first discovered Lynda Barry and her creative madness with the book "What It Is", which for me was literally a crazy, enthralling head trip. That is the only way to describe it. In that book, Lynda asks the question "Do you wish you could write?". Well, yes I do Lynda, thanks for asking! Between the covers of this big-as-a-coffee-table-book, she explores, through graphic illustration, ways to unearth your own inner genius, while also sharing her own story. It's...well...you just have to see it to believe it.
According to Amazon, Barry has invented her own genre - the graphic memoir/how-to. Who knew?
And she is back with another one called "Picture This", Subtitled "The Near-Sighted Monkey Book". By that title and cover, it is apparent that we are in for another adventure through Barry's surreal mind. This time she asks "Do you wish you could draw?". Sorry, Lynda, this time I'm going to have to decline, but I will follow along because you're fun.
Actually, in answering that, I was too hasty. I guess I don't see myself as the artistic type. My sister got all of those genes. But every kid on earth loves to color and doodle. Lynda begins this lesson by asking why we stopped. With the near-sighted monkey as our mentor and guide, we are introduced to a series of exercises designed to release our adult inhibitions, get that pencil back out and do a mood doodle.
In fact, this book is not just for the artist. It is for anyone who uses their imagination and creativity for anything...a writer, a sculptor, a photographer, a blogger. As a blogger, I know that there are times when I cannot type a word to save my soul. There is no inspiration in my body. The near-sighted monkey, and her friends Marlys, the dear chicken, the rabbit, the octopus, and other wacky friends, are here to help.
Intention is the killer of creativity, says Barry. She also advises "The worst thing I can do when I'm stuck is to start thinking and stop moving my hands". This makes sense to me. When I can't imagine writing a word, sometimes the best thing for me is just not to overthink it and dive in.
Barry's illustrations are so unique, you would be able to spot them anywhere. They are quirky and intricate, and at the same time juvenile. They just beg your eyes to take it all in. It is like looking at one of my kids' I Spy books. Barry has a lot of helpful messages, but there is joy in just the LOOKING.
It just confirms that I need more of this in my life. I would highly recommend that you pick up one of Lynda's books and just give it a try. You can browse through it in a couple of hours, but I promise these are books you might want to own so you can draw from the lessons at your own pace.
5 out of 5 stars