Best. Syllabus. Ever.

I love Lynda Barry, and as I prepare my syllabi for the fall semester, it’s a delight to revisit her work and use it as a way to make me rethink my own teaching methods.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

tumblr_ngzqkl2VPm1t3i99fo4_1280In a recent residency at Atlantic Center for the Arts (great place, check it out!), our workshop leader had us do a daily exercise from cartoonist Lynda Barry: Divide the paper into four sections, label them Did, Saw, Heard and leave one open for a picture. In each quadrant, note down things we did, saw, and heard – and draw a picture.

It’s an exercise in observation, it’s fun, it’s a good free-write to get started on the page, and after about day three I stopped worrying about the quality of my drawing.

The exercise comes from Lynda Barry’s actual syllabus for her class at the University of Wisconsin, a nonfiction-driven cartooning class. And Barry’s whole syllabus, in more or less the form in which she issued it to her students, is also available as a book. Check out some selections from Syllabus over at Open Culture –…

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