Saturday, October 23, 2010
Employee Pick: Picture This by Lynda Barry
These questions are at the heart of Picture This, by offbeat underground cartoonist Lynda Barry. A fitting companion to her acclaimed writing book What It Is, Picture This is part autobiography, part instructional activity book meant to assist those who find themselves saying "I wish I could draw" in starting over from the beginning, from that first primitive impulse to make an image.
Barry's combination of collage, watercolor, and inking makes for a comforting and cozy style; the meandering narrative encourages the kind of non-linear thinking that creativity needs in order to flourish. Small doodled characters and typewritten asides abound, as well as weird ads for an imaginary brand of cigarettes which come to symbolize the doubts that eventually choke out the urge to draw. Barry asserts that it's okay to copy, to trace, to just color something in; art-making is meditative, a kind of therapy, and if we draw first and foremost to reach that state of mind, the images we wish we could make will follow.
Picture This is an eye-opener, and often suprisingly touching; this reviewer could not recommend it more to anyone looking to rediscover the magic of "arting"!