Doot Doot Garden: The Blog of Craig Thompson
Doot Doot Garden: The blog of graphic novelist Craig Thompson
home-back May 24th, 2012

Finally recovering from promotional travel. A token of carrying home on one’s back is this handmade Chunky Rice plush from Raquel & Ferran in Barcelona. Thanks, you two! And to Jordi & the other dedicated Spanish fans that made it out. Accompanying Chunky is a classic casualty of travel – the drowned sketchbook – reminding me of the age-old lesson to sketch in archival ink. Appropriately, most of the drawings are of airplane interiors that literally bled together after so many flights.

Along the way, I meet so many amazing people – too many to acknowledge in this small space – but foremost you readers! Seen here is my Spanish/Catalan editor Laureano & a new fave cartoonist David Rubin. Also, the charming Elvis Mitchell – an incredible interviewer that sets one at ease & draws out an honest conversation.

Some of you may recognize Laureano from my 2004 travelogue CARNET DE VOYAGE. Below, the view a block and a half from Laureano’s apartment. On the right is a snippet from my 2004 sketchbooks that never made it into print. But it’s another good reminder…

 

maurice sendak May 8th, 2012

Maurice was an artistic MASTER, a mentor, a friend, and a beautiful person.

stump down & melt town April 26th, 2012

Here’s a couple more events to extend last week’s list: This Saturday – April 28th – I’ll be at Portland’s own Stumptown Comics Fest, signing for the CBLDF from 1-2pm. CBLDF suggests a $10 donation, but it’s for a worthy cause. Then, the day after the Skirball event in LA, I’ll be at super cool MELTDOWN COMICS – May 11th, 7pm.

After my Barcelona & LA trips, I plan to get started drawing the “all-ages book”, but in the meantime I’m dabbling in a number of small projects – including a cover for Wisconsin buddy Tim Seeley’s farm noir series REVIVAL. A creepy sort of “X-Files meets Fargo” story set in our childhood stomping grounds of Wausau, Wisconsin. A) thumbnailed idea sketches, B) pencils, C) final inks & colors.

 

team spirit April 17th, 2012

A 270-page thumbnail draft of my new all-ages book was completed today. About three months’ work versus two years spent on the thumbnails for HABIBI. For the new project, I scored a new $50 drafting table so that the vintage table HABIBI was drawn on can have company. That’s cartoonist buddy Farel Dalrymple in the photo joining me for a day of drawing.

Also noteworthy is that HABIBI has been honored with two Eisner award nominations! The award’s namesake is the late, great Will Eisner. Check here for the full list of categories and nominees.

This week, I’ll be at Calvin College in my home-state of Michigan for the Festival of Faith & Writing. This includes an exhibition of original art open to the public on Friday, April 20th at 6:30pm.  The show runs for a week after; M-T 9am-5pm, W-F 9am-9pm, Sat 10am-4pm.

Concerning travel, I’m considering over a dozen invites from all over the world, but the only ones confirmed for now are A) Calvin’s Festival of Faith & Writing, B) the Saló Internacional del Còmic in Barcelona, Spain; May 3-6, and C) the Skirball Cultural Center in LA accompanying their Women Hold Up Half the Sky exhibition; 8pm on May 10th. And I hope to make it to this summer’s San Diego Comic-con!

hi jack and hi at us March 25th, 2012

Thank you all for your patience while dootdootgarden was down. It was eaten to death by spam like a disease. Now it’s up-n-running on a more reliable server, and with a more professional name – craigthompsonbooks.com. Thank you, too, to those who brought the Twitter impostor to my attention. Finally dealt with that creepy pest. Work on new projects is shifting into a bit of a secretive stage; so in the meantime, here’s some treats from the HABIBI process vaults and my sketchbook.

Above left: a discarded page of HABIBI that was reworked into page 591 of the final book (right). Note that the sidewinding snake looks almost exactly the same, but is redrawn. And the narration becomes less clunky.
Below: an exercise in my sketchbooks is to copy a frame from a favorite film to get a sense of the composition and chiaroscuro balance of light and dark. This one is from Hiroshi Teshigahara’s The Woman in the Dunes.

My next event is the Festival of Faith & Writing at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan — April 19th thru 21st. More on that soon.

onde nouveaux deux February 15th, 2012

Continuing on the themes of last week’s post, you’ll find a link to my acceptance essay for the PNBA award which explains the Hokusai
wave graphic. Here’s a shot of the award, and the man who presented it — noteworthy fantasy author & gentleman Terry Brooks.

On a Valentine’s note, OPRAH named BLANKETS one of the greatest love stories of all time. (?!?) (Bless her soul!)
And Aussie buddie Pat Grant released a new book named BLUE that I’m quite fond of.

Also, overlooked in that last post was a recap of London and Angoulême tour. London, as you know, is a charming city full
of deliciously polite folks. As for Angoulême, Drawn & Quarterly and Sarah Glidden do a great job of summarizing the festival.
Here’s myself with two of my favorite French cartoonists – Dupuy & Berberian!

new wave February 3rd, 2012

Home safe & sound, and desperate to take a break from travel for a while. My new babies are being neglected!

Next weekend is an easy jaunt to the Cannon Beach Book Company on the Oregon coast to give a talk and accept the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association award. Saturday, February 11th, 2pm — actually held at the library across the street from the store. I chose the location, because CBBC is an impressive book shop that’s a comfort to peruse on a rainy day at the coast, but also because Cannon Beach is a spiritual sanctuary where I’ve been nourished by the ocean in the company of friends, sea lions, probably some sharks, and occasionally sun.  This painting by my dear buddy Dan Attoe perfectly captures the magic of our cozy surf cove.

Here’s another glimpse of that beach from the earliest days of this blog, five years ago. Still a good mantra: “Goonies never say die.”

tour resumes – london & angoulême January 12th, 2012

The adventure continues. Next week, I’ll finally make it to the UK – at least London – for some HABIBI events.
Friday the 20th of January, 6pm at FORBIDDEN PLANET  •   Saturday the 21st, 5pm at GOSH
Monday the 23rd, 7pm at the St. Albans Conference Centre – a COMICA event  •   Tuesday the 24th, 6pm at MEGA CITY COMICS.

Then it’s on to the Festival International de la Bande Dessinee in the cozy and chilly village of Angoulême, France.
(Art Spiegelman is the prez this year.) Casterman will host me for daily signings at their booth Thursday the 26th thru Sunday the 29th.
And I’ll be performing in the intimidating spectacle of the “concert de dessin” every evening along with Bastien Vives,
Alfred Circus, Marion Montagne, Merwan Chabane, Benoit Sokal, Jean-Louis Tripp, and Paco Cerrejón.

An explanation of these images : There’s many overt references to classic paintings planted in HABIBI – here’s one of my favorites,
echoing The Poor Fisherman (1881) by Puvis de Chavannes. The half-swaddled infant in the background reminds me of Viktor Pokov’s
1969 painting July, previously cataloged in my list of rip-offs and inspirations.

wassail away! December 23rd, 2011

Seasons greetin’s, Blog Friends, and thanks for dropping by the Dootdootgarden throughout 2011.
Many, many thanks for supporting HABIBI’s release and gifting copies to new readers.

Pictured above are the stars of the upcoming “all-ages comic” – Elliot Chicken, Violet, and Zacchaeus.

This backdrop, however, has nothing to do with the narrative – merely a mix of nostalgia for those Wisconsin snowscapes
and a little nod to the holiday spirit. Stay warm and cozy and jolly!

 

WTFH December 6th, 2011

As mentioned, HABIBI events & travel are not entirely concluded, but I’m savoring some weeks at home to delve into fresh projects.
Based on the advice of David B., I’m juggling a few (three) books simultaneously, so that no one becomes intimidating or tedious.

a) AN ALL-AGES BOOK. After completing a serious/adult project, this one is a playground to give back to the child in me
that discovered the medium at an influential age. For the future of comics!

b) A NONFICTION/ESSAY-LIKE BOOK. Let’s say it’s roughly about global trade.

c) AN EROTIC BOOK (not for kids!) Blankets touches on the innocent awakenings of sexuality. Habibi explores sexual trauma.
This one’s to be a book with actual (drawn) sex.

I don’t want to talk ahead of myself or spoil the mystery, but as each book becomes more tangible,
Doot Doot Blog will share some of the process as it did with HABIBI. Thanks for sticking around!