Exercise: Using black and white

Exercise: Using black and white

This exercise asked to play with black and white. The theme I chose from the list has been sea and in particular I draw a lighthouse, inspired by a picture I found of the abandoned Aniva lighthouse.

lighthouse

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I tried to keep the drawing really simple by using few solid lines and then I photocopied the original as requested. I made 2 normal copies and two inverted ones and I started experimenting. I have to admit I was not quite sure of the procedure and ended up leaving my first attempt half way.

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The pieces I cut from the first black copy were already too small and didn’t allow me to go in again with the white. However I think the image, even though incomplete is already somehow effective. I used my second set of copies to have another go. This time I cut larger pieces off the black copy:

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When going in with the white pieces, I tried to suggest light coming from one side: the most difficult thing to render was the water and I had to watch the result from far away to make sure it was readable.

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I think the result is quite good, but I can spot imperfections, for example I didn’t manage to cover all the lines, because they keep appearing from the back drawing.

Comparing the final image to the line drawing, I would say it became alive and it gained a dramatic narrative aura which reminds me of comics and graphic novels.
I browsed some comics artists, but the one I kept thinking of was Frank Miller. I think he really uses black and white to obtain that certain atmosphere typical of his dark novels and his skills are honed to perfection in giving even the smallest details only by the use of black and white areas.

In particular the following examples are from his graphic novel Sin City:

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