When I was researching for my next book (A Brilliant History of Color in Art, to be published by the Getty in November) I looked into the Benday dots that Roy Lichtenstein made famous. And I learned that Benday was a real person. Benjamin Day. So I imagined a comic book sequence telling the story of his invention. Obviously you’ll have to imagine it too, as I can’t draw. Though if anyone wants to mock it up that would be cool.
FRAME ONE and TWO, BEN DAY as a kid – done in the black and white style of an 1850s news engraving drawing
(1852: A boy of about 14 is hunched over a desk. Behind him is an open door, whereNEW YORK SUN Proprietor: Benjamin Henry Day.
is written in appropriate lettering. You can see his father in the next room, obviously the editor, but with a compositor’s magnifying glass…
“Dad. Black and white’s so last century. Isn’t there a way we could get some color into the paper?”
“I’m not made of money, Ben. You’d have to make it really cheap.”
NEXT FRAME, almost the same but the door’s closed… The boy’s scribbling now and thinking to himself
“Now… if I just combined three plates of dots…” Continue reading