Lynda Barry is a Macarthur "genius"

Underground comics artist Lynda Barry (previously) is one of this year's class of $625,000 Macarthur Foundation "genius grant" recipients, and it's so deserved. Read the rest

Lynda Barry's 'Writing the Unthinkable' lesson

TIL: the fabulous Lynda Barry teaches at the University of Wisconsin! In this lesson, called "Writing the Unthinkable," she shares a neat method to get started on a new piece. It begins by drawing a tight spiral as a meditation.

"Once I start to draw this spiral, I'm starting to get in the mood to write some kind of story."

(Wertzeen) Read the rest

Excerpt from Lynda Barry's new illustrated novella, The Good Times are Killing Me

Drawn & Quarterly has a new edition of Lynda Barry’s coming-of-age novella, The Good Times are Killing Me

Young Edna Arkins lives in a neighborhood that is rapidly changing, thanks to white flight from urban Seattle in the late 1960s. As the world changes around her, Edna is exposed to the callous racism of adults―sometimes subtle and other times blatant, but always stinging. By weaving the importance of music in adolescence with the forbidden friendship between Edna, who is white, and Bonna Willis, who is Black, Lynda Barry captures the earnest, awkward, yet always honest adolescent voice as perfectly in prose as she does in comics.

The publisher kindly gave us permission to run Barry’s afterword. Enjoy!

Seattle photo: MILKOVÍ Read the rest

Lynda Barry’s irresistible lesson plan for “drawing the unthinkable”

Professor Lynda Barry has been on a roll of late. First, she published her astonishing and inspired writing-workshop-in-a-book, What It Is. She followed that up with Picture This: The Near-sighted Monkey Book, which covered drawing in much the same way that What It Is approached writing. In Syllabus, Barry has published her actual hand-drawn lesson plans from her popular college class entitled “Drawing the Unthinkable.”

There is something profoundly dream-like in Syllabus – in all three of these books – like you’re mainlining Barry’s bizarre and fertile imagination, and tapping into your own via a kind of contact high. There are visual invitations on every single page of this composition-styled, hand-drawn notebook to get out your own crayons, pens, and notebook and get to work. There are a series of lessons in the book, class announcements, examples of student work, and related class notes. Where I loved and was inspired by Barry’s first two workshop books, Syllabus finally pushed me to start doing a daily art journal, one that grants me permission to play, to “draw the unthinkable” (i.e. just do it, don’t overthink it, and do it for the process, not the product). I’m 19 days in and absolutely having the time of my life.

See sample pages of Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor at Wink. Read the rest