cover image The Shape of Ideas: An Illustrated Exploration of Creativity

The Shape of Ideas: An Illustrated Exploration of Creativity

Grant Snider. Abrams ComicArts, $16.95 (144p) ISBN 978-1-4197-2317-9

Bold and colorful comics illustrations highlight this inspirational guide to artistic and everyday creation, focusing on sparking light-bulb-over-the-head moments through short reflections on practical and mental exploration. An orthodontist who practices cartooning and illustration on the side, Snider uses gentle and playful humor to explore subjects from the concrete (life drawing and typography) to the abstract (writer’s block and doing nothing). Although Snider’s whimsical and cheerful panels don’t paint a specific narrative, the comics format is well suited to these concepts: a page on multitasking introduces more and more objects to each static panel until they overwhelm; “How to Climb a Hill” quirkily brainstorms the Sisyphus conundrum by considering how get a stubborn tapir up a mountain. The tongue-in-cheek wit and self-deprecating style make this a pleasant introduction to the joy and frustration of making any kind of art, and the beautifully designed presentation—with a charming die-cut cover—is a fine proof of concept. (May)