Retro 50s and 60s animated television commercial character design has been popular for quite a number of years now. I first saw it when Ren & Stimpy premiered and the style is still in fashion today, like on Fairly Odd Parents and in many portfolios of illustrators featured on Drawn!.

Pascal Blanchet is an illustrator who pulls it off so well, in fact, that I could swear his work was actually done back in the 40s and 50s. It’s in the style of the 2-tone illustrations typical of 1940s and 50s jazz LPs. I also collect vinyl so this is why I can relate. And I also draw comics based on swing music (more on that in a future post).

This Québec artist was featured this week on’s Arts & Entertainment feature. His work is also shown in France.

I love the album artwork Pascal recreates for his personal collection of vintage jazz LPs. I learned from the CBC retrospective (no pun intended) that in all his books, he lists all the songs which had an influence during the making. What a great idea to give the reader has some additional insight into the artist.

Plus, it gives you a chance to discover new swing music.

I can’t wait to get my copy of his book, La fugue, which is printed on brown paper that resembles the same kind that was used to hold 78rpms.

There are 2 other reasons why I can’t wait to get this book (even though it was printed back in 2005 and I am late in finding out about it): I love swing music from the 1930s and 40s (the scratchier the better) which always gets me in a cartoony mood to draw; and the book was inspired by his grandparents’ love for jazz clubs back in the years after WW2. That’s a cool way to tell a story about an era.

Actually, there’s a 3rd: the cover is a 78. You have got to appreciate creative details like that. The brown paper, the record cover and the album-like illustrations all provide the mood of the swing era. Well, recorded music of the swing era.

His books are available on and you can check out his work at

[tags]Pascal Blanchet, illustration, swing, jazz, retro[/tags]