Arts

Peace for Paris illustrator responds: 'That's all I could draw'

What started as a tweet is now a symbol of hope. Today, French illustrator Jean Jullien spoke out on Instagram, sharing the story behind "Peace for Paris," his heartfelt reaction to Friday's attacks.

What started as a tweet is now a symbol of hope. Today, Jean Jullien spoke out on Instagram

A man holds a child's hockey stick with Jean Jullien's "Peace for Paris" illustration attached during a vigil in memory of the victims of the Paris attacks, outside city hall in Toronto, Nov.14, 2015. (Reuters)

It's an icon of peace, but also one of hope and solidarity. 

This image, created by French illustrator Jean Jullien, has been retweeted more than 59,000 times since he published it Friday in reaction to the Paris attacks. And that doesn't include the countless further shares by others around the world: celebrities, media outlets, anyone moved by the tragedy that left at least 129 people dead. 

His drawing has become a symbol, and Jullien shared his story, and his thanks, earlier today on Instagram.

He writes:

"Thank you all for your messages of support for Paris. It's been a crazy few days since i posted the Peace for Paris drawing and i've struggled to keep up and get back to doing the thing that i love doing the most: drawing. I've given a few interviews about the drawing already but i just want to say that i did it in the most spontaneous and sincere way, as a heartfelt reaction to what was happening. It's a drawing for Paris, for all the victims and their families. It is the worst way for me to be recognised as i normally try to make people smile with my work. This drawing is not about me, it's not about credit, i don't want to benefit from it. It's a sign for everybody to share and show their support and solidarity. It's a peace sign for all the other cities and countries around the world affected by such nonsense and violence. The victims of the attacks in Paris were doing what Paris does best: laughing, drinking, chatting, listening to music. Living and Loving. So that's all i could draw today, my heart and love to the victims and to Paris. May we all keep living and loving."

Earlier this year, Jullien's response to the attack on the Charlie Hebdo office went viral. 

The artist, who is based in London, has published his work in a variety of newspapers and magazines, including the New Yorker and the Guardian, and while his illustrations occasionally comment on current events, his style is marked by light-hearted observational humour, which is especially evident on his Instagram feed, followed by more than 300,000 fans. 

There was, however, some confusion online when the "Peace for Paris" illustration began to spread. The picture, which was created with brush and ink, has been mistakenly attributed to everyone from Justin Bieber to, more infamously, Banksy.

"Banksy is not on Facebook and is not on Twitter." (www.banksy.co.uk)

The latter cleared things up on his website, posting this to his website Saturday morning: "Banksy is not on Facebook and is not on Twitter."

Instagram itself published Jullien's post Saturday, crediting the artist.

Learn more about artists offering their peaceful responses to the Paris attacks, via q.

CBC News continues to report on the situation in Paris as new details emerge.

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