Gray Area

Better late than never. This was drawn in November, 2014. It is one of my favorite time-change cartoons. This cartoon is notable in another way: it employs a benday pattern, the dots that produce the large uniform gray areas in panels one and three. For more than a century, newspapers printed with only one color, black. Any white was the color of the newsprint itself. All between shades of gray (and gray is all there would be) were created by breaking down areas of black with the use of dots which would vary in size and pattern. This is the benday pattern, named for its 19th-century inventor, illustrator Benjamin Henry Day Jr. Benday patterns have been integral to printing ever since, including the printing of color images, a varying but similar process. I say it is notable in this case, because I seldom have used shading to achieve gray in Arlo & Janis. Usually, it’s just black and white.

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