Making Comics

Lynda Barry. Drawn & Quarterly, $22.95 (200p) ISBN 978-1-77046-369-1
Barry follows up Syllabus by again condensing her celebrated visual storytelling courses into an instructional book that doubles as a work of art. Through her signature nimble comics and collage, Barry provides guidelines for teachers, students, and aspiring artists. These include pragmatic instructions on art supplies (Barry recommends keeping them cheap and simple, and the book itself is drawn on lined notebook paper), class rules and exercises, and theories about the nature and value of telling stories in pictures. “There was a time when drawing and writing were not separated for you,” Barry writes, assuring newbies that “the most lively work comes from people who gave up on drawing a long time ago.” Students are told to experiment with drawing with both hands, to “close your eyes and draw a bacon and egg breakfast,” and to keep a daily illustrated diary. Gradually, the lessons expand into creating characters, drawing comic strips, and the mechanics of making minicomics. Barry’s approach to art instruction is reminiscent of Betty Edwards’s Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain and the classes taught by artist Marilyn Frasca, under whom Barry studied; she also builds from Ivan Brunetti’s Cartooning: Practice and Philosophy. But these lessons from Barry, like her art, capture her own brand of magic: a synthesis of theory, practice, memory, imagination, and “a certain sort of unlearning.” (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 08/20/2019
Release date: 09/10/2019
Genre: Comics
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