The Shape of Ideas: An Illustrated Exploration of Creativity (Hardcover)

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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 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.

— Sarah Bagby


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 beach, or a dreamer who sits on the front porch contemplating life, this collection of one- and two-page comics will provide insight into the joys and frustrations of creativity, inspiration, and process--no matter your age or creative background.

Also Available: The Shape of Ideas 2018 Wall Calendar (ISBN: 978-1-4197-2456-5)

About the Author

Grant Snider is an orthodontist by day and an artist by night. His comics have been featured in the Kansas City Star, the New York Times, and the New York Times Book Review, as well as The Best American Comics in 2013. He lives in Wichita, Kansas, with his wife and three children. Visit him online at

Product Details
ISBN: 9781419723179
ISBN-10: 1419723170
Publisher: Abrams Comicarts
Publication Date: May 9th, 2017
Pages: 144
Language: English