Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Art/Craft Book Review: "What It Is" by Lynda Barry

Lynda Barry's What It Is

Part personal journal and part instructional course, What It Is is Lynda Barry's guide to getting yourself writing and drawing, without agonizing and antagonizing yourself. Each page is entirely covered with stories, drawings, doodles, and collage.

The book has three different areas, all interwoven, but distinct. The first is autobiographical, how an artist or writer can come to fear and stress about their work, to the point where they no longer feel creative and instead feel they are glued to the spot, doomed. The second is a background of Lynda Barry's childhood experiences growing up and drawing, and the third is a series of essay questions and exercises, examples of how to regain that lightheaded giddy feeling that we all initially experience when we first start making up stories.

Though the essay questions were thought-provoking ("Where are images found?"), as someone who's managed to turn hobbies into work several times, the sections about the fear and stress of the creative process really struck me. They were honest without histrionics, and led directly to the exercises, which I've found to be fun and very successful.

Now that I'm returning this library copy, I had to order a copy for myself! If you're someone who wants to do more art or writing, and seems to have hit a wall, check out this book and see if it speaks to you.

No comments: