Danny Gregory: I help you make art again

by Danny Gregory

Each Friday, I send advice, ideas, stories and tips to 20K creative people like you. Author of 13 best-selling books on creativity. Founder of Sketchbook Skool w 50k+ students

Featured Post

A fresh direction and a sun-soaked perspective

Hi Reader: Last week, I told you I was planning to shorten these Studio Notebook emails because I didn’t think you wanted quite so much verbiage from me. I concluded that because when I send out an essay and don’t get much response from readers, I assume that the essay was a dud. And when the responses I do get take a week to reach me, I assume that’s because you had to take a few rest breaks while wading through all of the words I sent you. Turns out I may have been wrong, at least for...
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2 days ago • 4 min read

🧑‍🚀 Planet Earth is blue and there’s nothing I can do.

Ten years ago, I quit my job as an Executive Creative Director and stepped into the void. We rented a house in Los Angeles and, like many mavericks, I started my new career in a garage. I was 3,000 miles from the comfort of my office, my apartment, and everyone I knew. It was a scary and thrilling time. If you’ve ever considered making a dramatic change to your life, my notes from that time might resonate with you. As you’ve heard me say before, I am usually over-caffeinated and impatient....
6 days ago • 3 min read

How I travelled lighter

Hi Reader: In some ways, my drawing has gotten “better” over the years. I have more confidence in my line and more experience, too. After all, I’ve drawn most everything, everywhere.​ But my drawings have changed in other ways, too. That’s by design — I bore easily. I fall in love with a new medium, a new pen, a new size of sketchbook. I also give myself new rules. No pencils or only pencils. More writing or less writing. Slow down or speed up. In the sketchbook I plan to share with you...
9 days ago • 3 min read

🛑 What if you stop making art?

In a recent email, Brad wrote, You mentioned once that there have been times in your life you haven't sketched as much...some lengthy period of time going by without picking up your pen. Does this still happen to you, this lack of motivation to sketch? How do you get through it? Do you force yourself to pick up that pen, or do you let the period of time just play itself out and not worry about it?” Well, Brad, I haven’t shaken those infernal dips and yips yet. Like recently — I have been so...
13 days ago • 2 min read


Hi Reader: One weekend, when Jack was still little, we traveled to a museum in upstate New York, to see an exhibit of the works of a legendary potter named Beatrice Wood. She was a former lover of Marcel Duchamp, and, in her younger days, had led an exotic, avant-garde life in the jazz age of Paris. After years in Europe, she moved back to Los Angeles in the 1930s. Her next chapter began humbly. Beatrice had brought some luster-glazed tea cups in Paris and decided it would be nice to have a...
16 days ago • 5 min read

👍 We think you'll like this essay.

The new shirt I’m wearing popped up in my email one day as a recommendation from some algorithm. The email told me that based on what I like, I would like this shirt. The TV show I watched last night was recommended to me because of what I watched last week. Spotify builds me a new playlist every week. My Kindle suggests my next book. A lot of people watch my videos because YouTube thinks they’ll like them. TikTok and Instagram don’t even bother to offer me choices anymore. They just feed me...
20 days ago • 2 min read

Made in China

Hi Reader: I was fortunate to be invited for a three-week residency in a wonderful school in Beijing. I will write about this some more in the future and share the many drawings I made while there, but today, I’d like to tell you about five large-scale projects I worked on in China. (I say “large-scale” because they were much larger than the sketchbooks I normally work on — about 3 feet by 4.) I wanted to create some things that kids could comfortably watch me work on, so I got some big...
23 days ago • 4 min read

🦖 How to see dinosaurs.

When we first moved here, I spent a lot of time watching Arizonans. There were a fair number of geezers in golfing shirts and slow-moving Cadillacs, but the most interesting creatures by far were the birds. Flickers, flycatchers, Thrashers, Trogons, Phainopepla, Pyrrhuloxia, quails, hawks, mockingbirds, lovies and every flavor of hummingbirds. I love watching birds, even in New York, where you mainly run across grayer species like sparrows and pigeons. The park across the street from my old...
27 days ago • 2 min read

Gimme a break

Hi Reader: Last week, after a burst of inspiration, I inadvertently sent you two essays on the same day. So this week, I'm giving us both a break. Instead, I give you this picture I made of a dog on a quest: Your pal, Danny Thank you for being a paid subscriber to my Studio Notebook! If you want to change anything about your subscription (email, payment, etc., update your settings here.) Unsubscribe Do you know someone awesome who would like these essays? Send them to to...
about 1 month ago • 1 min read

🧒 Childish things

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. Corinthians 13:11 I’m not a child psychologist. Nor do I have a terribly accurate or comprehensive memory of my own childhood. So I am struggling a little to get to the roots of what happens to children in adolescence that makes most of us stray from the art-making that is the hallmark of every childhood. When and why do we abandon crayons and coloring books and singing and...
about 1 month ago • 4 min read
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