Texture: Alexandra Borders


Page 151 from Lynda Barry’s “What It Is.”
Barry, Lynda. What It Is. Drawn & Quarterly, 2008. Print.

Texture can play a large role in creating images, specifically in bringing the picture to life. Whether it be on a smaller scale or a larger scale, texture works to bring more detail to a picture. Texture can convey various things, including how an item might feel, the look of a surface, and giving a picture dynamic elements.


In her graphic novel What It Is, Lynda Barry uses texture in an unique way to convey different aspects of her images. From the example of page 151, texture can be seen all over the page, playing smaller parts of a whole.

First, she uses texture to convey a certain amount of a realistic look. The dresses on this page all are drawn with patterns that can stand to simply show a specific pattern, but they also work to show what the fabric might feel like (the dress placed behind the number seven, for example). There is also dots drawn over the octopus’s body, giving the creature a more dynamic textural skin, adding something real to it, even though it is quite clear it’s a drawing. She uses this aspect of creating some realism to unfold her stories or messages.

It can also be seen on this page that she uses different textures and patterns to decorate, creating borders and backgrounds. This serves as dividers or creating barriers between separate parts of the page, drawing attention to sections in individual ways. This gives her pages more contrast and more dynamic aspects that work to make all parts of the page cohesive.

Lynda Barry’s storytelling is indeed unique, and she uses several tools and techniques to do so, texture certainly being one of them. Texture adds more depth and understanding to her drawings, also acting as points that draw a readers attention to a specific part of the page, perhaps where her message or idea is being most emphasized.

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