Syllabus 'lively volume from a true master'

“Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor” / Booklist / Sarah Hunter / February 26, 2015

Renowned comics artist Barry offers a glimpse into both her ideas about creativity and her teaching process in this enlightening and absorbing collection of pages from her journals and syllabi. By playfully exploring expression, memory, and mindfulness, among many other things, Barry encourages her students to quit trying to achieve “good” art and instead focus on almost childlike freedom with drawing. “There is an aliveness in these drawings that can’t be faked,” she writes. All the coursework is built on daily diaries to help “notice what you notice,” a deceptively easy foundation that will capture something vital about art. It’s an empowering message, and Barry’s gleefully jumbled pages—packed with sketches, personal journal entries, handwritten notes, collage, and some of her students’ work—are a testament to the usefulness of unfettered experimentation. But despite the doodles and irreverent tone (“Compare my comic strip about being exhausted with the strip about a barbarian sticking his butt out. Which makes you feel more alive?”), this endeavor is serious business. Barry requires a lot of work from her students, but even that is encouraging. Creativity is not bestowed from on high; it can be cultivated (albeit with a boatload of sometimes plodding effort). Anyone trying their hand at creating something artistic would be well served to dip into this lively volume from a true master.

Share on Facebook
Share on Tumblr
Share via Email