Doot Doot Garden: The Blog of Craig Thompson
Doot Doot Garden: The blog of graphic novelist Craig Thompson
color tweaks & carnet’s tenth March 5th, 2014
Just wanted to share some of the incredible work Dave Stewart’s pouring into the SPACE DUMPLINS colors.

We decided the palette was getting too muted & subdued, so he’s tweaking the pages just enough to infuse the grimy dinginess of outer space clutter with a burst of cartoony, kid-friendly levity. Previous incarnations on the left – updated versions on the right.

In other news, I realized that today is the exact ten year anniversary of my CARNET DE VOYAGE travel & book. To celebrate, I dug around for a photo or two, but they were sparse, because as noted in the back of the book, zero cameras were used in the creation of it. It is my unaltered travel diary begun March 5th, 2004 and ended May 14th, 2004. The week following, my buddy Frédéric and I scanned the three sketchbooks and layed out the book in Lyon, France – no edits other than a proofread from my non-native English speaking friends.


After spending 6-7 years on HABIBI, I can’t fathom that I created a book in less than three months. It helps to not make anything up, not edit, not use any photo reference, and avoid penciling as much as possible. First scruffy photo is in Morocco on the journey to Merzouga.


The second photo was provided by Lewis Trondheim – me drawing on the beach in Montpellier, France: young, naïve, skinny & shirtless.

13 Responses to “color tweaks & carnet’s tenth”

  1. Monica Says:

    Thank you for posting this! It is inspiring to know that such a great book can be created in less than three months. I find myself drawing with pens more and more and I actually like it. If only I could draw with pens without making mistakes. (Strangely enough, I make less mistakes with pens.) Do you ever make mistakes with ink in your sketchbooks? If so, do you correct them or do you go in some other creative direction?

  2. Jess Smart Smiley Says:

    Shoot–that Dave Stewart really knows his way around color!

    Carnet de Voyage is a really fun book, btw. Would you ever consider putting out a book with your sketches and notes for Chunky Rice, Blankets and Habibi? Is it too soon to do something like that?

  3. Maiz Says:

    I love the added warmth and lighting changes in those Space Dumplins frames. It is so cool to see how dramatically the mood changes between the two frames. Dave Stewart’s work really is amazing!

    Also, congratulations on the Carnet anniversary. There is something so lovely about the loose and unedited quality of that book. It is a perfect match with the content, exactly how a book about a young traveller exploring new territory should be!

  4. Lili Bayou Says:

    Wow, Dave Stewart really kicked it up a notch ^__^

  5. Jordi Says:

    Hi Craig! Space Dumplins looks great! Carnet de Voyage is a rwallly special book, congratulations!!!

  6. mike feher Says:

    I loved your Carnet, Man.
    I must’ve read it at least 4-5 times, never gets old.
    I think we need MORE stuff like that from contemporary artists,
    rather than the same old contrived stuff. Doesn’t hurt that your renderings, albeit on-the-fly, are still easy on the eyes.

    Cant wait for the release of Dumplins,

    hope to meet you one day when I move up to the Pacific Northwest to Cartoon-full-time with the Greats!

    Keep on!

  7. Diane Says:

    Carnet de Voyage was the book that got me back into graphic novels AND travel again. Thank you for publishing it. I’ve enjoyed your work since “Goodbye Chunky Rice” and am pleased to see that you’re still creating and celebrating beautiful things by means of your pen.

    Also, I’d like to add that even though it’s been 10 years, you look virtually the same.

    Cheers!

  8. Etan Says:

    It looks like you tried to spell “Urim” and “Thummim” in Hebrew in that panel with the little chicken there, although you’re missing a vav in “Thummim.”

    I know you’ve said this is an “all ages” book, but this makes me wonder if you’re ever going to explore Hebrew in a manner similar to the way you explored Arabic in Habibi, because, based on what you presented in Habibi, there are some interesting parallels between mystic literature on Hebrew and mystic literature on Arabic which would reinforce you’re plea for religious unity/coexistence in Habibi.

    Anyway, eagerly awaiting Space Dumplings!

  9. Laetitia Says:

    We celebrated the tenth with a week in Argentière with Walter and Anne-Julia ! Four adults, seven kids, all skiing, not the same rhythm…
    Love.

  10. Juliette Says:

    I love Carnet de Voyage. I tried to do the same, sketching a lot when I went to Japan last year, but I didn’t succeed sadly. Instead I did make a very nice scrapbook with the most random pieces of paper, advertisements, food packaging with the occassional doodle. Better than nothing, right! :)

    Space Dumplings is looking incredibly awesome already! Many regards from London, UK!

  11. Joshua Davies Says:

    I loved Carnet de Voyage as it always reminded me of my own travels through Morocco- and Space Dumplings looks beyond awesome.

    Can I ask? Do you ever do sketch/drawing commissions? My girlfriend and I originally met and bonded years ago over a love of Blankets and I’m planning on proposing to her soon…and total long shot: was hoping to commission a sketch of a photo of us together.

    If as an artist you don’t do commissions I totally understand/respect that- and will still love your okks. But I had to at least ask :)

  12. Jessica L Says:

    I just finished reading Habibi! I saw a poster advertising it there in a cafe in Morocco, and after reading Blankets last year, I had to pick it up. I can’t wait to read Carnet de Voyage now.

  13. Chris Brandt Says:

    Glad to see a new book in progress. I think I have some sort of color reading disorder. I definitely prefer the right frame in the space ship (the higher contrast and vibrancy enhances the art), but find the left frame with the chickadee easier to read (the more subdued tones making the art easier to read). Not color blind, but maybe color interpretive disorder? Sounds like a personal problem, in any case. ;-)

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