“Everything we have come to call the arts seems to be in almost every 3-year-old,” writes the acclaimed comics artist Lynda Barry. She points out that we begin to draw stories, with exuberance and spontaneity, before we can write them in letters. Discouraged by the pressures of conformity and criticism, we often give up on drawing as we get older.
Barry’s new book, Making Comics, presents a class syllabus for getting back in touch with your creative inner storyteller. It’s filled with the spirit of fun, invention, and generosity that infuses Barry’s work, along with her talent to transform awkwardness and pain through humor. She’s a beloved teacher in real life and an excellent companion on paper for your physical isolation, whether you’re in lonely lockdown or semi-sheltering with family and friends.
“I believe anyone can make comics,” she writes. “The most lively work comes from people who gave up on drawing a long time ago, and I’ve been so happy to witness the joy and surprise comics bring to life. Everything good in my life came because I drew a picture. I hope you will draw a picture soon. I will always want to see it.”
Images from Making Comics by Lynda Barry (Drawn & Quarterly, 2019) appear by permission of the publisher.
Lynda Barry is an associate professor of art and Discovery Fellow at University of Wisconsin Madison. She is the multiple award-winning author of The Freddie Stories, One! Hundred! Demons!, The! Greatest! of! Marlys!, Cruddy: An Illustrated Novel, Naked Ladies! Naked Ladies! Naked Ladies!, and The Good Times are Killing Me, which was adapted as an off-Broadway play.