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The Shape of Ideas: An Illustrated Exploration of Creativity
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The Shape of Ideas: An Illustrated Exploration of Creativity

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  1,514 ratings  ·  310 reviews
What does an idea look like? And where do they come from? Grant Snider’s illustrations will motivate you to explore these questions, inspire you to come up with your own answers and, like all Gordian knots, prompt even more questions. Whether you are a professional artist or designer, a student pursuing a creative career, a person of faith, someone who likes walks on the b ...more
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published May 9th 2017 by Harry N. Abrams (first published 2017)
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Average rating 4.21  · 
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 ·  1,514 ratings  ·  310 reviews

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Mutasim Billah
I came across Grant Snider's work on Facebook, through his page Incidental Comics . His illustrations mostly deal with the struggles of a creative mind trying to cope with life and rinse out some art.

The book is divided into ten parts full of sequential art.

-> Inspiration
-> Perspiration
-> Improvisation
-> Aspiration
-> Contemplation
-> Exploration
-> Daily Frustration
-> Imitation
-> Desperation
-> Pure Elation

Grant Snider didn't aim to make this book look like an answer to the problems creative mi
Dave Schaafsma
Sep 14, 2017 rated it liked it
This book reminded me of an Academy-award-winning short from the seventies, Why Man Creates:

Culled from comics created for Snider’s Incidental Comics site, it’s very attractively—shall we say creatively?—designed, sweetly colorful, with plenty of reflections about the nature of creativity, philosophy, therapy, advice. It opens with a letter to The Reader that makes it appear to be intended as a textbook. As a writer, I have not typically found these books
It was not as good as expected but beyond my expectations of goodness :)


Aug 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
IDEA-a very small word with only four letters. Yes, the word is tiny, but the universe of possibilities that it hides within those four letters is vast! One simple idea can change things in greater ways.

But is it really easy to come up with an idea? No, it is not as easy as it seems to be.

So why are we talking about this silly word? Because-

Ideas matter. Ideas make things. Ideas change things.

Ideas can be different. Ideas can be strange. Ideas can be lame. Ideas can be peaceful.

Ideas can pop
Stewart Tame
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
An excellent and rather whimsical exploration of the creative process. This is a collection of one and two page cartoons dealing with creativity. Not all are funny, but humor isn't really the main point. Most of the laughing I did came from recognition of some insight or truth that Snider encapsulated so perfectly. Anyone who's been even the tiniest bit creative--even just writing a review for Goodreads, for instance--will appreciate this book. Snider has a nice, clean, warm style going for him. ...more
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
"Today I will do nothing... but encourage the grass to grow greener, wait for the flowers to unfurl, analyze the ambitions of robins, study the physics of squirrels, read the writing of branches on the sky, as the wind turns my unread pages. I will master the pursuit of aimlessness. Today is a holiday dedicated to boredom." pg 72

I really liked this one. It was poetic, interesting and engaging. Can be pretty relatable and puts things into perspective. This is definitely the kind of book I could r
Oct 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
This was fun and inspirational. As an artist and writer I knew exactly what he was talking about in the process of creativity! The art was amazing and fun. Well done!
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
This is a must read for everyone. There isn't a single person alive who couldn't take something from this, learn something or be inspired. ...more
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
The illustrations are amazing!! And I did relate to so many subjects!
Worth reading!
Mar 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley, cartoons
This is a collection of cartoons by Grant Snider, which you can see on his website at Incedental Comics. If you like the sort of humor he exhibits there, then this is definetly a good collection to pick up and have in one place.

I found, however, never having read him before, that it seemed a little much to have it all at once, that yes, I get what you are saying, and what you said three pages ago, and yes you were amusing, but what a long book of cartoons. There were a few that I laughed at, or
J & J
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
This was just too cutesy for me...I don't mind some graphics/drawings but this was too much like a cartoon with no punchline. ...more

Genius is...
1% inspiration
29% perspiration
5% improvisation
8% aspiration
7% contemplation
15% exploration
13% daily frustration
11% imitation
10.9% desperation
0.1% pure elation


Drink less
Spread love
Weather changes
Appreciate beauty
Make plans
Nap more
Take risks
Accept limitations
Embrace confusion
Confront phobias
Find joy
Start fresh
Simant Verma
Thank you NetGalley and ABRAMS for providing this ARC in exchange of an honest review

Actual rating: 3.5/5

A truly unique book with lots of great ideas and beautiful illustrations. I have never seen any work of author Grant Snider before. I went to reading this without too much expectations. But it was too good for the first time read of the author.

The books has been divided into 10 different categories: Inspiration, Perspiration, Improvisation, Aspiration, Contemplation, Exploration, Daily frustr
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Cute cartoon book about the struggle to come up with ideas.
Nidhi Srivastava
Pure pleasure.

#popsugarreadingchallenge - A book about art or an artist
Pooja Pimputkar
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Make a fresh brew of coffee, put on some jazz-soul-alt rock and jump into this book experience ! Better still, do all this on a Sunday Morning !

You may already be familiar with some of the profound concepts mentioned in this book.
But the book presents them all in a coherent flow of the creative process, with beautiful illustrations!
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
If you think you don't have ideas , indulge in this book and you will realise where your ideas evaporate into. Minimal illustrative depiction of people who tend to live more inside their heads than out in the world. ...more
Emily Mills
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A great graphic collection of cartoons about everything, especially creativity and ideas. These comics will find you saying "me too!" a lot of you're a human, and especially so if you're a designer, illustrator, or creator. I love the creative way Grant visualizes concepts! ...more
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Simple illustrations bring to life the obstacles we face and hopefully overcome throughout the creative process.
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: writers, readers of Instigation
A little while ago, I was thinking about buying a poster by Grant Snider, who has created so many good cartoons on the internet that they have become familiar memes to me. But then I saw he had a book and bought that instead, so I'd have a volume of them to muse over and possibly to show to the writers in my classes. Snyder creates thoughtful, whimsical one-page comics that are more philosophical than funny -- cute, rather than stuffy, thinkpieces that invite personal reflection. Here, in The Sh ...more
Jayden S.
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
The Shape of Ideas was an okay book in the way it was inspiring and helped you want to do the best you can in life. It was a cute book with all the illustrations and the way the author set the book up. It was very random with the topics and seemed to go all over the place at points, but still managed to connect back to the main theme of the many thoughts and ideas that constantly go through your head.
I would recommend this book more for kids that are eleven or twelve since the way the book is s
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
I first heard of Grant Snider's Incidental Comics through the variety of book-related Facebook pages I follow (he frequently draws comics that relate to reading).

This book, a collection of his works, is just as delightful as I expected it to be. The only reason I'm not buying a copy of my own is that it wasn't actually as book-centric as I expected it to be! BUT it's great (probably) if you're a creative type (which I am not). I'd say the majority of comics had to do with inspiration, or lack of
I first started seeing these cartoons about creativity on Facebook, and some of them really spoke to me. In Grant Snider's first book, some strips are stronger than others, but he consistently looks at abstract ideas in a unique and simple way. My favorite thing about him is that he is a practicing orthodontist:

34 - hitting a wall
57 - disclaimer
67 - balloon
71 - colors
73 - pay attention
80 - spiral
120 - American Art
136 - creative thinking
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love the subtitle of this book—"An Illustrated Exploration of Creativity" because I feel that's the essence of this book. I've read a couple reviews that indicate that this book isn't great at motivating or being a self-help book. However, I'm not sure that's what it's meant to be.

If you've ever consciously engaged in the creative process in any way (art, writing, creating in any form including sewing, fiber arts, paper crafts, anything!) you'll find some familiar feels in this book. From var
Ajay Sambhriya
Dec 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Shape of ideas" reminds me of prisms, except here we have ideas in place of colors.
Every chapter is thought-provoking, every page is beautiful, you turn it because you can't help but try to have a look at another one but your mind stays there on some previous page, at one point you stop reading and start thinking. The most beautiful book I've ever read.
Jun 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This colorful book captures the inner turmoil of artists very well. The never ending chase for ideas, getting overwhelmed by them and etc. also you don’t need to be an artist in the traditional sense to find a piece of yourself_if not many_ in this wholesome read. Artistry is often hidden beneath the surface of many unexpected fields, waiting to be discovered by those who could handle it.
Dec 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Emily gave me this book for xmas and I love it a lot
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
A graphic novel that looks at creativity from a variety of angles. Some cartoons hit the mark, some stray, but overall it’s enjoyable and would make an excellent gift for the creative types in your life. I’d also suggest it as a graduation present, even for those not planning on going into fields traditionally considered creative. Recommended.
Dec 01, 2019 rated it liked it
I think the book shape of ideas was an alright book.I mean it wasn't my favorite book of all time.I like the how the book is set up.Meaning I liked that it was kind of how your life could go and what to do.But I felt the book looked kind of childish. ...more
Ieva Naikienė
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Inspiring, reliefing, humorous piece of art.

Amazing book! I would compare to favorite CD of an artist that you can never be tired listening of. And from whichever track you want – all of them are perfect, makes you dream, laugh and think.
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Grant Snider began drawing and writing before he knew what he was doing. Soon it was too late to stop.

He is the author of the picture books WHAT COLOR IS NIGHT? and WHAT SOUND IS MORNING? and the creator of Incidental Comics. His comics were collected and published in the books THE SHAPE OF IDEAS and I WILL JUDGE YOU BY YOUR BOOKSHELF. Grant's comics about creativity and the human condition have

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