Layers are simultaneous, overlapping components of an image or sequence. Layers allow designers to treat images as a collection of assets. Many times layers are associated with collages and the cut and paste technique. Many modern designers use the collage technique to juxtapose layers of content, create layers that switch between flatness and depth and also create positives and negatives. In order to create collages, the cut and paste technique is used. Other examples of layer use can be seen in maps and music or video design. For example, maps use color, line, texture, symbols, icons, and typography to create different levels of information. This in turn allows for layers to be read independently and perceptions to be made about each layer. In music there are various layers to create certain sound tracks and songs.
In this example by Lynda Barry, “What It Is”, there are a number of examples of layers. Her entire book is composed with the use of collage and the cut and paste technique. Many of her pages such as this page page 61, are created by compiling and combining a bunch of images to create a greater larger image. You can tell that each of the different elements are cut out, or even ripped out sometimes, and then added to the rest of the page. For example, the little blue peanut cat thing on the right edge of the page has a jagged edge to it that clearly signifies that it was ripped out and then added. This not only adds a layer element to her piece but also some texture.
Another example of layering can be seen here. Instead of using the collage style of layering that Lynda Barry uses, Jason Aaron, the author of Star Wars, uses layering to give depth to his images. For example in each of the frames the characters are layered behind one another to indicate who might be closer in perspective or who might be farther in the background. Another example of Aaron’s use of layering can be seen in the third frame where all the lesser characters are layered within each other to create the appearance of a crowd. I think that this use of layering is a lot more common in comics. It allows the author to create more of a 3D scene and lets the reader get lost in the depth of their comics more.