Aesthetics Wiki

Ligne Claire (in Flemish Dutch: Klare Lijn, in English: Clear Line) is a Belgian visual art style that is characterized by the use of simple, bold lines and minimal shading to create a clean and distinct look. This style is often used in comics, cartoons, and illustrations to create a sense of clarity and simplicity. Ligne Claire was created and popularized by the comic artist Hergé, known for creating the famous comic series called The Adventures of Tintin. Although it was originally closely associated to the Tintin comic strips, it quickly became a popular illustration choice in Walloon/Belgian and French comics made by a diverse range of authors, including Joost Swarte, Yves Chaland, and Charles Burns. Eventually, this style became virtually synonymous with European comic strips.

The term "ligne claire" was coined by Joost Swarte in 1977[1], and this style was formerly known as the "Hergé Style" or "Tintin Style" due to its connotations in popular media.


Ligne Claire started to emerge during the 1930s in Belgium as a distinct comic trend. The style is often associated with Hergé, the creator of The Adventuries of Tintin, and the Brussels School of comic artists, which included Edgar P. Jacobs, Jacques Martin, and Bob de Moor and multiple other artists. Hergé developed his signature style out of necessity, as the printing technology of the time limited the number of colors he could use and the complexity of his drawings. The Ligne Claire style quickly became popular in Belgium and France, becoming part of the Franco-Belgian comic tradition. In Europe its influence can be seen in a wide range of comics, from adventure stories to political satire. In the 1970s, the Dutch cartoonist Joost Swarte coined the term "Ligne Claire" to describe the style, because many people felt like the term "Tintin Style" or "Hergé Style" was too vague and didn't feel inclusive to other authors and their artworks. In the 1960s, the Ligne Claire style began to fall out of popularity because many saw it as old-fashioned. However, the style continues to be remembered as an important part of European comic art history and saw resurgence during the 70s.


Visuals found in the Ligne Claire aesthetic include:

  • Clear, simple lines of varied thickness
  • Flat and clean colors with little to no shading
  • Simplified characters and objects
  • Realistic backgrounds
  • A sense of whimsy and humor
  • Detailed, yet simple artworks


Comics & Literature[]

  • The Adventures of Tintin Series (1929–1976)
  • Tintin Au Congo (1931)
  • Jo, Zette and Jocko (1936-1957)
  • Quick and Flupke (1930-1940)
  • Spirou & Fantasio (1938-Present)
  • Jommeke (1955)
  • The Adventures of Freddy Lombard (1980s)
  • Alix (1948)
  • Barelli (1956)
  • Berlin (1996-2018)
  • Bingo Bongo et son Combo Congolais
  • Blake and Mortimer (1946)
  • César and Jessica (1984)
  • Franka (Mid 1970s)
  • Hector and Dexter
  • Julian Opie's Portraits
  • Kurt Dunder (1986)
  • Le Monde d'Edena (1983)
  • Nofret
  • Professor Palmboom (1981-1999)
  • The Rainbow Orchid (2002-2012)
  • Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth (2000)
  • Shutterbug Follies (2002-2005)
  • Spike and Suzy (1946)
  • Tintin pastiches
  • Where's Wally? (1987-Present)
  • Yoko Tsuno (1970)
  • How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less (2007)
  • Sjef van Oekel (1976)
  • The Property
  • Les Cités Obscures (1983)
  • Taylor Zander and the Wendigo Murders