I’ve been a fan of Lynda Barry since Ernie Pook’s Comeek, then The Good Times Are Killing Me. At the time, it seemed to me that everyone around me was in infused with great reserves of confidence and in complete possession of their persona’s. Her snarky misfit characters were sources of comfort.
A few years ago, Lynda Barry came out with What It Is, ostensibly a primer on writing, but basically a quirky art book with nuggets of writerly inspiration. Barry is a generous artist, with her time and her inspiration — the book was inspired by a writing class she teaches — and the book is full of encouragement about listening to yourself and ignoring the inner demons. I’m looking forward to handing it to the kids when they’re old enough to appreciate it.
Picture This is her new book. It’s similar to What It Is in look and tone. It’s full of collages and quirky sketches, providing inspiration for anyone who wants to draw but feels somehow inhibited. Barry believes that we all know how to draw, but we lost that freedom as our childhood passed and we were steered towards other, more marketable pursuits. But that drawing is a great release and provides an opportunity to reconnect with our imaginations. There’s a great interview with her at the Paris Review website.
It’s another book I’ll be handing off to the kids.