On Philippe Druillet – by RM Rhodes

RM Rhodes presents commentary on the work of Philippe Druillet


I feel like when someone like me asks a young artist “Have you ever heard of…?” the young artist is expecting to know why the person in question is important. Or, even more simply, why they should care.

Having said that, Philippe Druillet is important because he’s one of the founding members of Les Humanoïdes Associés, the group that created Metal Hurlant (which later became Heavy Metal in America). If you’re guessing all of that French indicates Druillet’s national origin, you’d be correct.

Of even more relevance, Druillet is an amazing visual artist whose work deserves to be looked at by anyone who has any affinity for color and the use of color in art. His work is clearly influenced by Jack Kirby, but it also harkens back to European engravings that have been colored from the mid-17th Century.

His early work is black and white, but when he got his first airbrush, his entire style changed. As far as I’m concerned, Druillet levelled up when he started working color into his compositions. He clearly spent a long time working on the underlying pen illustrations, but it’s his use of color as a major element of the composition that’s worthy of note.

Speaking of composition, Druillet’s works like Lone Sloane, Salammbô, and Gail gave him ample opportunities to create some really challenging page layouts. These layouts are so distinctive that Benoit Peeters’ Four Conceptions of a Page uses Druillet as the exemplar of Decorative pages.

In the interests of show vs tell, I’m going to stop talking about how awesome Druillet is and just show you a whole bunch of his artwork. It will either resonate with you or it won’t, but I have a feeling that if it does resonate, it will resonate strongly.


RM Rhodes is the curator of the Heavy Metal Magazine tumblr. He lives and works in Washington, D.C. His current project is a weekly online anthology called The Rumor published on the Comics Workbook tumblr – see issues of it HERE. Check out more of his comics at Louis Deux.

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3 thoughts on “On Philippe Druillet – by RM Rhodes

  1. Hey, you have a page in here that’s actually declan shalvey on moon night in (2014ish?) it’s the one with the green mushrooms and pink inset panels totally Druillet influence but I don’t think Druillet worked on it. just a heads up.

  2. Thanks for a fantastic post. Druillet was one of my heroes from Heavy Metal magazine, among so many others. His use of layout to depict depth and magnitude of crowds is uncanny.

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