Danny Gregory

Dealing with the Inner Critic and How to Stay Creative, with Danny Gregory


If you are anything like me – you’ve struggled with how to deal with your inner critic over the years. There are a few things that have helped me deal with my inner critic, but I am always excited to hear what my peers have done to address this common issue in the art community. Here to share his unique and valuable perspective is the artist – Danny Gregory.

Danny is an artist, and he has written nearly a dozen internationally best-selling books on art and creativity. He is also the co-founder of Sketchbook Skool with tens of thousands of students worldwide. In our conversation, Danny opens up about how he got started as an artist, why he loves working on “Zines,” how he deals with his inner critic, what it takes to stay creative, and much more. I know you’ll get a ton of benefit from Danny’s thoughtful perspective.

Find your people!

If you’ve been around the Savvy Painter community for any stretch of time, you know that I am passionate about encouraging artists like you to find your people. Let’s face it – life as an artist can be a lonely existence – but it doesn’t have to be! Even back in the ’90s, artists like Danny Gregory found a way to connect with peers who would encourage and challenge them in their creative pursuits. Discovering an artist from eastern Oregon by flipping through a “Zine” at Tower Records in New York City changed Danny’s life. He quickly befriended this artist via correspondence, and the two went on many trips together. Have you found your people yet?

Why “Zines” are so appealing

Speaking of “Zines,” have you ever encountered one before? When Danny mentioned reading zines in Tower Records back in the 90’s I had a total flashback to my college years. For my millennial followers – zines or fanzines are publications produced by enthusiasts of a particular niche interest. Traditionally, zines are circulated free of charge, or for a nominal cost to defray postage or production expenses. There are so many amazing things you can do with the zine medium – and according to Danny, they are starting to make a comeback!

Nurturing a creative focus

A few years ago, Danny wrote a book called “Art Before Breakfast.” I love that title by the way! His book explored several small ways he incorporated his drive for creativity each day. From keeping a sketchbook next to the kettle in the kitchen to sketching an image while waiting for his wife to finish shopping – there are a ton of helpful ideas that artists like you can use. At the heart of Danny’s message is this – you can fit creativity and art making throughout your day if you just redefine what that means. For many of you – Danny’s approach will be a bit of stretch – after all, we are conditioned to think of “Art-making” as a structured and specific time we set aside.

Dealing with the inner critic

Another book Danny wrote is called, “Shut Your Monkey: How to Control Your Inner Critic.” In this book, Danny explains how he’s dealt with and learned to live with his inner critic. Do you still struggle with silencing your inner critic? If so – I can’t recommend Danny’s book enough! He dove deep into where the inner critic comes from in our minds and how to better understand it. Danny discovered that the voice of the inner critic actually is there to protect us from making risky decisions – which is great when it comes to danger – not so great when it comes to creating art. Make sure to check out the links to Danny’s website and his books in the resources section – I know that many of you will find them helpful!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:15] I introduce my guest, Danny Gregory.
  • [2:50] How Danny got interested in art.
  • [9:10] Danny explains how he connected with like-minded artists.
  • [11:15] What is a “Zine” or “Fanzine?”
  • [13:40] How Danny came to publish drawings from his sketchbook.
  • [20:15] Creating vs. consuming.
  • [22:00] Dealing with the inner critic.
  • [31:00] Being uncomfortable with the label, “Artist.”
  • [34:40] A special message from Kate Zambrano about using Trekell Art Supplies.
  • [41:30] Art before breakfast – feeding your creativity.
  • [52:00] We are meant to be making things!
  • [59:00] The book that has made a huge impact on Danny.

This episode sponsored by:


If you love animals and love painting all that luscious fur, I want to let you know that Trekell Art Supplies is accepting submissions for their Pet Portrait Competition. Submit your entry by August 31st 2019. For more information, go to Trekell.com

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

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