Watch Groundbreaking Comic Artist Mœbius Draw His Characters in Real Time

Jean Giraud, bet­ter known as Mœbius, may have passed away in 2012, but he gave his many fans glimpses into his unpar­al­leled artis­tic imag­i­na­tion right up until the end. In 2010 and 2012, the Fon­da­tion Carti­er pour l’Art Con­tem­po­rain put on Mœbius-Transe-Forme, the first major exhi­bi­tion in Paris devot­ed to his work, and one that, at Mœbius’ request, explored “the theme of meta­mor­pho­sis, a leit­mo­tif that runs through­out his comics, draw­ings, and film projects” and that pre­sent­ed his work in a vari­ety of ways that even some of his most avid read­ers, used to expe­ri­enc­ing his work only on the page, would nev­er have seen before.

One such way took the form of The Danc­ing Line, a series of videos which cap­ture Mœbius draw­ing live on a graph­ic tablet, offer­ing an artist’s-eye-view into how he trans­formed a blank dig­i­tal can­vas into a win­dow on the world he spent his career cre­at­ing. Here we have three selec­tions from the series: at the top we have Mœbius fill­ing in the details on the face of Malv­ina from The Air­tight Garage.

Just above, he draws the title char­ac­ter from his even bet­ter known com­ic series Blue­ber­ry, the uncon­ven­tion­al West­ern he cre­at­ed with Jean-Michel Char­li­er. Below, you can watch the cre­ation of a piece called “Inside Mœbius” — not a self-por­trait, exact­ly, but a por­trait of the sort of artist that exists in Mœbius’ world draw­ing a por­trait of Mœbius him­self.

“Stay­ing alive for an artist means to always be in an unknown part of him­self, to be out of him­self,” Mœbius told the Los Ange­les Times in 2011. “The exhi­bi­tion in Paris, the theme was trans­for­ma­tion. Art is the big door but real life is a lot of small doors that you must pass through to cre­ate some­thing new. You don’t always need to go far.” Nobody, artist or oth­er­wise, stays alive for­ev­er, but Mœbius knew how, in the time he had, to stay as alive as pos­si­ble by con­stant­ly seek­ing out those unknown parts. The Danc­ing Line videos show us how he felt his way through that ter­ra incog­ni­ta, point­ing the way with the expan­sive body of work he left behind toward all those small doors we, too, must pass through to cre­ate some­thing new of our own.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Mœbius & Jodorowsky’s Sci-Fi Mas­ter­piece, The Incal, Brought to Life in a Tan­ta­liz­ing Ani­ma­tion

Moe­bius’ Sto­ry­boards & Con­cept Art for Jodorowsky’s Dune

The Inscrutable Imag­i­na­tion of the Late Com­ic Artist Mœbius

Moe­bius Gives 18 Wis­dom-Filled Tips to Aspir­ing Artists (1996)

French Stu­dent Sets Inter­net on Fire with Ani­ma­tion Inspired by Moe­bius, Syd Mead & Hayao Miyaza­ki

Mœbius Illus­trates Paulo Coelho’s Inspi­ra­tional Nov­el The Alchemist (1998)

Mœbius Illus­trates Dante’s Par­adiso

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­maand the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future? Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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