The Science of Black And White pt 2

There are many examples of beautifully composed b/w pages that can be found online, by such artists as Mignola, Miller, Murphy, Eisner, Tim Sale, Francesco Francovilla (whose name I probably just butchered), Chris Samnee, Paul Grist, Toby Cypress, and Guy Davis, to name a few. Here’s one example. A page from Sean Murphy’s upcoming creator-owned book, PUNK ROCK JESUS.

( image used with permission from Mr. Murphy’s deviant art: )

Before you click on it and enlarge the image, take a moment to look at it as the thumbnail.

You can see the science at work already. The white cone at the very top of the page, created by the black shapes around it, leads your eye to the boy’s face. His face is also a white shape inside black shapes, maintaining the downward momentum into the second panel, of adult Kael. This is the reveal that this boy is now this grizzled, tough man. His face is dirty, and covered in black with an empty panel. It’s a black shape now surrounded by white shapes. It’s this transition that causes the eye to maintain the downward momentum to that second panel reveal.

Then, our eye is lead to an unboxed third part to this story, the billboard sign. Instead of our eye continuing the straight downward momentum to the reveal of Kael on the motorcycle, we’re lead slightly off to the right of the page, AROUND the big reveal, and into a connecting story aspect. The train tracks help create a nice cone of white leading us from the second panel to the sign, with the black top to the building guiding our eye directly to the badass reveal of Kael.

The top of that building is like an arrow screaming “NOW GO HERE!” pointing right at Kael’s face, and letting our eye resume it’s natural movement to follow Kael, revealing that he’s about to go ruin someone’s day.

This is a beautifully crafted page that plays with the natural movement of the eye and it’s ability to recognize shapes in order to enhance the storytelling in the page.

It’s one example of someone using the science of b&w to their advantage. You can see many more examples in Murphy’s pages on his deviant art site, as well as in his books, JOE THE BARBARIAN, and upcoming AMERICAN VAMPIRE fill-in.


About donaldelay

Small press cartoonist. CNA. College Student. Curmudgeon.
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One Response to The Science of Black And White pt 2

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