Graphic Artist and University of Wisconsin-Madison professor are a few titles among many that are used to describe the acclaimed Lynda Barry, who gave a talk on creativity Tuesday evening at the Bama Theatre. Detailing what an image is, the divide that school creates between writing and drawing and her personal life in relation to art, Barry covered it all.

Sitting in the half-lit room, Lynda Barry said she liked it that way – it let her see her audience.

There was a range of guests to be seen attending her “What It Is” talk on creativity. She began her lecture by singing a song, claiming that if you can sing in front of a crowd you can do anything.

Graphic novelist and self-proclaimed “accidental professor” Lynda Barry knew exactly how to keep her audience engaged as she spoke about the meaning of an image and the way that children experience art and writing. She detailed her own life in relation to her journey through the world of art, where she says we all begin as children. Describing how, for a child, writing one’s name is like drawing each letter because the movement is not yet automatic, she made it clear that we all start out drawing at least some things.

A child of immigrants, raised primarily by her Filipino grandmother who took a story-based approach to child-rearing, Barry said she’s “glad to have been born in a world full of characters.”

She accredits her former professor Marilyn Frasca, for whom she first modeled, for getting her started with art. She saw the unique way that Frasca taught her students and recalled thinking, “I don’t want to be a model for her class, I want to be in her class.”

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