Synopses & Reviews
What It Is
demonstrates a tried-and-true creative method that is playful, powerful, and accessible to anyone with an inquisitive wish to write or remember. Bursting with full-color drawings, comics, and collages, autobiographical sections and gentle creative guidance, each page is an invigorating example of exactly what it is: "The ordinary is extraordinary." Lynda Barry explores the depths of the inner and outer realms of creation and imagination, where play can be serious, monsters have purpose, and not knowing is an answer unto itself.
How do objects summon memories? What do real images feel like? These types of questions permeate the pages of What It Is, with words attracting pictures and conjuring places through a pen that first and foremost keeps on moving. Her insight and sincerity will tackle the most persistent of inhibitions, calling back every kid who quit drawing to again feel alive at the experiential level. Comprised of completely new material, this is her first Drawn & Quarterly book.
"The collages in legendary cartoonist Lynda Barry’s What It Is are a bathysphere-like odyssey through the depths of her funky subconscious." Vanity Fair
"What It Is is equal parts cartoon memoir, collage album, scrapbook, and Zen roadmap. Written and drawn in a chaotic but riveting style, it offers itself as a guide to creative self-ignition." The Boston Globe
"Barry is not just a storyteller, shes an evangelist who urges people to pick up a pen—or a brush...and look at their own lives with fresh, forgiving eyes." San Francisco Chronicle
"Deliciously drawn (with fragments of collage worked into each page), insightful and bubbling with delight in the process of artistic creation. A+." Salon
"Barry is, underneath the wonky handwriting and the quirky, naïve drawings, a great memoirist...Like [Tobias] Wolff and [Dave] Eggers, she finds a tone that accommodates self-criticism and self-irony without tipping over into self-loathing...but what she is particularly good at is resonance." The New York Times
About the Author
Cartoonist, novelist, and playwright Lynda Barry is the creator behind the syndicated strip Ernie Pook's Comeek, featuring the incomparable Marlys and Freddy. Her books include One Hundred Demons and The Good Times Are Killing Me.