Jacques Tardi may be unfamiliar to many readers, but to me, he is one of the absolute best artists in the business. Practitioners in the comic books field in France have been known to treat the medium as an art, and Jacques Tardi is perhaps the best example of that. When reading his comics like The Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec or The Arctic Marauder, I’m overwhelmed by the sense that each panel can be removed and framed by itself. He has an eye for composition and a unique style. He frequently combines minimalist character designs with amazingly detailed backgrounds, something that contemporary artists as diverse as Chris Ware and Jeff Smith have done in America.
I recently found two videos on Youtube featuring Jacques Tardi at work, showing how he creates his images with surprising ease. Watch as he inks a fantastic image in less than three minutes, then see how he’s able to draw Adele Blanc-Sec in seconds, freehand. It’s enough to make me collapse with envy.
Does anyone know how to speak French? If so, can you translate what Jacques Tardi is saying?