Claude Renard

Person Information
NameClaude Renard
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.