29 April 2009

Hergé Draws Tintin and Snowy

2047.A ways back, I found and posted a link to a video of Scott Adams doing a Dilbert daily strip.

It's very hard to find interesting videos or pictures of artists actually creating thier art, so it's been awhile but I just turned up another one.

I don't speak of it often (I'm not ashamed or anything, it just doesn't come up), but I have long been head-over-heels in love with Tintin, the boy reporter. I wish I could say I've been reading him since I was in grade school, but that isn't true; I discovered him as a young adult. But when I opened my first Tintin album, I was immediately smitten.

There are a lot of interesting things about him. Even though he's a boy reporter, in the traditional globetrotting adveturer style, I only recall him filing a story ever just one time (near the beginning of the adventure The Shooting Star). He wore his trademark "plus fours" (those short, bloused pants), traditional uniform of the European child of the day, until his last published adventure in the 1970s (Tintin and the Picaros). The 80s new-wave musical group Thompson Twins took their name from the two comical, bumbling, bowler-hatted opratives Thompson and Thomson (they even had an early song "We Are Detective").

His creator, the Belgian artist Georges Remi (known by the Francophone pronounciation of his initials reversed, or Hergé), is credited with being the originator – or at the least, the perfector – of the comic style known as ligne claire, or "clear line". It's a visually exciting collision of fancy and reality, in which all lines are drawn as clear, strong, equally-important-weight lines. It's a beautiful style.

Anyway, I told you all that as introduction to this very short clip I just located on YouTube, in which Hergé dashes out a signature Tinitin-and-Snowy sketch to (apparently) a fan with a pen in just a handful of quick strokes (follow the link there ... I tried embedding the video but my version of Firefox just shows a big white box).

One of the most amazing things about a practiced artist, as Hergé certainly was by this time, was that drawing the figures was so natural after years of doing it that they emerge from the pen of the artist almost as though they were extensions of his physical form that just grew from the pen itself.

I recently stumbled on a copy of a rerelease of the last unfinished Tintin, Tintin and Alph-Art, which Hergé was working on before he died. It remains in the form of a transcription and his layout pages in the process of being set up. Amazing stuff. I'll share that in another missive.

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Chris Tregenza said...

The ease at which an experience artist can draw their characters has always fascinated me.

As a child I dreamed about being able to draw as effortlessly as those people I saw on TV. As an adult I still dream about it.

You may be interested in some other examples of Ligne Claire from my blog:


Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Thank you for pointing that out to me. That's a brilliant collection, and rates a mention as a separate blog entry over here!