I’ve been obsessed with the modern work of Lynda Barry for a while now. The alt-cartoonist legend, who is professional rivals/best friends with LIFE IN HELL cartoonist (and “The Simpsons” creator) Matt Groening, has, for the past few years, been teaching writing/cartooning classes, posting her lesson plans and assignments online through her Tumblr blog The Near-Sighted Monkey.
It’s been a really cool and weird thing to watch. There are drawing as well as writing exercises based on listening exercises, on photos, on prompts, and other stuff. Barry’s assignments and lessons, combinations of free-form art and practical tips on writing, journaling, and embracing irregular/imperfect art styles are a really cool thing you can follow along, read, see the work her students do (she posts some periodically), and even follow along if you want to.
Honestly, I’m a little jealous as a teacher, because her work is pretty much what I’d love to do in a classroom environment. It combines the three things I do and love (writing, cartooning, and teaching) in a way that makes it fun (but actually work as a class with assignments and whatnot).
Anyway, check it out. She’s also got a book compiling her assignments/work/syllabus (called, appropriately enough, Syllabus), and other books/comics going back a while. Her body of work as not just a cartoonist but artist and writer overall is amazing.