Design Elements and Principles: Bailey Tompkins

Scott McClouds novel, Understanding Comics, pages 52 and 53

McCloud’s layout, in Understanding Comics, is effective in terms of the elements described by John Lovett. In McCloud’s novel, pages 52 and 53 show an abundance of design features that Lovett defines. The most obvious elements being line, direction, and value.

On page 52, the design element of a line is used is many different forms. One type of line that can be found on this page is a line that can create other elements. This is shown by the triangle that is made in the center of page 52 and page 53. This line created a shape which holds other design elements inside. Another type f line on this page is a boundary line. On the outer left side of the triangle on page 52, there is a drawing of an eye that implies a contrast to the triangle. These two shapes rely on each other because half of the eye is portrayed to be behind the triangle from the readers perspective.

Page 52 also displays the design element of direction. The lines that formed the triangle are positioned on the page in a perspective that represents a pyramid. The pyramid is formed using direction both vertically and horizontally. The dominant direction of the pyramid is vertical which catches the readers eye and influences the atmosphere generated by the artwork.

Value is an element of design that utilizes the lightness and darkness of an object to direct attention where the author wants the reader to be drawn to. Value is sometimes referred to as tone and it is crucial to comics such as McCloud’s that are colorless. Pages 532 and 53 use tone in the drawings of the characters inside the pyramid to highlight facial features and characteristics. The darker toning catches the readers attention while maintaining a relative tonal relationship with the rest of the text on the page.  

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