François Bourgeon

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François Bourgeon in October 2014

François Bourgeon (born July 5, 1945 in Paris ) is a French comic artist .

Originally trained as a glass painter at the Paris Ecole des Métiers d'Art , François Bourgeon got into comic drawing in the early 1970s through contact with the youth magazine Lisette . Further smaller orders for similar magazines followed, until he achieved his breakthrough in the Franco-Belgian comic scene in 1979 with the historical cycle Travelers in the Wind . Today he lives in Cornouaille ( Brittany ).


François Bourgeon's drawings are generally committed to a realistic style, albeit with the stylization tendencies typical of comics. For his two major historical series Travelers in the Wind (RiW) and The Companions of the Twilight (GdD), he carried out extensive studies in costume, building and military history. He has also made numerous models himself as references for his drawing work - for example the (fictional) medieval Montroy Castle (GdD), some buildings from the Cyann science fiction cycle , life-size head models of the 'Knight Without a Name' (GdD) and Zabo (RiW) and much more.

Bourgeon's drawing style has undergone constant change over the years - from the simple technique in Brunelle et Colin to the sophisticated graphic tableaus in the last two volumes of the RiW cycle. Most significant for him, however, was the fact that a few years ago the production of the drawing nibs that he had previously used for ink drawing pencils was discontinued. Bourgeon looked for a satisfactory replacement but did not find one. So he changed the whole procedure. He began to draw with fineliners, i.e. felt-tip pens of different thicknesses. To do this, however, he had to work in a larger format than before, because this was the only way to come close to the dynamism and liveliness of a line drawn with a pen. The change in the drawing material and its stylistic consequences are clearly documented in the third volume of the Cyann cycle. Half of the album is still drawn with a pen, the other half with fineliners.

For the coloration of his ink drawings Bourgeon usually used colored inks from different manufacturers, such as the watercolor ink Colorex the French brand Pebeo or liquid acrylic colors from Daler-Rowney . Characteristic of its coloring is above all the wonderful richness and luminosity of the colors, which are always reminiscent of Bourgeon's original activity as a glass painter.

Bourgeon's innovations in the field of the dramaturgy of comics were particularly influential. When he entered the comic scene, the medium's page layout was still largely conventional: the individual panels followed one another in a linear fashion. Bourgeon broke this limitation and made a habit of changing the panel size based on narrative intent. For example, he inserted smaller detailed images into larger panoramas or cut up one and the same image into several panels.

It was not just Bourgeon's visual narrative style that was innovative for comic culture: While most comic series up to that point were either aimed at continuous continuations or completed episodes without developing the characters, Bourgeon established the epic comic with the five-album Travelers in the Wind cycle -Roman and thus justified the acceptance of comics as a serious narrative medium in Germany.

It is noticeable that women play the leading roles in all of Bourgeon's series. These women are always adventurer figures, that is, unbound, clever, curious, self-determined and, with all of this, also erotic. Behind this is the idea that women are travelers, homeless in a world dominated by men - a model that Johann Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen already portrayed in 1670 in his little novel Trutz Simplex or the biography of the Ertz cheater and troublemaker Courasche .


Les passagers du vent , 7 volumes, 1979–2010; German travelers in the wind
  • Volume 1: Stowaways , Carlsen , 1981, Splitter , 2009
  • Volume 2: The Prisoner Ship , Carlsen, 1981, Splitter, 2009
  • Volume 3: Trading in black goods , Carlsen, 1982, Splitter, 2009
  • Volume 4: The Hour of the Snake , Carlsen, 1982, Splitter, 2010
  • Volume 5: Dangerous Cargo , Carlsen, 1984, Splitter, 2010
  • Volume 6: The girl from Bois Caïman I , Splitter, 2009
  • Volume 7: The girl from Bois Caïman II , Splitter, 2010
Les compagnons du crépuscule , 3 volumes, 1983–1989; dt. The companions of the dawn
  • Volume 1: In the Magic of the Cloud Forest , Carlsen, 1986 [new edition Splitter 2010]
  • Volume 2: The three eyes of the blue-green city , Carlsen, 1986 [new edition Splitter 2010]
  • Volume 3: The Feast of Fools , Carlsen, 1990 [Splitter reissue 2010]
Le cycle de Cyann , 6 volumes, 1993-2014; dt. Cyann - daughter of the stars

Together with Claude Lacroix

  • Volume 1: The Dying Planet , Carlsen, 1994 [new edition Splitter 2012]
  • Volume 2: Six moons on ilO , Carlsen, 1997 [new edition Splitter 2012]
  • Special volume: La clé des confins , Casterman, 1997
  • Volume 3: Aïeïa von Aldaal , Carlsen, 2005 [new edition Splitter 2013]
  • Volume 4: The Colors of Marcades , Carlsen, 2007 [new edition Splitter 2013]
  • Volume 5: The Corridors of the Meanwhile , Splitter, 2013
  • Volume 6: The gentle twilight by Aldalarann , Splitter, 2015
Bourgeon as an illustrator
  • Bourgeon created the illustrations for the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale La Belle éveillée .


  • Bourgeon. L'envers du décor . Bibliothèque municipiale de Brest 2006. ISBN 2-9525730-1-8 . Published on the occasion of an exhibition on Bourgeon in the Brest City Library in 2006. Edition limited to 1000 pieces.
  • Christian Lejalé: Bourgeon . Imagine & Co. 2010. ISBN 2-9535017-3-8 .


  • Bourgeon. Le passager du vent . Christian Lejalé, Imagine & Co. 2010. DVD, 52 min.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Michel Daubert: Interview with FB in François Bourgeon Travelers in the Wind: The Hour of the Snake , 1985 Carlsen Verlag ISBN 3-551-02504-5
  2. On this paragraph cf. the interview with Bourgeon in Christian Lejalé: Bourgeon. Imagine & Co. 2010.
  3. See the photos from Bourgeon's studio at Christian Lejalé: Bourgeon. Imagine & Co. 2010.
  4. Archive link ( Memento from March 6, 2005 in the Internet Archive )
  5. Gaël Aymon: Contes d'un autre genre. Illustré par François Bourgeon, Sylvie Serprix, Peggy Nille. Saint-Mandé: Talents on the move 2011.