Saturday, October 5, 2013

André Franquin


André Franquin is a genius and a giant in the world of European comics. 
Most of his beautiful work was published in the Spirou et Fantasio comic magazine.
I knew of his art as a kid when I started reading stories with some of his iconic characters like Gaston Lagaffe (behind him in the photo) and Marsupilami. To this day his unique drawing style continues to influence countless comic strip artists all over the world. 
Franquin was Belgian, he was born in 1924 and died in 1997. He drew realistically very well, but his energetic, catooney and ultra appealing way of drawing is what made him famous. Here are just a few pages from one of his sketchbooks.







In the early late 1980s Disney was working on turning Marsupilami into a TV animation series (which did not turn out all that well). But in 1990 Franquin came to LA to visit Disney Studios. I remember getting a phone call in my office from our management. They asked me if I knew of an artist called André Franquin. He was being given a tour of the animation department at this moment. I almost fell off my chair. "Franquin is in the house" I yelled. "Frank who?" a colleague asked me. I ran down the hallway to meet this amazing artist. He was shy, soft-spoken, and he seemed somewhat surprised that a Disney animator knew of his work. Luckily I just happened to have the German edition of his famous "Idées Noires" ( Dark Thoughts, Alptraeume in German) in my office. I asked him to sign it, and he graciously added a drawing. Lucky me. 
The following pages are from Idées Noires.







All images © Franquin

18 comments:

  1. I don't know how much Disney/Pixar artists were inspired by Franquin... I always thought The Incredibles had very "franquinesque" designs (the flying machines especially reminded me of Spirou designs).

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  3. I LOVE Franquin work. It's a great draftman. When I was child I loved Gaston Lagaffe and Marsupilami. His characters are incredibly expressive. I watched a video on youtube about him and other great european artists (Giraud, Druillet, Uderzo...) called ''tac au tac'', it was stunning.

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  4. Franquin is a genius.
    I know his work since I was a little boy here in Rio.
    Thanks for the post, Master.

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  5. Great story! I used to love his work as a child!

    By the way, you didn't mentioned it, but the bubbles on the drawing he did in your album of Alpträume roughly translate into : "Do beautiful drawings Andreas! Beautiful like me!"

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    1. Thanks, Karine, I forgot to translate the bubbles.

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  6. ses oeuvres sont magnifiques.

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  7. He also did the lovely Isabelle comics :D

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  8. I can't get over the motion captured in that roly-poly pig. :D

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  9. That's odd. I picked up a copy of "idées noires l'intégrale" a few years ago that I thought was supposed to be a complete compilation of the original two books, but off-hand I don't recognize a single one of these images.

    From what I understand, only the first book was translated to Swedish (last I checked it was long out of print), and I hardly understand a word of the accompanying text, but I still think it's well worth picking up for the artwork alone. Those black and white - mostly black - images really are quite striking.

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  10. I am English but finally managed to read Idees Noire (in German - still learning). We are still woefully missing out on Franco-Belge comics in the anglophone world.

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  11. Indeed, He was genius. I love especially Gaston comics. Here´s an awesome video, where four belgian genius cartoonist drawing together, including Franquin : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCtLszwWcOc

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  12. Franquin is great (proud to be a Belgian ;-) ), but I love his fifties-work most of all. In the fifties Franquin went for that one ideal line to draw motion. It's called the atom-style because in that era the world exposition in Brussels featured a giant iron molecule (Google for "atomium Brussels"). The Franquin-style of that period is still linked to that great period in the Belgian after-war history. For his atomstyle-work e.g. http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-sAxC0GUl52M/TX-hRdFg-uI/AAAAAAAAB1E/jdI9jSFecb0/s1600/Spirou%2Bet%2Bles%2BHommes-Bulles.JPG.

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  13. In the early late 1980s Disney was working on turning Marsupilami into a TV animation series (which did not turn out all that well).

    Yeah it didn't, yet I see one guy on Facebook who loved it anyway. I'm glad I couldn't get into it (they could've done better).

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  14. I still have my Marsupilami mail-sorter. Always thought he was cute.

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  15. He worked for Tintin and rival Spirou magazine at the same time without using a pseudonym...he had the talent and the clout!

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  16. Thank you for all your posts! Each time its a brand new explosion of inspiration!!

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  17. Franquin is one of my favorite artist! Thank you for sharing this! I can't believe you got to meet him. I'm jealous.

    I've been wondering why they never tried to animate Gaston Lagaffe. The drawings are amazing - all the keys are already there.

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