Title: Barry, Lynda. Syllabus: Notes From an Accidental Professor
Book Citation: Barry, Lynda. Syllabus. Montreal: Drawn & Quarterly, 2014. 101-200. Print
Summary: In the last hundred pages of Lynda Barry’s Syllabus, there are several themes represented such as time, awareness, focus, panel picturing, and the intersections of writing and the visual. In the exercise’s Barry has presents, she emphasizes how the daily practice of drawing and writing regains our attention span (115) which for many of us is typically lost when we stop drawing altogether after our adolescent years. Barry introduces the question on what is looking vs gazing (127) and attention vs awareness (143) which ties into her next discussion on time. She notes that when drawing comics, it can be quite hard to pinpoint the exact time it takes to draw an image. This discussion on time brings into question our awareness and feelings when completing a task (131) and how oftentimes we have no recollection of the thought process from beginning to end when we are focused on composing.
Keywords: Panel comics, picturing, creativity, dreaming awake, awareness, attention
Citations: McGilchrist, Iain. The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World. New Haven: Yale UP, 2009. Print.
Chaon, Dan. Stay Awake: Stories. New York: Ballantine, 2012. Print.
Quotations: “Both writing and drawing lean on a certain kind of picturing—not the kind that is already finished in your head and just needs to be put to words or reproduced on paper- it’s a kind of picturing that is formed by our own activity, one line suggesting the next” (136).
“On my mind is the question raised by some of my students about what things are worth drawing and writing about – I don’t believe thinking can give you the answer to this, though it feels like it can long enough to stop us from trying” (162).
Question: One of the concepts that Lynda Barry emphasizes in Syllabus is that an image is not what anyone thinks about them (126) so there should be no need to worry if you think your artwork is terrible or not. Shifting this idea to the professional world, how might a design produced online for a website or layout be critiqued? Do the standards change when producing for the business world vs. university? If yes, how can students prepare for the drastic change of criticism and expectation if the standard is different in the classroom?