7.5 x 9.8
200 Pgs
$25.95 CAD/$22.95 USD

The idiosyncratic curriculum from a 2019 MacArthur Fellow will teach you how to draw and write your story

Hello students, meet Professor Skeletor. Be on time, don’t miss class, and turn off your phones. No time for introductions, we start drawing right away. The goal is more rock, less talk, and we communicate only through images.

For more than five years the cartoonist Lynda Barry has been an associate professor in the University of Wisconsin–Madison art department and at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, teaching students from all majors, both graduate and undergraduate, how to make comics, how to be creative, how to not think. There is no academic lecture in this classroom. Doodling is enthusiastically encouraged. Making Comics is the follow-up to barry’s bestselling Syllabus and this time she shares all of her comics-making exercises. In a new hand drawn syllabus detailing her creative curriculum, Barry has students drawing themselves as monsters and superheroes, convincing students who think they can’t draw that they can, and most important, encouraging them to understand that a daily journal can be anything so long as it is hand drawn.

Barry teaches all students and believes everyone and anyone can be creative. At the core of Making Comics is her certainty that creativity is vital to processing the world around us. In 2019, Barry received a MacArthur Genius Grant for her work as an educator and cartoonist. 

Praise for Making Comics

Barry is pushing the envelope on understanding how the brain creates and responds to words and pictures — a scholarly envelope that, in her mind, should be positively covered with illuminating doodles.

The Washington Post

Making Comics is stuffed to the gills with Barry’s friendly wisdom, characteristic doodles, and mind-expanding exercises.

The Paris Review

Barry’s infectious belief in art turns “Making Comics” into the ur-text out of which every other title on this [best-of] list could have sprung; at the very least, it’s the self-help book of the year.

The New York Times

What’s most delightful about Making Comics is its emphasis on action, on exercise, on practice—on actual making.

The New Republic

Part motivational lecture, part creative writing exercise, part group therapy session, and part trippy meditation on memory and play… Barry is not only a genius herself but an encourager of genius in others.

The Nation

Barry pairs a spirit of wise and open encouragement — that we already know how to draw since we were doing that before we could write, we’ve just forgotten or convinced ourselves otherwise — with a demand for rigor... The underlying thesis of Making Comics is that anyone can discover their own cartooning genius, if they are willing to put in the work. 


Making Comics is more of an actual course, with instructions and a list of materials; but as in everything Barry creates, her language and art are studded with haunting allusions. (…) Clearly, she’s her own best student and has absorbed the lessons of how to tap into her unconscious. Her imagination is formidable.

Publishers Weekly

An instructional book that doubles as a work of art... These lessons from Barry, like her art, capture her own brand of magic: a synthesis of theory, practice, memory, imagination, and 'a certain sort of unlearning.'

Publishers Weekly

I've read a lot of writing and drawing textbooks, and Barry's is the only one that has made me choke up with emotion.

Pop Matters

Eternally wise and strange.


Delightful… [Making Comics] offers a thoughtful, clear, step-by-step approach to generating creative work in words and pictures, which is daunting when a person is staring at a blank page and wondering how they could possibly begin.

New City Lit

A sequential art legend known for her imaginative and deeply personal work... shares her comics-making exercises that detail her creative curriculum.

My Modern Net

A book that is every bit as much about creative problem solving as it is drawing. What I love most about Barry is not just her exercises, but the way she thinks about thinking, How do we learn? What is the relationship between a thought, a dream, a memory, and a story?

Mira Jacob, Chicago Tribune

Making Comics is both a tool kit of her comics-making exercises and a tender manifesto about how anyone can create. 

Lit Hub

The activities, drawn from Barry’s own magical classroom, are fun, flexible, and easy to follow [while] the reality that art drives and sustains us, if we let it, is present on every page… An engaging combination of how-to and why-you-must, perfect for anyone with a story itching to be told.

Library Journal starred review

[Making Comics] will help anyone, adult or child, to regain the spirit of freedom, improvisation and joy.


[Making Comics] feels like taking a class from Marlys while stuck in the living room at your cousin's house, and it's a delightful, shed-your-inhibitions-about-your-talent kind of instruction.

Chicago Reader

[Making Comics is] full of drawing exercises that help you access your creativity and silence your inner critic.


There’s a serious theoretical underpinning here, and Barry’s lighthearted and genuinely fun approach is directly in service of it: banishing your inner critic, developing a disciplined (but playful) practice, and dismantling beliefs about what constitutes a “good” comic is key to finding something organic, original, and true.

Booklist, Starred Review

One of the best, most practical books ever written about creativity.

Boing Boing

A lesson in rekindling our inner spark...part philosophical discussion, part memoir, and part straight-into-the-vein fun.

Black Girl Nerds
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