cuddle doodles

While this box of BLANKETS roughs is still unpacked, here’s a few more things…

1) a couple of thumbnails for a cover idea…


2) … doodled on the back of this ROBOX script – one of the gazillions of bill-paying jobs I worked on to fund BLANKETS


3) … the final ROBOX story, written by Dave Land (!), colored by Dave Stewart, published by ex-employer Dark Horse …


4) … (fourth verse same as the first) a few more obsessive variations on the cuddling couple.
I sketched that pose a dozen more times and then scrapped it altogether.


There’s plenty more were those came from. My continued thanks for the supportive blog comments!
Sean, as far as I know, I won’t be attending Stripdagen in the Netherlands this year.
No shows planned other than the upcoming Stumptown in Portland.

47 thoughts on “cuddle doodles

  1. Dear Craig, I am so glad you have published Blankets and thrilled you are posting on this blog. You are a true and constant source of inspiration. thank you,thank you, thank you!!!

  2. After reading “Carnet de voyage” and Blankets a couple of months ago I felt you were my bigger comic discovery after Hugo Pratt, and that was in the 80’s. I loved the sincerity and somekind of strong humility on them, and of course your drawing… And now I see your previous sketches on the blog, and those stories become even more private and I see them even more closer…
    Wow, congratulations!

  3. As Andy Partridge said “All around the world, Every boy and every girl,
    Need the loving. The humble and the great,Even those we think we hate,
    Need the loving.” etc etc

  4. hmm, too bad about you not being at the Stripdagen. I’ll contact them and tell them they should pull your name from their list.

  5. Craig, I LOVE seeing your sketchwork. And the cuddling couples is a beautiful piece – it’d make a great painting! What’s your favorite kind of sketchbook to draw in/carry around?

  6. What i love when you post your sketches is that i get to see not only variations of your art and skill, but also i see you working through what you’re trying to communicate with your viewer. For a cover, the image needs to be able to communicate so much, and first loves are rarely communicable! I found it interesting looking at how you show the closeness of the couple, and yet the innocence (as it is always clear that both are clothed beneath the blanket). Beautiful, inspiring work! Thanks so much for sharing… and i second richard’s question: how did you end with the final cover?


  7. dude the cuddling couples rocked my socks. why would you scrap them? you should consider them for a painting or something..grander? not grander but more space for their natural movement to be acted out. yeah thats more to the point.

    also, any chance you will be doing signings or something of the sort of the East coast? Possibly for blankets?

  8. In the Catalan version of “Blankets” we had you and Raina looking at the snow falling through the trees. Beautiful, but the American one is more subtle I think. And I think that the Spanish version had another cover. Do you have some control about it or it’s just the editor’s choice?

  9. Hi. I read Blankets in recently in a college English Education methods course. Awesome, everyone loved it. I was inspired to take my casual drawing hobby and try to develop something in the graphic novel/novella form. Maybe anyone can answer this, but I was wondering what you used, tool-wise to create the final work in Blankets, you know, what looks like brush work. Materially I’m totally naive; I’ve only sketched in ballpoint. Only recently I began to wonder what the hell to use to get that shading and textural effect you have in Blankets especially. Anyone? Brushes, but what are they called exactly? I’d really appreciate it.


  10. can i take the liberty of answering nick’s question on craig’s blog? …um i think i will. for inking, i use just your average round watercolor brush, sizes anywhere from like 3/10 to 2 or 3 and just dip those in india ink, my favorite being speedball. and i feel like i read somewhere that craig used similar brushes in blankets, but he can tell you for sure. or, you can get a pentel pocket brush pen which i just got yesterday and LOVE it! it’s a beautiful tool and makes wonderful marks. i know craig used that in a lot of “carnet” cause he said so.

    anyway, craig, i get so excited about seeing your prep work for blankets. it kinda gives me a little more feeling of direction when it comes to doing my own work. and a random question. do you ever have the problem of you hand being really shaky when you’re trying to make a nice crisp line? or are you one of those lucky people who had perfectly steady hands? do you know of any tricks to kind of compensate for that tremor?

  11. Thanks. Didn’t mean to use the blog for my own purposes solely. Obviously I’ve got little but praise for the sketches. Awesome.

  12. I love the cuddle sketches… Especially the second one from top.

    Blankets has been such a tremendous source of inspiration for me. And I keep remembering it with your posts about it. The strong emotions, your drawing, the story… It stays with you forever once you’ve read it. Here, I’m drooling like a typical fan girl saying all the typical stuff ๐Ÿ˜€ But I don’t know how else to put it, it really is absolutely wonderful. You should be really proud of it.

    Keep going ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. I love the shop talk about materials and brushes, etc. Cartoonists always discuss such things when they get together. I come from a background of editorial cartooning, but now I do mostly sterile, dull computer newspaper graphics. But, hey, it keeps food on the table. Craig, your discussion of your implements such as the brush pens made me go out to an art store and get some. I’ve used regular brush and India ink for many years. Keep up the blog! I really enjoy your work and the insights into the creative process.

  14. Love the sketches ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’m sad you won’t be attending the Stripdagen in Haarlem, Netherlands! This year the theme is Belgian comics.

    You were there in 2005 I think? I cannot believe I didn’t know about that…

  15. hey1 really enjoyed your sketches! after i stumbled upon blankets in my library i have become completley obsessed with your work! keep up the amazing work! so i have one question…. do you ever plan on making any prints of your artwork available for sale online? i would love to have some of your work hanging on a wall…..

  16. I love the cuddles sketches! Getting a peek at these sketches is a real treat, too, as they’re an insight into your thoughts and artistic rough drafts. Thanks for posting these.

  17. I’ve wanted to write you a letter for literally over a year, but time hasn’t been on my side. I just wanted to tell you that your work is beautiful and that you’re an inspiration to this rural Illinois wannabe; I hope Habibi is coming along (what I’ve seen so far is great) and that you’re doing well! Thanks for letting us see your drawings!


  18. Hi Craig !
    I’m from France and I was so happy to see that you have a blog now ! Your grahpic novel “Blankets” is amazing, one of my favourite books I ever red ! And those roughs are incredible ๐Ÿ™‚
    I’m 17 years old and I draw comics too ! Visit my blog if you want and I hope your new graphic novel “Habibi” will be published very soon, cause I can’t wait anymore ! ๐Ÿ˜€

  19. It’s great to see your creative process. I love your brushy line. Also want to thank you for turning me onto Paul Pope. Never knew you also did comic work for Dark Horse. I’m finishing school next year and wanted to ask, how did you break into the comics ‘biz’?

  20. i just found your book of sketches abroad at chicago comics, finished it yesterday, and i thought it was incredible. the detailed ornamentation in particular. thanks.

  21. Your artwork, even your so-called throw-aways, are just gorgeous. As an inspiring artist myself, I hope to God that I will get *half* as good as this.

    I look forward to “Habibi” with much anticipation.

  22. Heyyyyyyyyy brother. Out East feelin’ upside down and check this just to ‘hear’ your voice. So grounding to see the sketches of that page and remember the ‘photo shoot’. You still have the funny ‘horseback ride’ pic from that night? See you soon. sts

  23. hi, I’d just like to ask about this Robox story. I can’t find any info about it. when was it released? where is it available?

  24. Blankets is wonderful. The cuddling couple is beautiful. It made my heart skip a beat. It reminds me of someone I shared my blanket with once, someone I wish I was still sharing it with. Lovely, just lovely.

  25. Every time I re-read Blankets, my heart still breaks when Craig takes the box of Raina’s gifts out to the barrel and burns them. Was that a true life event, or was that added to emphasize Craig’s (your) drive to keep moving forward and to forget the past? What ever happened to that quilt?

  26. One week ago I was bedridden with severe ME, and had been without reading and most of talking and human contact for a yaer. I got back on my feet during last weekend. Yeasterday I read Blankets.


    I just cried and saw it as a sad, sad story. Then I red parts of it again this morning, and saw it as a very, very optimistic, fantastic story about the change from a very hard live to a much better one.

    A milestone in my on journey from 30 years of ME to a life with good healt.

    Pax et bonum.

  27. Good Evening (at least its evening in Germany)…

    I don’t know wether the question has been posted or answered before, if so, please just inform me…

    I kinda feel the same as Steven feels about burning all those stuff. But what bothers me most is the question wether Raina was the real name of the girl and if You, Craig, are still in contact with her or in contact with her once more after publishing the book…

    I would really appreciate an answer..

    Many Greetings,

  28. Dear Craig,

    I was hoping to find an e-mail address online somewhere so I could send a more private and personal adoration for “Blankets” but I’m just going to kind of drop you an awkward blog comment. I bought Blankets today, and read it straight through…amazed at how much I could relate to virtually everything that you mentioned. Right now, in my life, I’m where you went back home for your brother’s graduation…which is virtually the end of that book. You may not have officially joined the church, but you did remind me of my own faith in our similar view of God, and you reminded me what its like to be in love. Thank you so much for this book; it will forever rest lovingly on my bookshelf.

    –A fan.

  29. Hello

    A couple days ago a friend of a friend lent me Blankets. It was beautiful. It’s the only graphic novel I’ve ever read, and now it’s really got me interested in graphic novel-ry. I was taught to believe in God the same way you were, and reading about your gradual transition to having your own, different thoughts about God was very encouraging, especially at a place in my life where I am starting to do the same. Thank you for telling your story.

  30. Craig,
    I read the entirety of Blankets in roughly three hours. The pages flew by like the snowflakes that fall outside my window now; hundreds at a time. I find myself relating to the story in a great many ways. The relationship that grew between Craig and Raina is oddly…familiar. I would love to get the chance to actually talk to you about the story, and your career.

    I know there are countless comments running the same rail here, but I’d love to get a chance to tell you my story.

  31. Hello Craig,

    Not sure of the chances you’ll read this, but I thought it is worth ago.

    I loved Blankets, could read it a thousand times over, I am a film maker from england and would love to write a screenplay of Blankets.

    Please give me an email if you fancy talking about it.


  32. Hey Craig,

    I just want to say thanks for your great graphic novel! I got it as a present from my beloved boy-friend (now beloved ex-boyfriend – what you described in your travel diary, well… I know it so well…) with the dedication: As memory of all the beautiful moments with you I cant describe good enough in words. And as thank you for your love, that warms me. (woah – sorry for that wrotten englisch…:)). By the way: He didntยดt read it to the end, haha…
    Anyway – best greetings from Berlin. And best wishes for you and your work!

  33. Craig,
    Looking back now would you have done anything differnt in your childhood, or changed any events that took place? also i was wondering if you and Raina still stay connected in some way, like visit or call eachother once in awhile? Blankets was an amazing graphic novel and your art work was breath taking!!
    id love to hear the response to those questions!

  34. Hello Sir Craig. I have a couple of questions for you. First, I was wondering if you know for sure whether or not some of the people you made into characters, such as your mom, dad, Phil, Raina, Raina’s father, or even some of the kids at school have read this novel. If so, what were their reactions. Also, in the book you told Phil some pretty personal things that you didn’t want to make common knowledge, such as your loss in faith, and some of the things you did as kids. I’m wondering if you told him this because he lost faith as well and it gave you someone to connect with, or if he was just a trustworthy person to talk to. Thank you.

  35. I thought the drawings in Blankets were amazing. When Craig and Raina were so close you felt it just by looking at the picture. You could tell how much Craig didn’t want to let go of her, like she a was so precious.

  36. Dear Craig,
    First I want to tell you how emotionally articulate Blankets was for me. Reading and viewing it really struck a deep chord in me, as I have been unable to stop thinking about you and Raina two days after I finished the book. There’s a psychology term that I use frequently because it happens to me so regularly: Cognitive Dissonance refers to internal and mental conflict, which I know you are familiar with. Blankets causes me trouble because of your message of temporality. Raina really was Craig’s muse- she showed him what God really meant to him, to you. But the relationship ended, and the connection to something larger, spirituality ended. I am confused with the message. It is worth experiencing this connection to “God” even though it is temporary and the end can be treacherous and heartbreaking?

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