Currently I’m trying to extend my skillset to also be able to construct basic infographics and illustrations from scratch. One of my preferred graphic styles for clear minimalist infographics and illustrations is the ligne clear („clear line“) style. The style is notably associated with „Adventures of Tintin“ comics by Hergé (Georges Remi).
Doing some research on the topic I found that there are many other artists besides Hergé who produced and still are producing beautiful work in the ligne claire style. I decided to summarize the main findings or my research as an infographic, or rather, a digital poster. You can see the result below (you might have to open the graphic in a new tab to read the small text.)
The copyrights of the images lie with the referenced authors and publishers. The images are shown here for reviewing and educational purposes only.
One main finding of my research was that Hergé owed a lot to his precursors and collaborators. Especially Edgar P. Jacobs played a major role in introducing realistic props and backgrounds in the Tintin series. He went on to work on his own series: Blake and Mortimer. When Edgar P. Jacobs was unable to continue the work on this series, many other renowned ligne claire artists drew individual volumes: Bob de Moor, Ted Benoît, André Juillard, Antoine Aubin and others. Personally I’m quite fond of the artwork Peter van Dongen did for the most recent volumes.
The shown information is mainly based on these sources:
- Cartoon Museum Basel: Anette Gehrig: Die Abenteuer der Ligne Claire. Der Fall Herr G. & Co., exhibition catalogue, 2013
- Paul Gravett: Hergé & The Clear Line: Part 1, Part 2, online article
- Ligne Claire, Wikipedia article in french
Hergé’s working method can be seen here:
- Youtube video: Hérge nous explique comment naît une planche de Tintin (in French)
- Quora: answer of John Sjöber to the question: What tracing techniques in what time frame did Hergé employ in creating The Adventures of Tintin?
- Youtube video: Tintin chez lui (in French)
- Youtube video: Bob de Moor et la méthode de travail de Hergé aux Studios (in French)
The working method of E. P. Jacobs was quite similar and is shown here:
- Youtube video: E. P. Jacobs explique sa méthode de travail (in French)
I constructed the graphic using my preferred open source vector editing software Inkscape. This turned out to not be the best tool for the job. Layouting is a lot more comfortable in Scribus, the usual open-source desktop publishing software of my choice. I had some difficulties coming up with a balanced layout for the content. Finally, I settled on this structure reminiscient of a triptych. The structure makes sense here, grouping everything around the pivotal work of Hergé. The form (together with the vintage paper-colored background) does however undermine my initial intention of drawing attention to other ligne claire artists beyond Hergé and the timelessness of the ligne claire style.
Note: I first created the infographic shown above in October 2019 with Inkscape and then overhauled it in Juli 2021 using Scribus. Several details of the initial typography and layouting bothered me. As the topic of ligne claire style remained relevant to me, I still wanted to shown this piece on my portfoilo page. I notably replaced the font by one with more font weights, did several changes to element alignment, and added the light gradient in the background.