SPECIAL NOTE: By now, the Atlantic Center for the Arts has notified applicants of my Associate Artist selections for the October residency.
I just wanted to thank everyone who submitted proposals. There was so much amazing work that it made the selection process challenging
and frustrating, but also bodes well for the future of the comics medium! Keep working on those projects!
Below, piles of preparatory sketches for HABIBI pages.

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celebratory cigar

The last page of HABIBI was completed today. It’s a bit anticlimactic, because though chapter nine is wrapped up, I still need to tackle chapter eight.
Theo Ellsworth was over drawing with me, and we listened to the touching tribute to comics-great Harvey Pekar on Fresh Air.
All this is happening in the midst of almost three weeks of out-of-town guests in the house, including Laëtitia and Frédéric
and their kids (as seen in CARNET DE VOYAGE) visiting from Lyon, France. Above, Dan Attoe and the glorious river.

craigcelebratory cigar
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My buddies in MENOMENA are releasing a new album in about a month. With their last album, FRIEND&FOE, I contributed album art, and
joined them for part of their European tour (and the Grammy’s). This time around, their MINES album cover made an appearance in a
HABIBI panel — a studio full of idols being smashed to smithereens. It’s an amazing new album, by the way. Support them and preorder at Barsuk.

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Just as Kirk mentioned, I’ll be doing an “artist demo” at the Portland Art Museum on June 19th, 2-4pm.
It’s all part of the museum’s summer-long exhibition of Robert Crumb’s Illustrated GENESIS. For those in town, I’ll be drawing live
and projected while simultaneously giving a talk. For those out of town, do pick up a copy of Crumb’s amazing adaptation
if you haven’t already. Here’s a couple of comparative panels of the deluge.

PS — work on Habibi is progressing well. Happy summer, everyone!

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the spirit of the dead keep watch

Paul Gauguin‘s influenced some of my drawing lately. A) a recent pin-up for Mike Allred’s MADMAN referencing Gauguin’s 1897 painting.
B) Gauguin’s “MANAO TUPAPAU” translated as “the spirit of the dead keep watch” … C) flipped backwards in a HABIBI panel this week.

OTHER NOTES: 1) Last minute reminder to apply for the ACA graphic novel residency. The deadline is May 21st.

2) Nicolas, sorry to neglect your 5 questions. If it’s not too late, here’s some quick answers.
a) Artist that inspired you? Baudoin (see below), Gauguin (see above), Blutch, Taro Yashima, Dylan Horrocks, etc., etc.
b) What brush size do you use?
The pro-fave Winsor Newton series seven, number three
c) Thumbnails and then script to help guide you or script first and then thumbs? The thumbnails are detailed drawings with text already integrated.
d) Favorite story to read?
Currently IN LOVE with the short stories of Lorrie Moore.
e) Favorite character to draw? I suppose the little critter guy from CARNET DE VOYAGE. (seen here riding sea turtle)

3) Dave, you asked about Edmond Baudoin. LE VOYAGE is a perfect entry point, but appears out of print. Anything really!
4) Jess, you guessed correctly. The dootdoot website is down and outdated and planned to be revamped.
5) Thank you all for your comments and patience with my slowness!

craigthe spirit of the dead keep watch
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pieces of april

a) spring blossoms … b) my only collection … c) close-up on page … d) inspiration

Thanks, all of you, for the flood of chapter seven support. The ninth and final chapter is underway! I skipped over the penultimate chapter for
now – the logic of which will reveal itself. This weekend in Portland will be buzzing with Stumptown Comics Fest activity. Paul Pope‘s arrived.
(Check out his great interview at Ain’t It Cool.) And my panel (Sunday at 1PM) will be moderated by the amazing Lark Pien of Long Tail Kitty fame.

craigpieces of april
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chapter seven is finished!

First page drawn December first; Final page completed April sixth. FOUR MONTHS in-between … preceded by a five month stretch of rewrites.
The good news is that only two short chapters remain – a mere 67 pages – which keeps things on track to complete the book this summer.

Above’s some glimpses of the recent chapter and a shot of me laboring with hunchbacked intensity during those long winter months.
Thank you, dear readers, for sticking with me and decorating the blog with your generous comments!

craigchapter seven is finished!
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Lately, I’ve been redrawing lots of pages. The work days have been full of false starts — completing most of a page before realizing the
composition or rhythm doesn’t flow. The fix is usually an extra panel or dialogue tweak or simply flipping the panel.
Always better to catch this in the thumbnail version!

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howdah partners

First off, some quick answers to your questions. Tina, hopefully these are in time for your school project.
1) How would you describe your style of drawing?
Plain ol’ cartooning; but whereas Chris Ware talks about cartooning as typography, I think of it as calligraphy.
I like the panel borders, lettering, brush or pen lines to all read as the author’s handwriting.
2) Why don’t you call “Blankets” a graphic novel but “an illustrated novel”?
No good reason. I think, at the time, I was considering “comic book” or “graphic novel” and found them both lacking.
Since then, the latter has become such a widely accepted term that I’ll likely adjust the heading on the new edition.
3) Would you say that Blankets has started a new form of comics as you included some pages which you wouldn’t find in a
comic book normally like the pages on which there is only one big panel or all the drawings in which you can see just nature?

That technique of letting the eye breathe on full-page images has long been used in manga and bande dessinée. And super hero splash pages!
4) Why did you insert those detailed drawings of nature and why did you insert so many of them?
When I think about it a second longer, it’s definitely a manga-rip-off. The “wandering eye” transitions that Scott McCloud discusses in his books.

Corban, I never actively sought out a publisher. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Upon moving to Portland in 1997,
I got in contact with Brett Warnock who ran a one-person operation called Primal Groove Press, and I helped as a grunt for midnight
photocopy sessions. Contact some publishers to see how they prefer project proposals. There’s editorial advantages to both methods.

Sorry, Allison, but I am looking for writer-artist-in-one cartoonists to work with at the ACA residency.

And finally some visuals! This recent page reminded me of a drawing I did in 2005 for a charity auction for my friends the Decemberists.

The lyrics at right are, of course, copyright Colin Meloy. Random trivia: What Decemberists’ video sneaks in copies of BLANKETS?

craighowdah partners
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