Watch the acclaimed cartoonist Riad Sattouf draw while sharing his advice for colleagues: “Be careful with advice, it’s not always good.
Find your own way of expressing yourself, everything is acceptable, there’s no one good way to draw or not draw.” When Sattouf was at art school, he was taught to never draw from the top and down: “And I only draw like that, so I didn’t follow their advice.”
The important thing, he feels, is to have freedom of expression.
However, Sattouf appreciates the classical training he has received at art school: “You can, of course, be a genius without knowing how to read the notes, but if you know how to read, it will help you also.”
His drawing lessons provided him with useful techniques to help him develop his own personal style, where he e.g. avoids adding too many details on the characters, as he likes to bring out the simplicity in a drawing.
“You have to continue without abandon.”
If you want to draw comics you have to be patient – and more importantly, you have to like it: “If you’re looking for a job, this is a very bad job.
Don’t try to become a comic book artist – it’s not a job.” Having chosen the path of drawing, Sattouf lived for fifteen years without earning money: “But I was interested in what I was doing, and doing what I liked was more important than earning money.”
Riad Sattouf (b. 1978) is a French cartoonist, comics artist and film director of Franco-Syrian origin. Sattouf became widely known for the praised on-going graphic memoir ‘The Arab of the Future – A Childhood in the Middle East, 1978-1984’ and ‘The Arab of the Future 2 – A Childhood in the Middle East, 1984-1985’ (L’Arabe du future) (2014-15), first of which won the 2015 Fauve d’Or Prize for best graphic novel. Sattouf has also written and directed the award-winning film ‘Les Beaux Gosses’ (The French Kissers) (2009).
Sattouf worked for the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo from 2004-2014. He lives and works in France. Riad Sattouf was interviewed by Christian Lund at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark in October 2017.
Camera: Jakob Solbakken
Edited by: Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen
Produced by: Christian Lund