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Who inked the lush calligraphic lines?

#1 · Posted: 14 Oct 2005 11:26 · Edited by: Moderator
In Tintin's later adventures, there is a dramatic shift in the style of the inking, particularly the use of lush calligraphic strokes (variable-width lines) with very smooth curves.

It's like every single stroke has a soul of its own, rendered with care, patience, and passion. I'm not surprised it took much longer to finish the last books.

From the other threads posted here and from some research on the internet, I realized that Hergé used many assistants, especially for coloring, background details, and technical drawings (e.g. Flight 714).

What I'd like know is, who did the inking for the later adventures? I don't think it was Hergé, because the quality of the inking is an order of magnitude better than the somewhat clumsy lines in the earlier adventures.

Maybe Hergé did all the penciling work for the main characters, but most likely someone else inked them.

I'd also like to know what kind of tools and techniques used for the inking process of these smooth calligraphic lines: Calligraphic crow quill pens, brushes, drawing with thin technical pens, or a combination of the above?

#2 · 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.
#3 · Posted: 15 Oct 2005 04:11 · Edited by: Moderator
Thanks jock. I looked up the "Gillot Inqueduct G2 nib" on Google, and found a link to a picture of Hergé inking. That's amazing.

Where can I find more info about Hergé's process?

I'm very interested in it from a technical/artistic point of view.

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