Author sits down to write blogpost — you won’t believe what happens next!

I’m not sure that I have anything to say today — but I do miss my blog. The poor thing has fallen victim to various impulses within me that claim to know best.

One said, “Hey, I read an article online that says that people don’t read any more, so you should just post videos. Oh, and another article said blogs are dead and people just look at Facebook posts, so stop bothering to write here.”

Another impulse is to focus my time and energy on my job, i.e. Sketchbook Skool. (Yes, I refer to it as a job. The world’s best job, but a job nonetheless.) That means I figure I should devote my creative energy to making kourses and telling people about them, rather than venting here.

It’s a funny thing, being your own boss. There are definite perks, like taking off early to go to yoga or hiring a special effects team to make something you dreamed up, but there’s also the issue of having a boss who sits in a corner office in your skull and can call you into review your performance on a daily basis. My boss loves to tell me I could always be doing more. And this blog strikes him as a pointless cul-de-sac. (As you can tell, my week’s vacation helped revitalize my monkey. He’s tan, well-rested, and eager to get back to work.)

Despite all this wound licking, I have been thinking of a lot of ideas in the last few months, ideas that don’t necessarily have anything to do with teaching. A few weeks ago, I woke up in the middle of the night with a brilliant idea for a new book and wrote it down, in the dark, with a Sharpie, on a pile of paper on my dining room table. It’s sat in that pile ever since, unread.

I think it could be something interesting or utter crap, but I’m not ready to either take it on or be disappointed by it yet — so it just sits there, in a neat pile, waiting for me.

Another project: drawing dogs.  I started drawing on an iPad Pro this summer and flailed around for a while looking for a direction to my efforts. It was a pretty interesting exploration and I have been meaning to write a long post about it sometime (pending resolution of the issues in paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 above) but suffice it to say it kick started my drawing practice and toppled a number of hardened prejudices. The latest stage in this exploration has been to try to make a drawing of a dog every single day, always a different dog in  a different style.  Today I posted number 56.

This process has been energizing but has also resurfaced the usual issues.

One — monkey struggles. Three days ago I convinced myself I had milked the idea dry and could not make a drawing I could abide.   After giving up completely and bathing in failure, I drew three new dogs I really liked.

Two — the quest for approval, a monkey variation. Posting my dogs on social media has led inevitably to being overly aware of likes, comments, and all the attendant distractions. People like the ones that look like photos best and the monkey tells me these are the most pedestrian and not creative at all. Sigh.

I do apologize if this first post in ages feels a little lachrymose. I need to shake off the cobwebs and think of stuff I actually want to write about. But writing here this morning has scraped some of the rust off my hull and I look forward to setting forth on a new adventure.

Hopefully no one is reading this because you are all too busy watching baby hippo videos.

62 thoughts on “Author sits down to write blogpost — you won’t believe what happens next!”

  1. I actually strongly prefer reading over watching videos. The videos are always less engaging for me. I miss your blog a lot. Would LOVE to read what you have to say about drawing on an ipad pro, since I just got one. And…where can I see the dogs? I seem to have missed those sketches entirely. Thanks for all you do, Danny.

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  2. Well I’m not really into baby hippos!! so I’m reading your blog!! and it’s as if you’ve tapped into my brain!! It’s comforting to me, to know I’m not the only one that feels this way sometimes!! and personally, I like the dogs that DON’T look like photos. I didn’t think someone as talented, or as motivated as you could get hung-up on likes, comments…makes me feel human! so thanks…enjoyed reading with my morning coffee!! keep drawing & keep writing, and when the universe tells you it’s time, you’ll pick up that note you scribbled by the bedside!

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  3. thanks Danny..I have an Ipad since last Christmas… and have yet to use the drawing function ….it’s inspiring to see you with the dog theme… I’ll stop walking my cul de sac and venture out soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Um Danny? I miss your blog. REALLY. I could read your blog as an island in the hideous political and social upheaval our country is going through right now. If I have to wade through all the social media posts to get to you…well, you get lost in the sea. I much more prefer the letter in my email box with your blog.
    Don’t listen to everything your agent says.

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  5. I’m not really into ‘baby hippo’ videos so I am reading this! and I’m happy to know you are human, and I’m not the only one that feels this way sometimes! I love the non-photo type dog drawings, and watching their evolution … I can’t believe someone as skilled & talented & successful as you has these ‘doubts’ or worries about the # of likes they get or views! And when the universe tells you it’s time, you’ll pick up that note you scribbled by the bedside and explore that book idea! until then…happy dog drawing!! and happy creating…and don’t stop writing either!

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  6. I have found myself suddenly scrawling on (s)crap pieces of paper with whatever came to hand too. The creative process is never dull and always crunchy. Thank you for sharing your human, relatable thoughts

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  7. Fabulously good man. Thank you for continuing to write and share. I came across your blog about a month ago, searching for inspiration and that ever out of reach “aha” moment, where it all becomes clear what direction I should take. Needless to say I am still searching, but the ideas keep coming. One day I will stop looking outside and just do what feels right. That said, I love your posts and your site. You are a true inspiration. Thank you. Becks 🙂

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  8. Thanks Danny for always giving it the old college try. It brightens my day when you pop up on my phone becuz I know you will say something true and real and unvarnished about yourself, which strangely enough, seems to also reflect me. Now, let me go and shake that monkey outta MY head…

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  9. The fire hydrant.dog is by far my favorite ! Loved the article. Trying to think of a series to do on ipad also but in a block right now. Funny and inspirational blog!

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  10. Danny, I always read and enjoy your blogs. I rarely make it thru the videos. Prefer the written word, love your humor…watching videos seems at times like choosing television over a good book. I was on a plane this week and was cheered to see people reading books amongst all the technology, movie watching, texting and taking selfies. Please keep up the blogging. It’s like morning meditations of creative encouragement….prompting me to keep up the daily sketch and add your thoughts in the margins.

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  11. I still read blogs and I miss yours. But do understand a dry spell now and then. Thanks for the reappearance, and will have to learn how to view the dogs. You’re pushing me to learn a new social media skill. Thank you as always for whatever you come up with, it’s always worth reading.

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  12. It was soo good to find your post on your blog today!! I have been missing it sorely. I’ve tried Facebook, but what I find there just isn’t the same. There’s something about the feeling of connection here that is special. what you say does matter, and we relate to the struggles with Monkey, etc.
    I have loved watching through the summer as you have done much drawing on your I Pad. Amazing.
    Take heart, keep going, know you have more of us supporting you than you know!

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  13. Welcome back, Danny! I have been in a “hat trick” of a slump, since my husband was diagnosed with bladder cancer in October. I don’t take many fun and artistic photos, I haven’t drawn in my sketchbook in over a month, or posted sbs challenge and I haven’t touched my watercolors. I’m trying to force myself to at least do a line drawing. Your blog has inspired me for 3 years, now, but, I understand that it is up to me to get myself creating again. I also am trying to give myself compassion, and not let my monkey get down on me for being such a creative slug. So, with a little help from my friends on Instagram and here, I hope to get back soon. Thank you for sharing your feelings, as I don’t feel so alone with my struggle.

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  14. I read your blog and have said in the SBS FB group that I miss you. I guess you don’t read that site. Your dog images on you Ipad Pro are inspiring and a message to “do your work” (as I have been dragging my ipad around and not really getting into it. So your example is more powerful than you think. By the way some people don’t think that an online skool spelled with a ‘k’ would not amount to much. How wrong can some people be? I do not know if you remember but I know I have told you and Koosje that you guys should follow your hearts. I am amazed at the quality and just pure genius of your efforts. So stop that crap about what other say or don’t say and just share your process with us (or at least me). You little walking tour was just what makes you so wonderful. I just read a blog post by Seth Godin (the uber blogger) saying somethin like art is the thing that might not work. Interesting isn’t it? Well your blog works and you work.

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  15. The moment I saw your drawing of the dog/fire hydrant/pee puddle I was delighted and charmed by its simplicity , energy, and off kilter sensibility. I was transported right back to my childhood when I was first experiencing exciting an intersting artwork such as Paul Rand’s amazing illustrations in the book Sparkle and Spin.

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  16. I have a question and I think it’s a fair one: How is it that contributors touting Black Fridays and Double Point Discount Days and our late-night tweeting commander in chief and all the other space-takers aren’t silenced by the monkey but contributors I genuinely look forward to– including and especially you, Danny–are? The readership marketplace truly will change and not in a good way (in fact it’s already well underway) if folks like you step out. Why not think of it as part of your civic duty? LOVE the dog, so simple. The world’s better with that pooch AND your posts (past and future) in it. Many thanks.

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  17. Thanks for returning to blogland! I always enjoy your thinking and today I got to learn a new word(lachrymose). The monkey is every artists’ plague but often when we finally give in to his assault,we emerge unscathed to create once again. Hope you are back again soon…

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  18. Well now… I’d like to leave an erudite/wise comment for you. But my monkey brain is chattering away in a thousand directions, and I can’t put a cogent thought together. Having a creative mind and little discipline myself, who knows what I’ll come up with next, let alone what I’ll act on? (Long story short: I can relate!)

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  19. I LOVE reading blogs, must confess I’ve been neglecting my own blog of late. Your monkey has been VERY busy, so has mine… I don’t know why but I find it comforting to know that an artist as successful as you has the same struggles I have.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Danny, please, please continue writing your blog, as your comments about how hard it is to keep at something when there is no obvious “pay-back” came at just the right time. I lost my job in finance a year or so ago, and recently started writing a column for an on-line newspaper. And despite a lot of encouraging comments from friends, family and ex-colleagues, I am undermined by my “monkey brain” telling me that there is too much stuff out there already, and who cares what I have to say.

    So to see that any creative activity that requires you to put yourself out there can suffer from this problem is a useful reminder to me to enjoy the process, to remember that improvement will come with practice, and time will tell how useful these efforts will be to others.

    And to see that someone who draws as well as you do is also beset by doubts helps me to cope with my own hang ups about my modest artistic efforts.

    Many thanks for your blog and your efforts on SBS. Both are amongst the things I most need to thank the internet for.

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  21. I was so glad to read your blog post this morning! Never give up. Just keeping it simple ‘cause so many of the other posters have been so eloquent.

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  22. Happy to see your name in my inbox again! I’d love to read or see videos of you figuring out the iPad, and I enjoy seeing all the different dogs, not just because it’s a subject near and dear, but because all the techniques differ. Social media is tough. If you don’t absolutely live on your phone or computer, you miss stuff and then feel bad that you didn’t like or comment. I think we’re all here because you fanned a tiny flame in all of us. I like reading about your day or your thoughts about random stuff. You are a “Force For Good” and we all need more of that in our lives. Take care!

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  23. I too, am going to echo other’s statements, I much prefer to read than watch a video! It does seem to have mor depth and I can read it at my leisure, not in a jumble of one second bites of information. Please continue to blog, and more if possible!

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  24. I have missed you, too. I am weird, I read the blog AND watch the vids, they both inspire and reassure, and sometimes it is just nice to see your face and hear your voice and all the NY sounds. I have so enjoyed the Sketchbook Club stories. Words can’t really express, but it is kind of like having chat with a good friend about a mutual obsession. I don’t find FB to be as satisfying for some reason, although I do make use of it. If I am working on a series of daily drawings or whatnot, it can keep me accountable to post them. I think art friends understand that, and that it is not a desperate plea for validation. Oh and
    that late night idea on the pile of paper on the table is working its quiet magic, whether you read it or not, I betcha 🙂

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  25. I do read your blog and I blog once per week. I don’t have as many followers as you do but I think I blog more for me than my followers. Each weekly blog is about what I’ve been working on art-wise. So it is the push for me to continue to create art so I have something to blog about. It is also a record for me of what I am accomplishing and a wonderful slap in the face to my monkey. And then, once in a while I get a comment that tells me I’m on the right track. There are lots of reasons to blog and I truly enjoy yours!

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  26. I love your blog AND baby hippos. I read/watch everything you write or film. It is always reassuring to hear the pros struggle with that darn monkey too. I’d say just continue to do what feels right for you at the moment….write your blog….film something….or not. Years ago I was self-employed and I remember thinking many times that I worked for a mean boss! I didn’t take enough time off, always felt I didn’t do enough or wasn’t good enough, etc. I finally have reached those “golden” years and have learned to say “knock it off!” when that inner voice starts to harp at me.

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  27. Hi Danny, I too have a variety of interests and directions which create a fascinating life. I like to read as well as view images so your blog works for me. I like my connection with the world through the Internet on my laptop but don’t have a cell phone, smart phone, iPad, digital camera etc. and leave social media for others. Guess that shows my age and budget. I keep in touch with SBS faculty through their blogs, and of course, Koosje’s Draw Tip Tuesdays. Thanks for writing! Zena

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  28. Well I miss your blog Danny mostly because you talk about interesting things and also have rant when you want to and that’s refreshing in this rather over careful and polite world! Keep writing and though I don’t particularly like dogs lots of folk love them just as they must love baby hippos too! say what you want fight the monkey like hell and stay who you are and say exactly what you want to say!

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  29. I really enjoy your blog and the embedded videos. I appreciate your efforts to inspire us. I hope you won’t stop!! I’ve missed your blog in the past months.

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  30. Au contraire mon frere, love your unvarnished words, your particular voice. Come on back here whenever you are moved to do so. Lachrymose in a sentence! Well done sir. We who struggle with our monkeys love the specificity with which you share your struggle with yours, so articulately. Also reminds me of this https://blog.ted.com/brene-brown-interviewed-by-oprah-in-a-two-part-episode-of-super-soul-sunday/ “Unexpressed creativity is not benign”

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  31. For the record:

    1) I read all of your blog posts and watch very few of your videos. Videos attract toddlers. Also I like reading better anyway.

    2) I’m not on Instagram to give you internet points, but I agree with you that very realistic drawings are generally less interesting than looser ones. I always feel like the artist hasn’t said anything if the drawing is very realistic.

    3) It’s good to see you 🙂

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  32. I’ve been sketching glasses and cups. When I did my third or fourth page of a beverage holder I thought… Okay Aleesha you’ve done this and now draw something else!!! And then I saw what you were doing with tea cups. Every morning you sketched yours and that all-of-sudden made it okay for me to continue exploring these cups. I started sketching pages of multiple glasses and then… I changed it up and added in the occasional coffee or tea cup in the mix.

    Then one day I felt like I’d done it to death. No one would consider me an artist if all I kept sketching was beverage holders.

    And I thought about you. And how you are drawing dogs at the moment. And that gave me permission to keep drawing my beverage holders.

    There is something grounding about sketching them (for me). It’s like I feel I can start my day once I’ve created that oval shape for the first glass.

    Thank you for being the person who taught me to draw without talent.
    Thank you for being the person who inspires to me continue to draw.
    Thank you for being the person who shares his struggles with me – and they are my struggles too.
    Thank you for being an artist because… it gives me permission to be an artist too.

    And as for blogs. I love blogs. They clear my head when I write a post and I can feel my head clear when I read a post like this. So please don’t stop.

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  33. I gotta tell you, Danny, it made my day to see you pop up in my inbox. I was wondering about the lapse in your communiques and was concerned. You fail to recognize the impact of your words and insights. Keep on keeping on..

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  34. HI Danny missed you happy to read anything you have to say. Keep doing what you do best creating great writing and drawings teaching and so on………

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  35. “They” don’t understand those of us with slow internet – I don’t watch videos as they are slow and always loading. I much prefer to read – gives time to pause and consider a thoughtful sentence.
    Glad to see you back here.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Thank you for returning! I thought you’d fallen ill, it’s great to hear from you!…..I enjoy reading your posts each time, it’s something I look forward to….;)

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  37. I always check your blog….regularly. I love your writing, your “spunk” (does that word date me??) and your point of view. However, I certainly understand you have a life and it will call you where it will. I will patiently wait, if necessary, for your return. Thanks for posting.

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  38. Blogs are not dead. At least I hope not. I love yours and check regularly. I’d be happy if you showed up with a post a couple of times a month. Just write what you want and don’t worry about what we want/expect…I mean that’s not how you worked in the beginning is it? You wrote for yourself. Just do that. We were all happy with that. I like the videos too. You’re good on camera and in writing. Blogs are like good old friends…we’re always happy to see them.

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  39. You are such an excellent writer, Danny~~fresh, original, with an awesome sense of humor. Thanks for writing—and for allowing yourself to share vulnerabilities. We feel ya!

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  40. I am reading this, Danny, and I enjoy blogs like yours that come from the heart, the creative spirit, and from a kind of realistic, sarcastic humor!! Blog on and I will be reading! Thank you for baring and sharing your creative dilemmas and victories.

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  41. Please keep writing! I much prefer reading a blog post to watching a vlog episode. Maybe it’s the lifetime reader in me, but it’s my preference. This particular post was like a looking in the mirror at my own (basically non-productive) temptations to peruse and upload photos and the occasional drawing. To be so busy documenting and browsing that my own creativity seems to have come to a halt.

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