18 Tips for Comic Book Artists by Jean “Moebius” Giraud

18 Tips for Comic Book Artists by Jean “Moebius” Giraud
A Brief Manual for the Cartoonist

Xurxo Penalta translated (and then revised) Moebius’ list of advice for artists from Spanish to English. I thought I would do my own translation of my friend’s words and then annotate them. Xurxo’s translation can be found at:
http://royalboiler.tumblr.com/

The original August 18, 1996 lecture (compiled by Perez Ruiz) appeared as a post in Spanish on the internet at:
www.jornada.unam.mx/1996/08/18/sem-moebius.html

I could be wrong, but I believe the lecture was made at a convention in Mexico City.

Jean and I each considered the other to be a genius (I was right, Jean was wrong). I think you’ll find these observations by Giraud, at the very least, stimulating food for thought. Jeans observations are in bold; my annotations aren’t.

1) When you draw, you must first cleanse yourself of deep feelings, like hate, happiness, ambition, etc.

These feelings are typically emotional prejudices that function as a block to creativity.

Art by Guy Billout

This was something I learned from drawing and hanging out with another Frenchman, the brilliant cartoonist-illustrator (and regular Atlantic Monthly contributor) Guy Billout, when we were traveling together in Antarctica and Patagonia back in 1989. Until I spent time with Guy, I had no idea how many pre-conceived notions and assumptions I held within me regarding people and situations and what a block they were to the flow of my creativity.

Divorcing yourself from such emotionally blinding pre-conceptions allows you to see things with fresh eyes. Solutions and ideas then flow with much greater ease. I have noticed with all the creative geniuses I have met that they all share a childlike delight with whatever or whomever they encounter in life (they can even find amusement in life’s villains). For them, all creative barriers are down; life and creative problem solving for them is like constantly playing. They gush great ideas all day long like a fountain.

Next: Technical Skills

16 Responses to “18 Tips for Comic Book Artists by Jean “Moebius” Giraud”

  1. Rick Catizone says:

    The design there is very similar to the simplicity of the Yin/Yang symbol…..the curve is less severe, but the two figures are the eyes of the fish….

    As to eliminating emotions….I can definitely see that in some respects…tai chi attempts a similar purging…..just perceiving things as they are allows us to react properly, as opposed to seeing them through the coloration of our personal histories and influences which may cause us to see something other than the actuality….

  2. Matthew Adams says:

    What an exceptional post this is, Bill. I never before brought my emotional state into the equation when drawing. I suppose there is much more to the creative process than correctness or draftsmanship. I eagerly await the remaining 17 posts from the late master, Moebius.

  3. Brett Waller says:

    This is a nice tribute and a great idea for a post. Maybe even a small, illustrated journal book, published by Taschen.
    I look forward to the next entry.
    Thanks

  4. wow!
    I just found out about your detailed analysis of each of the “tips”.
    I’m a big fan of both mr moebius and of yourself so I’m just thrilled to see the expansive and referenced reading you make of each note. It doubles the interest of this resource.
    Thank you!

    Xurxo

  5. So thrilled you’re doing this with such attention and insight to each point. it’s become doubly useful now.
    I am a huge fan of both Moebius and yourself so I couldn’t be happier to have these resources to draw from.

    thank you!!

    I collected each link into a list to share them (with a photo of both of you I found online):

    http://xurxogpenalta.tumblr.com/post/91539965160/artist-william-stout-has-gone-through-the-moebius

  6. Bill says:

    Xurxo! Thank you so much! I couldn’t have done any of this without your initial translation and Brandon Graham’s post! You guys (and Moebius, of course) really inspired me.

    Feel free to share, link, etc.

    I’ve been loving the responses to this series…very insightful.

  7. […] version in English, but to get the true nuances of Moebius’ wise words, famed illustrator William Stout’s excellent annotated version is […]

  8. […] version in English, but to get the true nuances of Moebius’ wise words, famed illustrator William Stout’s excellent annotated version is […]

  9. FreddieA says:

    “I have noticed with all the creative geniuses I have met that they all share a
    childlike delight

    with whatever
    or whomever they encounter in life

    (they can even find amusement in life’s villains)”

    I certainly think certain deep feelings like hate and ambition can strike down your creativity but my best work comes out when I am filled with that childlike delight, that happiness, or when I am in love with someone, or I am happy coming back from a hike and everything is new.

    Those deep feelings they carry me through in a trance in which I work and work.

    Other times I work well without those feelings.

    For me, there isn’t a working rule to empty me of deep feelings in order to work.

  10. sources says:

    It is actually a great and helpful piece of information. I am glad that you simply shared this useful info
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  11. polycrafter says:

    So glad I ran into this! I’ve been a fan of Moebius for some time and just ran into the tips and your great annotations. Thanks Bill! I’m going to meditate on each of these.

  12. […] 18 tips for aspiring artists. The original interview is in Spanish, but a famed illustrator named William Stout created an annotated version, which you can read […]

  13. […] 18 tips for aspiring artists. The original interview is in Spanish, but a famed illustrator named William Stout created an annotated version, which you can read […]

  14. […] você domina a língua inglesa, recomendo ler o texto no site de Stout, onde além das dicas de Moebius, ele faz um breve comentário sobre cada […]

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