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Hergé: His attributes as an artist?

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#11 · Posted: 5 Jan 2006 01:04
Fascinating. This thread provides yet more proof that being unable to speak/read French is a major life handicap.

I came to this thread with a simple question on Hergé's technique in my mind, and seeing the above I will ask it now.
How large was Tintin originally drawn? As in, it is obvious that the frames are reduced in size, but by how much?
The images of Hergé drawing that I have seen on the net imply that he drew on A3 pages (as in double "normal" printed size), but the level of detail in some frames, for example the first image of the moon rocket in Destination Moon imply a far larger original.
Is there a general rule here?
UK Correspondent
#12 · Posted: 5 Jan 2006 01:51
How large was Tintin originally drawn?

I haven't got a Chronologie d'un Œuvre to hand, which I think details the size of the original artwork exactly. However, at the Greenwich exhibition a couple of summers ago, some original pages were on display; they are roughly A3-size, perhaps slightly larger.

Certain images, such as the moon rocket one you cited, may well have been scaled down more than usual since it's not actually part of the strip - I take it you mean the little one below the title on p1?
#13 · Posted: 5 Jan 2006 03:21
No, I actually meant the full page on page 42. That image shows levels of detail that would be hard to accomplish below A2 or so, I think. Well, hard without massive eye strain and a very steady hand.
#14 · Posted: 5 Jan 2006 09:54
It would seem to me that you already have made your mind up before asking the question, and are dismissing Richard's - as far as I know - correct answer because it doesn't fit in with what you expect.

As far as I am aware, the art for the colour albums is exactly as Richard described. In the early days at least, the artwork was actually reduced to half the size at which it would be published before it was coloured - not such detailed work as drawing, to be sure, but showing that small size work was possible.

The colour paintings used on the cover of the B&W Congo and Blue Lotus are a good bit bigger than they are reproduced, as may have been the case for the other B&W albums (I just don't know off the top of my head).

The pages for the B&W albums themselves were smaller, on the whole, than those used in the colour ones, butthe image was still about twice as big as printed.

It can't of course be ruled out, but nothing I have seen suggests that Hergé went up to A2 for any of the albums.
#15 · Posted: 6 Jan 2006 01:26
Of course I had largely made my mind up before asking the question. The question itself made that pretty obvious. I was (and am) looking for some sort of confirmation.

Bluntly, getting "normal Tintin" clarity of line in a page of A3 is really good going, to do it in the moon rocket image (on page 42) is on the scarey side of just possible. To do that full frame image (on page 42) in A2 is more likely, simply because the delicate tracework on the gantries would be easier to do and avoid ink blobs. As it is, the colours are out by about a millimetre on the copy I own, but they are just about perfect everywhere else in the book, underscoring my point quite well.

Had I recieved an answer like "yes, that image hangs at gallery X and is x by x" I would have kowtowed suitably, however large it happened to be. As it was, I hardly think that I was "dismissive" ...
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#16 · Posted: 6 Jan 2006 10:25
tlaloc The question itself made that pretty obvious. I was (and am) looking for some sort of confirmation.

Well, it was not obvious to me; otherwise I would not have responded as I did.

tlaloc Bluntly, getting "normal Tintin" clarity of line in a page of A3 is really good going

Yes, it is good going, and yes, I agree it is possible; thus, working from the available evidence of the artwork which Richard and I have seen over the years, I feel it is a) likely that Hergé and his skilled team could produce this level of accurate art at the size they normally worked at, and b) there is no need to introduce the idea that they would have gone bigger.

tlaloc As it is, the colours are out by about a millimetre on the copy I own, but they are just about perfect everywhere else in the book, underscoring my point quite well

I think that has more to do with the quality of the registration of the printing plates (which are around 70% smaller than the original art) than the ability of Hergé & Cº, so it is not really relevant to the discussion here. Many of the books suffer in the same way, Black Island having to be re-mastered a few years ago.

tlaloc I would have kowtowed suitably
Nobody expects you to kowtow, seriously! :-)

tlaloc As it was, I hardly think that I was "dismissive"
We shall just have to agree to disagree on this one!

Let's thank Richard for his response - even though the answer you recieved was not really the information you had sought; and do feel free to restate your point clearly, and open the debate up.
#17 · Posted: 6 Jan 2006 11:04
Just my personal opinion, but I don't think page 42 would have to be drawn at A2, it could be done at A3 easily and even at just a little bigger than the finished mechanical - it could be drawn actual size (though you can tell it wasn't). The detail you can get with the light touch of a dip pen can be quite extraordinary, and a skilled artist such as Hergé or his band of merry helpers could do it.

Maybe it was drawn larger than the usual pages, but I'd imagine it was done on the same paper size as the rest of the book - just an ignorant guess!
Harrock n roll
#18 · Posted: 9 Jan 2006 01:38
Hergé actually drew at many different sizes for his books for different reasons, as the Chronologies so far testify - 4 and 5 covers the period of the first colour book formats, 1942-49 . Going by those book his usual size was about 332x458 which is a bit bigger than A3 (which confirms what Richard remembered from the Greenwich exhibition). I don't think he ever worked as big as A2 for any of the books.

Page 42 of Destination Moon was actually shown at the Chesea exhibition of '89. I had great privilege in studying it closely for over a week when I worked there but couldn't tell you if it was bigger or smaller, it was a heck of a long time ago! But I think it was the "standard", just over A3, size...

Hopefully M. Goddin is working on his next Chronologie (which by rights should include the Moon period) and a definitive answer - to the millimetre - can be given soon!
#19 · Posted: 28 Jan 2007 01:16
Sorry to exhume this slightly old thread, but I was just re-reading Chronologie 3 (I normally just look at the pictures!), and I note that, according to M. Goddin, in 1937 Hergé started using a Gillott Inqueduct G2, which he found had "incomparable virtues", and of which he bought an abundant supply and never used anything else.

It is unclear to me if the description is of a complete pen (handle and nib), a pen which might be fitted with another nib, or just a type of nib; it is also not to say that it isn't just another designation for the Sergeant Major mentioned above.

Anyway, I thought it was interesting, and more grist to the Tintinological mill...
#20 · Posted: 28 Jan 2007 06:12
That's really interesting. I don't suppouse the pen, or nib is still in production?

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