Eddy Paape

Person Information
NameEddy Paape
Context Information
StoryCarol détective: Mission en 2012
StoryL'enclume de la foudre
StoryLa montre aux 7 rubis
StoryLe grimoire de Lucifer
Eddy Paape
from the article "Years of study (1995)":
Then you arrive in Belgium. When was that?
Andreas: That was in 1973, I was 22. I spent three years at Saint-Luc and two years at the academy of Sint-Gilles. Saint-Luc is a sort of general art academy, with courses on architecture, illustration, sculpting, and the like. There was one comics workshop where Eddy Paape used to teach for years. I started there the year he was succeeded by Claude Renard. Then it was called Atelier R with the R of Recherche (Research). Renard had been a student-assistent of Paape and replaced him without having any professional experience.
I find it hard to talk about Saint-Luc, because in retrospect I think I didn't learn much there. In any case regarding comics. The drawing lessons, working with models and perhaps even the course art history were definately interesting. But there were also completely useless courses, like philosophy or literature. And during modelling classes we were busier throwing clay at eachother than anything else. In the comics workshop we sometimes had compulsory assignments and sometimes we could do what we wanted. Renard made his round amongst his pupils to talk about their work, make corrections, and such. Later I realised that it was all very much without engagement. It was always like: "Yes, not bad, but maybe there you should..." Never something specific like: "No, this is not right; yes, that is right; here's how to do it..." If you don't have any previous knowledge, such an approach is not likely. Furthermore, there was a sort of breach with the rest of the world. Everything that happened at school was "fantastic" and everything else "worthless". With the exception of Métal Hurlant there were only idiots, people without any sense. This trashed my idols completely - except for Franquin and maybe Moebius, who were considered geniuses. In three years a sort of coccoon formed in which everyone told eachother "Great, what you're doing." But it wasn't really all that much. With that luggage we wouldn't have found a job at any magazine, any publisher. As an example: at a given moment we asked for a course on writing a scenario and we got a course on semantics! Not that it was completely useless, but we never learned to write a scenario. Actually we never learned to tell a story at Saint-Luc.
--- part of article left out here ---
After Saint-Luc you went to the Academy of Sint-Gilles?
Andreas: At the same time, I think, at the end of the second year. Eddy Paape started a new course at a small academy two hundred metres from Saint-Luc. A French friend of mine had taken a look and told me: "You should come too, it's really good." Then I went too. I believe that virtually everyone from Saint-Luc followed Paapes lessons at the same time. It was exactly what I was looking for: down to earth, do it so-and-so, little rules. It had its own limitations, but it taught me more than Saint-Luc. It has given me the foundation to do what I wanted to do, and add some external influences.
Paape gave precise directions, something to hold on to. He gave you assignments like: a car arrives at a house and stops; someone gets out of the car, enters the house, gets back into the car and the car takes off. Dat was an exercise he had used for years. Claude Renard always told us that it didn't matter: "You don't need to make such an exercise, it doesn't work like that..." And yet it mattered! When we left Saint-Luc, noone could just make a plate displaying a simple action. We could hardly tell something accurate and simple. Even during our time at school most students realized something was wrong and developed a kind of reaction. Especially Duveaux, who was always very critical and somewhat withdrawn, had conflicts with Renard. Renard in turn rejected Duveaux' work completely. Eventually Duveaux was the first to publish something after he left the academy. In short I also disagreed completely with Renard.
Saint-Luc was interesting for other reasons, at least to me. At the end of the year there always was a jury of people from the trade to give grades. Those people mostly commented and criticized. It was interesting, but the members of the jury always kept themselves low-profile. There were also less well-known people, who I don't really remember. But in the final year, to be precise, the last day at Saint-Luc, Jijé dropped by. He was absolutely fantastic. He trashed everyone, and I mean everyone. Except for François Schuiten. He was the first one that told me: "That is bad; that stinks; junk. Watch! That is badly drawn... There and there... That doesn't work at all!" Of course I was completely nailed to the floor, but at that moment I truely saw what I had made, free from the schoollike view that was so common at the academy. I told myself: "He is right. That's where you're wrong, it is badly drawn. It's not good. There you're wrong, that doesn't work. That's bad..." At that moment I changed what I could. I started to see, make sketches, spending more attention on the anatomy and draw more realistically. I arrived at a drawing style resembling the first Rork. Then Eddy Paape asked me to work for him.
from the article "The first publications (1995)":
What happened after Saint-Luc and the Academy?
Andreas: Yet I hold good memories on Saint-Luc, because of the friends and aquaintances it has left me. We shared the same passion, we all wanted to do comics. After Saint-Luc I worked with Antonio Cossu, Philippe Foerster and Philippe Berthet for - I don't remember exactly how long - six to twelve months. We had rented some space and made a workshop out of it. We had much fun. We discussed eachother's work, that was a lot of fun. Talking to comic book artists these days, its always about rights of authorship, contracts and the like. It's no longer about what's really interesting about the trade.
You worked in the same space, yet everyone had his own work...
Andreas: Everyone did his own thing. We just started. I drew the first episode of Révélations posthumes in collaboration with François Rivière and made sketches for Eddy Paape. Antonio Cossu made drawings and the layout for a small business magazine. Philippe Berthet and Philippe Foerster worked on a book about hunting in Belgium; Berthet drew the animals and Foerster did the backgrounds and characters. That was the beginning, we became professional slowly but certainly. Then followed the first festivals of Angoulême, where we made our first important contacts...
How did your collaboration with Eddy Paape come about? You were mentioned as co-author in a story from 1977: Carol détective: Mission en 2012...
Andreas: That went about as follows: Paape had had a scenario from André-Paul Duchâteau for a while. He had made some character sketches, but had not had time to draw the story. He asked me if I wanted to sketch it. In the beginning I wasn't fast enough for him of course: he inkted in a flash, while it took me three days to do the sketches. He called me continuously. That was good, because he taught me to work under pressure. Currently I like to work fast as well to remind myself that I'm telling a story! If you are working too long on a plate - making Le retour de Cromwell Stone I spent up to three weeks on one plate - you seem to string standalone illustrations together, rather than tell a story. Then you lose the feeling that you are telling a story. I rather like to keep a certain rhythm, so that the storyline remains clear.
--- part of article left out here ---
Andreas: We worked on Udolfo when I moved to Paris, that was in 1978.
For Udolfo you were given a scenario. Could you decide yourself which points of view, ways of cutting pictures, and what positioning of the characters to use?
I had the scenario of André-Paul Duchâteau, specifying on the left what happens on each picture and on the right the dialogues, picture by picture. But I had a lot of freedom. Eddy Paape wanted me especially for the plate layout, the mise en scène.
That work division is remarkable, because in American comics the one who sketches and cuts the story in pictures is credited with the drawing, while an assistant inks all accordingly. Yet in Tintin/Hello BD (fr); Kuifje (nl) you were only mentioned for your work on La montre aux 7 rubis in the fifth episode, starting with page 12.
Andreas: That's possible, but it didn't really bother me. I was happy to be doing something. I was of course very surprised when Eddy Paape asked me to do the sketches for him! Anyway, Milton Caniff also had someone doing the sketches for him.
Did your drawing style resemble Eddy Paape's
Andreas: I must have one or two copies of those sketches somewhere. I didn't draw like Paape at all, but it didn't look like Rork either. It was just the best I could do at the time. By the way, I had to work on a size that was too big for me. Paape then corrected the mistakes in my drawings and inkted all, in his own way off course. He changed the characters somewhat, added his fine lines, gave it his own style.
How was your contact with him? Did you feel at home with him?
Andreas: To me it was more about the man than about what he made. He was an OUDE ROT IN HET VAK. The things he taught me I still use. Simple, yet practical things. Limited, but important. From time to time I still recall new things.
from the article "'Capricorne' at Lombard and 'Arq' at Delcourt: Andreas bets on two horses (1997)":
Are you not also the product of the school which, at the same time as yourself, has formed men like François Schuiten, Philippe Berthet, Sokal, Philippe Foerster, Hernu and De Spiegeleer?
Andreas: I think more the product of an age than that of a school. In the beginning of the Seventies, when I studied the comic strip with Atelier R. of the Institut Saint-Luc of Brussels, it was the fruitful age of Pilote and of Métal Hurlant. We weren't forced to submit ourselves to the demands of the traditional strip cartoon. We benefitted from the freedom that was offered to us to express us as we wanted... I acknowledge however that for example at the level of the setting in scene, the teaching of Eddy Paape was very useful to me. I still make use of it today. My principal influence nevertheless comes from American comics.