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guibert & benoit

Last night I went to the French Institute in London to hear a talk by two of France's top comics creators, Ted Benoit and Emmanuel Guibert as part of the Comica series. While I was in Provence a couple months ago, I saw lots of old copies of Blake and Mortimer series for sale in the markets, so I was a little bit aware of his work, but Guibert is a new find for me. There was a rush for seats at the start, so I sat at the back with tozocomic, rainboworchid and his wife Ellie, Maartje Schalkx, Sarah Lightman, a Scotsman named Euan and Catrina MacLeod, who's doing her PhD on women in comics. Since I could catch glimpses of the overhead screen but couldn't see the speakers from there, I did a lot of doodling in my notes:

Have a look at some of Ted Benoit's artwork here. I was interested by Benoit's fascination with 1950s America, and his assertion that 'Americans don't draw America very well', that their pictures are 'too dramatic', while he likes a more documentary style look at the landscape which he only finds in underground comics there. He cited American influences on his work, particularly Robert Crumb, and talked about his conscious decision to take on Herge's style of ligne claire drawing; he didn't see it as copying, more that Hergé's established style can be used as a tool, like a pen.

Guibert turned out to be a captivating speaker. (Read an article by Paul Gravett about him here.) I was very moved by his description of getting to know an old American soldier, Alan, and the depth of their relationship as Guibert listened to Alan tell stories of wartime, and later, his childhood, up to the time he died. Guibert has produced three books about the man, now compiled into one, La Guerre d'Alan, and he's also going to come out with a book about Alan's childhood. Here you can see a video of his strange but effective working technique for Alan's War with ink and water. (It's not clear what's happening at first, but it all falls into place at the end):

YouTube link here
(You can also see a video of Guibert with his guitar playing a song from Alan's War here.)

Both artists did signings afterward and I took some photos. Here's one Guibert did for Euan, a real masterpiece. Euan said, 'hey, I got two for one!' when he saw how it had bled through to the next page.

And another lovely one by Guibert:

And here's a rather blurry picture of Paul Gravett, the Man at the Crossroads, and the one who's made it all happen. And that's comics man David O'Connell to his left and Paul's website designer, Tim Webber, to his right.



( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 20th, 2008 10:47 am (UTC)
About Ted Benoit, I'd rather recommend you check out his other works, because "Blake and Mortimer" is a continuation of an old series by Edgar P. Jacobs, so his style is less personal...

Here is his site. I like his "Ray Banana" series (La Peau du Léopard, Cité Lumière, Berceuse Electrique).
Nov. 20th, 2008 10:54 am (UTC)
Hey, thanks for that! I just went back and slipped in the link. I recognise some of the pictures from the slide show last night. The guy has beautiful line work, although it was interesting to learn that his wife does the lovely colouring, something he says is 'very usual for the wife to do'. ;-D
Nov. 20th, 2008 10:52 am (UTC)
It was a fantastic talk! Glad you got home ok, btw.

(PS - that second sketch is also by Guibert)
Nov. 20th, 2008 10:57 am (UTC)
I agree! It took me awhile to get over not being able to see, but after a few minutes, I got really caught up in it, particularly the talk by Guibert. No problems getting home, just two long night buses, although the first bus was with Ellen and Stephen, who were feeling very merry, so that was fun/funny.

Oops, thanks for the catch on the sketch! Teach me not to rush my posts... :-)
Nov. 20th, 2008 11:08 am (UTC)
I saw that video of Guibert's work a few weeks ago and I've tried it a few times. It's a fun way to work.
Nov. 20th, 2008 11:21 am (UTC)
Great, isn't it! I'm going to try to do some messing around with it, too.
Nov. 20th, 2008 12:13 pm (UTC)
jesus that video is cool. It's great to hear about all the great comica events... I just wish I could go.
and the speed at which that guys hand moves is crazy. the only person I've seen draw that fast before is miyazaki. Seriously If you can find a video of him drawing watch it...
Nov. 20th, 2008 05:14 pm (UTC)
I've never seen Miyazaki draw, that would be interesting! On the other end of the spectrum, I've never seen someone draw as SLOWLY as Satoshi Kitamura. He takes twenty seconds to make his pen travel an inch. And it looks amazing, too, but in a totally different way.
Nov. 20th, 2008 08:43 pm (UTC)
the best example I've seen of miyazki is on the extras of the Nausicca dvd whee he's drawing the comics. his hand is so steady and the lines perfect and fast.
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 20th, 2008 05:21 pm (UTC)
Oh dear, it's too bad you can't come! I discovered the way to be able to afford to come is to get on the planning committee, then you don't have to pay! But then you have to plan, hmm...

Hey, I keep hearing of illustration people up in Cambridge, like Dave Shelton, and I just met a nice guy named Alex who's doing his BA on the course with Chris Draper at Anglia Ruskin. Sadly didn't get his contact detais, though. :-( Maybe you could organise a Cambridge event and find out who's around! I really love Cambridge. I keep meaning to go up there to visit Woodrow Phoenix's partner, Bridget, who's great fun. Let me know if you do something, and I could try to combine the two. (But probably not until well after Christmas.)
Nov. 21st, 2008 09:12 am (UTC)
Hahahahha. Yes that is a good plan.

Thanks for the names- I will try and hunt them down. A while ago I tried tracking down people but didn't get very far. I will put on my sherlock hat and try again.

Cheers and good luck again
Feb. 27th, 2010 10:23 pm (UTC)
Hi! Meet the new user msMaryStrikens.
Hello! I really liked your forum, especially this section. I just signed up and immediately decided to introduce myself, if I'm wrong section, ask the moderators to move the topic to the right place, hopefully it will take me well... My name is Mary, me 29 years, humourist and serious woman in one person. I apologize for my English
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


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