This page from Lynda Barry’s acclaimed graphic novel What It Is has a lot going on in terms of texture. The first thing I noticed when I flipped to this page were the fine black lines vertically stretching through a good portion of the page as a whole. These fine black lines seem to be simply made by a black pen. In fact, it seems that Barry had used one or two black pens for the entirety of this page, except, of course, for her ever-present borders. This produces a sketch-like, almost childish image. The characters and open spaces on the page are shown fairly open and only defined by their edges, while the clothes and background appear as an unclear mess of pen strokes and swirls. The boy at the bottom of the page also caught my eye. I noticed how his pants are not the same texture as his shirt, his socks, his hair, or the floor he is kneeling on. It can also be said that the boy’s texture is mostly defined by cross hatching, while the girl’s clothes (both on the top and bottom of the page) appear as a grouping of swirls instead. I also found it interesting how Barry used dialogue and narration as negative space and, in a way, to provide relief from this kind of shading and texture.
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