French Boys Clothes in the Post War Era Illustrated by Pierre Joubert

Figure 1.--Pierre Joubert focused especially on the French Scout movement, drawing Scouts in every activity and show casing their uniforms, often the berets and short pants that French Scouts were known for at the time.

Pierre Joubert was a French illustrator during the 1950s and 60s executed hundreds of drawings of French youth. Some were drawn in the 1930s and 40s, but most were produced in the 1950s and 60s. He draw numerous pictures for Boy Scout literature. His drawings show French Scouts happily hiking through the country, their banners proudly displayed. The boys commonly wear the berets and short pants that characterized French Scouts at the time.


Pierre was born in Paris on June 27, 1910. We know nothing at this timde about his childhood or the clothes he wore as a boy. We do know that he was a keen Boy Scout and drew images of Scoying as an actual Scout in his teens.


We know nothing about Pierre's early education. He attended l'Ecole des arts appliqués (School of the Applied Arts) in Paris.

First Job

Joubert worked for the magazine L'Illustration (The Illustration) about 1930. Soon afterwards and for the rest of his life, Jobert focused on illustrating Scouting publications and books as well as illustrating other literature connected with the Scouting movement.

The Illustrator

Pierre Joubert was a French illustrator during the 1950s and 60s executed hundreds of drawings of French youth. His first amateur drawings were published in the magazine "Scout de France" in 1926. Presumably he was a Scout himself at this time. He has been associated with French Scouting ever since. His first commercial drawings appeared in the magazine The Illustration and dealt with tobacco and perfumes. He drew for this magazine during 1927-34. A French reader informs HBC that Joubert died in January 2002.


French illustrator Pierre Joubert was active as an illustrator from about 1926-69. Most of his drawings were made during this period. He is especially remembered for his drawings made during the 1950s and 60s when executed hundreds of drawings of French youth. Some were drawn in the 1930s and 40s, but the largest numbers and the ones most proficiently drawn were done during the 1950s and 60s.

First Drawings

Jobert began drawing as a teenager. He recalls his first drawings. Since his earliest youth, Pierre Joubert draws. "In 1926, Scouts de France were 4 years old, and my troop, 14 Paris camped in the Pyrénées. Soon after this camp, I made my first drawings in the Scouts de France magazine. The camp intendent had the idea of writing a novel set in the area of Spain where we camped. It was The Aventure of King of Torla. I was still in school and drawing illustrations for a book that was soon to be published! The book was so successful that it was necessary to republish and I made then my first cover colors, you see under your eyes. As for the interior drawings, they are 73 years old, then, are lenient." ["En 1926, les Scouts de France avaient quatre ans, et ma troupe, la 14 Paris campait dans les Pyrénées. Peu après ce camp, je faisais mes premiers dessins dans la revue des Scouts de France, l’intendant du camp eut l’idée d’écrire un roman ayant pour cadre la région d’Espagne où nous avions campé. Ce fut L’Aventure du Roi de Torla. J’étais encore à l’école de dessin et j’allais illustrer un livre qui serait bientôt édité ! Le livre eut un tel succès qu’il fallut rééditer et je fis alors ma première couverture couleurs, vous l’avez sous les yeux. Quant aux dessins intérieurs, ils ont 73 ans, alors, soyez indulgents."]

Figure 2.--Pierre Joubert sometimes uses historic and religious imagery in his Scout drawings.

World War II

Jobert has been criticised by some French wtiters for extremism. This is in part because during World War II, Scouting was banned by the Germans in the areas of northern and western France that they occupied. It was permitted to continue in Vichy. As a result, the Scouting organization moved to Vichy. The Vichy Government of course collaborated with the NAZIs. Thus the reputation of any one associated with Vichy was tarnished. This and assocations with some of the authors whose books he illustrated suggest to some politicalmor religious extremism. This is an unfair assessment of Jobert's work. Scouting was his principal interest anf thuis if Scouting was only permitted in Vichy, than it is understanfable that he would move to Vichy. Jobert was also fascinated by France's history along with heraldism and knighthood. Many of his drawings are set in medieval France and employ feudal symbols. We do not know of any committment on his part to either political or religious extremism.



Joubert is of course best known for his Scouting drawings. In his obituary, the respected Paris newspaper Le Monde referred to him as "l'illustrateur du scout modèle," (the illustrator of the model or ideal Scout). He drew numerous pictures for Boy Scout literature. His drawings show French Scouts happily hiking through the country, their banners proudly displayed. The boys commonly wear the berets and short pants that characterized French Scouts at the time. He became the more or less the "official" illustrator of scouts in France for many decades. He did so much of this and over such a long period that he has even been credited with influencing the actual 'look' of scouts in France (and Belgium).

Signe de Piste

Not all of his drawings focused specifically on Scouting. He also illustrated many books, mostly adventure books for boys. He drew hundreds of illustration for adventure stories for and usually about boys. These were often books in various series, including Marabout, Golden Fleece, Hachette, and Presses-Pocket among others. His adventure book work, however, is most associated with Signes de pistes (Trail Signs). The Signes de pistes editions included best-sellers by Guy de Larigaudie, Jean-Louis Foncine, and Serge Dalens. Characters like Bracelet of Vermeil, Prince Ericet, and others attracted millions of readers for several generations. These books were read around the world, but were mpre popular in the French-speaking countries than in the English-speaking countries. As a boy growing up in America dyring the 1950s, I do not recall seeing these books. I'm less sure about other European countries like Italy, Germany, and Spain. The Signes de pistes books were most popular in the 1950s and 60s.


He illustrated the covers of many books with historical settings, but he also drew to illustrate ordinary activities of French boys for a variety of publications. Jobert also did some mainstream commercial drawing, including advertising.

Figure 3.--Although Joubert is best known for his Scout drawings, many drawings also illustrated French boys that were not Scouts, providing a view of French boys' clothing in the 1950s nd 60s.


Joubert drew idealized boys, always full of energy with their hair tossled in energetic outdoor activities--often Scouting. His drawings convey the energy of childhhod, often running or in playful contests with other boys. The boys depicted are almost always happy, enjoying a variety of play with friends. Some of the adventure books show boys in more dangerous, but less realistic situations. The Jobert style influenced bothe dress and hair styles of French boys. The Le Monde obitury concludes by saying, "Cette influence d'une étendue et d'une durée sans équivalent s'explique par une merveille de précision dans le trait en mouvement, et par le charme d'un attachement naturel au royaume de l'enfance." this would translate as, "This influence of an extent and duration without equivalent is explained by a wonder of precision in his ability to depict movement and by the charm of a natural attachment to the kingdom of childhood".


Although Joubert is best known for his Scout drawings, many of his drawings also illustrated French boys that were not Scouts. These drawings provide n interesting view of French boys' clothing from the mis-1920s to the end of the 60s--primarily in the 50s and 60s. His drawings provide a view of the various outfits worn by French boys during this period. The drawings are usually idelized and like the drawings of Poulbot, another French illustrator, often incorporate humour. Sometimes the illustrations have suggestions as to what the boys thought about the various garments they are depicted as wearing. Boys are shown wearing smocks, other school clothing, suits, sailor suits, as well as other garments like berets. French boys at the time commonly wore short pants. Many of his drawings show French boys in shorts. Not all French boys at the time wore shorts and Joubert drew these boys as well. I am not sure in what publications these non-Scout drawings appeared.


Joubert's drawing are idealized, but probably no contemporary French illustrator drew French youth so prolificately. His Scout drawings continue to be symbols of French Scouting even though the uniforms he drew have long since passed from the French Scouting scene. There continued popularity in France suggest that there is great nostalga for the era that Jobert chronicled and the laughing joyful boys in berets and short pants.


B. P.-D. Le Monde, January 23, 2002.

Christopher Wagner

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Created: November 13, 1999
Last updated: June 19, 2002