Doot Doot Garden: The Blog of Craig Thompson
Doot Doot Garden: The blog of graphic novelist Craig Thompson
all work and no play? September 21st, 2009

Along with Leonard Cohen, I share birthdays with Stephen King. His ON WRITING offered some fuel during these past months of revisions.

This sentiment matched my own for most of the summer. Then finally, on Thursday the 17th, a BREAKTHROUGH.
(it may or may not involve smithereens.) HABIBI‘s undergone four drafts: 1) The spontaneous sketchbook-bound version from december 2004.
2) The first draft presented to my publisher in july 2005. 3) My overwrought second draft “completed” september 2006, AND 4) micro-scribbles
that unveiled the ending to me just a few days ago. In the same time of rewrites, my rib(s) healed. Today’s my birthday, and I’m going surfing.

44 Responses to “all work and no play?”

  1. Matt the Smigiel Says:

    I recently had the same fix with MY graphic novel….glad to hear your problems resolved themselves. Happy birthday mi amigo, and good luck on the continuation of the awesome work!

  2. Tionna Says:

    Happy Birthday!

  3. Jose de Leon Says:

    Happy Birthday Craig! One year better, not one year older!

  4. GMIV Says:

    Happy birthday.

    Impressive list of people born on this date: you, Cohen, Liam Gallagher, Ethan Coen, Stephen King, HG Wells…

    Thank you September for this day.

  5. Amber Says:

    Happy Birthday! I hope you get everything you wanted and even some things you didn’t know you wanted! I think healed up ribs enough to go surfing is a good start on that list of everything you wanted 😀

    I know I’m more than excited to see this finished book, and I’m glad you have sorted it in time to be able to rock out for your birthday and not be gnashing your teeth over it.

  6. grace Says:

    happy birthday!

  7. aaron Says:

    happy birthday!

  8. wtyang24 Says:

    Happy Birthday! 😀

  9. Steve Says:

    Saw the shout out about your birthday on CR — so Happy BDAY!!!!

  10. Shannon Says:

    Have a very merry birthday, Craig. May this be the happiest of new years!

  11. Christine Vo Says:

    Happy Birthday Mr. Thompson! You have done so much! Hav a helluva time surfing! I respect how much skill and talent you have dedicated to your works, thank you for your great artwork and stories :)
    an inspired person

  12. Jordi Says:

    Happy birthday Craig, enjoy yourself!

  13. Fábio Moon Says:

    Happy Birthday, Craig. Enjoy the waves.

  14. Idrils Says:

    Happy birthday, dear Craig ! As said a great birthcard i once had, may each year be a feather on the glorious Chicken of Life as it soars Untamed and Beautiful toward the golden sun. And good luck for finishing Habibi. I look forward to reading it :)

  15. trent Says:

    happy birthday! and congratulations on discovering the ending of HABIBI. i am very anxious to read it.

  16. eRiQ Says:

    yay – another birthday for all us 21st of September Virgos –
    Habbi Birthday!!! – You should come and test the waves here in New Zealand one day!

  17. jenny Says:

    Joyeux anniversaire!

  18. John Says:

    Happy Birthday Craig.

    And I’m happy that the ending is there. I certainly know THAT… 😉

    (apart from that, that photo of King creeps me out)

  19. aggy Says:

    happy birthday craig!!
    and congrats on finding an ending

  20. Tasmar Says:

    X????? ?????! (happy birthday in greek)

  21. Rachael Says:

    Happy Birthday! You share a birthday with one of my little brothers. Hope you have a good one! And congrats on the breakthrough. Thanks again for this insight into your process; it’s so fascinating.

  22. jess smart smiley Says:

    Who’s publishing Habibi?

  23. Tia Says:

    Nice choice of words in regards to #4! I’m sure you’ve done your homework on Islam, so you know about the concept of knowledge & God being slowly ‘unveiled’ to a person. It’s lovely thinking that it resonates strongly in the creative process too. Anyway, just a random comment from a long time fan. Have a wonderful birthday!

  24. Fotini Says:

    Happy birthday Craig!!! 😀
    This is the third time I’ve heard/read about Stephen King’s “On Writing” ‘healing’ properties on a written work :) I must definitely read it!

  25. Alessandro M. Says:

    Sorry, a little late but Happy Birthday Craig!
    And congrats for the blissful insight!

  26. Joe M. Says:

    Happy Birthday! You can add my son Joseph to your shared birthday list! Love, love, love your work. Fellow Wisconsinite, by the way. Raised in Cedarburg. Can’t wait for Habibi!

  27. Hana O. Says:

    Happy Birthday Craig!!! I hope it is wonderful. glad to hear you’re doing much better. also, this progression of Habibi is beautiful :) keep up the great work!

  28. Jaybird Says:

    Happy Birf-day, Craig! Hope surfing was awesome, and that the weather held. The new draft sounds great–I know how important it is to have a flow that draws the reader inevitably towards the conclusion. It sounds like you have that going on now. Sending blessings and hopes for continued clarity!

  29. baptiste amsallem Says:

    Happy birthday Mister Thompson =)

  30. annet Says:

    happy birthday! glad your ribs are ok…

  31. RB Says:

    Happy Birthday Craig

  32. carlocki Says:

    sorry I’m so late but Happy Birthday. I aspect so much form Habibi. I spend one year in Morocco doing the architect and I’m think is the so great to do a comic about Muslim.
    I had a girlfriend there, that i still love, and I was so proud to share feelings with another religion girl. I am very corious about Habibi (that means my dear but only for male)

  33. rui Says:

    hi Craig, greetings from Portugal.
    I like the Cartoonigami you did for nicklodeon magazine!
    I searched but found nothing similar to that, and I question if that is your original idea, and if so if I can borrowed your idea for using other caracters and situations, for publication??
    I can also question the Mr Lewis but I cannot speak french.

    sorry for using your blog and sorry for my english


  34. craig Says:

    Thank you everyone for birthday wishes!
    Rui, the oupabo fold-in concept is definitely credited to L’association and/or Lewis Trondheim. But I’m assume it’s a form anyone’s welcome to play with.

  35. rui Says:


  36. amelia Says:

    I just wanted to say that you are quite obviously a driven man and an inspiration. Many of my students who read Blankets last year (and graduated fron a rural highschool in Northern Vermont) have since friended me on facebook (of all things!) and want to know what to read next and when Habibi is scheduled to come out. I always tell them to read your blog, and many do . . . Happy belated birthday, and here’s to inspiration!

  37. rowan Says:

    happy birthday. hope you had fun surfing x

  38. Jasjyot Singh Hans Says:

    Hey a very very happy birthday! May you live long and continue to do fantastic work as you have been doing. It is truly amazing and inspiring. Congratulations for the progress of the book, I can’t wait to see it:)
    All the best wishes!

  39. Tor Hershman Says:

    I share birthdays with
    Martin Luther King, Jr. and THAT leads to a most amazingly quotidian tale.

    Stay on groovin’ safari,

  40. Clara Charlotte Says:

    Dear craig,happy to hear about the breakthrough (man! it takes a long time to make a graphic novel..) hope you are well.

    I had fun with the childrens drawings you showed in Blankets and drew some spaceships of my own..

    All the best and much love from Germany

  41. stephy Says:

    Happy late birthday. I just read Blankets this morning. Really beautiful and amazing, it made my heart hurt in both the good and bad ways, I had a really similar upbringing. Thanks for capturing it like you did.
    PS – You’re lucky to have some good celebrities to share your birthday, I only have Joe Pesci and the mom from Who’s The Boss!

  42. jenny Says:

    i felt quite accomplished when i finished Charles Burns’ Black Hole. Then came your Blankets, which was surpassed by A Drifting Life by Tatsumi Yoshihiro. now i’m counting on HABIBI to be the thickest illustrated novel i’ll have ever read ,-)

  43. Zari Says:

    I just came across this blog today – the artwork looks really nice even in the thumbnail-sized jpgs. I am currently working on my thesis in Middle Eastern studies, and also a huge lover of comics. So I was thrilled to see a title like “Habibi” on a graphic novel…

    I am curious about your approach to the calligraphy – can you read and write Arabic yourself, or are you approaching these as drawings, and copying the shapes in the abstract?

    I had the opportuninty to attend a talk with Islamic calligrapher Mohammed Zakariya (an american convert who designed the “eid” postage stamp) yesterday. Is he an influence on your work at all?

  44. WRITING AND DRAWING REFERENCES « Jesssmartsmiley’s Blog Says:

    […] Craig Thompson on his process for his six year-long book, Habibi […]

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