Jacques Ferrandez was born in Alger, Algeria, but he and his family settled in Nice, France, when he was only a couple of months old. Algeria has been a recurring theme in his work, though. After a six year education at the National School of Decorative Arts, he embarked on a career in comics, starting with the story 'L'Homme au Bigos' in 1977. This comic, written by Rodolphe and prepublished in Télérama, introduced the character of 'Commissaire Raffini', whose further adventures appeared in four albums at Les Humanoïdes Associés between 1980 and 1988.
Ferrandez and Rodolphe additionally cooperated on a series of short stories for À Suivre, as well as 'Anne et Charles' in Circus (1982-85), and some works for Métal Hurlant and Pilote. Stories by Ferrandez and Rodolphe were collected in books like 'Outsiders' (Les Humanoïdes Associés (1985) and 'Le Vicomte' (Dargaud, 1986). Also for À Suivre, Ferrandez wrote and drew 'Arrière-Pays', a series of short and more intimate stories.
After a change of style in 1986, he began realizing his old dream: to tell a moving epic about his homeland, Algeria, and its fight for independence. Over the years, he produced a series of seven books, which depicted Algeria's modern history with sophistication in tasteful watercolors. This collection, called 'Carnets d'Orient', was prepublished in magazines like Corto and À Suivre. Ferrandez has also created travelogues about Syria, Lebanon, Istanbul and Iraque for Casterman.
While working on this project, Ferrandez found the time to put together a jazz band, and recorded a CD. His love for jazz is reflected in his work, where it is featured prominently He is unsurpassed in rendering jazzy bars and bands, as can be seen in his works 'Nostalgia in Time Square' (Futuropolis, 1987) and 'Blues, Histoires en Bleu' (Art Moderne, 1990).
Manon des Sources
His colorful work often captures the atmosphere of the sunny south of France, which is why Ferrandez' audience was not too surprised to learn the news about his comics adaptations of Marcel Pagnol's literary classics, 'Jean de Florette' and 'Manon des Sources', which are both firmly set in the region. For Gallimard, he has made adaptations of the Albert Camus works 'L'Hôte' (2009) and 'L'Étranger' (2013).
With writer Tonino Benacquista he made the one shots 'L'Outremangeur' (1998) and 'La Boîte Noire' (2000). By 2012, he returned to the setting of Algeria, this time that of the 1960s, for the thriller 'Alger la Noire'.
Ferrandez is also active as an illustrator on a variety of projects. He has done book illustrations for the works of Benacquista, Rachid Mimouni, R. L. Stevenson, Pierre Christin and Philippe Carrese, and he also makes drawings for the collection Pleine Lune of Éditions Nathan.