Doot Doot Garden: The Blog of Craig Thompson
Doot Doot Garden: The blog of graphic novelist Craig Thompson
spacebikes 1983 January 17th, 2014

Unearthed some more childhood art that wasn’t lost in the BLANKETS burn barrel. This one’s another scroll (see slumgutso
and scrambled seaweed) drawn circa 1983 in Mrs. Kamenick’s third grade classroom at Marathon Elementary – Wisconsin.

I was nine years old and all fired up about RETURN OF THE JEDI (note the belt buckle matches the jersey).
This is exactly the sort of nerd-ball enthusiasm I’m trying to channel for the upcoming SPACE DUMPLINS.

year of the momo December 30th, 2013

HAPPY NEW YEAR, BLOG-FRIENDS!

After HABIBI promotional travel, 2013 was the year of hunkering down to craft the new book – SPACE DUMPLINS. It began with an injured hand, tossing the first batch of inks, revising the script, then drawing 135 pages of final art to be colored by Dave Stewart.
Just this week, CHAPTER THREE saw completion.

154 more pages to go to finish SPACE DUMPLINS – the big goal for 2014. Thanks to all of you for your continual support & sticking with the Doot Doot Blog. Here’s a reminder of previous New Years on this forum: 2008, 20092010, 2011, 2012. A toast to a cozy & productive year for us all!

float down the liffey November 27th, 2013
Last week, I finished pencilling chapter three of SPACE DUMPLINS. I usually pencil & ink a single page on the same day (two with BLANKETS), but this time for the sake of editing, I pencilled an entire chapter at once.

Seeing the whole chapter made it more malleable & consistent, more tangible to “stage”, and saved me from repeating compositions. But my work days felt more monotonous – tending to a single task for weeks on end – and I missed the creative “down time” that inking affords me. Pencilling is all sweat & brainwork, but inking is more intuitive – freeing my mind to listen to music, podcasts, talk on the phone…

Many of you asked why I’ve started using colored ballpoint on my pencils, but it’s purely for fun – now that I scan the pencils and print out blue lines, the pencils can be as messy and colorful as I like. As an experiment, I dabbled with inking some panels digitally on a 13HD Cintiq.

Below is an excerpt from a page I inked twice – A) The old-fashioned way with a brush and India ink. B) The newfangled digital tablet way. I was surprised that the difference is almost imperceptible. An advantage of digital is that I was able to draw word balloons and color holds on separate layers, and of course it’s all easier to correct. But for now I still prefer the tactile sensations of light bouncing off paper, crude ink, and finicky sable hairs.

The pictured character is named TINDER, after my cartoonist buddy Jeremy Tinder – whose style I aped for the character design.
process panel October 31st, 2013

Happy Halloween, Blog-friends, and thanks for your patience during a quiet October.
A few of you asked about the process stages between pencils and colors, so here’s a panel breakdown from chapter two.

1) Pencilled the characters (Elliot & Violet) and roughed in the background with non-photo blue pencil.

2) This time,  I chose to draw the background separately with pencil and colored ballpoint.
(As you can see, the detail in SPACE DUMPLINS is becoming as obsessive as HABIBI).

3) Then I merged the two in Photoshop and printed out blue lines on to Bristol Board paper.

4) Inked with India ink and watercolor brush – the lettering is Micron pigment pen.
(You can still see the bluelines on the original art, but they’re easily removed once scanned.)

5) The COLORS!

green bean & wordstock September 24th, 2013

After getting home from three weeks in LA, I have a couple events unfolding in the Portland area.

1) The local launch for First Second’s FAIRY TALE COMICS with cartoonist (and Laika storyboarder) Graham Annable at GREEN BEAN BOOKS. 1 PM on Saturday, September 28th (1600 NE Alberta Street, Portland). More on that anthology – a sequel of sorts to NURSERY RHYME COMICShere.

2) A two-way stage conversation between Gene Yang and I to scour the crossover themes of our coming-of-age memoirs (AMERICAN BORN CHINESE) and historical, religious epics (BOXERS & SAINTS) at the WORDSTOCK literary festival. 3 pm, October 5th, Oregon Convention Center.

Hope to see you locals there!

 

chunky shark cycle September 10th, 2013

Friends of my brother, GROW ANTHOLOGY, make sweet skateboards out of recycled paper, and they’ve launched a KICKSTARTER campaign to produce their first run of artist-edition boards – THE CHUNKY SHARK CYCLE! It’s limited to only 250 boards…  Chunky and Dandel graphic laser-etched into the top of the deck… made sustainably from recycled paper from a paper mill in my home town! They’re a flexy-fluid longboard ride or an object of art for display. Please, do check in to support the Chunky Shark Cycle Kickstarter and get stickers, t-shirts, decks, complete boards, or purchase my original art. Exciting to merge the two passions of my youth – comics and skateboarding!

(PS: Start following progress on the new book at: <http://instagram.com/spacedumplins> )

 
paddling vs pushing pixels August 23rd, 2013
Thank you, Jordi, for your reminders and thanks to all you loyal blog followers for your patience in this two month lapse between posts.

Portland has the best summers in the world, so there’s been the typical sunny day distractions of: A) river swimming (drawing buddy Scott)B) white water rafting (flip on the Deschutes)C) a little surfing (Justin loads the boards on my car – fifth one on the back seat), and D) lots of stand-up paddling (Brazilian twins Fabio & Gabriel on the Willamette).
 

In the work world, dealing with recurring hand problems, I’ve experimented with some alternate drawing techniques, including investing in a 13″ Wacom Cintiq.  1) Adrian Tomine’s latest OPTIC NERVE has a genius lampoon of “our generation’s” resistance to the new brand of art tools coupled with our frustration towards the declining quality of old world art supplies (bristol, brushes, ink). 2) For a couple of days my drawing desk became a clutter of video monitors (yuck).
 
3&4) I managed to digitally pencil a page, but then (5) printed out blue lines and reworked with an actual tangible pencil.
Here’s (6) Dave Stewart’s colors (digital) on my India inks (analog).
Purists will be relieved to know I’m sticking with the old-fashioned pencils and sable brushes for now. Digital dabbling, however, did push me to adopt a new working method of pencilling on cheap sketch paper, then scanning and printing blue lines on bristol board to ink by hand. Saves me the hassle of light box tracing and erasing pencil lines.    More summer-time announcements coming soon…
world comics June 24th, 2013
My Korean publisher OPEN BOOKS translate my work with incredible attention to design & production. Check out their edition of CARNET DE VOYAGE with a 3/4 jacket.

In the upper right is a “LASER QUEST” jam with Lewis Trondheim. I’m reminded that Kim Thompson
was the first to translate & publish Trondheim’s work in the US.
Also, this news is late now that Hassan Rohani has been elected president of Iran, but my dear friend Amir co-orchestrated a very cool presidential campaign for the star of his & Khalil’s book ZAHRA’S PARADISE. (author photo by Michael Macor)
http://vote4zahra.org/  If you haven’t yet read their book, you must!  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22803971
nerd club June 24th, 2013

Finally finished inking the first chapter of SPACE DUMPLINS (57 pages). I’m way behind on my personal deadlines (primarily due to the health of my drawing hand), but colorist Dave Stewart has been knocking out gorgeous colors at a breakneck pace. Here’s a peek.

kim thompson June 19th, 2013

Comics industry luminary Kim Thompson will be dearly missed. Though we aren’t related, I referred to him affectionately as “Uncle Thompson.” He nurtured the comics scene into the thriving community it is today, translated and published crucial European artists, and encouraged young talent.  He was one of the very first professionals to discover and acknowledge my work. Here’s a postcard he sent me on March 5, 1997.