It’s been a full year of touring with HABIBI, and this week takes me to what feels like a pinnacle – the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. While there, I’ll be conducting comics workshops with deaf children at the Holy Land Institute in Salt city, youth at the Princess Basma Youth Resource Center in Amman, and an elite group of Jordanian graphic novelists. This promises to be a life-changing experience; and I’ll be sure to bring home drawings/stories for the blog.
Enticing invites keep pouring in from all over the world; but I’m feeling growing pressure and obligation to get home to the drawing board and start producing new comics pages! My plan is to travel nowhere for October – my first month of not flying since this time last year.
Hello, Blog-Readers, and thanks as always for your patience. As you certainly can relate, the summer months are chaos.
First off, it was a treat to see many of you at San Diego Comic-con, and thanks to the comic industry for awarding HABIBI an Eisner for Best Writer/Artist. Here’s a con photo with a great group of fans from the Philippines.
The Philippines have recently been hit hard by monsoon season flooding, and members of the comics community have started a fundraiser for aid, relief, and medical assistance for the hundreds of thousands of displaced people. As part of this, the original cover artwork for the new edition of BLANKETS has been donated. Details HERE.
As all of you know, I never sell original artwork, so this a rare exception that any piece is available. 14’x17″ India ink on Bristol board. If I have a chance, I’ll personalize a note on the back to the donor. Please, look into bidding to help raise funds for this crucial cause. Thanks!
Thanks for the reminder, Jordi! The all-ages book is progressing, but still in its secret stages. What I can reveal is that I got last minute tickets to attend San Diego Comic-con this week. At 10:30 am on Friday, July 13th, I’ll be signing at the Top Shelf booth (#1721). That night, I’ll certainly be attending the Eisner Awards. And on Saturday the 14th, from 10am – noon, I’ll be presenting a writers’ workshop on ‘World-Building’ at TR!CKSTER (795 J Street, San Diego, CA). My plan is to hang around TR!CKSTER quite a bit, where they’ll be selling a super-limited-edition HABIBI screenprint – handpulled by Portland printmaking superstar Pete McCracken.
Speaking of Portland superstars, cartoonist buddy & psychedelic visionary Theo Ellsworth (above) is leaving town; so we got together for one last drawing day, and crafted an afternoon jam comic (below). FLOMGART’S DEPARTURE is inspired by Chicago’s Trubble Club sessions. For other surreal, half-baked jams on this blog, revisit those with Aaron Renier, Fabio Moon, and my brother Phil.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.”