Black, White, and 50+ Shades of Grey

When composing pieces in black and white, artists use their talent to describe different colors by shading in certain sections darker or lighter to create shading, highlighting, and just all around differentiation from one thing to the next. Spiegelman heavily focuses on this, trying to exhibit detail and depth through his shading. In book one, character in extreme distances, either very close, like in the focus panel, or far away, are heavily shaded to show the depth of the page. In the first panel, there is heavy highlighting on the character’s profiles to show that the point of view is from the back of the character’s and the light is shining on their faces. This gives more detail, and this picture is just in black and white with no other shading. The shading in other panels, the ones with a multitude of characters allow Spiegelman to differentiate from the characters without resorting to use color. The page that I chose from book two used shading a little bit differently while still focusing on the same principle throughout the rest of the book: to show difference. The first two panels show Art and Vladek completely shaded in. I believe that was Spiegelman’s way to separate the present from the past. He still uses shading to show depth in the last panel and detail and movement throughout the others but those first two panels were very strange. In addition, both Vladek and Mandelbaum are wearing the Auschwitz uniform, a striped shirt and pants set. By highlighting certain facial expressions, Spiegelman was able to differentiate from the two characters without using any other tools except for his single writing instrument.

 

Image found on Flickr

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