· Posted: 14 Oct 2005 12:51 · Edited by: jock123
I don't think it was Hergé, because the quality of the inking is an order of magnitude better
I don't think Hergé's skill as an artist in either pencil or ink has to be called into question.
Undoubtedly the early works of the B&W canon appear crude compared to later albums, but it was choice, not lack of skill.
Furthermore, he developed by leaps and bounds as the years went by - after being tutored in oriental techniques by T'Chang, and through the application of more time and thought.
Remember at the time of Soviets he was often drawing and inking two pages of Tintin, two pages of Quick and Flupke, any other editorial illustrations needed for the Petit Vingtième, plus outside work such as adverts, book covers and illustrations every week - and in a variety of styles! Later books were given a bit more breathing space, and this helped.
Chang didn't just tutor Hergé in technique - perhaps his greatest contribution to Hergé rising and rising in stature is that he asked of Hergé that he took his art seriously: a mental change, that said if he was to do a comic-strip, he was to do the best comic-strip that he was able to - not to dismiss it as juvenile and unimportant, but a commitment to quality every time he put pen to paper.
The question of style is also an important one: the "crude" look of the early strips wasn't just down to time, or significant of a lack of ability: it was contributed to by the look of other cartoons and comics by other artists, which Hergé was to a certain extent emulating.
In other work done at exactly the same period, Hergé showed mastery in other styles, producing art-deco and woodblock inspired designs, and even other cartoons, which have none of the "flaws" of his Tintin strips.
My suspicion is that, if anything, things occurred the other way around to what you are suggesting - Hergé probably received pencils of tanks and things from his assistants, and inked them himself.
And I think his line if anything became more controlled, more uniform as he progressed.
If you look at books like the Chronologie, which show many examples of Hergé's graphic art, you can see that he was quite capable of many many styles of work, not just the ligne-claire, so I don't think it is unusual that his style should change.
As has been pointed out elsewhere, Hergé used a dipping pen, equipped with a British Gillot Inqueduct G2 nib.