skinny jeans! xxx
Danny, Glad you are back. A e-newsletter filled with your candor and humor sounds great!
Did I miss your blog? Yes! I also imagined you at work in the studio with your son. I also felt that it was important to honor your need for a break from this favorite blog. We all learn from one another when sharing is on this level.
So….blog or newsletter are my favorites among your ideas. Do what you love.
Danny, of course we missed you, I missed you, but what should we say, “Why aren’t you talking to us anymore?”, or like the Nirvana lyric, “Here we are now, entertain us!” I even thought of the term you used: radio silence. You were the “Where’s Waldo” story of my summer. Honestly, I feared you were done with the whole thing, that it had taken over your life, and you’d decided you wanted your life back. Then I thought, “Maybe we should follow his lead and get busy with our own lives”. Well, that was a scary prospect to say the least. Maybe you were just a guy talking to his friends (like you wrote) and didn’t plan on being anybody’s guru. I get it. I get nervous when someone asks me, “What’s for dinner?” I think of all the great artists you’ve introduced us to, and I wonder, do they have time to answer all our tedious questions about their favorite pen AND do their work? If they need to take a breather, circle the wagons, do they have to answer to us? How do you tell a person you truly don’t know (not really) he matters to you and contributes to your daily life without sounding like a complete stalker? So now you know: of course you were missed by the masses…and me.
Bon Appetit! 🙂
Soooo much of this resonated with me. I say write the book about your family – they sound terribly interesting! And yes to the newsletter.
Sounds like your monkey got out of his cage and ran amuck. Mine does that all the time.
I would love to see more of what you and your boy are doing. I enjoy your little videos the most.
I thought you didn’t look at the comments. I like blogs, I look at them even if I don’t comment. Newsletters – nah. I like your sketches and drawings. If I could look through a book of Danny Gregory sketches, the really good ones, kind of like Tommy Kane’s book, but more polished – – I would buy that in a heartbeat. So, there you go, now I have commented and I feel guilty about not putting a new post up on my own blog, I’d better go do that.
Oh, and I still love Sketchbook Skool too, the Original and a few past. The Original was genius. xo
Thank you for seeing through those negative spaces and considering them as vital!
I missed you this summer! I love your writing style and I love reading- then going away and thinking about- your points on creativity. I love your art too. Communicate in whatever way works for you! I’m familiar with all the advice on how to gain an Internet following and I don’t know how any normal person would get anything done apart from posting online if they followed it all! If you send out a newsletter, I’ll read it. If you blog haphazzardly- I get a handy notification in my inbox that new musings await, so I pop on over. But (being purely selfish) I hope you continue to inhabit your little niche of the interweb somehow. I love your books and personally would love to see more of the existing ones in e book form (being selfish again- we’re about to start living on our sailboat again and my space for papery books is more limited than my kindle hard drive! ). I love SBS and know I will miss it next year when we’re out at sea. You- and SBS- have changed a lot of lives, including mine.
And on a personal note, your points really resonate with me right now. I’m trying to build up an Internet presence that might help sustain us when we go sailing- even if it’s earning enough for an occasional beer! And choosing and mastering platforms then getting seen then getting anyone reply is huge and overwhelming. I hope you figure out the maze in a way that makes you happy. I’ll certainly be reading!
I’m one of those who got worried by your absence on the blog. I was hoping you were not ill. But since I’m a newcomer to leaving messages on a blog, I didn’t dare say anything. I missed your posts (thoughts, opinions and humor). Actually, I love your verbosity and corny jokes. Reading your posts is a pleasure. I would greatly appreciate a newsletter (or whatever you decide to call it). I think I have read almost everything you have published (and a lot of posts on your blog too). I don’t go much for podcasts, but I enjoy your occasional short videos. There you have it!
I like you.
I like your books and your blog posts, and I’m sure I’d like your newsletter. I have no strong opinions on what you do or don’t do, but I like having you around one way or another. I think the sharing & connecting experiences will be all the better if you do so where, when and how you want to.
I’m a former art teacher, now a substitute teacher for middle school. This week I was in a “talented and gifted” classroom. As I was wondering around the room one of the boys exclaimed, “I really don’t know why I’m in here!” I basically had to tell him to shut his monkey! You see, I had your book on my desk and was reading it during free time. So I grabbed it and showed the student the picture of your monkey and meagerly attempted to share the main idea of the book. I can’t be sure that he set out to get his own copy, but perhaps he’ll begin to recognize that negative voice and think twice about believing its lies.
So, thanks for putting positive encouragement out there for me! I’m grateful I could draw on it during such a relevant opportunity.
Keep on, keeping on!
Danny, you are always a fresh breeze that blows in and refreshes! I enjoy your blog, but the newsletter might be a great way to go! I don’t have time to catch pod casts, my summer was rather a rush here and there, so honestly did not notice that you were checking in less….sorry Luv! We both need a rest now and then! But dooooo keep something coming! I love Shut Your Monkey and it was a great way to relate to all those of us who have our own monkey to regularly feed bananas to! My own blog has been silent for about two years, haven’t even used the feather duster to clean out the cobwebs! But…..I love your messages regardless of how often or via what form…you always give me a fresh idea to turn over in my brain!
Danny, thanks for your honesty. I have actually missed your posts and wondered where you were recently. I even so much as googled you several times. I hope the break filled your bucket. We all need to reevaluate and take stock of what our purpose is here. I hope you found yours.
I DID miss your podcast and your blog this summer, but my sentiments were just hanging in the air like a thought bubble with hatch marks and question marks. I trusted we would hear from you again and it would be a good read. You are one of my main gurus, primarily because you are so honest and funny. Keep up the good work and your followers will find you! And thank you!
I certainly enjoyed this post and appreciate your honesty. Do what makes you happiest, and I look forward to hearing from you whenever it’s right for you. Btw, in my humble opinion, the trouble with”Shut Your Monkey” is the title. Not very appealing.
Usually, I love podcasts that interest me. I must admit, however, that I only listened to a couple of yours. For a while, you were everywhere I went on the Internet. Perhaps we both needed a little break. A newsletter would be a great platform for your amazing writing skills. I especially enjoyed the articles you wrote a year or so ago on your cross country trip! Relax a bit and enjoy your life. But please do not forget Sketchbook Skool. It has brought more joy, excitement and satisfaction to people’s lives than you can imagine. Take it from me, a 74 year old woman, you are sincerely appreciated.
The memoir please…..pretty please? I’m thinking history, great characters (for good or evil), interesting stories (I just know they will be) and partly because some of your life mirrors my own (not a lot but the bit about overseas and many schools is where we overlap – my family were, for all intents and purposes, plain, small town, hardworking but sort of boring Canadians…..whereas yours, I’m guessing, were a lot more intriguing). Plus I firmly believe that a memoir written with reasonable truth leaves a valuable historical record of a moment in time….my youngest daughter (don’t be fooled, she’s 40) straight out asked for a journal like memory book of my time as a teenager in West Pakistan….with stories, sketches, collage type mementos….her birthday is in January, I may not make the deadline but I’ll give it a shot! You, on the other hand, have the publishing connections and need to share with your “fans”. Here endeth the lecture!
That was a test, the “Hi.” My favorite things of yours are your info gram on camels (fantastic!), your repost of your sons film of sheep, your Sketchbook Skool homework videos all your Sketchbook Skool classes. I did miss your daily posts. I just thought you had things going on. I like visuals instead of writing only and your visuals are wonderful. My thoughts….keep posting but chill if you need to.
I get a notice in my email box with a link to your post. I like this method a lot and always click over to see what new ideas you’re mulling over. I enjoy reading your blog posts immensely. And, I know, blogs are considered somewhat passe these days, but I like the fact that they can be any length and can roam around from one subject to another. So that’s my 2 cents worth (from a 12 year reader, starting at Everyday Matters and continuing on ’till now) – Keep ’em coming!
I have so many comments. I guess I’ll start from the beginning:
I wondered where you were, but I trusted that Koosje would say something if you were in peril. 🙂 That, or you were on some big adventure on another continent that I’d forgotten was scheduled.
My own blogging habit goes in cycles, and I think you were right to step back and not force it. The passion and interest comes through in the words, but if you’re turning the gears without oiling them first, thing come out stilted and tired. Okay maybe that was kind of an awkward metaphor, but I think you know what I mean. These newest posts have been full of Danny-wanna, rather than Danny-hafta, and that’s a lot more fun to read.
I gave up on Twitter and Pinterest ages ago, and really only hang out on Facebook because so many of my friends do. And I do mean friends – I don’t follow acquaintances and I long ago blocked any irritating relatives. It’s really just people I want to hear from these days, which is nice. Of course, I’m also not a celebrity, so strangers aren’t apt to friend me on there in the first place. 🙂
I don’t like the idea of a newsletter. It’ll end up in my inbox and then sit there for months until I get around to reading it. Blog posts can queue up in Feedly and I read them at my leisure in the evening. I have a tendency to open an email, think “I’ll read that later when I have time” and then proceed to forget about it until the next inbox cleaning session, months down the road. I can’t always keep up with blogs, but I’m way better at it than email newsletters.
I would always love more courses, more blog posts, more books, more whatever you’re willing to pour your creative energy into. I’ve loved the books of yours that I’ve read (admittedly not all of them – yet) and I find your courses and videos inspiring. And obviously I love your blog. I’m afraid I didn’t listen to the podcast. There are so many podcasts I’m sure I’d enjoy and I don’t listen to any of them. Not sure why, since I slurp up audiobooks like they’re going out of style.
I’m glad you took the summer off, though. Sounds like it was just what you needed. We all need a vacation now and then, after all.
Oh hey, and if you don’t end up publishing that book about your family, I hope you can share some of the tales here on the blog. They sound fascinating.
Thanks for the post Danny. I missed you as well, and wondered if you were OK, but then thought that you had probably taken a well deserved break and that you were creating with Jack. I really like your blogs however a newsletter would also be wonderful. Bottom line, I like hearing from you and reading your thoughtful and thought provoking words! Glad to know that you are well.
Yes! My life is sooo simple and yet, focusing is a challenge. Good for you! I love SBS and all the new things you do there. I enjoy your blog; a newsletter would be fun to try. Live deeply. Not too thin. 😀 I did wonder where you were-did the shingles knock you out? Were you in a crisis? Sure I wondered. Also, all of those things are personal and private, so I kept them that way. Thank you for assuring us that you were having a human life.
I have missed your postings. I, too, thought you were off on a well deserved vacation island with your toes in the water!
I am a SBS vet and have loved the classes. Honestly, I haven’t purchased your books cuz I enjoy the klasses too much and your videos.
Sorry that I did not hold up my end of the “meal ticket” game by responding earlier. Though I am silent, I HAVE been paying attention and watching you.
The blogs were fun and I looked forward to them. A newsletter is too formal for my liking.
So – what do I want from you…to see a happy creative person who is willing to frequently reach out to encourage (coach) me. I love humor, the dogs, your reality of an artist’s life. Whatever form you decide to communicate is fine with me. I am but a member of the 25,000 followers you have! (Ummm…I have only 35 followers.)
Silent but watching. 😳😎
Danny – I have been around since I discovered “An Illustrated Life” which took me by storm. I have followed your blog (and enjoy your verbosity, by the way). Even in your ramblings there is always a tidbit to take away and chew on later. I don’t enjoy Twitter and dabble in Instagram occasionally so I didn’t miss you there but miss you I did. I was really enjoying the podcast too and it led me to check out other podcasts regarding creativity. Sometimes I listen to creative podcasts when I am creating. When I read this post today, I laughed because there were probably 5 times this summer when I thought of sending you an email to ask if you (and Jenny and Jack) were o.k. but I felt that would be intrusive especially if something really was wrong. Then I thought that maybe you were just tired – of needy fans, project deadlines and their demands on your time – and were trying to make a quick exit (didn’t really believe the latter and glad it wasn’t the former). I knew you were renting a studio so I just figured I would be patient and see what you would share later. I feel I speak for many of your students/fans in saying that you were missed but you do so much that we fully appreciate your need to recharge. I look forward to hearing your new ideas. I vote to keep the blog because I think your musings are insightful but maybe scale back if it becomes a burden or interferes with your other pursuits. I like the thought of more classes combined with other ways to connect creative people with each other virtually or in person. I am interested in your ideas on how to bring creativity to more people especially young people, helping them to see that it isn’t some frivolous pursuit and how it enriches their lives. Keep your ideas coming, we are so happy you are willing to share them with us and….we are listening!
Hey Danny, YES, I have been wondering where you have been but I thought it’d be rude to pop in and ask. With all that you do I thought you deserved some privacy. I also figured you were painting in the studio with your son, traveling, or writing another book.
This experience you’re going through may be what I call mid-life -where’s -the -time-gone-&- how much-time-do-I -have-left creative crisis. You may have to step back from yourself and do nothing. Recharging time. And more importantly sometimes we just have to UNPLUG! Mindful living in the present moment. Simplify. De-clutter. Move towards minimalism. Bake cookies. No noise…more quiet. Eat well. Sleep enough. Write morning pages. Belly laugh. And walk every day and a new spin of magic and answers will follow you. Stop dragging everything you’ve done, or wonder if you should do, behind you like a spooky shadow that can pop out and yell boo at you. Sometimes I find myself overthinking my overthinking. (If this makes sense to you).
I believe you have been enlightened and it could be time to let certain activities go. If this is the case then thank the universe for all of those previous projects and send them on their way. I was having a similar time recently driving myself nuts about which project I should spend my creative time on. I want the joy and security of doing the same thing every morning in order to produce my most important work…you know instead of frittering from project to project trying to do too much and all of everything. Scott Adams author of Dilbert cartoons says he knows where he’ll be five years from now on a Saturday morning. He’ll be working on his cartoons. Year in and year out.
What is my most important work? Why has it taken me a lifetime to find it? I have multiple talents and interests and dear goodness I was afraid of choosing the wrong thing to focus on. I mean at my age I really only have so much time to accomplish what I want. I actually made myself nuts enough about it that I put the options in a bag and drew out two options. Guess what? I did this twice and both times I got the same answers in the same exact order. Now that is universal magic working.
Who the hell can keep up with all of the social medias out there? (I still choose NOT to have a cell phone). The computer is enough of a distraction for me. If we are winning the race by participating in all of the social platforms then we are most likely spending our days in reactive mode rather than active mode. When are we writing and drawing? When are we quiet and getting out of bed at 3:00am to smell the rain and hear the thunder? When are we having a drawing dinner party with friends?
I think you summarized your post with what you want to do. We have to protect our time. Yes, I agree, cross some of that off your list and be more open with your projects you choose to keep. By that I mean don’t commit to a newsletter every Friday…simply write a post when you have something you want to share. Don’t label it. Don’t give it a title with expectations. Don’t affix a rigid schedule to it. Just enjoy the process loosely in Danny Gregory style.
I love your posts with videos, ramblings, your art, intros to other artists, etc. I love your perspective, humor and writing style…so my vote is to keep writing the books and posts. We need your work shared with us. Just lighten the expectations and protect your time.
Your Podcasts. Brilliant. Really they are and I was super excited about the part of recording a question…but I was shy about what my recorded voice would sound like…and I’d have to find my microphone. I admit there is so much info & opportunities to explore out there that unless I noted “Listen to Danny’s podcasts” on my calendar I’d tend to forget that goodness was out there.
SKETCHBOOK SKOOL…you should be given the gold crown for this project. Put it at the top of your list. I also love those films you and Tommy Kane put together.
Cheers-my best to you, Darlene
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Looks like we all read your letter to us. I, too, miss the blogs, but a newsletter every week, or even every other week, would be very nice. Your musings, encouragements and just everyday stuff are all enjoyable and very often most helpful, either in our art life or everyday life. Please do keep writing to us, in whatever way suits you.
I don’t think it’s fair to say we didn’t miss you. I noticed I hadn’t heard much, but I assumed you were doing stuff. Good stuff. Creative stuff. I didn’t complain for the same reason I don’t hassle my friends when they disappear off and on. Everybody needs some space.
I vote that you pick a vehicle that will hold all your excitement and quirkiness and interests, and just do that. I’m happiest when I’m getting the really juicy bits from people, without the tweeting and pinning. The Danny-est part of you would be great.
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Danny, How about this? Take a break by yourself on a warm beach somewhere and. Just chill. Some answer will come to you I’m sure. We all need time on the beach.
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Hey Danny, I am right there with you…going in too many direction, but not far enough. Which is why I hadn’t notice the above mentioned blog absence, not because I don’t enjoy them, I just don’t enjoy them on a regular weekly basis. Sometimes it was weekly, but sometimes it was 3 weeks at once. Unfortunately I never made it to a podcast because being semi-retire except for my art, I’m just not that organized to get to something that isn’t mandatory. With all that said I would love a news (love) letter! I enjoy your jokes and other tidbits of wisdom. So please write on!
Seems to me like there are far too many things to keep up with already and all I do is FB and emails. Reading your blog makes me realize how much time and effort it takes for authors, artists and public figures to do all this, time away from their real passion and joy. I love reading your posts and watching your posted videos and appreciate all the time and effort you put into it but I say just do what you enjoy doing – no shoulds or have tos. I imagine some of
it will be things that you enjoy sharing too and I will be happy to read whatever it is.
Your absence was noticed and talked about and you were missed. I like the blog and probably a newsletter. I don’t do the other stuff you are turning away from…
Do what you like to do. Book, newsletter, blog… I will follow you. Missed you !
I am a fan. Love sketchbook skool. Take care !
So, it’s obvious that you have been missed and your followers are a kind and gentle sort…no one wanting to pry into your summer with your family; but we do want you to keep in touch. A love letter is always well received and the blog is wonderful! Sketches are always appreciated. Thank you for introducing Tommy Kane into my life. I enjoy his Instagram account. Another blogger interviewed Scot Campbell, a sign painter, and I started following him on Instagram and then he abandoned it and now just puts videos on YouTube and they are mesmerrizing! My friends are scattered all over the place and I ask them to give me a call if they want to communicate, but you have the opportunity to reach so many via your books and the Internet, so please continue to share your thoughts. A memoir would be great. I just read Anderson Cooper’s book he wrote with his mother and also Alan Cumming’s book and would love to read yours! Oh yeah, to save time; stop getting haircuts.
I think you hit the nail on the head when you said you tend to get caught up in too many things. And my email box is already full to bursting with wonderful, talented bloggers’ posts. So please don’t add to the number of projects you do. Maybe pick one or two and do them really well, with lots of deep thought and research to back it up, rather than taking one current idea, and spreading it thinly across many platforms. Then your wonderful ability to synthesize, across disciplines, will really shine, and your blog post/newsletter/book/podcast/what have you, will stand head and shoulders above many others.
I certainly don’t require rigid publication frequency, nor would I want you doing something you don’t enjoy. And money is tight for everyone, so I appreciate that some of the time, you have to make some, and some of the time you choose to share your expertise freely for all who listen/read/draw/study. Other than that, please don’t forget to share some sketches with us. It was Everyday Matters that gripped me the most. Writing PLUS drawing is your particular formula for me anyway.
I did miss you. But, as so many have already said, stuff happens, and SBS still seemed to be going, so I assumed you were busy, not unwell, and had changed your focus to meet a deadline I didn’t know about.
I consider you my mentor, Danny. It is you who got me to try drawing. Never in a million years would I have thought I’d be keeping a sketchbook. But you convinced me I could do it. I just happened to come upon the very first session of Sketchbook Skool when searching on some other topic. I’ve taken all the classes and thoroughly enjoyed them. I have also enjoyed your blog tremendously. Some of your posts have truly spoken to me. I must say that at times I’ve gotten a little tired of all the self-promotion and just delete those. I like best your personal musings about your own journey with art and your thoughts about creativity. I think a book about your family would be awesome. I would buy it for sure. I did not care much for the podcast. It was kind of boring and seemed like an amateur production. Too slow moving and it just didn’t engage me. There are so many interesting podcasts to listen to I don’t have time for one that doesn’t keep me engaged. I think a newsletter could be interesting. You have a gift for motivating and inspiring people. I think if you keep this as your guiding light you will know what you need to do next. I look forward to your future endeavors.
I noticed you missing. But also thought you were spending the summer with your son painting in your summer studio. Also I too felt it rude to intrude.
I’ve been following your blogs for years. I have several of your books. I use to blog, but quit a couple years ago after an accident and I don’t miss it but I still go read some of my favorite blogs for encouragement as I do artist journaling for myself. Lots have quit blogging and gone to Facebook. Another reason I quit. Blogs were better.
30 years ago,I started following someone called Susan Branch . Long before the Internet became so popular. I saw her work in a woman’s magazine and bought her first cookbook illustrated with her paintings with Quotes. Then I got her next illustrated book. I get her calendar every year. It was the art that called to me. I was happy to find her blogging a few years back and I’ve added more books. Why am I bringing her up to you here?? Because she has a large following, she lives on Martha’s Vineyard, she grew up in California, she makes everyone feel we are her girlfriends. She writes books and has them out in three months. They are printed in America. She sends out Willards..newsletters ..named after her uncle Willard. She has an on line shop ..that ships out of CA..that has books and what not..she puts some of those things in the Willard. Sometimes maybe seeing some ideas from others out there can help.
When I found your blog I added a few of your books too. I got to know Patty and your son and your dogs and Jenny through your art journaling, your books, and blog. It’s what called to me, your art with a bit of personal added to it.
You asked so this was my two cents worth. Looks to me like you’ve been missed.
also..some of your feelings could be coming from that empty nest feeling. 😉
Safe travels, cris
I love your blog and appreciate that you freed yourself from the tyranny of this internet standards of social media eating up our precious lives. I bought several of your books and art supply, and unsubscribed from some newsletter. So much interesting content, so little time. I noticed your abscence but liked that you reclaimed some freedom and privacy.
So newsletter or an occasional article, whatever works with you. Thanks for the great work and inspiration !
I think a weekly newsletter is a GREAT(er) idea. I also agree about the din and chaff of Facebook, Instagram, etc, so being more selective has certainly freed up some of my time, and hopefully will be for you too
Hello Danny, I was wondering where you were, but I thought I may have missed a post that you were taking a summer holiday or so. And honestly, I would never think that you would like to hear that I miss you. You don’t even know me, so why should I nerve you with that .
I do understand your thoughts. I am 51, my son just moved to another town for university and it’s a very hard time cos he doesn’t really try to keep in touch at all. Except when he needs something.
And I have given up a lot of people. I am fed up of superficial relationships of all sorts . My mother died this year January after beeing very ill for over 10 years. Most of my so called friends did not react at all. And on the other hand, people who were not my “,friends” shared my pain and comforted me. It’s all okay, it’s all “normal”. Someone said to me years ago ” Life is like a train. People come on your train . Some only for a short part of your journey, others for a longer part. Others stay the whole journey. People leave your train, new people come instead”. Ok, that’s a bit off of your post. But somehow I had to write this.
Well, I am sorry I didn’t have the courage to ask where you are. I didn’t imagine it could be nice for you to know. I mean, the big Danny Gregory. What woludnhe think if I ask ” Where are you? When are you continuing with posts and podcasts and newsletters? By the way, I am just an artist with a small a. Far away in Germany. Youve never seen me or heard of me. I’m just a sketchbookskool student and someone who bought some of your books”.
No, I have no right to ask you, where you are.
The times they are a changin, it seems. We constantly have to adjust and readjust just to keep up. The new generation has been germinated and are ready, willing, and able to unleash their energy and creativity upon the world. The previous generation needs to turn the reins over and get out of the way, otherwise there would be 400 billion of us on this planet. That’s the circle of life. The wisdom of the elders is valuable. You, Danny, are a great role model to the young people. They are watching and looking at you for clues even if you don’t realize it all the time.
This blog is so much more introspective than your usual silliness. Are you sad, burned out, experiencing low self esteem? The beauty of community is that we can all lift each other up when we go through times of doubt and weariness. The sweetness that makes putting up with everything worthwhile. The noun compliment means “an expression of praise, commendation, or admiration”.
So here goes… here are some compliments for your ears and your soul:
Everyone has their opinion on whether they like your books, podcasts, newsletters, schools, or art better. I personally love it all. Those of us who follow you got hooked on you, for a reason. You are funny and transparent. We like you because you are you, and your brilliant personality shines through. Also, your life story about losing your wife was poignant. If you never do or write another thing you can still be proud of all you have accomplished to this point. But for our sake, we hope you keep on truckin and thrive. And thank you for all the ways you have entertained, amused, got us thinking, got us drawing, got our creative juices flowing, and made us laugh. And I also think you and Koosje are a perfect team. Rest if you must, but just don’t quit. We would miss you too much. Sometimes it’s better to just do and not overthink. Stay humble.
Danny, I’ve been in SBS since 2014, after I’d been injured in a car accident and was housebound for 6 months (ok again now!), the whole format ‘saved my life’ – I loved it and really felt part of the artistic world again. I like the personal feeling that SBS generates.
As one of your ‘older’ students I haven’t much time for all these ‘social media’ sites. Most of it seems to me to be rubbishy – who cares what so and so had for breakfast!! – unless of course they are sketching it.
I have truly missed your lovely, funny comments but I think you have been trying too hard to be all things to all people, to satisfy everyone. It just feels too driven by commercialism somehow. You write and produce fantastic books like ‘Everyday Matters’, ‘The Creative License’, ‘An Illustrated Life’ and ‘An Illustrated Journey’ – this is what you are BRILLIANT at, so stick with it, ignore everything else.
I hope this doesn’t sound too critical because I really love your honesty and I have tried to be as honest with you. Val
[…] My recent post on how I walked away from this blog and other Internatterings provoked loads of readers to write long and beautiful encouragements in the comments section. I am really touched that you took the trouble. […]
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1. I will buy every book you publish no matter what the platform, mostly in paper rather than ebook format. Maybe not the day it comes out, but probably within a year. I have a limited budget but you’ve been an important inspiration to me, so your work is always at the top of the list. That very personal book you’re talking about sounds exactly perfect… I’m salivating already. Instructional and personal = winner winner chicken dinner!
2. I hate newsletters cluttering up my inbox, no matter how good they are. I love blogs. I read them from Feedly a couple of times a week, where they sit patiently waiting for me right where I want them, not getting lost down the long list of emails I’ve ignored or just deleted in annoyance because I use email for work and business and even things that are really interesting are just a pain in the ass when you’ve got to get shit done.
3. I did notice your absence, and missed you. I figured you were taking a break over the summer because you were probably burning out from your prodigious output in recent months. About that… you’re one of my top reads, but in the last year there was just too much (for me). I follow artists and authors because I’m interested in getting the lastest on their work, for inspiration, & because I want to know what they’re thinking, but you’re not the only guy I follow, so I was less likely to pay attention to the stuff that falls on the outside edge of my interests no matter how good it was or how many bells and whistles you put on it. My time is limited and reading everything you were putting out was using up too much of it. It felt really forced to see so much stuff coming out on a schedule, and not your usual brand of authenticity which is what I’ve always found so appealing about you. Glad to see you’re back, and with a healthier, non robotized mindset.
4. I’d been excited to see what you’d produce in your studio, painting, and what you thought of it. I know the struggle to sit down in front of the canvas is a very different one than “producing content”, and really scary. Sooo, what happened?
Again, I’m so glad you’re back.
Danny, My husband and I have been retired for about two years. I got into the habit of asking him each morning, “Do you have anything planned for today?” One morning he replied, rather testily, “I’m retired! I don’t have any plans.” When I read your post, I got the feeling that you are realizing you don’t have to make a plan for every day. Or for each week or month or year. So coast for a while. It is good medicine.
I have never recovered (yes, I am being a little dramatic) from the loss of Everyday Matters! That to me is (was) the ultimate blog – – intimate, full of your juicy pictures and YOU. Your later missives I have read voraciously, and still find you there, but I LOVED your “early years.” I hope this is not taken as criticism, because for me, you still whip the socks off any other blogger – it’s just that EM was something quite extraordinary. As for this summer, I assumed that you were taking a break, but certainly didn’t think you were considering that your words don’t matter, and I am sorry to have not said so.
I very much miss your blog when you disappear. I don’t email you and tell you that but I have been following your blog for 10 years I think and every time you disappeared I was sad. I love your thoughts and musings and humour. I love the wide range of things you talk about. I would sign up for a newsletter (you are right, you need to call it something else!) but I like the blog and always check it out when I get the email that you have posted something new.
A suggestion… take it or leave it… there is a blog I follow http://www.yarnharlot.ca . I think you should check it out as an example of a blog that I think you are describing you want to create if I am understanding you correctly. She’s a knitter, she’s funny, she talks about knitting of course but all sorts of other things too. She has zero advertising and keeps it that way. She writes so naturally and has such a great sense of humour. I think you should check her out. She does not worry about much but doing what she loves and telling her community about it.
So happy you are back… I think most people are quiet lurkers here. You have had more impact on us than you can possibly know. And you should be proud of that.
So, I am fairly new to your world, and am so happy I fell into it. I actually bought Creative Lisence several years ago, after being in a slump and deciding to start sketchbook journaling again. I got about halfway through it, and began to sketch and journal on a failrly consistent basis, and I give a lot of credit to you, for that. I was in another slump, last year, and somehow came across your blog. I had no idea you had one, and I actually started using your EDM suggestions from the blog, to get me started again. I had to scroll back to the beginning of those, every day, just to draw the challenge. By exploring that, I began to look at your blog. I was amazed at the content, and signed up for the email notifications and then learned about the podcast, and Shut your Monkey. I was so happy to be able to try a new podcast, and was a bit confused about its irregular schedule, but didn’t think much about it, or that you were a failure at it. The cool thing is, I ordered the new workbook, and received it last week. I was desperate to do something to get me out of my funk! So far, I have done each day faithfully for one week. I am also sketching in my journal a bit more. baby steps. I am with you regarding social media. It drains me and I avoid it like the plague, although, I have always maintained my personal Instagram account, reserved for my photos (I am a photographer) and my sketches. I feel it keeps me accountable to complete my art and move on to the next thing. I ignore the kazillion other posts by others, and only enjoy seeing some of the art and photos of others with a limited time spent doing it. I am rambling, but I want to tel you that I admire your honesty and now you feel more authentic to me than you already did! I felt empathy towards you in a more human way. I don’t know how you do al that you do. It’s mind boggling to me. One last positive, is I discovered your Skool and am almost through the starter course and WILL sign up for a full kourse soon. Thanks a million, Danny. You have made a difference in my life. I look forward to your next blog post or newsletter on what ever schedule you decide. Please don’t stop!
Dear Danny, at first, please excuse my few “German-English” skills. I’m busy learning on Duolingo but in the moment I’m just 42% fluent (or maybe Duolingo is wrong or I just did switch the wrong button or is it just my MONKEY?…Who knows?).😄 I very missed your blog-posts and the podcast “Shut Your Monkey” during summer 2016 – but I thought (I hoped!!!) you could be on vacation and I didn’t sent you a line because I didn’t wanted to disturb you!?! – On the other hand, sometimes I even feared you could have been ill or eaten up by a shark during your days off on the beach or even worse? 😱 – So a NEWSLETTER would have been very calming – for example: “On The Beach in Summer 2016 – I’m off in August… looking forward to see you again in September”. – NEWSLETTER or BLOG? I love BOTH! – Receiving a Newsletter is very nice, but it’s just a “letter”, but visiting a blog – for me – is like visiting a friend AT HOME !!i 😄 Please don’t “replace” your blog, I really would miss it! – (You could post less – maybe twice a month or so…?)
On the other hand, meanwhile I own a Smartphone too and my Smartphone says “THANKS to newsletter” because it saves the battery and the mbits…😉
Danny, we can’t be creative non-stop, we urgent need timeout sometimes.
I read a great book, it’s called “SHUT YOUR MONKEY” and it’s highly recommended –
especially I love:
“If you feel the call of the monkey is too loud, take a BREAK. (…) Smell the flowers, feel the sunshine*.
Get your own head and get some distance. (…)”
RUN AWAY FROM YOUR PROBLEM (Page 126) 😄😃😀
* on the beach…. 😎😜
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I loved your new ‘whatever’ ! I stopped reading your blogs due to the fact they felt like advertising for sketchbook school and I can’t afford it and felt guilty everytime I opened a blog post. I currently own ALL your books however❤️
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Nope! I didn’t miss you because you seemed present to me. I’m always going back over a SBS lesson or two, checking in on those newsletters or videos or what have you. Also, you’re an adult like me. Well, we’re both pretty child-like but you know – we’re grownup. Once in awhile I imagined you in your studio but if I hadn’t read anything I figured it was because I missed it in the hurly burly online life. I have no opinion on whether you should do newsletters or not. Jeesh! I don’t blog regularly myself and I have 3 or more of them. One day, a few years back, I looked in the mirror and thought “I should moisturize.” Then I laughed so hard my fella came in to see if I was okay. I was laughing because I realized that I had been having that thought almost daily since I was a teenager and I was then 61. Time to let go of dumb expectations I hold for myself.
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LAughing out loud at your “moisturizing” story!
For what it’s worth, I did notice you’d stopped blogging and hoped you’d start again once you weren’t so busy. And lo and behold, you have 🙂
And I agree entirely about Facebook.
An illustrated newsletter would be my preference. I too enjoy everything you do (except podcasts- sorry). Glad you were just taking stock.
Hi Danny, I did wonder how you were, but assumed that you were busy creating stuff .
Maybe take a break and see what inspires you next .
But I’d follow your Blog, News letter, seek out your books and Kourses. The tangible stuff .
I LOVE the blog and have enjoyed the podcast. I didn’t realize that nattering from me was required to keep it going. Perhaps, though, the monkey is too narrow a focus? Just a thought. I miss having you post pages from your illustrated journal and talk about them. The materials, the inspiration, all those things were interesting to me. Perhaps, though, I was in the minority. When it got to be promotional I lost interest somewhat. Actually, I figured your absence from things this summer was busy-ness. And if you needed a break, well you’re entitled. And if people didn’t seem to notice enough, well I’m going to call you on throwing yourself a pity-party. You know better. People love to hear from you.
Life should be a dynamic thing IMHO. Learning/trying new things makes it worth living. You need to do what keeps you engaged in the learning process and if that means that you stop doing old things to try new things, that is okay. You are a teacher and a communicator. That part won’t change, even if the delivery method does.
I find myself incredibly soothed by posts like this one. I see them as support for coming back to our senses and moving away from the manic social media feeding frenzy famous for offering yet another hit of dopamine but doing little to satisfy. For the love of God and all that matters PLEASE keep listening to your gut and doing what feeds you in ways that work. Howard Thurman says, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive because what the world needs is more people who’ve come alive.” Rock on for your championship of deep reading, thoughtfulness, humility, awareness of possibility, acceptance of limitation and your commitment to promoting creativity. Thanks for keeping it real, Danny.
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Hi, Danny –
I did notice your absence and I’m sorry I didn’t reach out to let you know. I’m so grateful you wrote about the negative spaces here in this very thorough post. Thank you for being so honest with us.
I’m sorry things with Shut Your Monkey didn’t go as hoped. I’m sorry more people bitched to you about the sound quality of your podcasts and didn’t let you know the content was good. (Your podcast is how I got turned on to Lisa Congdon, so thank you!) I’m sorry that so many nattering nabobs gave you advice that was geared toward their benefit and not yours.
I’m glad you’re back. I’m glad for you. I’ll be in your audience in whatever form you chose to present yourself. You’re the creative. It’s your choice, not ours.
Newsletter sounds great, but put me down for the family memoir. That sounds fascinating! Forget movie stars and politicians, I’m intrigued by how our family histories lead us or guide us to where we are today. I unplugged too, but missed sketchbook skool.
I’m one of those “sideliners” – read your blog (mostly) and take some courses, but I don’t have time for feedback/interaction/posting of sketches and so on. However, I do like staying connected with you and with Sketchbook Skool so I think a newsletter is a brilliant idea.
I felt like you didn’t really care about us anymore. Every time something new came from you, I’d get excited. But it always turned out to be a cleverly couched ad for SBS or your books or your podcast. I thought: “Maybe he is still just an adman at heart.”
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ACTUALLY. ..Danny…to me u are more important than alllllll those other authors….I found your first book in a the florance griswald are galley bookshop in Connecticut years ago ..it was you that taught me how to draw ,,,,,!!!!I sent you a LOVE LETTER opps ….I mean email all the way from little ol new Zealand thanking you …u are awesome
I want to add my voice to the chorus of everyone who missed you. I was disappointed the first couple of Friday’s when your podcast did not appear.; then began to be concerned that something deeper was going on. However, like others have said, I didn’t feel like I had any presence in your life to be inquiring into your whereabouts. (Maybe this should be a lesson to us that our voices do matter).
Anyway, I have taken every Sketchbook Skool class since the beginning and have very much appreciated all the clarity to you brought to us about what art and creativity mean to you. Your insights and writing skills far surpass mine and express things that I immediately recognize in myself. This is the territory that is the most central to my being and I thank you for everything you have generously shared. Yes, the sales pitches (and I must say, the monkey calls) were a bit much but I understand we all have to make a living.
Some kind of blog post or newsletter would be great and of course, only when you have something to say. I loved the interview aspect of the podcast and being introduced to fascinating creative people. Maybe that could happen to some extent in a written post. I hope you continue to be most involved with Sketchbook Skool, whether actually teaching a klass, running the place with Koosje, or especially in your extremely wonderful videos of you doing the assignments. In many cases, I got much more out of the klasses after watching them. And I also appreciate all the inspiring comments that you inspired by this post. It is a community that I really treasure.
So, my hope is that you find some way to carry on that will still let us share in your creative life.
Good to know that someone of substance shares my view of Instagram – Pinterest – Twitter – Facebook as Creative Energy Sinks. Used prudently and wisely they can be an assist to ones livelihood, but other than that every idle minute spent on social media is a minute less given to being productive in the important areas of life. Just how much time do we think we’ve got Folk? Thanks Danny.
I’d like a newsletter/love letter from you, I often don’t get to regularly read the blogs I followy, rather I go to my reader every now and then and go through them all at once. Would love to hear more of those interesting happenings in your family too! It seems we are prone to falling into the trap of taking on too many tasks/interests these days, maybe because it’s easier to do with all the aids we have now. I’ve a number of your books and have taken a few Sketchbook Skool classes and have loved them all, so just go with what you enjoy I say.
You sorta *ARE* Bob Ross…
Why I didn’t write when you took a break from blogging? Bad manners? What do you write to DG, he’s the master, it will only sound stupid. I have laughed, cried, mused over, and been inspired by your stories in all forms over the years. I feel like I’ve been the neighbor down the hall through the joyous and the devastating. Of course I wondered if you were okay. It has been a privilege peek behind the curtain. Wouldn’t it have been presumptuous to expect more, “where are you? you need to post something and make it snappy.” I sincerely missed you as I’m sure all of your followers did. In my crazy life I make time to read you because you are worth my time. You have this gift for sparking wonder. But you don’t owe anyone anything. My mom always said if someone gives you something, say “thank you,” its bad manners to ask for more. So. Thank you. And please keep it coming. Sorry, Ma.
The stuff you have produced (books, blogs, classes, musings, etc..) have made many lives more fun, creative, and fulfilling. Me for one. Like you, I am on the other side of fifty and have fought the good fight in the corporate boardroom. A couple of years ago I stumbled on an NPR interview that you were doing and you made making art sound so approachable I thought I would give it a try. It has been really gratifying and it has changed the way I see the world. I noticed when you stopped blogging this summer and although I did not write anything I kept checking and hoping and praying nothing bad had happened to you. Your posts are often really funny, thoughtful, and profound all at the same time. By the way I have bought four of your books and have given several as gifts hoping they will inspire others as they have me.
In short, what you are doing has made a positive difference for a lot of people. That is not a bad thing.
Danny- I’m surprised to hear that a published author has the same issues with social media as us mere mortals. Because of you and Art Before Breakfast I have created a lot more art than I would have otherwise. I’ve taken pictures of the book, it inspired me to create a webpage with my art, I sent a copy of the book to my sister, and the book has a permanent spot on a special shelf where I keep my top 10 most special books. You may not always hear us, but we are out here and love what you do.