Lucy Knisley is a wonderfully talented comic artist who uses Herge’s ligne claire (clear line) to create bright and colourful comics that have unexpected depth to them. Such as this strange exploration of the artistic drive through conversations with, amongst other things, a fridge.
This great image is from the Garen Ewing, a writer and illustrator who is currently doing an A-Z of comic characters. Clearly a big Tintin fan, Garen is writing and drawing a strip cartoon very much in the vein of Herge’s Tintin. The Rainbow Orchid, inspired by authors such as Conan Doyle, Jules Verne, Edgar P. Jacobs and, of course, Hergé, has appeared in print but you can read the entire story (so far) online. I’m about to do that so there goes my work for the rest of the day.
On his blog, he has a good post on the current plan that all children’s books in the UK should be age banded, i.e. labeled with their target age range. This plan is worrying many children authors because so many books appeal across ages. The authors fear that labeling a book like Winnie-the-Pooh as 3 – 6 years or Philip Pullman’s Dark Materials trilogy as 10 – 12 years will put off children (and adults) outside of those ranges. As someone who came late to reading due to dyslexia and still regularly reads “children” books I think the authors fears are justified. All readers should be allowed to discover for themselves what is suitable and enjoyable to them without social pressure or fear of stigmatization.
For more on this, see Age Banding and look what image Garen illustrated the story with.
Herge’s art style, Ligne claire or Clear Line, was highly distinctive but has been used by a number of European artists. Amounst the best current practitioners is Eric Heuvel. An ex-history teacher and long time comics creator who has recently created a book on the Holocaust, The Search. It is the fictional story of Daniel, who after seeking information on the Holocaust on the internet, hears a first hand account from his grandmother Esther, who as a young Jewish girl saw her parents deported to their death in Auschwitz. The Search has recently been translated to German and is being used as a teaching aid to help German school children understand those terrible events.
Herge’s style of drawing for Tintin became know as Ligne Claire and became quite popular amongst European comic artists in the 1950s. Few artist use it today, partly because it is a style heavily linked with Tintin, however Peter van Dongen does and this excellent illustration was done by him for a Tintin fanzine.