Hergé and ligne claire
Throughout his time working on The Adventures of Tintin, George Remi, otherwise known as Hergé, developed a signature style that came to influence many other Belgian-French comics that followed. The style, called ligne claire or “clear line,” is characterized by thin lines with a consistent weight on both characters and their setting. These lines allow for a classical and well-controlled narration with a high level of readability, or the ease in which text can be read and understood. Black spotting is also limited to localized area of black (such as in Haddock’s hair or pants) and is rarely used to render shadows.
Ligne claire differed greatly from traditional American comics at the time which used a heavily inflected line (see below). Inflected lines can add a great deal of emotion or mood to line work and thus create dynamism within a layout; however, ligne claire functions well to add simplicity and clarity to a children’s story such as Tintin.
Fantastic 4 #10 by Jack Kirby versus The Castafiore Emerald by Hergé, both published in 1963
By looking at some of older stories from the Tintin series, one can see a definite development in Hergé’s style. In fact, he went back and redrew many of his comics after war. This was also due to the criticism he received from a moral standpoint for many things seen in his comics, and in an attempt to recover this loss of face, he also removed some gags seen in the Tintin reprints (one such, found in Tintin in the Congo, involved Tintin blowing up a rhino with a bomb).