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Hergé: Did he write a script before drawing?

#1 · Posted: 5 Feb 2022 04:41
Did Hergé write a script before drawing his actual script. I'm thinking of making a comic book and I want to do it like Hergé did. Any response would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Harrock n roll
#2 · Posted: 7 Feb 2022 17:21
Hello Citroen1955. When you say 'script' I assume you mean did he plot the adventure first, rather than did he write out the dialogue. It's an interesting question; I think the answer is yes, and no!

In his earliest adventures it appears that he had very little pre-plot, and preferred to work in a free-wheeling style, making it up week by week. This way of working enabled him to keep an element of surprise, with many twists and turns, so that even he didn't know where the story would take him. He sometimes wouldn't know how he was going to get his hero out of a certain situation and this became part of his style. Later, by the time of something as complex as The Broken Ear, he would have needed to have some kind of plot, or at least some key outlines to work to.

We know, certainly for later adventures, that he wrote out various storylines and skits in the course of working through, but I don't believe he ever fully plotted his stories before drawing them. Of course, he did an absolute huge amount of research so that he could fully absorb the subject (space travel, sea adventures, etc). The dialogue also came (mostly) with the rough sketches, it made sense to develop the drawing and dialogue together. Indeed, even when it was 'required' that he plot out the story first (for example, when working with collaborators or on film adaptations) he found this very stifling. He preferred to keep some parts ambiguous, so that anything could happen.

You can see this in the last unfinished adventure, Tintin and Alph-Art. He would make many rough sketches the story, with some 'brain dumps' for plot line too, so it allowed the freedom to have the story bend wherever it wanted to go.

Personally, I think that is part of the magic of Tintin. It isn't fully plotted, with all the dialogue and everything worked out in advance, because that would have killed the creativity.

One thing I meant to add...

This working method was developed early on from the deadlines in producing a weekly strip, or daily strip. As you probably know, all of the adventures were first serialised in various publications before they were put into book form. This lessened as he grew more successful, so for later adventures he was able to get his plots more fully formed before they were serialised or put into book form. But he still used the 'free-wheeling' method in the creation of them, and it shows in many sequences I think. The English translator Michael Turner mentions within his interview on this site that Hergé would often cobble things together, particularly at the end, and that it was fairly typical of how he worked.
#3 · Posted: 8 Feb 2022 02:41
Wow! That's a lot of information! I did in fact notice that his early books didn't have as big of a plot as his later books so I figured that his later books were drawn after his script was written! Thanks!
Harrock n roll
#4 · Posted: 13 Feb 2022 09:47
Wow! That's a lot of information!

Ha ha! Information overload.

But in summary, if I were a comic book writer, which I'm not, I think I would use the Hergé method to create my stories. I'd spend time creating randomly sketched scenarios, whilst refining my overarching plot, and then try to piece it all together at the end. But you could apply this creative method to anything really.

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