Doot Doot Garden: The Blog of Craig Thompson
Doot Doot Garden: The blog of graphic novelist Craig Thompson
drawing brothers April 23rd, 2015

Happy 73rd birthday to EDMOND BAUDOIN – mentor, friend, and collaborator on my NEXT book project, working title “DRAWING BROTHERS”.

trike March 3rd, 2015

As ever, production & design on the book is full of headaches, but the author photo shoot this weekend was refreshing.
Here’s an outtake with my photographer buddy Joshin Yamada on my friend Dan’s Harley/VW TRIKE.

finish line stretch January 30th, 2015

SCHOLASTIC officially announced the August 25th release date for SPACE DUMPLINS, just as I was finishing the inks for the FINAL CHAPTER.

I’m not in the clear yet… there’s still book design, and pages upon pages of copyedits/corrections/redraws, but getting close! For Scholastic, this marks the tenth anniversary of their GRAPHIX line, which I’m honored to participate in. Happy New Year, Dear Readers. More soon!

six momos for the new millennium December 27th, 2014

Happy Holidays, Blog-Friends, and as ever thanks for your patience with these updates. As of today, CHAPTER SIX of SPACE DUMPLINS is finally complete. Only one more (shorter) chapter to complete the book. Unfortunately, I’ve fallen behind schedule – distracted by finalizing the cover design, a trip to NYC to meet with Scholastic, some health problems, and of course MOMO trampling pages in the midst of inking.

In this first photo – I moved my inking to the dining room table – the only spot with enough natural light to work during a six hour power outage. The second image documents Momo intercepting the blue pencil while roughing out a page (final inks on the left).

Now to dive into the final chapter. Despite being behind schedule, the book should still hit its off-to-print deadline for its Fall 2015 release. Thanks for sticking with me!

catch & release October 29th, 2014

Thanks for your patience, Blog-friends, and my apologies for the lag since the last post. The end-of-the-year deadline is looming, work-weeks have shifted to seven days, and in classic form, I’m tossing finished pages and rewriting the ending. So speaking of tossing finished pages, here’s a glimpse of what used to be the first two panels of the book, before I scrapped the first chapter and started from scratch.

The second image here is a space ship concept design drawn back in 2012, long before I began drawing actual pages.

 

chapter five complete September 9th, 2014

As of today, chapter FIVE of SPACE DUMPLINS is complete. Two more chapters until the finale of the book
– approximately 80 pages to draw before the year’s end. Gonna get hectic.

Above is a sample from chapter four. On the right, the final panel with Dave Stewart’s colors.
On the left, an onion skin effect: orange = thumbnail; pink = background pencils; gray = character pencils.

And here’s an example from the just-finished-not-yet-colored chapter five. Teal = thumbnail; red = pencils; black = inks.
Thanks to all of you for your patience and support!

pile of trash in fine art & folk art July 20th, 2014

For those of you asking about Dave Stewart’s process coloring SPACE DUMPLINS, there’s a great interview up at FROM THE GUTTERS.

Dave is tackling some ridiculously detailed panels. Here’s one I just drew of an outer space landfill.

As ever, the reference is hodgepodged from both low brow & high brow sources. A) The FOLK ART side hails from the graveyard of cars rusting in the forest behind my parents’ rural Wisconsin home. (See page 533 of BLANKETS for more wooded trash heaps.)  B) The FINE ART side is Nancy Rubin’s “Airplane Parts” sculpture at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

drawing brothers July 3rd, 2014

Just returned from one month in France where I began a collaborative book with 72 year old French comics master Edmond BAUDOIN.

(A – Edmond with Cambodian cartoonist Tian, left. Amiens Cathedral, right.)

(B – Signing at the Palais du Commerce, left. Little Prince statue in Place Bellecour, right.)

After book signings at the A) Amiens BD festival and B) Lyon BD festival, Edmond & I retreated to his childhood haunts of Villars-sur-Var -
a mountaintop village near Nice to churn out drawings and write thumbails for our book.

Our timing aligned with village festival of their patron St. Jean – documented in Baudoin’s book LE CHEMIN DE SAINT JEAN.
Edmond has over 60 books in his bibliography, though zero are translated in English at this point.

Our collaborative project has just begun… the next step is Edmond visiting my stomping grounds in Portland & Wisconsin… BUT for the rest of the year, I plunge back into SPACE DUMPLINS to hit that deadline for a FALL 2015 release – the tenth anniversary of Scholastic’s GRAPHIX line.

digital pencil & analog ink May 1st, 2014

Thanks for the reminder about the Cintiq post, Dan. As mentioned back in August 2013, I’ve been experimenting with the Wacom Cintiq as a way to shake up & expand my working methods. The 13″ felt too cramped & claustrophobic, so early this year I upgraded to a 22″ Cintiq on an Ergotron arm – inspired by Fiona Staples, whose work on SAGA I admire.

For the past couple of months, I wrestled with the machine & have settled on a compromise common among comics pros – I pencil the pages digitally, then print out blue lines and ink on actual paper.

The advantage of digital penciling is I can see a chapter all at once (top right photo), cut&paste, zoom in close, edit on the fly, and work standing up (top left photo, avec Momo). But digital inking still looks too slick to me — I prefer the flawed & tangible qualities of fussy sable brushes on paper. Foot in both worlds!

Finally, my advice to young cartoonists is to keep it organic & raw and not get bogged down by plug-in devices. In a month, I’ll be starting a direct-to-sketchbook project like CARNET DE VOYAGE to relearn working on the fly outside the studio.

kazim ali & jens harder April 10th, 2014

This morning’s clutter on the drafting table – inking several SPACE DUMPLINS pages simultaneously. Also my friend Kazim Ali is in town for a reading from his new book SKY WARD at Reed College TONIGHT (6:30 Elliot Hall Chapel) for those of you in Portland. Here he’s writing Arabic on my new Cintiq (more on that in some future post… As evidenced above, I’m still inking with actual India ink & brush.).

Finally, this just arrived in the post – BETA (…civilizations volume 1) by German cartoonist Jens Harder. In this intricate, mind-boggling, coolest possible coffee table book, Jens catalogues the history of human evolution & civilization. Every image in the 365 page tome (apparently the first in a trilogy) is sampled from existing media – cave paintings, etchings, pottery, photographs, film, comics, etc. then redrawn in Jens’ meticulous brush lines. For those of you who thought HABIBI was nuts, this takes it to the next level. Speaking of which, here’s a page that references HABIBI in the development of written language.

A favorite page of mine groups CHRIS WARE alongside Caravaggio, Courbet, and Magritte to name a few.