Artist Log [1] – Belgian Comic Art

I went to a lecture yesterday about Strip Comic in Belgium. The presenter is from the Museum of Comic Art in Belgium, and he has mentioned several really famous comics born in Belgium including Tin Tin, Lucky Luke (which a lot of people think is American), and Smurfs (which a lot of people think is American again). It was both nostalgic and inspiring. 

I loved Tin Tin a lot when I was a kid. My cousin has a full collection of them at our grandparents’ place and reading them used to be one of my major activities when I spent my summer there. The lecturer talked about a lot of things I didn’t know about Tin Tin: it started as something to spread political ideologies (Tintin in the Land of the Soviets, and Tintin in the Congo). Herge talked to a Chinese student who was studying in Belgium (Cheng/Chen/Chang/Chan?) a lot before he produced the fifth book, the Blue Lotus, which was about China. That was a huge success and after that, he started to do his own researches about the place before drawing the adventures. Also, Tin Tin’s hair didn’t start with the signature style, while it first appeared in a scene where Tin Tin was in a car and got his hair blown up by the winds. Then they decide to keep that and it became into the symbol of Tin Tin.

I guess the most important takeaway from the lecture is that good comic drawing could convey an incredible amount of motion and emotion through just static lines. And as our media of expression becomes richer and richer, those qualities don’t exist anymore. That is definitely something I should learn when I draw short comics (which are not that good at this stage) for characters in Theta in the future. For the game itself, what I have had so far are mostly avatars, so there are really limited body movements or posts. But their facial expressions should definitely be richer and more distinct.

Finally, another anecdote about Lucky Luke: the undertaker in Lucky Luke is portrayed as a super ugly guy. And that is because the author used to doodle a lot during classes in school, and sometimes he drew his teachers. When he was drawing Lucky Luke, he decides to recycle those old doodles, and the undertaker is an act of revenge to his childhood teacher…

Also, do you know that Smurfs first appeared as side characters in Johan et Pirlouit? But kids became crazy about them so they wrote letters to the author to ask for more stories, and eventually, Smurfs had their own series.

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