Friends

kim thompson

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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.

 

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brazil jam

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Brazilian buddies Fabio Moon, Gabriel Ba, and Murilo Martins are visiting Portland for ICAF (International Comics Art Forum).
If this post isn’t too late, check out the twins’ SPOTLIGHT TALK at 70 NW Couch Street (Portland) TONIGHT at 7:30.

What do cartoonists do when we drink coffee and nerd out? We discuss craft & reminisce on the masters of the medium.
This morning, we picked four cartooning heroes who passed away recently, and copied panels as a tribute. Below left,
Fabio pencilled a CARMINE INFANTINO panel that Murilo inked. To the right, Murilo pencilled some MOEBIUS panels that Fabio inked.

Then I pencilled a TOPPI page that Gabriel inked. Right, Gabriel pencilled a SENDAK page that I inked.

Here’s my inks on Gabriel’s pencils of a Maurice Sendak image from WE ARE ALL IN THE DUMPS WITH JACK AND GUY.
It’s been a year, and I still think of Maurice daily.

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mange ta viande!

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BOINGBOING recently posted my interview with Blutch – an inspiring & influential cartoonist to myself and many others. The first of his books to be published in English – SO LONG, SILVER SCREEN – is debuting this month from Picturebox! Below is the the only photo I could find of Blutch and myself – at Angoulême festival in January 2005. And there’s a smattering of Blutch’s prolific bibliography.
 
While working on Blankets, I poured so devotedly over Blutch’s pages that it emerged as unconscious swipes in my own work. Here’s just one sample where I mimicked him without even realizing – a common affliction in young, impressionable cartoonists.
 
And here’s a couple of portraits of Blutch from CARNET DE VOYAGE. That 2004 visit to Toulouse, France is referenced often in the Boingboing interview. Treat yourself to Blutch’s new book finally in the US!
 
craigmange ta viande!
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collaboration & color

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Happy New Year, Everyone! My apologies for neglecting to post in January. Mostly I was bummed out to not be back on the drawing wagon as predicted. All of December and January were spent in recovery, including occupational therapy. But I’m reminded that there were similar months of recuperation after BLANKETS tour in 2004 (see CARNET DE VOYAGE).

I was waiting for happy news before posting, and it arrived with February as I’m finally drawing again & starting fresh with a new opening sequence for the book (scrapping most of the pages inked in November).
The happier news is that the incredible Dave Stewart is on board to color SPACE DUMPLINS, infusing the drawings with vibrant atmosphere & volume. Dave and I’ve known each other since 1997 when I worked as a graphic designer at Dark Horse Comics and he was an in-house colorist. He’s best known now for his work on Mike Mignola’s HELLBOY and BRPD (and for winning seven Eisner awards!).
After so many years of working solo, I’m excited to share this element of collaboration with an extremely talented friend.  See below for a peek at the magic Stewart brings to a single panel of the new book.

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flood fund-raiser

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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!

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stormtroopers, flomgart & gluten-free beer

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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.

craigstormtroopers, flomgart & gluten-free beer
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home-back

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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…

 

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stump down & melt town

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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.

 

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team spirit

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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!

craigteam spirit
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