Monday, February 20, 2017

Dominique Goblet by Maddie Wilkinson

Born in Brussels in 1967, Dominique Goblet is a Belgian graphic novelist whose unique style and voice make her an important figure in the world of graphic literature. Graphic literature and comics are defined as narratives built with images, distinct from a single illustration. An illustration may stand alone, but a panel in a comic or graphic novel interacts with the panels around it, with the words on the page, and with the entire composition of the work. In her youth, Goblet studied visual arts at St. Luke’s Institute, and in the years since then she has gone on to publish several successful books.

Portraits from Chronologie de Nikita, a series of portraits completed by Dominique Goblet and her daughter over the course of ten years. The two drew portraits of each other once a week.

 Pages from Faire semblant c'est mentir (Pretending is Lying) (2007); observe the contrasting art styles between these pages and between these and the pages below.

Her childhood was troubled, a theme she explores in her multiple autobiographical novels, particularly Faire semblant c'est mentir (Pretending is Lying) (2007) but including Souvenir d'une journée parfait (Memory of a Perfect Day) (2001). Pretending is Lying delves into some of the most important relationships in Goblet’s life—namely, those with her parents, her lover, and her daughter. These separate narratives are not chronological, running parallel to each other throughout the story and highlighting the complex dynamics of each relationship. Memory of a Perfect Day, similarly, intertwines multiple storylines, but this particular novel weaves together an autobiographical account with a fictional story. In this way, Goblet explores the idea that fiction and autobiography both hold their own kinds of truth, and poses the question “Is fiction more personal and more true in another way?”

Pages from Faire semblant c'est mentir (Pretending is Lying) (2007); observe the contrasting art styles between these pages and between these and the pages above.

Goblet’s art style varies dramatically between and even within her works.  She uses a wide variety of media in her artwork, including various drawing instruments like pencil, pen, marker, and pastel, as well as paint and monoprints. Viewing different pages from Pretending is Lying, one could easily believe that each one had come from completely different books, so different are the lines, the colors, the characters, the words. The main unifying factor throughout is the organization of the square panels, tying the narrative together, relating each image to the others and progressing the story forward. The way in which she portrays her characters is very malleable, changing their shape depending on how they relate to the people around them. In another work of hers, Les Hommes Loups (Wolf Men), her style is darker and more foreboding, with more dark hues and foggy, mysterious shapes, pairing well with the themes of the project: disquiet, distrust, dishonesty, and deceit.

A piece from Les Hommes Loups (Wolf Men)

I chose Dominique Goblet because I was drawn to her drawing style (no pun intended). Her exploration of color intrigues me with its contrast of bright hues with dark and neutral tones, and the varying degrees of realism with which she portrays her subject matter are interesting and engaging. I think that her versatility is especially fascinating to me—I would like to eventually cultivate many distinctive styles as well, and I hope to develop a more carefree, uninhibited approach to drawing similar to the spontaneous strategies she employs.

Works Cited
Brazell, Derek, and Jo Davies. Making Great Illustration. London: & C Black, 2011. Print.
"Dominique Goblet." New York Review Books. New York Review Books, n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2017.
Lehoczky, Etelka. "With A Photographer's Eye, A French Cartoonist Interrogates Truth." NPR. NPR, 05 Feb. 2017. Web. 19 Feb. 2017.

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