Lynda Barry Essay

Even when I went into the library, I didn’t care what book I grabbed.

I never feel like how a lot of writers do when they talk about their relationship with the book.

You get this feeling like there was this moment when they knew.

I always had an impression of myself that I just wasn’t quite doing it right.

But I was trying; I studied the history of science and the history of the Renaissance, and the way that things were at the Evergreen State College, the idea was that you studied one subject intensively.

And I was really broke and I was sitting in the lunchroom trying to figure out how I was going to stay in college, because I put myself through college, and one of the art teachers came in. LB: Didn’t say anything, and so what you did was you learned to look.

I had never done it, but I had seen life-drawing classes. ’Cause my model just flaked out on me and I got a class. ” I took off all my clothes and I climbed up on this table and he goes, “We’re gonna do short poses,” and I go, “OK,” and so he goes, “Change,” and I was doing all these Playboy poses, because I didn’t know how else [to pose] when you’re naked. Marilyn would go to each person and just stand with them while they were drawing and then they would at some point look at her, and she’d go, “Good.” That’s all she’d say, and she’d let whatever was happening happen. I did start making comic strips mostly to make my friend Connie laugh, but I knew very much about R. Clay Wilson or those guys were in it, they would totally freak me out, because I was looking for, like, the kids’ version, you know?

And I remember him saying, “Could you make it a little less dramatic? And while I was sitting there, I started to get fascinated with this teacher, and then one day I was modeling and I just started crying because I realized I didn’t want to be on the table. And that next year she was teaching a class called “Images,” and there were a lot of people who wanted to get into it and she let me be in it. When I saw Zap I gotthat upsetness, that scrambled feeling, but Crumb had this thing.

I felt like I could already draw, so I shouldn’t spend money on taking drawing and art classes. We did have critiques, but the critiques were that you’d come and they’d put the work on the wall. And so this idea that the work happens anyway was this revelation. I was in seventh grade when I found my first Zap, but I think I had a completely different experience than a lot of guys did, because the drawings of the sex stuff with the ladies really scared the hell out of me.

And so he came in and he was all flipped out and I remember exactly: I was sitting there and I was drinking this cup of coffee and just, you know, drinking more coffee and he said, “You model, right? ” Because I had a friend who did lifedrawing modeling and I knew they got paid four bucks an hour, which was a lot of money for me then. ” I’m following him with my heart pounding: I’m about to go in this room. And the nude modeling I had seen was in Playboy, right? LB: So I do it, just like, “Yes, I do this all the time! LB: It turned out that I knew exactly how to do it, and I loved holding very still and being in a room where people were drawing and I could watch people drawing. The only bad part was I had to be naked in order to experience this, but that was fine. But when I was modeling for Marilyn Frasca’s class, I would notice that there was a whole other thing going on in the room. Well, they’re not alive in the way we are, but are they dead? I studied with her for that one year in “Images,” and then the next year I had an individual contract with Marilyn, and just studied with her. I copied and copied and copied and copied and copied and then I would try to find those collections, but if S.


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