Shadow

Another winner from the incomparable Suzy Lee. {And the Christmas present from my boyfriend that made me promise to never holler, “BUT YOU DON’T GET ME!” ever again.}

This story is mainly wordless, and begins at the very, very beginning: the endpapers.

The click of a lightbulb in a dark, dark attic creates an imaginary (or not?) playground for one very effervescent bob-haired girl.

Suzy Lee once again uses the gutter as a sort of wall between what is real and what is imagined. Ordinary objects on the left side become fantastic and extraordinary on the right. Or perhaps the left page is the top and the right page is the bottom? Reading this story is quite an interactive experience, because the reader is constantly turning the book around in circles before the turn of the page.

ELEMENT OF DESIGN: VALUE

The lightness or darkness of a color is called value. Value is closely related to contrast, as dark vs. light is one of the easiest ways to produce contrast in a design. One of the greatest features of Shadow is how your perspective is constantly changing while reading, both as you study the illustrations and as you physically turn the book in circles. A variation in light and dark tones is an excellent way to move your viewer’s eye through a design. Check it out:

See how the lines on the left are static and steadfast and your eyes do not travel up and down the column? Contrast that with the middle and right stacks of lines, and you can easily see how value is used to direct your eye.

Suzy Lee does the same thing in Shadow, even when the little girl’s world grows peculiar and wild.

And just like that, CLICK goes the lightbulb once again. No more change in value, no more shadows. The end.