Cartoonist Lynda Barry's The Unthinkable Mind Class Syllabus Available Online

Welcome back to Explicitly Graphic, a monthly column by Cynthia Clark Harvey (who's working on a graphic novel of her own). From time to time, Harvey will review graphic novels, talk to artists, and dive into the scene of all things explicitly graphic. Today, she talks about Lynda Barry's university cartooning class with an online syllabus.

Cartoonist Lynda Barry is encouraging us to do the unthinkable.

For years, Barry has taught a workshop called Writing the Unthinkable. Now she's teaching an interdisciplinary Art/Science/English class, The Unthinkable Mind.

See also: - Chris Ware's Graphic Novel Building Stories is an Unfolding, Inspiring Narrative - University of Chicago's "Comics: Philosophy & Practice" was an Academic-omicon - Sketchy Stuff: A Resource Guide to Drawing Opportunities, Workshops, and Classes in Phoenix

Just 20 fortunate students will be in Barry's UW-Madison classroom this semester, "learning about the physical structure of the brain, how memory, metaphor, pictures and stories work together, the relationship between our hands and thinking, and what the biological function of the thing we call 'the arts' may be."

Each pupil earned their place in the class by completing a 21-point application with some mighty interesting questions.

For the rest of us, Lynda Barry is generously offering the chance to participate from afar. Visitors to Barry's tumblr page will find class assignments, reading and viewing materials and classroom photos of completed work.

Better hurry, though, she's already a week into the course and last week's assignment included several hours of coloring, with a goal of completely using up a box of 24 crayons. Not easy to do, but it's pretty fun trying.

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Cynthia is a freelance writer/artist living in Phoenix. Reading comics has been a lifelong pleasure for Cynthia; creating comics is a more recent pursuit. Cynthia's other job is framing art.