Book Review: Art Before Breakfast – By Danny Gregory
If you have ever felt that urge to doodle, sketch, paint and create? The kind that comes up when your head tells you, that you are simply too busy? If yes, this post is for you. If no, this post is also for you! This post is both about making time for that smallest bit of creativity and expression as well as making time to be present and mindful of a moment in time.
About 2 years ago I walked into Exclusive books with money I had saved up, adamant that I would walk out again with 1 book (or at least one book that served some practical purpose – cause let’s be honest, you can’t buy just one book lol). After going through most of the bookstore and picking up at least 1 fiction and 1 non-fiction book, I ended my browsing in the Art Category (very dangerous move) and stumbled across probably one of the most useful, inspiring, motivating and surprisingly practical books I have ever owned (for an artist – or scribbler that is – or anyone with the urge I told you about earlier). Art Before Breakfast by Danny Gregory.
I have never been so inspired to create awkward, carefree, no-judgement art in my life. His book, for lack of a better word, is a self-help door to mindfulness through art, creation and expression. No fancy app. No expensive meditation bolster cushion. And in almost no time. All you need is a pen and paper (and probably the book cause my review will not do it’s brilliance much justice – but I will try).
He starts off by explaining that this book “is for people who don’t have time”. Which is Ironic because this book aims to get you to make more time for art, in between everything else you feel you don’t have time for. No he is not crazy, not more than the average artist anyway, he has a point. He could almost have phrased it like this “This book is for people who don’t take the time to make time, and instead seem to waste their time as they take the time to complain about how the hourglass runs away with their time”. Let me explain.
I myself am very guilty of this. I have on many occasion complained about how I simply do not have time to make art (or do any of the other things that I have wanted to do), and sometimes it is beyond our control, but for most of us it is well within our control, most of the time. But only if we make the time and then take that time.
The book’s title indicates how he suggests we make the time. Art Before Breakfast . First thing in the morning, even if we wake up only 10 minutes earlier to get that extra bit of mindfulness in. 10 minutes is better than no minutes. And as we get into the habit we may find that we start making more time for it as we start to recognize it’s value.
I found this book such an inspiration as I realized the value of just being in the moment with what is in our surroundings, with what we see and feel right then and there.
I found that as I used just that little bit of time more mindfully I started to use the rest of my time more purposefully… and I was left with an awesome collection of observation doodles, scribbles and sketches.
I have recently decided to read the book again and get that 5-10 minutes or more of mindful sketching in during my day – no stressing about whether is looks perfect or not, just drawing what I see in the moment (also good practice to get your proportion and alignment right, if you care), the best time still being ‘before breakfast’.
Here are a few of the sketches I have done so far.
Let me know how you take the time to be mindful or if you’re interested in giving the book a go?