Things that Inspire me #1: Blexbolex’s Children’s Books
Blexbolex, is one of my favorite illustrators. Born Bernard Granger in France, he studied screen-painting and later added new skills and styles of storytelling to his palette. He self-published his comics for years until his work began to garner attention in the early 2000’s.
His work is inspired by the Herge’s lauded ligne claire style - uniformity of strong lines, vibrant colors and a harmonic blend of realistic backgrounds and elements with fictional, cartoonish characters. The ligne claire style also featured heavily in comic books, fim noir and whodunit mysteries of the early twentieth century. This style of illustration peaked and waned between the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s - new artists and illustrators experimented with interpretations of ligne claire.
Blexbolex’s own interpretation and evolution of the classic ligne claire holds on to the clarity afforded by the style but adds a a sparkling new dimension to it in form of vibrant blocks of colors that often bleed into one another, fantastical surroundings that are are just on the precipice of reality and brief but rich words that form the backbone of his stories.
Even his books have a signature look and feel to it - thick matte paper, full-bleed illustrations and a delicate, cursive font.
Seasons, People and Ballad - his most famous works for children employ a discerning use of language, relying instead on his illustrations to let his young readers fill in the blanks as they piece together and often interpret their own narratives from the stimulus Blexbolex provides.
As an adult, his books are a visual and sensorial delight. But I also adore his playful sensibility to storytelling, where the story is merely a hint - the rest is left to our imaginations.