howdah partners

First off, some quick answers to your questions. Tina, hopefully these are in time for your school project.
1) How would you describe your style of drawing?
Plain ol’ cartooning; but whereas Chris Ware talks about cartooning as typography, I think of it as calligraphy.
I like the panel borders, lettering, brush or pen lines to all read as the author’s handwriting.
2) Why don’t you call “Blankets” a graphic novel but “an illustrated novel”?
No good reason. I think, at the time, I was considering “comic book” or “graphic novel” and found them both lacking.
Since then, the latter has become such a widely accepted term that I’ll likely adjust the heading on the new edition.
3) Would you say that Blankets has started a new form of comics as you included some pages which you wouldn’t find in a
comic book normally like the pages on which there is only one big panel or all the drawings in which you can see just nature?

That technique of letting the eye breathe on full-page images has long been used in manga and bande dessinée. And super hero splash pages!
4) Why did you insert those detailed drawings of nature and why did you insert so many of them?
When I think about it a second longer, it’s definitely a manga-rip-off. The “wandering eye” transitions that Scott McCloud discusses in his books.

Corban, I never actively sought out a publisher. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Upon moving to Portland in 1997,
I got in contact with Brett Warnock who ran a one-person operation called Primal Groove Press, and I helped as a grunt for midnight
photocopy sessions. Contact some publishers to see how they prefer project proposals. There’s editorial advantages to both methods.

Sorry, Allison, but I am looking for writer-artist-in-one cartoonists to work with at the ACA residency.

And finally some visuals! This recent page reminded me of a drawing I did in 2005 for a charity auction for my friends the Decemberists.

The lyrics at right are, of course, copyright Colin Meloy. Random trivia: What Decemberists’ video sneaks in copies of BLANKETS?

23 thoughts on “howdah partners

  1. I haven’t seen many Decemberists’ videos, so I don’t know the answer to your trivia question. But I sure do like the work of Carson Ellis.

  2. 16 Military wives!!! 🙂 I remember the first time I saw that video, I was watching it with my best buddy, and when that scene came up I screamed “AHH IT’S BLANKETS!!” and we rewound the video about three times to make sure! Ahaha!

  3. Oooooh… it’s gotta be the “16 Military Wives” music video. On Luxembourg’s desk.

    I have to admit, I was rather pleased to find out that you and the Decemberists hang out.

  4. A year still seems a long time to wait for Habibi. An indefinite year or so, maybe? I keep checking the blog within a day or so of your new posts and each time I nearly shake with anticipation hoping and thinking maybe an early release date? Year two of my graphic novel survey course! Hope my students are hard at work creating narratives for Masereel’s Passion of a Man! I’m hoping I’ll be able to fit Habibi into my curriculum (not just cause you’re my FAVORITE as former students love to point out! Like I don’t know it?). But the idea for my course is art and literature illuminate and reflect the cultural, political and social notions of an era. Seems a no brainer to include Habibi, but I’ll have to wait, and wait, and wait to see! Best! You are an amazing artist and author! Keep the faith!

  5. Thanks very much for the info, Craig.

    I wish you the best of luck with the last leg of Habibi. We’re all rooting for you.

  6. Hello craig,
    I’m francois of, an indie-pop label.
    As your work has always been a big inspiration for us at paperheart, we’d like to send you a little pack with some of our releases.
    Could you give me a snail snail address that I could use to send you the pack ? :o)
    take care and keep up the good work.
    really looking forward to the release of habibi.
    thanks alot

    you can answer here if you wish :

  7. Hey Craig,
    long time no hear. I’ d love (and need) to get in touch with you for some editorial matters.
    Would you mind to drop me a line to my private address ?
    Simone, Italy

  8. Hey Craig.
    I’ve been reading your blog ever since I saved “Blankets” from being thrown away at my high school library a few years ago. I read it, fell in love with it, and have been defending it and spreading it since then. I see so much of myself in it, which is scary. My question is, who do I need to get in contact with to write a screenplay for it and not get in trouble? I’m a film student at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and have been on and off writing notes for it and writing a scene here and there. I’d love to somehow get the rights and I’d like to know how I could attempt to go about doing this legally. I’ve done so much work for this and I’d love to be given the shot to try and write a draft. If it doesn’t work, fine. It can be thrown away, but I’d really love to be given the shot to do this beautifully written book justice. It means a lot to me as does your opinion. I’ve even gone to the extreme by shooting test footage to try and get the look right. All I need is the O.K. to write it and somehow get it in your hands. Thanks a lot for reading.

    If you dont’ wish to post your answer on here, please feel free to e-mail me:


  9. Hey Craig,

    I’m a follower of your blog too, after I fell in love with Blankets. I’m so excited to hear your updates for Habibi, I can’t wait to read it.


  10. I recently read Blankets and just wanted to tell you how much I loved it… I really related a lot. Especially the whole growing-up-in-a-religious-family-being-a-loner-outcast thing. And I was pleasantly surprised to see that you’re making a new comic with an Arabic/Islamic theme 😀
    I’m from Kuwait and even though we’re modernized in almost every aspect (technologically, economically,etc), a major part of our society still holds a lot of old-fashioned, religious and traditional beliefs. Obviously there’s a lot of people who don’t agree with those beliefs and try to do their own thing, but most of those things still carry a lot of stigma. For example, there’s a lot of prejudice against homosexuals even though there’s an incredible number of gay people in our society now. A lot of whom are even open about their sexuality.
    Anyhoo, I’m really excited to see how you’re story comes along, and I wish you the best of luck 😀

  11. Well, I’m aware of everyone telling you the same thing, and I won’t be original, but I just finished the french version of blankets, and woaw ! I’m eighteen, I’m a young illustrator and cartoonist (well, I try to be at least), and I’m so impressed with how moving and powerful your drawings are ! The expressions, the movements, I have so much to learn of this book… I had to let you know that you have a new admirer ! Thank you very much for your work, and your courage, as I can guess it was hard work to translate your story into ink and paper… I hope I may do something as strong someday !
    Lucie Arnoux, from Southern France

  12. Ah! Are you available for perhaps another school project 12 question interview e-mail? If so, please e-mail me at! I tried e-mailing the address on your site…but I think it’s broken (at least, that’s what the return e-mail told me!)

  13. Oops, coming in a little late! But geez!! I didn’t know about that Decemberists thing, les dessins sont magnifiques! I can never have enough of such rock / comics collaborations, and yet there’re so few of them! Reminds me of that fantastic Menomena gig at Nouveau Casino a couple of years ago. *sigh*

  14. Oooops, first post got sent too fast :s
    So – that Decemberists thing is great, les dessins sont magnifiques! I can never have enough of such rock/comics collaborations, and yet there are so few! Reminds me of that fantastic Menomena gig at Nouveau Casion a couple of years ago. *sigh*

  15. Hello.I’m from Greece and I have just read “Blankets”.I want to tell you that every page makes me feel incredible.Congratulations!!!
    For the first second of my reading till the last I feel like being next to Craigh.

  16. Craig,

    My name is Pat Walker. I sell graphic novels at Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena, CA. I didn’t find your emil address so I figured I’d post this here. Blankets has become my favorite graphic novel of all time and one of the best books I have ever read. I wrote a review on it at my blog and I would love it if you could give it a read. Thank you for what you do.


  17. How did growing up in central Wisconsin influenced you and shaped your career? What do you think it is about central Wisconsin that has produced so much comics talent?

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