Lynda Barry’s What It Is is an amalgamation of orginal work by Barry and excerpts and cutouts from others. There are two distict styles at play here, page 97 is my favorite to showcase layers.
Lynda’s work is made on yellow notepad paper, but it is not clearly evident on this page like on other pages. Here Lynda cuts and pastes objects on the page, completely covering the blue lines that are usually visible.
This in turn not only creates texture, but a hierarchy in what Lynda considers important. Text and photograph cutouts that are relevant to the subject she is discussing are on top, in the foreground, and background images and illustrations or on the bottom, in the background.
I would like to finish reading Good-bye Chunky Rice by Craig Thomson. What really attracted my attention to the graphic novel was the turtle character, Chunky Rice and how much he resembled a character I made up for a project years ago.
The entire graphic novel relies on black and white drawings very much in the style reminiscent of woodcuts. The lines are sharp and there is a lot of contrasts, so this might not seem at first to lend itself to the best display of layers. But Thompson’s use of framing creates the effect of layers.
The dialogue boxes go above all else, even the borders that often form the frame of a particular comic panel. Next in this hierarchy that Thomas creates are objects in motion. Often times when an object, most notably in this page, like a shovel or a bucket is in motion by the character this object once again goes beyond the black borders that create the frame for the panel.
One more way that Thomas implies layers is when scenes last over several panels. It is really evident on the lower left panel and the one right above it. It almost appears that the black borders are added on top of the scene, there is a continuity in-between the frames that makes this possible.