It’s raining outside. I can hear the wind flinging handfuls of rain against the glass. In the early evening, on the last day of the long weekend, it makes good sense to snuggle up in bed. Alone, or perhaps with someone you love, or – and here’s my suggestion: ideally with someone you love AND a total stranger.
In this case I recommend the total stranger should be Danny Gregory. I doubt Danny would be that keen to get into bed with what to him are total strangers, but Danny’s books shouldn’t be strangers to you.
What I like about these books is the drawings are not always that good. In fact, some of them are crappy enough to look as though I did them. And there, oh there, is the joy of them. Danny manages to present the drawings in a very human frame. It used to be fashionable to down play one’s academic experience – ‘I only went to school to eat my lunch – luckily I ate enough lunch to become a Rhodes scholar and although I hung out in the computer lab for three solid years I did become a multi-millionaire from my IT skills, thank goodness for packed lunches’. Danny slightly errs on the side of ‘Eight years ago I couldn’t draw, but after deliberately practicing and working at my drawings every day year in and year out I got better’. Um, well, so you should get better…
I’m not rubbishing Danny, even though it reads like it. What I’m trying to say is, yes, Danny makes some crappy drawings. He makes some damn fine drawings as well. Annoyingly enviable drawings. And yes, his technique is simple. Get a pencil, some paper, and draw 15 minutes or more, every day. Well, this would be my advice too. Every day. You do have 15 minutes a day. You spend it waiting for buses or lifts, perhaps for the peristaltic processes of your lower intestine to deliver – you do have 15 minutes. I recommend reading for 15 minutes a day as well. Over a year it adds up to just over 90 hours – two and a quarter working weeks. Has your boss paid for you to go on a two and a quarter week training course recently? How much better would your drawing be after a 90 hour drawing course?
Ok, so it’s humdrum advice then. Spend some time reading. Some time writing. Some time drawing. Keep it easy and simple and calm. Today, look at something commonplace and record it as though it matters. And do it again tomorrow. You will get better.
Every day matters.