Monday, September 28, 2009

Benday Dots

(Drawing by Ben Edlund.)

Benday dots are those tiny little dots used in comics to show tone or secondary colors in comics. Modern printing technology doesn’t rely on them anymore, but some artists still use them for aesthetic reasons. Older comics and black and white comics will feature these small dots.

The technique was invented in 1879 by a man named Ben Day so shading could be produced in line drawings printed on a mass scale. Since printing in color used to be limited to the primary colors and black, printers could layer different benday dot colors on top of each other to make secondary colors. For example, yellow could be covered with blue dots to produce green. The dots are so small that the human eye blends to two colors together in a process called optical mixing.

Whenever my husband shows me a comic, I usually look to see if the artist used benday dots. If he starts repeating a story about the comic that bores me, I’ll retell my lecture on benday dots.


  1. So does Ash like The Tick? Did you like The Tick? We are fans of the stupid blue bug because he is so dense, and because ticks are dense, and partly because the whole thing is so stupid. This is one case where I can be cajoled into enjoying a superhero because it's satirical. And so stupid, that in this ONE case, it ends up being funny. Not being a true fan, I have no idea in the world who wrote, created, etc. the series. I do know that Patrick Warburton starred in the non-drawn sitcom called the tick, and I can't look at him and not see The Tick. He just IS the Tick.

  2. My dad loves the Tick...i have no idea why, but he does, and he use to sit me and my sis infront of the tv, and have us watch the Tick. Don't get me wrong, it's freeking halarious, but i remember always thinking, "...why the HECK is he so stupid...?!"