The Shape of Ideas by Grant Snider | Book Review

My mother always says: ‘If you’re not creative, your soul is dead’. Creativity is not rocket science. It can take any form, or use any medium. What lies at its heart is mystery – one is never sure the chosen idea will lead you where you intended to go, and surprise – often, the most unexpected ideas turn out to be the best.

As the author and artist of this book writes in his letter to the reader, perhaps you search for ideas in a park or in the shower. Maybe your friends mock you for carrying a notebook everywhere, or your coworkers glare at you for doodling aimlessly in the middle of a meeting. Or, you’re someone who simply likes walks on the beach.

Don’t we all, at some point, wonder: what does an idea look like? And where do they come from? Can one aim to seek ideas in a bottomless well of creativity? What if, one day, we run out of ideas altogether? Should we give up the search for new ideas and live a life of blissful non-creativity?

Grant Snider’s illustrations in this book do not aim to solve these problems, nor do they provide the answers to these questions. Instead, they motivate you to explore them and come up with your own answers, thereby prompting even more questions. Whether you are a professional artist or designer, a student pursuing a creative career, a person of faith, or a dreamer who sits on the front porch contemplating life, this collection of one- and two-page comics provides insight into the joys and frustrations of creativity, inspiration, and process—no matter your age or creative background.

4. The Shape of Ideas

Anybody who is a reader would most likely be familiar with Snider’s art–particularly that related to books and reading which has been shared in a host of online articles, Facebook bookgroups, and publishers’ social media handles, over time. I discovered his work on one such platform back in 2016, looked him up on Instagram and have been hooked since.

genius-blog2The Shape of Ideas aims to explain the creative process by breaking it down, as he illustrates in this image. He delves deeper into each of these aspects by walking you through the trials and tribulations associated with them. He employs humour, philosophy and a fair amount of poetry to deal with the frustrations of finding and developing an idea.

I particularly love the way he uses colour in the panels – playing with muted, complementary hues. The font style is clean and simple. All together, they set the theme without overpowering the impact of the content.

Each page tells a story and imparts a truth of life. It encourages you as an artist, builds hope, and inspires you to think out of the box. There is no set formula to creativity. You discover what works for you as you go along.

If you’re the kind to rush through things, you will find this a quick, easy and entertaining comic book. If, on the other hand, you are prone to stop and think about what you see, you will find yourself pondering over each comic and unearthing the joy of the creative process. After all creativity is not a destination, but a journey. Creativity itself doesn’t care at all about results – the only thing it craves is the process. And Grant Snider helps you discover exactly that.

The Shape of Ideas: An Illustrated Exploration of Creativity by Grant Snider. Published in 2017 by Abrams ComicArts, an imprint of Abrams Books.

Book 4 of 2021.

Aquamarine Flavours Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟.

Available on Amazon*.

About Photo: I promised myself to experiment with new craft techniques and the first one this year is Sliceform. Sliceform models are three-dimensional objects created by slicing a solid multiple times on the X and Y Axis. The models are a series of cross sections made of a set of planes cut from card slotted together.
This sliceform of a lightbulb uses different colours of cardstock on the X and Y Axis.
4. The Shape of Ideas
About the Author: Grant Snider began drawing and writing before he knew what he was doing. Soon it was too late to stop. An orthodontist by day and a New York Times bestselling artist by night, his work has appeared in The New YorkerThe New York Times Book ReviewThe Kansas City StarThe Best American Comics 2013, and all across the internet. Snider’s illustrations are featured on the cover and interior of the New York Times bestseller Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts by Susan Cain.
Grant lives in Wichita, Kansas with his wife, daughter, and four sons. You can often find him carrying a sketchbook, lost in his own thoughts.
Visit him online at or follow him on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
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*Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link which means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.


4 thoughts on “The Shape of Ideas by Grant Snider | Book Review

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