Picture This

Lynda Barry, Drawn and Quarterly, $29.95 (226p) ISBN 978-1-897299-64-7
Barry's follow-up to her critically and popularly acclaimed What It Is focuses on the practice and purpose of drawing. As before, this oversized, full-color book collages comics, drawings, and found images to blend memoir, fiction, and philosophy with workbook-style instruction. Picture This proceeds from the same ideas in Barry's earlier work—which regard creative activity as a necessary extension of childhood play—but may be neater in its marriage of theory and practice. By focusing on drawing as directly as the first book did on writing, this ornately visual book shows the fruits of Barry's practice on every page even as it makes her methods overtly accessible. The book is interspersed with comics narratives including moving autobiographical shorts and sequences featuring her beloved characters Marlys, Maybonne, and Arna, as well as full-page images of her new character: a self-satisfied avatar called "The Nearsighted Monkey," who represents, perhaps, a well-fed creative impulse. A pedagogical sketchbook by a wise and eccentric kindergarten teacher for adults—who is also a fully mature artist—Picture This teaches, nurtures, and encourages without sacrificing the edge that makes art a thrilling journey into the unknown. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/22/2010
Release date: 11/01/2010
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