Layers: Mikah Chan

Layers allow for a designer or artist to build on top of work to create a finished piece or to continue building on to their art. Lines, shapes, colors, and other elements of a text can be used to create layers, as well as the mixing or relationships built between elements can also be used as layers. Either created by physical materials or through digital tools, different layers of


Page 111 of Barry’s What It Is (Jonathan Cape, 2009)

text are added together to create a complete piece of work. Two examples of layers I have picked out come from Lynda Barry’s What It Is and Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis. Barry’s example creates layers primarily through collage and cut-and-paste techniques. As for all the pages in this book, the base of the text is yellow writing-pad paper, in which she creates layers on through written text and hand drawn illustrations and patterns. Further layers are created by cut-out pastings on the page such as the bird, the flower pattern on the left side of the page, postage stamps, or other pieces of paper with text pasted onto the page. Barry adds layers on top of one another on many of the pages within this book, and overall creates a technical theme for this particular text. The graphic novel I would like to read this semester is Persepolis, an image from a page of


A digital image of a page taken from Marjane Sartrapi’s Persepolis (Pantheon Books, 2003). 

the book to the left. There are a lot of differences in uses of layers in this text compared to Barry’s. For example, only one medium is used here in the form of colored drawings, whereas Barry’s work carries layers made up of multiple mediums (paper, color, drawings, cut-outs, etc.). By using monochromatic colors (black and white), the artist creates layers through contrast and perspective. With objects in the image contrasting against each other, such as the hanging white laundry contrasting against the black background. These techniques create layers based on contrast which delivers a multi-layered text using a limited amount of tools and elements.


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