October 7, 2005
Posted by: Mark Siegel
Categories: Tips for Creative Types

On September 22, Joann Sfar finished his US author tour for THE RABBI’S CAT when he spoke at the Barnes & Noble at Astor place.

In the course of the evening, he passed on a few interesting items for those of you working on your own graphic novels. So we’re adding these to our TIPS FOR CREATIVE TYPES…

Roughly paraphrased, here are a couple of things Joann said, referring to some of the European comics masters who have influenced him — Fred, Jean Giraud, and Edmond Baudoin.

“Jean Giraud [aka MOEBIUS] once told me that to make a story you have to be really smart, but it helps to also be a little bit stupid. You need to be smart with the overall structure, but stupid enough to be surprised by your next panel.”

Moeb © Moebius/Jean Giraud

And along similar lines:

“Fred [author of PHILEMON] told me that it’s easy to surprise your reader. He’s reading in 20 minutes what you’ve been working on for maybe a year. If you can’t surprise him, you’re not very good. The real challenge is surprising yourself.”

Fred_corb_1 © Fred

And from Baudoin:

” In creating comics, you want to make a picture that has the quality of a painting, but then mess it up. If a single panel is too good, too ‘right’ — it will suck your reader into itself, like a painting ought to. But in comics, it needs to lead your reader onto the next panel, and onto the next. What matters is the flow of the story, not a perfect picture.”

Baudouin_us_1 © Edmond Baudoin

Baudouin_procesverbal © Edmond Baudoin

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