Habibi

eye of the tiger!

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A toast to you, blog readers, for staying in touch year round!
If women, water, and trees are what I most enjoy drawing, than BUILDINGS rank last. Chapter seven has lots of them, and I keep getting slowed
down by tedious perspective drawings. Here’s a photo reference from an overpass construction site near my house — along with pencils and inks.

Even though my schedule slipped a bit in December, it’s safe to declare that 2010 will be the year HABIBI sees completion.
Below, a photo from my birthday in the frigid Pacific waters. Here’s to the new year!

craigeye of the tiger!
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carlsen blankets

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Just to assure Jennifer and my other blog-readers, I do read all the posts, even if I am lame about responding… Your support
has meant so much to me this year – endless thanks! Fabien and Tatiana, the blue “brush grip” is a simple pencil cushion purchased
at any art supply shop. No signings (including Chicago, Emerson) planned for the next half a year. Chapter seven pages are accumulating!

The new German BLANKETS has just been released from Carslen, and is hands-down the the most fancy-schmancy production of any edition.
Hardcover, super deluxe paper, stamped logo, bookmark ribbon, and a delicate lacing of spot varnish ornamentation.
Look how it stacks up next to a standard version of the book.

For domestic fans, I’m currently working on redesigns of BLANKETS and CARNET – including hardcovers – to be released summer 2010 by Top Shelf.

craigcarlsen blankets
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december first

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… is the date, and I’m extra grateful to be drawing final pages again after five months of rewrites!
Thank you, blog-readers, for all your patience and encouragement. Here’s a glimpse at the first page on the drawing board since June 28th.

Since then, the last three chapters have went through some dramatic overhauls. Now to DRAW them!

(Thanks, also, to the ONION and PASTE (delicious combo) for including BLANKETS on their best-of lists.)

craigdecember first
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november rain

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Sorry about the blog neglect. November rain is falling; and I’m still working on rewrites. Embarrassed that I have nothing new to show.
Here’s the desktop today, my waterlogged jack-o’-lantern, and a reference doodle from the sketchbook.

craignovember rain
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all work and no play?

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Along with Leonard Cohen, I share birthdays with Stephen King. His ON WRITING offered some fuel during these past months of revisions.

This sentiment matched my own for most of the summer. Then finally, on Thursday the 17th, a BREAKTHROUGH.
(it may or may not involve smithereens.) HABIBI‘s undergone four drafts: 1) The spontaneous sketchbook-bound version from december 2004.
2) The first draft presented to my publisher in july 2005. 3) My overwrought second draft “completed” september 2006, AND 4) micro-scribbles
that unveiled the ending to me just a few days ago. In the same time of rewrites, my rib(s) healed. Today’s my birthday, and I’m going surfing.

craigall work and no play?
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i’m gonna be the man who’s havering to you

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On Monday, the sixth chapter of HABIBI saw completion. Each time I finish a chapter, I print and bind a set of photocopies for easy reference &
editing. And I tally the page count, which now reaches exactly 500! Already the stack of photocopies on flimsy paper is catching up with BLANKETS.

It’s an important mark in the book’s production. The end of the second act. On to the third and final act – the last three chapters –
and fortunately they’re all shorter than the bulky hundred page chapters that filled out the middle of the book.
I’ll be leaving on a trip on the fourth of July to visit family in Wisconsin and tinker with some rewrites on the book’s finale.
And as noted before, I’ll be in Chicago for the American Library Association’s annual conference giving a talk with Neil Gaiman and Terry Moore
about censorship in comics. “My These Novels Certainly Are … GRAPHIC!” Monday, July 13, 1:30 PM at McCormick Place.
Looking forward to your comments and updating you when I return!

craigi’m gonna be the man who’s havering to you
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floor scraps & waterfalls

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As Jordi noted, it’s been exactly a month since an update! Guess it takes some time to get back on track after any comics show.
And now I’m leaving in a week for another festival – this time in Beja, Portugal. I’ll be signing and/or presenting on the weekend
of May 30th & 31st and have 31 original pages in their exhibition. If you live near Lisbon, hope to see you!
LW asked if I’ll be at MoCCA … unfortunately no. After these couple of comics shows, I gotta get back to focusing exclusively on the book.
Though I will be at an American Library Association’s Annual Conference in Chicago on July 13th.
Below is a simple panel in progress from today’s page. I’m still guarded about revealing Habibi spoilers, but I can say we’re in the 470s now!

Poppy asked that I respond to a few of the blog comments, so here goes. Kristi A., definitely feel free to weave some of my work
in your final project. (In general, I’m cool for people to appropriate my drawings in such ways, as long as it’s not for profit.)
Ahnmin, thanks for the poem! Avri, very cool Dandel sculpture (as seen below, along with an Oregon waterfall).

And some TOOL questions. Alex Holden, I don’t print my pencils as blue lines. Rather, I ink right on top of the pencils, so the pencils are
only preserved when I scan them for this blog. (Also thanks for sending your MAGIC HOUR minis.) Brandon, as far as I know you can’t find
Pentel pocketbrush pens or refills in Portland. Best to order online. Jess Smart Smiley, the floor scraps are definitely part of the process.

Hope some of this babble is useful… Thank you always for your comments and support!

craigfloor scraps & waterfalls
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cartoonist buds

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The Stumptown ComicsFest seemed a success. I was especially grateful to have laid-back time with cartoonist friends Jeff Smith and
Mike & Laura Allred. It was these very cartoonists that drew me back to the comics medium, with their books BONE and MADMAN.
Jeff visited my studio on Friday to peruse Habibi pages, and Mike & Laura stopped by on Saturday.
Plus we had time to enjoy the summery sun and eat good foods.

Big thanks to all of you that made it to my Sunday talk and/or signing. You were a pleasure to meet! Also thanks to Douglas Wolk for moderating.
I wish I could share some of the images from my “powerpoint” on the blog, but I think they’d be too much of a spoiler in this form.
Here’s a simple glimpse of pencils-to-inks that shouldn’t ruin any storytelling.

craigcartoonist buds
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stumptown spring

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First off, thank you all for the outpouring of comments with that last post.
You’re like the ray of new spring sun that spilled onto the drawing table this morning…

For those of you in Portland welcoming the end of the brutal winter rains, I’ll be participating in a number of events
revolving around STUMPTOWN COMICS FESTIVAL (full schedule here).

1) An art show at the Portland Center for Contemporary Arts. Included are a page from CHUNKY RICE,
a page from BLANKETS, and a page from HABIBI (first ever on display). Up all of April. 1111 SW Broadway

2) A Comic Book Legal Defense Fund benefit dinner at PCPA on Friday, April 17th at 5:30.
$100 gets you an intimate eating experience with myself, Jeff Smith, Gail Simone, Brian Michael Bendis, Matt Wagner,
Farel Dalrymple, Derek Kirk Kim, Mike Dringenberg, and Mayor Sam Adams (who will declare April the month of comics in Portland.)
Kinda schmancy and expensive, but all proceeds go to a good cause. Ticket details here.

3) Sunday the 19th, I’ll be signing at the actual festival. Plus at 1pm in the “Alaska” room, writer Douglas Wolk (READING COMICS) will be moderating
an interview with me. Also Q&A with the audience. But if there’s things you wanna see/hear, feel free to let me know on the blog.

(final image there is from the Stumptown poster drawn by Farel Dalrymple)

craigstumptown spring
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