I only started to draw in my late thirties.

I didn’t think I had any talent but over the years I’ve come to realize that doesn’t mean anything. In fact my new book is called “How To Draw Without Talent.”

And I have a great new kourse called Be an iPad Artist launching today. Preview it here.

______________________

I believe that learning to draw can give you perspective, peace of mind, and lots of joy. And anyone can learn.

I’ve written lots of books on art and creativity including Art Before Breakfast, The Creative License, Shut Your Monkey, An Illustrated Life and more. I’ve been blogging for 15+ years at dannygregorysblog.com and am CEO of an online drawing school called sketchbookskool.com with 50+ teachers and more than 60, 000 students.

If you’re interested in developing your creativity, ask me anything.

Proof: https://twitter.com/DannyGregory/status/1173541159462940672?s=20

Comments: 154 • Responses: 42  • Date: 

RowdyWrongdoer120 karma

What do you bring to the table for your price that one can not simply find with youtube videos?

dannygregory116 karma

Many things! We don't just teach techniques (how to draw an eye, etc) . We teach you how to see differently, how to overcome the obstacles that prevent you from creating. We engage you in a huge community (50, 000 strong) of supportive people that reinforce you drawing habit so you progress and keep progressing. We make films all over the world with 50 top illustrators and artists who share their process, their portfolios, their tools and their insights. We curate lessons that inspire and motivate. We remind and inspire you to keep showing up.

If you want to a) start drawing and b) keep drawing, YouTube has nothing to compare with Sketchbook Skool.

dannygregory85 karma

Oh and why not check out our YouTube channel? https://www.youtube.com/user/SketchBookSkool We post weekly tips and I offer a free weekly event called Draw With Me. We'd love to have you as a subscriber.

boundthree23 karma

Youtube kind of sucks though. Buy it straight from the source and support a publisher/author. Just my opinion.

dannygregory13 karma

I agree.

ashwinsalian73 karma

As a late bloomer, what’s your advice for someone who is still aimless and trying to find their mojo? I’m turning 25 and find there is too much pressure on me to know what I’m truly good af it.

dannygregory155 karma

When I was 25, I was working in advertising because it seemed like a goodish fit with my creative skills — and stayed in it for 30 years. But I never really liked it and did lots of other creative things on the side. I'm almost 60 now and am still exploring.

So my advice is: don't feel like you need to lock into anything yet. Or maybe ever.

Make money where you can, explore and try stuff out, and avoid pigeonholing yourself or feeling you must have a label. Your job is one thing. You are another.

Hope that's helpful!

3chidna55 karma

My daughter is an outstanding artist. What can I do to encourage her into expanding into more mediums and styles?

dannygregory78 karma

I agree with Mugen. Expose her to more art, more possibilities. Teens often focus on something like Manga or comic art and fail to see the huge range of things artists do. Take her to museums. Watch documentaries about artists with her. Buy her artist monographs. Be supportive and I'm sure she will evolve with time.

x-Sage-x28 karma

Did you have to deal with any form of perfectionism or feeling as if your early drawings "weren't good enough"?

I always had an interest in drawing, but i find that my idiotic sense of perfectionism just ends up frustrating me in the long run.

If you did deal with this, how did you overcome it, or find joy in drawing?

dannygregory37 karma

This is a common problem. I had it myself. The drawings you want to do are much better than the ones you are doing. That changes with time. While you wait for your skills to improve, think less about the end result and more about the process (That's why it's called "drawing" not "Have drawn"). Remind yourself also that change happens incrementally, one step at a time. Judging your progress right now without perspective and distance is also not very accurate.

Look at the whole thing as a journey, one that will last your lifetime. I learn new stuff every day, despite drawing for twenty years. Perfection is meaningless when it comes to self expression. What matters is allowing yourself to be you, to getting back in the saddle, and to continue working despite what the nagging voice in your head.

MrsNoFun17 karma

I'm middle-aged and have never had the slightest ability to translate what I see to paper, and can barely draw a straight line without a ruler. Plus being a lefty adds an extra level of annoyance to drawing. Do you really believe anyone can learn to draw?

dannygregory20 karma

I know everyone can draw. We all did when we were five.

If you feel your skills aren't where you'd like them to be, I suggest making drawing into a regular habit. Don't give up until you have carried a sketchbook around with your for a few months. Use your spare time to draw whatever you see. Keep going. Stop judging.

And I show you how to draw a straight line in the first less on my online course, https://sketchbookskool.com/kourses/how-to-draw-without-talent

CollinAsdf10 karma

do you have any tips for developing your own drawing style? i draw often but i’m much better at working from sources/references and don’t feel as comfortable coming up with my own content, they just never feel quite finished.

dannygregory14 karma

Sure. Be authentic. Copy others if you need fresh perspective and draw from photos if you need focus, but ultimately think about why you want to draw. What do you want to express? Then just work from your gut, and do it often. You will find your voice and confidence with practice and time. I promise

amnons9 karma

What made you get into drawing the first place ? What we’re you doing recreationally until that ?

dannygregory40 karma

My first wife was run over by a subway car and paralyzed. It threw my whole world into a tailspin. I spent two years looking for answers about the meaning of life, the universe, and all that. Then, somehow, one day, I decided to draw the contents of my medicine cabinet. This experience brought me peace and perspective in a way nothing else had and I started drawing every day.

purplepooters8 karma

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, was the only book that really helped me (haven't read anything new in a while) but it actually helped. Made me feel queasy at times. What's your opinion of the book and are there any others like?

dannygregory4 karma

I think it's great to start you going. It helped me a lot.

HeskeyThe2nd5 karma

How many books on drawing and creativity you wrote?

dannygregory9 karma

I have written 13.

HeskeyThe2nd12 karma

Nice

dannygregory5 karma

Thanks!

BabyShankers3 karma

How is your day going?

dannygregory8 karma

Wonderfully. I'm having lots of fun answering questions! Thanks for asking.

dg4vdo3 karma

Favourite condiment? Thank you

dannygregory12 karma

Gesso.

dannygregory1 karma

Gesso.

MalDeOjo-3 karma

I'm a late bloomer and am in art school where people had developed skill years before I did. Painting at 8 in classes and I'm self taught. Any tips on how to catch up? I know drawing from life is good and also sharpening skills in the fundamentals.

Also, how did you feel being a late blood with other talented artist were around? I'm kind of struggling, feeling like I don't belong in this school.

dannygregory5 karma

Well, I never attended art school. Not at any age. I am self taught and learned in my spare time mainly by just drawing a lot. I would have loved to attend art school at any age and envy you that. I wouldn't waste time comparing myself with a n earlier generation with very different needs and agendas but focus on the rare opportunity you are having to learn at a time when you are mature enough to get the most out of your time there. (Youth, as they say, is wasted on the young).

NoobPeen2 karma

What is sketchbook Skool?

dannygregory5 karma

We are an online art school. You can find out more at sketchbookskool.com

mvpoque2 karma

What was your biggest challenge as an artist?

dannygregory4 karma

Getting started and keeping going. Make art into a habit by keeping a sketchbook as a diary made all the difference.

ravenpotter32 karma

What artists have inspired you and your art style? How have you found your style?

dannygregory7 karma

So many! The top ones are probably Robert Crumb, Vincent van Gogh and David Hockney.

jessikatz2 karma

Do you work from your imagination, use reference materials, such as photos, or work from life and draw what is around you?

I find it difficult to draw in public and draw what is around me as my observing what is around me draws attention, which makes me uncomfortable. Do people approach you and ask what you are doing when you sketch in public? Any awkward encounters?

How do you get over a creative block? When I was in art school 15 years ago, I was charged with creativity and ideas about what I wanted to draw and sculpt. Now, the ideas don't flow like that. Instead, my mind focuses on work, bills, cleaning the house, errands, cooking, working out to stay healthy, etc. So many things seem to be "in the way" of my creativity. How do you stay creating when the obligations of day-to-day life call?

dannygregory1 karma

I draw primarily from observation.

My advice: Don't worry what strangers think of your drawing in public. If anyone approaches me when I'm drawing, they inevitably say "I wish I could draw?" Remember why you are drawing and don't let the possibility of an audience get in the way of that. You have nothing to be embarrassed about.

My suggestion: draw for the fun of it. Don't worry endlessly about the quality or your progress. Draw like at 5 year old. Just do it because it's fun.

And as for ideas, maybe you need to exercise your idea machine. When I hit a wall, I started each day by making a list of ten ideas on a theme. I started with thinking of ten themes for ideas so I had a place to start. Then, as my dog ran around the dog park, I forced myself to come up with 10 ideas, good or bad and jot them on my phone. After a month I had 200 ideas. Most sucked, some were good, but best of all, I'd had great fun doing it. https://jamesaltucher.com/blog/the-ultimate-guide-for-becoming-an-idea-machine/

dannygregory1 karma

I draw primarily from observation.

My advice: Don't worry what strangers think of your drawing in public. If anyone approaches me when I'm drawing, they inevitably say "I wish I could draw?" Remember why you are drawing and don't let the possibility of an audience get in the way of that. You have nothing to be embarrassed about.

My suggestion: draw for the fun of it. Don't worry endlessly about the quality or your progress. Draw like at 5 year old. Just do it because it's fun.

And as for ideas, maybe you need to exercise your idea machine. When I hit a wall, I started each day by making a list of ten ideas on a theme. I started with thinking of ten themes for ideas so I had a place to start. Then, as my dog ran around the dog park, I forced myself to come up with 10 ideas, good or bad and jot them on my phone. After a month I had 200 ideas. Most sucked, some were good, but best of all, I'd had great fun doing it. https://jamesaltucher.com/blog/the-ultimate-guide-for-becoming-an-idea-machine/

dannygregory1 karma

I draw primarily from observation.

My advice: Don't worry what strangers think of your drawing in public. If anyone approaches me when I'm drawing, they inevitably say "I wish I could draw?" Remember why you are drawing and don't let the possibility of an audience get in the way of that. You have nothing to be embarrassed about.

My suggestion: draw for the fun of it. Don't worry endlessly about the quality or your progress. Draw like at 5 year old. Just do it because it's fun.

And as for ideas, maybe you need to exercise your didea machine. When I hit a wall, I started each day by making a list of ten ideas on a theme. I started with thinking of ten themes for ideas so I had a place to start. Then, as my dog ran around the dog park, I forced myself to come up with 10 ideas, good or bad and jot them on my phone. After a month I had 200 ideas. Most sucked, some were good, but best of all, I'd had great fun doing it. https://jamesaltucher.com/blog/the-ultimate-guide-for-becoming-an-idea-machine/

incognitodream2 karma

Hi there, unexpected AMA that I chanced upon. I really loved your book, "Shut your Monkey"! It led me to buying another book, "An Illustrated Life".

I have been learning watercolours but it is not the easiest medium and learning to draw. I have a full time job (marketing and it's quite hectic in this current company).

My question is: I usually come home quite tired from a day of work and when I do practice art, it leaves me feeling annoyed when I mess it up, especially in watercolours. What tips do you have to make this a more enjoyable process for me? I've been putting in effort to not judge myself and therefore can start to paint but the end results does not always make me wanna try more.

Thanks for doing this!

dannygregory3 karma

I 've been there. For the first decade or so of my drawing life, I had a demanding job and a child to raise. I found that developing a small portable studio setup helped. A small sketchbook, pen and portable watercolor set let me draw during lunch or on the train home. Working small also means you can get a drawing done in a short time with no elaborate setup time or mess to clean up.

And as for dissatisfaction with results, as I've said above, give yourself points for sticking to it, and have confidence that over time, you will like the results more and more. I'd also recommend our course Watercolor Rules and How to Break Them https://sketchbookskool.com/kourses/watercolor-rules

lnking32 karma

I have two questions. 1) My daughter wants to draw stories she has created, but I think she is scared that they won’t be as good as Marvel or DC. She has created many super hero tweens. She is 12. How do I motivate her into first off starting and also realizing that although it may not be perfect at the start, with practice it will be better.

2) My son (10) thinks that whatever he does should be as good as everyone else’s. How would you make him feel comfortable in his own creations? Do you have any classes for kids?

Thank you.

dannygregory3 karma

Tweenagehood is a tough time for creative kids. They go from loving the process to worrying about others' opinions. I think I lost my initial love of drawing around that time and for that reason.

As the dad of a creative kid (ultimately he went to RISD and majored in painting), I'll try to give you a couple of tips.

  1. Be a huge fan. Support and champion your kids' art. Buy them art supplies and sketchbooks and tell everyone how great they are. Your opinion will mean less as they get older (alas) but knowing someone believes in them is key. And if you are willing, draw with them. Maybe they can compare themselves with you.

  2. Remind your daughter that being on the team soccer team doesn't mean you have to play as well as Megan Rapinoe. suggest professionals as inspiration, not points of comparison. It takes a lot of hard work and commitment to work at Marvel, but you gotta start somewhere.

delicious_tomato2 karma

I have 2 questions:

1: I’m a writer myself and have had trouble getting published, my most complete work is a book on how to get stuff for free, everything from flights and hotel rooms to food and drinks, concert tickets, etc. How did you go about getting a publisher?

2: I actually applied with Autodesk many years ago, made it through 4 interviews before being told no. How do you like working for them, and how did you get the job in the first place?

Thanks!

dannygregory3 karma

  1. I published my first book many years ago after meeting a n editor at a party and telling her my story. My path was probably unusual.
  2. I don't work for Autodesk. I'm not sure what that is.

cshark132 karma

What Is your favorite drawing that either you or someone else has done?

AwfulTabletDrawing2 karma

I always want to improve at drawing (hence username) but never stick to it. I always feel directionless and like I default to the same basic shapes/designs/habits.

How would you suggest someone trying to learn do so effectively? I know there's no secret formula, but how would would you suggest someone establish their skill level, and how to decide what form of practice to do, and what skills to focus on?

dannygregory7 karma

Draw what you see. Then slow down and draw it again. Stop thinking about naming the things you see (eye nose mouth) but instead really capture the lines and curves an angles you see.

Suspend judgement until you've done this for a month or two . Then keep doing it.

trumpeting_in_corrid2 karma

I'm sceptical about your claim that anyone can draw, but the 'How to draw without talent' course is reasonably priced and I might have a go. It says it's a week long course. That seems to be a very short time. How many hours would it involve in that one week?

dannygregory5 karma

I hear your skepticism. I hope it doesn't get in the way of learning. You can take a week or a weekend or many months to work on the exercises in the course. You will have lifetime access and if you don't like it, ask for your $ back within 30 days.

lostindaydreams2 karma

Hi Danny! I've been an admirer of your work for many years and have a couple of your books. What are your favorite tools to use and which ones do you recommend for someone just starting out?

dannygregory6 karma

I started with a basic roller ball pen, a Uniball. I used that for the first couple of years. Then I added some colored bush markers and eventually colored pencils and watercolors. Nowadays, I also love drawing on the iPad.

Tools ultimately don't make the difference. They are just the means to an end. The process is much more about learning to see the world clearly and to give yourself permission to create.

TalkingBackAgain2 karma

Danny, I can’t draw two parallel lines with a ruler, let alone draw anything that actually looks like something, how can you possibly be confident that you can teach a complete no-talent such as myself that I could create something worth looking at twice?

dannygregory10 karma

If you want to draw straight lines, sure, use a ruler. That has nothing to do with learning to draw (unless you want to become an architect or an engineering draftsperson)

Learning to draw is all about learning to see, then learning how to rewire your brain and nervous system so you can improve your eye-hand coordination. It's just like learning to drive a car or tie your shoelaces. I know you can do it. I've taught tens of thousands of "talentless" people to do it.

TalkingBackAgain3 karma

I appreciate your feedback.

I’d be so motivated to see where I could go from ‘is this supposed to look like a human?’ to ‘hey, that’s actually pretty nice’. The progression over time.

The thing is, I honestly don’t know where to start. I know what I'd want to draw, I’ve no idea how to get there.

Conversely, I talk to people who tell me ‘you can’t write that! There’s no way to send someone that message’ and I’ll be going Ah... yes there is, it’s just in the way you fold the words [I meet so many people who seem to have a problem with that].

Words I can do, graphics arts [of which I am a HUGE fan]... no idea how to get started other than that I know it involves a pencil and a piece of paper and that’s where it stops for me. It’s pathetic.

dannygregory6 karma

At the risk of sounding self serving, how about starting with my course, How to Draw Without Talent? In a week or so, you'll have a lot of answers. https://sketchbookskool.com/kourses/how-to-draw-without-talent

TalkingBackAgain3 karma

Did you mean to write ‘kourse’ or is that your invention?

I’m looking into it, I’m intrigued.

Weirded out by ‘Kourse’ though.

dannygregory4 karma

We're a Skool.

dannygregory1 karma

We're a Skool.

IndianInked2 karma

Hi Danny! Awesome stuff. I'm interested to know, do you feel that you have become a successful artist? If so or if not, what do you think makes an artist successful in their career?

Thanks!

dannygregory8 karma

I'm not sure what it means to be a successful artists. Making money? I've done okay. Being famous. Meh. For me success has meant having a lot of pleasure and discovery when I make art, feeling my skills and ideas grow, having a richer life because I see the world more clearly and myself more deeply.

dannygregory2 karma

Edit: thanks for all your great questions! If you'd like to hang out some more, join me on Thursdays on our YouTube Channel for my live show, Draw With Me.

TacticalDriver1 karma

What "How To Draw Without Talent" resources did you find to be the most useful prior to writing a book on the subject?

dannygregory1 karma

I'm not quite sure what you mean but one of them was Betty Edward's Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. Another is my course called How To Draw Without Talent. It's here: https://sketchbookskool.com/kourses/how-to-draw-without-talent

jbod781 karma

Hi Danny. Is any one medium better than others? I used to draw when I was younger, but it fell by the wayside as grew up. How does one rejuvenate an interest in drawing again?

dannygregory3 karma

No more than one instrument in the orchestra is s better. Use what feels natural and expressive to you. I started with a basic rollerball pen. I know artists who just use a cheap ballpoint and do amazing work. Experiment but remember the real difference lies in you, not your tool.

Xeophea1 karma

Will I ever stop hating my "works"?

I've been creating for a couple of years. I want to make drawings for myself and others, to express what I have inside my head. I always end up hating the drawings I do make. Does this go away if I get better? I'm not going to, or aiming to, become an artist ever. A lot of artists online says it's normal to hate your own works... Is it?

dannygregory6 karma

Normal? Not really. I think "hating" your work comes from knowing what you intended to make and later deciding you didn't achieve it . But maybe that was your error — instead of setting out to accomplish a specific goal, why not explore and come up with something unexpected? It's common to judge yourself by what others have done but they may have also had completely different goals in mind initially. To me, that process of discovery is the most exciting and inspiring part of the process. So , instead of hating your results, focus on loving the process. That may lead you to somewhere you like.

I am inspired by van Gogh who set out to be a bourgeois painter of peasant scenes and, when he hit the wall, pivoted to somewhere brand new that no one had ever explored before.

Firepuppy1 karma

Any suggestions for an artist with chronic wrist pain?

dannygregory2 karma

I'm afraid not besides examining where and how you make art. Are you working at the right angle and height? Are you bearing down to hard on your pen?

N00N3AT0111 karma

The folks over at r/restofthefuckingowl would appreciate you I have a feeling.

dannygregory1 karma

By all means, let them know.

Rigmedon0 karma

I’ve always loved drawing since I was a kid but find it hard to motivate myself to practice everyday to improve. Any advice to get yourself into a proper creative routine?

dannygregory3 karma

Don't think of it as routine. Or as practice. Think of it as a part of your everyday life. Carry a sketchbook with you everywhere. Pull it out when you have a spare minute and draw what's around you. Record your life. Draw your lunch. Your shoes. You car. Your friends. Put your life in your drawing book.