In their book Graphic Design: The New Basics, Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole Phillips define layers as “simultaneous, overlapping components of an image or sequence” (141). I completely agree with this definition because it is well-written and I think that overlapping is one of the most important aspects when creating layers. Overlapping is when an object has different layers and those layers are shown by one layer that is laying over the top of another, essentially covering up a percentage of the bottom layer. Cut and Paste and Mixing Media are two kinds of layering that Lynda Barry uses in her graphic novel, What It Is. This is a very unique style of art and it used on almost every page of Lynda’s book. For example, on page 30, she has several layers of images that are stacked on top of each other. Some of these images are paintings or drawings, some are printed cutouts, and some are even real digital photos taken from a camera. Barry also layers her text across the images in a variety of different ways, whether it be cutouts of printed text, hand-drawn text, or stylized text over the images. Her creative cut and paste method as well as her use of mixing media is what makes her work so unique.
Layers are very important when it comes to adding depth to an image. As a designer, you want to create variation within your work so it doesn’t all look the same and so that different parts or layers stand out more than others. If some layers are deeper in the background than others, it can provide a three-dimensional effect and help the layers stand out more or appear as if they are in front of the other layers. A good example of this is shown in Daniel Clowes’ graphic novel, David Boring. As you can see in the majority of the frames, there are objects that are placed in front of others to add depth to the image. The frame in the bottom left corner shows a tree that is well in front of a house to make it appear as if the house is farther back. The tree layer is overlapping the layer of the house within the picture.