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