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Process that sees an idea come to print

Updated: 2021-09-09 08:06 ( China Daily )
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The Basic idea

Creating a comic, according to Herge, is first and foremost about telling a story. As with any story, you must first have a common thread allowing the reader (and even the author) to follow easily.


Herge believed it vital to collect plenty of material and information before committing to fleshing out the story. He said that the first time he ever traveled to take sketches and photographs of locations where the action would unfold was with The Calculus Affair, the 18th volume of The Adventures of Tintin.


After research, the storyboarding (placing images on a board to see how they appear together) process begins. Herge said that sometimes it took him dozens of drafts before getting the final version of the story right. He explained that for him, text and drawing came to life together, with each complementing and explaining the other.

Bit by bit, the narrative develops, gets stronger, and fills with new characters, gags and unexpected events. And that's where storyboarding comes in-so that he could visualize what the final version would be like.

Pencil sketches

Pencil sketching is an important process and the one that Herge would put all his energy into. According to the artist, sometimes, to get the maximum intensity out of an expression or movement, he would work and rework the image countless times until he got it right.

Transition to ink

Inking is the step after the pencil drawings, and is difficult. "Although I have a 'trick' for drawing an even line without leaving ink stains, it's still difficult. I don't have a monopoly on it. It's an art I share with hundreds and hundreds of other cartoonists," Herge said.


After inking comes the coloring process. According to Herge, he used only solid colors without any shadows or shading except on very rare occasions. To him, that made the drawings much more legible and fresh.


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