blankets roughs

Hectic week is distracting me from updating. But here’s a little sumtin’…

A glimpse of my thumbnail process. I draw the entire book in this loose ballpoint pen format and edit, before ever starting the final pages. BLANKETS was thumbnailed for a year. The first page of final art was drawn August 24th, 2000.

These thumbnails were sketched out on February 19th, 2000. They’re finalized counterparts were inked on May 25th, 2002.



On the back of my final pages, I keep a brief journal —


This one mentions the bill-paying work I was about to throw myself into — two covers of NICKELODEON and a ten page comic for Dark Horse. For the record, I didn’t ink the next page of BLANKETS until June 18th, 2002, nearly a month later.

As for HABIBI, I spent late 2004 until late 2006 editing and rewriting the ballpoint pen version.

41 thoughts on “blankets roughs

  1. It’s great to see this process Craig. Is there any particular reason you script in ballpoint pen rather than pencil? I love drawing with ballpoint pen (it feels the most “uninhibited” to me) but I always script in pencil, for the ease of erasing, as ideas morph and change.

    Man… I need to reread Blankets!

  2. Interesting to see your process. Not too dissimilar from mine, actually, which is encouraging to a newbie like myself.

    What size are these thumbnails conceived at?

  3. Alec — ballpoint pen, because it has the sketchability of pencil — feathery or hard lines — but it’s permanent. It’s good for artists to make marks with no option for erasing.
    Ray — these are just a sheet of typing paper folded in half (5.5″ x 8.5″)

  4. I love seeing these compositional changes. I particularly like how you changed the angle in the bottom panel on the left page to allot more emphasis on the blankets in disarray, which was what the panel was about. And your decision to allow the thrown sheet to cut just outside the panel was a great one.

    I’m also impressed you had the restraint to cut out the imagination scenes with the bed in the ocean- it’s cooler looking, but doesn’t work as well overall. This is “strengthen your pages 101.” I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that seeing more like this wouldn’t just be enjoyable, but professionally helpful.

  5. this is really intersting.
    thank you for taking the time out to show all this.
    i’m a literature and publishing major at college so for me its really fun to see what goes in to making any kind of book.
    especially a graphic novel.

  6. i havent checked yr site in about a year but for some reason something called me to it…and wowie! a blog! thanks for letting your adoring fans know you are still alive!

  7. bonjour Craig, je t’écris en français (tu est passé en France, je crois) car mon anglais est mauvais; je viens de découvrir Blanket, beau voyage depuis l’enfance jusqu’aux premières marches de l’age adulte.
    Ce qui fai s que je m’interroge encore plus sur les garçons ……

  8. I love you 🙂
    I love your works (specially blankets and chunky rice!).
    I’ve just read your carnets.
    I’ll follow you and sorry for my english very italian 😛

  9. for goodness sake, it’s been too long. i’m looking at the ballpoint pen version, not having scrolled down yet, and thinking “i wonder why craig changed this so much, why he omitted this frame or that.” and then i see it in the book version. i suppose it’s time for another read. i distinctly remember the first time being at this time of year–the last day of school/work in fact, so i think it would be extra lovely to read again now.

    i hope you’re well, craig. seanie and i send our love.

  10. Oh…I confess I like more the sketches…don’t they look a lot more expressive? Both are amazing anyway…
    Weird I can post in your blog, I’m writing a paper about your book for school (my reading of the book), and I’m kind of stuck!

  11. wow, thanks for allowing a glimpse behind the scenes..the evocativeness and the intimacy of Blankets never fails to astonish me. You actually managed to capture and portray the imagination of a child… lots of thumbs up for that. you know, I found out about Blankets through a friend of mine, who’s a graphic artist as well, and just like me he’s a pastor’s kid and we both can relate to the story a lot. and the other day I saw the ABC here in Amsterdam stock Blankets again, that really put a smile on my face. sorry for such a long comment, i just wanted to thank you for your amazing work…take care and lots of love.

  12. Valentina,
    My agent PJ Mark’s current e-mail is . I gotta fix that button on the website! Thanks for your patience…

  13. Craig,

    My girlfriend (ex now) gave me Blankets in 2003 and I just loved it. I recently re-read it and marveled again at your story telling, especially at times without using words. The sentiment and story reminded me of what it was like to feel 19 again, and I thank you for it. Great job.


  14. Craig~
    Just wondering if you knew that pages 305- 320 are douplicated in the 7th printing of the book? Probably a printer’s error, but my husband and I found ourselves re-reading to see if there was some subtle change. He’s aspiring to do some graphic writing, and you’ve been a bit of a muse. Thanks!

  15. Craig, even your old thumbnails/sketches look great! I look back on my own old art and cringe! A lot of people say this, I’m sure, but Blankets is such a great piece of work, and very moving. It sits on my nightstand happily awaiting another reread.

  16. Craig,
    Blankets is the best craphic novels I have read. I like your work.I like your drawing . I think Blankets ia a novel that should be read by every religious teacher. Sorry for my broken english .I want to say more but I don’t know to explain.

  17. Really great art work. I myself use to draw a lot when I was younger but never found my niche doing it. I am glad for you that you have. You are very talented. Ever hear of Chick tracts? You could draw for Jesus and preach the gospel and receive eternal rewards. God bless you. 🙂 Rick T.

  18. Hi Craig…I’m not in the graffic novel/comic culture, but I bumped into Blankets and…I just loved it. Its tenderness hurts: the parts related to the childhood phase, the painting duet (something I used to do with my cousins), first love…I also loved GBChunky Rice. Can’t wait to read Habibi.
    Thanks for the blog!
    Saludos desde Madrid

  19. when I picked up Blankets for the first time I thought, man the artwork is really good. I was at IUPUI in Indianapolis (I’m in High School, so I don’t go there) just looking around and I had like six hours, so I got a cup of Starbucks coffee and read THE WHOLE THING! I looked up and I was lost from reality. It was so well told that (being an artist myself) it inspired to pick drawing back up, since recently I’ve been more obsessed over music. But I just wanted to say thanx for inspiring me.

  20. this portion of the book stuck in my head the longest after reading blankets (mostly the shark eating teh bear) thanks for sharing…

  21. I loved ur graphic novel Blankets/ it was very intoresting and i enjoyed reading it!!! i thought that the whole love stuff with Riana and Craig was intoresting cuz i can relate to how there relationship turns out! it was good and i liked the whole novel!!!

  22. I find that the whole love conection between raina and craig is very intoresting and it tell’s about love and what happens with love and how nothing last forever!

  23. It is sad how love can fade or die or. I was very moved by you book.I found many things that seemed familiar from my childhood. I may sound like a romantic idiot , but I would love it if the story between you and Raina had a happy ending , even after many years. Thank you.

  24. I have written a book report on Blankets that I want to email to you. Can you give your email address to which I can send it?

  25. I just finished reading Blankets, and I enjoyed it. This was defiently not my kind of graphic novel, but someone had asked me to write a review for it.

    I know you are living in Portland, OR right now. If you ever plan a trip down to the Salem area, I would love to host a chat.

    I look forward to reading more of your work.

  26. Dear Craig,

    i just finished Blankets last night…it made me cry and feel so beautiful about life…
    Follow your heart and keep drawing mate…
    We will post soon a review in our website here in Greece
    Hope sometime to see you in Greece!!
    All the best..

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