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18 Tips for Comic Book Artists by Jean “Moebius” Giraud: #18 (Final Installment)

The words of Moebius are in boldface; my comments are not.

18) Now it is possible to expose our works to readers in every part of the planet. We must always keep aware of this.

To begin with, drawing is a form of personal communication — but this does not mean that the artist should close himself off inside a bubble.

One two week trip to Venice inspired an entire book from Moebius: Venise Celeste.

I urge all artists, young and old, to travel and expose themselves to all kinds of art, music cultures and architecture. Feed your mind; feed your soul. Instead of going to a movie and spending two hours alone in the dark, take that time to go out and have your own adventures instead of watching those created by someone else. I cannot overstress the value of such experiences.

His communication should be for those aesthetically, philosophically and geographically close to him, as well as for himself — but also for complete strangers.

With art, whether it’s writing, drawing, music — whatever — it may seem paradoxical, but the more specific you make something, the more universal it becomes.

Drawing is a medium of communication for the great family we have not met, for the public and for the world.

Along this train of thought, I learned this from Moebius:
If you make your living as an artist, you are one of the luckiest people in the world. When we’re at our best and most creative, what we do is joyful play. But in those moments of play, never forget that the art you create is like throwing a pebble into a glassy surfaced pond. You never know where those multiple ripples you created will end up.

So take the luck and honor of being an artist very, very seriously.

Create work that is meaningful, that is beautiful. Do not be a lesser version of yourself. You are adding to our world’s culture. Great skills are to be aspired to — but they are not enough. Ask yourself, “Is what I’m putting out there going to add to the world and help make it a better place? Or am I soiling our world with careless meanness, ugliness and nastiness? Or am I just merely marking time, creating nothing of consequence, and really just adding more trivial crap to our cultural clutter?”

I hope you enjoyed and learned from this series. Again, I want to express my thanks to the original poster, Perez Ruiz, and original translator, Xurxo Penalta. These 18 points just barely touch the surface of what Jean Giraud knew and practiced. He was a consummate artist, a deep thinker and one of the most profound talents the world of comics — or any form of art —  has ever produced.

I miss his gentle, funny — but always accurate — counsel. Our friendship brought us both great joy. Thinking about Jean, his work and what I learned from both continues to bring me deep pleasure and inspiration. I hope you all can find someone in your life who can do that for you.

Jean Giraud and William Stout (Photo by Bob Foster)
Moebius Tribute by Deimos-Remus

To easily access this entire series, go to:

11 thoughts on “18 Tips for Comic Book Artists by Jean “Moebius” Giraud: #18 (Final Installment)

  1. Thanks Bill for this fabulous series. Your instruction here is priceless. About your calligraphy, I still have the copy of Goethe quote you so beautifully had printed up on your Christmas card one year. It is on my bulletin board and I give the quote to every young person who tells me the dream of what they want to accomplish.

    It is truly a loss to the world when someone like Jean dies. Dan and I were at a party with him, and Dan asked him if he wasn’t angered by Ridley Scott basically ripping off his art in Blade Runner (this was about the time it was released). He replied that he wasn’t angry, and that an artist should expect his work to be taken up and used by anyone. Of course, the concepts in some of that imagery was Dan’s, and Dan was not so sanguine about it; he wanted to be paid for his ideas, and was especially irked since he had worked with Ridley in an artistic capacity on Alien. Ridley felt free to borrow the ideas of Jean and Dan and use them in his project without attribution, something Dan thought was rather low.

  2. Hi Sir, Thanks for the detail explanation on Moebius’s advise. Really appreciate this. I’m a freelance illustrator who is base in Singapore and being self taught, sometime i feel very lost although I know i got to keep pushing. Seeing this advise is really enlightening and the addition explanation you wrote makes it even clearer. Thanks alot for this. I was actually quite sad when I saw the news of Moebius passing because I always have this thought of meeting him some days in some convention. May he rest in peace. And sir, your works are also very amazing. Thanks again.

  3. Yes, great stuff!

  4. Thank you for sharing all these comments and stories. They are like a basic refresher course for this artist who is starting a one-year sabbatical to renew his craft and energy.

    Moebius has been a great influence since I first discovered his ”bandes dessinees” when I was a teenager. It’s still incredible to consider the scope of his work. I read Arzak, Blueberry or Incal at least once a year with the same pleasure.

    Thank you again.

  5. Thank you Bill. I first became aware of Moebius’ work reading my sister’s HeavyMetal magazines as a kid. I’m aspiring now towards my own stories and artwork and this body of information you have provided is wonderful for me and I will continue to learn from it from now on. I wholly appreciate this. Thanks again.

  6. Thank you Bill for your wonderful series here. I am a late discoverer of the work of Moebius. This series really shows what a genius he was. An inspiration.

  7. Hi William,

    I’d like to thank you for giving those great tips. I’ve been looking for an authentic path in which I feel free to create and in a hurry (I have a lot to tell). Now I think I have find my way, again, thanks a bunch !

    Au plaisir,


  8. This is a great series and the tips don’t just apply to comic artists, but writers too since we have to paint a picture in the reader’s mind too.
    Thank you for taking the time to post this.

  9. Wow! Thanks so much for this. As a life long fan (I’m in my 50s) it’s great to find new information that is being passed down by the master. Certainly the legacy of Moebius will continue to grow as the world slowly (it seems) realizes his profound effect that is so far-reaching.

  10. RIP Moebius
    Thanks for making this available.
    Due to these lessons, I’m no longer afraid to create what I’ve always know to be my own expressions.

  11. Thank you for all your work on this! Some profound insights, and your annotations with the pertinent illustrations really added to the impact of Giraud’s teachings. Very grateful to have encountered this, and wishing you continued success on your journey.

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