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Hergé’s last drawing

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#1 · Posted: 24 Feb 2011 07:15
I have been doing some research but haven't come across or been able to find out what Hergé's last drawing or sketch are.

I'm guessing maybe the final sketch from Alph-Art.

I'm not sure whether it was from there, or an item that now is in someone’s private collection.

Can anyone shed some light on this topic?.
#2 · Posted: 24 Feb 2011 20:00 · Edited by: jock123
It would be very difficult to say, I’d imagine - what counts as a “drawing” for a start?

Hergé seems to have been an inveterate doodler, and the margins (not to say the backs) of some of the pages I have seen exhibited are often adorned with preparatory outlines of figures, abstract patterns, caricatures, cars, boats, random sound-effects, etc., etc.

If this carried on through his daily life, I can imagine that there were napkins, ’phone pads, newspaper margins and note-books with even more of these little drawings and sketches.

Add to this that he was a prolific letter writer, and often added his trade-mark head-and-shoulders drawings of Tintin and Snowy - any one of these could possibly be the “last” drawing.

I wouldn’t rule out Alph-Art, but I also wouldn’t count on that being the absolute last thing he drew; there may be evidence in the archive which says exactly what order things were drawn in, but the pages may have involved him flipping back and forward - so he might have gone back and completed the pencils of the first few pages after he drew that image of Tintin walking from the cell. He might also have drawn any of the other images shown in the second version of the album.

I also seem to remember that there was a mention somewhere that, as he grew more unwell, he put Alph-Art to one side, so potentially it wasn’t something that he was actually working on right at the end.

It might be easier to look for what was the last published drawing he did before he died, or something like that - at least there must be a concrete candidate for that…
#3 · Posted: 24 Feb 2011 21:20 · Edited by: mondrian
I also seem to remember that there was a mention somewhere that, as he grew more unwell, he put Alph-Art to one side

At least Assouline (in his Hergé: The Man Who Created Tintin) states that (though doesn't give an exact date, except it was 1983). And he also says that Hergé visited studios periodically even after he stopped working with Alph-Art, presumably to work with Tintin merchandise etc (or quite possibly to hold on to hope of recovery, which is the image I get, not something explicitly stated by Assouline).

The book also lists few lasts (last painting he bought: The Cheater by Stephan Dejaeger. Last interview: with Peeters. Last words: "I love you" to Fanny), but doesn't offer any guesses what could've been the last drawing.

But no, unfortunately I can't help either. And neither can my bookshelf, Assouline’s book is the only one which says anything about his last few months.
#4 · Posted: 4 Nov 2011 02:10
I started thinking of a probable answer, then something came to my mind; What exactly qualifies as a “Hergé” drawing"?

When I began reading the albums, I was under the impression that a single man drew them all. Then I learned about the early helpers and the Studios and thought they helped with research and drawing backgrounds etc.

But reading more, particularly Michael Farr's Companion, I learned that other people in Hergé's studios drew the characters too (page 183 first paragraph).

Tintin's appearance changes noticeably beginning Moon adventures. So could Hergé's last finished drawing be somewhere in Land of Black Gold?
#5 · Posted: 4 Nov 2011 02:32
What on earth did Herge have to do with post-war Tintin if he didn't even draw the characters? These discoveries are just depressing. I had great admiration for his skills, then found out some of the work was done by assistants. I came to terms with that, then discovered he only drew the characters. That was a sombre moment but I came to an understanding. Now you're saying he didn't even draw the characters! :(
#6 · Posted: 4 Nov 2011 03:15
Now you're saying he didn't even draw the characters! :(

If this helps, there is this interview with Herge which was filmed about the time he was working on "The Castafiore Emerald". In her narration, the interviewer tells of how Herge draws the characters while collaborators deal with such things as furniture and machinery.

Roger Leloup, for example, was responsible for drawing aircraft, most notably in "Flight 714".

I'd said that there were elements of a group effort, but that it was still Herge who drew the actual characters.

And I can't say I blame him, when you see how others coped with drawing Tintin, such as in the title space of a newspaper edition of "Land of Black Gold".
#7 · Posted: 4 Nov 2011 03:36 · Edited by: Pharaoh
Complete Companion, page 183, and I'll reproduce short bits because moderators said longer quotations are unaccebtable.

Therefore the adventure loses subtlety in both narrative and drawing, with the studios and particularly Bob De Moor responsible for a good deal more than the usual background and detail

......... his drawing line (Bob De Moor) is less sophesticated, less charged than Herge's

Haddock's already expressive face can become overly so; the close-ups of Allan and Rastapopoulos are on occasions more than merely grotesque

So, others did indeed draw the characters. Seeing how -at least to my eyes- the way characters are drawn in Flight 714 is typical of every album released (or redrawn) after around 1950, I'd say that from that time on Herge was more of a writer/director of the adventures, unless there is something else about that issue that I'm unaware of.
#8 · Posted: 4 Nov 2011 03:44 · Edited by: Moderator
And I can't say I blame him, when you see how others coped with drawing Tintin, such as in the title space of a newspaper edition of "Land of Black Gold".

You have chosen a horrible example :)

The people in Herge studios drew Tintin better than that. Here is the page drawn by Bob De Moor as a joke

Link removed

Details of the "gag" can be found on wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studios_Herg%C3%A9

Looking at that gag page and comparing Tintin and Haddock in them to post-war albums makes me more convinced that Bob was more involved in the albums than we like to believe.

Moderator Note: Do not link to pirate site; it will only get us into trouble!
#9 · Posted: 4 Nov 2011 04:37 · Edited by: Tintinrulz
I don't know. That is some amazing work but I still see some differences in the characters compared to Herge's drawings. Here the line work seems a bit more stiff and mechanical.
#10 · Posted: 4 Nov 2011 12:19
Here is the page drawn by Bob De Moor as a joke

I'd never heard of this incident. Thanks for raising it. According to the article that comes with it, Herge was none too pleased because it did show Tintin could live without him - though the writer points out how tintinologists are "almost always able to spot the tiny details which expose the real origins" of the drawings.

Given that "Flight 714" is one of the last of the stories of Tintin, I think that Herge can be forgiven if he got others to draw the characters. It is quite normal at this stage of their career for artists to share the work with assistants: Bud Fisher ("Mutt and Jeff") who was assisted by Al Smith; and Carl Anderson ("Henry"), who employed Don Trachte and John Liney.

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