© 2021 KMUW
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Book Review

Book Review: 'The Shape of Ideas'

Mark Woolcott Photography

What happens if you study orthodontia, but can’t stop drawing, then post clever comics about writing and reading on a website to be shared all around the world called incidentalcomics.com? And you live in Wichita?


If you’re good, periodicals like The New Yorker and the New York Times will find you and publish your drawings. And because of that exposure, and your ability to take a concept or complex idea and make it come alive in colorful drawings and simple text, you will be chosen for inclusion in the Best American Comics Anthology of 2013. Bonus if the book editor behind the success of the Wimpy Kid series will find you and offer you a book deal.   

This is the story of Grant Snider, and his new book, The Shape of Ideas.

The book is organized into 10 chapters, derived from a comic defining Genius; “Part inspiration, part perspiration” makes up 29%, “daily frustration and desperation” are 23.9%, “aspiration and improvisation,” and so on.    

In the timely comic Message to a Graduate, Snider uses circles to illustrate hoops we jump through to be educated, from a ring of fire, to endless circles of tedium and boredom, to what happens next--creating a new hoop! Another comic in the improvisation chapter is called “Quality of Line.” Do you want a line with character, or spontaneity? One that’s lively, or one with grace...or life, or one that is all your own?  

The Shape of Ideas is a book about looking, process, struggle, and how one creative orthodontist in Wichita has no choice but to create, and has done so since he can remember.