Solrads are a form of emanata that specifically refer to light and the indication of light. Artists commonly use solrads in effort to denote brightness (in a very basic iteration), and in more complex forms of the symbol denote intensity of the type of light being portrayed. In all contexts it is an index, in the shape of a line, more than a symbol.
The solrads used in this scene in Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman are used to do two things. The yellow lines radiating from the candle indicate the color of the light. Additionally the radius is not a very large one, coupled with the black background depicts a candle that is weaker in strength, and illumination only of the objects in its direct vicinity. [Shouldn’t the artist be the active subject in this paragraph? Gaiman wrote the comic, but he did not draw the illustrations.] [Can we get a bigger, higher quality version of this panel? Or of all these panels?]
[Make the artist the active subject in this paragraph. Same with the third example as well.] Black Science uses a more advanced form of solrad to denote the light coming from the robot hawk’s eye. The continuity in color between the source of the light and the solrads themselves display a piercing stare, as if the eye were so bright it would give off a glaring effect. The large radius of the solrads, and fact that they continue to the edge of the panel make all-encompassing the hawk’s stare, and further add to the intensity of the stare.
The panel depicted in the beginning of The Wicked + The Divine utilizes these emanata to portray the explosiveness of light. The solrads move off panel in a zoom fashion simulating the movement of the light as they surround (in perspective) its source. Also, the white color shows, like the first example, the intensity, as white is often associated with brightness, and at the far end of the spectrum, extreme heat.
The use of solrads to augment our perception of luminosity is vital to the ability of an artist to show dynamic lighting. This means the shape, color, and length of solrad can depict a wide variety of lighting, from weak and isolated, to explosive, bright, and piercing.