The Grammar of Visual Design
In the picture book ‘The Arrival’ by Shaun Tan, there is an image shown in chapter three on page 18 and 19 that illustrates a chaotic scene taking place involving four gigantic beings looming over a municipality that holds frightened citizens running for their lives.
A technique that Tan has used is the viewpoint in which the illustration is placed. The citizens are drawn as minuscule, petrified objects cowering in terror contrasted against the huge, dark, mysterious giants attempting to suck them up with the vacuum packs attached to their backs.
This image is both Objective and Subjective given that there is no perspective and it includes non-naturalistic shapes and objects – for example, the giants and their machines. The illustration is subjective in that the image and the objects within the image are drawn realistically; they have just been placed in an unrealistic situation. The use of light plays a major part in this representation; the monsters towering over the humans are covered from head-to-toe in protective clothing, and they give off an artificial luminosity which suggests that these giant beings are from, or in the future. The illumination shining on the citizens makes them easily visible which represent’s their vulnerability and how extremely defencelessness they are, whereas the giants possess a much larger, darker exterior giving them a more superior yet mysterious disposition. Vector lines incorporated in this drawing are not made known easily, but they are there. The first indication of vector lines being present is the roofs on top of the buildings; they are all pointing upwards and that by itself averts your eyes to the giants. Another instance where a vector line can be seen begins with the closest gigantic-being and pursues onwards right on through to the giant the furthest away. That also brings me to the point of the ‘visual weight’ allocated on the drawing. Situated to the far left of the page is the...
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