The Artist at Work

Reading Originals in the Musée Hergé

in European Comic Art

The opening of the Musée Hergé at Louvain-la-Neuve in 2009 promises to have a significant effect on the reception of Hergé's works. Curated by Joost Swarte, it makes available to the public a broad and regularly updated selection of original artwork. This article considers what can be learned through a close inspection of Hergé's originals for Les Aventures de Tintin. A general description of their material features is followed by close readings of two examples (a sheet of pen-and-ink drawings and a sheet of preparatory pencil drawings) from Tintin au Tibet ['Tintin in Tibet']. By adopting a suitable reading method, we can recover hidden aspects of Hergé's creative process, thereby gaining a better understanding of how ideas for his bande dessinée narratives were developed and finalised during the act of composition.