I have a really cool homework assignment right now and I thought some people might be interested in it. The class it's for is environment design and we are learning about what makes a good scene/ environment particularly for animated films, movies, video games etc, but I plan to apply this science to comics.
This weeks lesson is over clarity. The exercise is to see if a scene reads when you break it down into its most basic forms. We were asked to find scenes from our favorite movies etc. and render those scenes using 3 values, any 3 values but only 3, no shading or gradients, and see if the scene still makes sense and you can tell what is going on. We have to do 12 studies and were told not to use a formulaic selection of values, meaning use different combinations on the value scale and really focus on the subject matter. It is great practice and I feel like I am finally getting a more than basic grasp of composition by doing these exercises. It is very challenging and some scenes I think would be impossible to get in only 3 values. I've spent the past 2 days combing movie scenes looking for usable material and I finally clued in on why some movies are hits and some are B movies, and it's not just about bad acting.
Anyway it's great fun if you want to try it out for yourself for practice. When you get done you have a cool looking piece of fan art. Here are two solutions I came up with. The first one is from the film Pulp Fiction and the second one is from the series Penny Dreadful.
Oh btw I did these in photoshop but if you had the inclination it could be done with paper. If you did one big enough it would make a very cool poster. Hmmm that is a thought.