Sketchbook

hi jack and hi at us

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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.

craighi jack and hi at us
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paint brush hill

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Fresh home from China, An amazing experience impossible to sum up in a handful of images. I didn’t do as much drawing as I’d like,
but I was inspired by exhibits at Shanghai Art Museum (including the cartoons of Hua Junwu and scrolls of Hsu Wen-jung), the outdoor “opera”
Impression Lijiang directed by Zhang Yimou, and most of all by the old men who practice calligraphy with water every day in the park.

Personal highlight was bamboo rafting near Yangshuo. I slipped while moving the raft over some rocks and sprained my wrist (why I quit skate-
boarding) and was looked after by a group of coworkers/friends traveling from Guangzhou. Thanks, guys, for the tandem bike ride and amazing feast.
And thanks most of all to S & J for making the trip happen.

craigpaint brush hill
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ripoffs & inspiration

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Like every cartoonist, I often reproduce paintings in my sketchbooks, trying to wrap my head around how another artist composes an image
or lays down a line. Here are some samples — from Viktor E. Popkov’s JULY, and an uncredited illustration for the SHÉHÉREZADE ballet.

Many of you asked about the upcoming HABIBI tour, and it’s safe to say I’ll be making it to many of the countries you mention —
appearances in France, Belgium, Spain, Netherlands, London, Germany are already being mapped out. Nieva asked about the Philippines,
and Ada brought up Poland — both of which I’d love to include, but am unsure of yet. Definitely I’ll be at San Diego Comic Con
for at least Friday and Saturday (July 22nd & 23rd) — not with the book, but other treats.
If you have a book or comics store in the States, it’s worth getting in touch with my publisher Pantheon. More soon!

craigripoffs & inspiration
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porpoise driven life

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HABIBI is finished, but this blog isn’t. Thank you, readers, for your outpouring of support (eclipsing the hundred comment mark!) and for your
big patience during the seven week hiatus. I spent three weeks in Florida for the Atlantic Center for the Arts graphic novel residency,
accompanied by Master Artists Paul Pope (left) and Svetlana Chmakova (center) and an incredibly talented group of 25 Associate Artists.
Also pictured, a snippet of my travel diary (playtime with dolphins) and the beach in New Smyrna. The trip was bookended by visits to NYC
to meet with my publisher Pantheon Books and map out the production and release of HABIBI. Within a month, I should be able to reveal
the exact release date. In the meantime, I’ll conjure some goodies for the blog without too many spoilers. What do YOU wanna see?

craigporpoise driven life
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an end to all wars

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Fábio leaves today, so we committed to one last posting between last-minute visits to Powell’s Books and Voodoo Donuts.
Instead of more outdoor adventures, we spent most of our time nerding out with Portland comics folks, including a Dark Horse-centric BBQ
at Tim & Carli’s. (We also ate lots of good food during the visit.)

So there you go. A message of peace! Safe travel to Fábio. And to his twin brother Gabriel on his way to Bolivia today. Watch for the
collected trade of their DAYTRIPPER. Thanks to Tim & Carli for the BBQ. Hope to see more of my international friends soon!

craigan end to all wars
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glacial flour

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Thanks for your patience! It’s almost impossible to experience things (jump over rocks) and post in the same day.
Yesterday, Fabio & I & editor Sierra Hahn & painter Dan Attoe hiked through the surreal terrain carved by Mt. St. Helens’ eruption.

Above, the interior view. Check Fabio’s blog for the grand landscape!
And wait… there’s more! A drawn tribute by Dan Attoe. Click back to Fabio’s for a CLOSE-UP VIEW.

craigglacial flour
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crossover event of the summer

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“BLOG WAR” might not be the best title. More like a “blog crossover”. Brazilian cartoonist Fábio Moon is visiting Portland, and we’ll try to
document some of our activities in a back-and-forth dialog between the two blogs — blending our sketches, inking each others’ drawings, etc.
Yesterday, after consuming much coffee, we attended the in-store album debut for Menomena MINES. Our evening continues at Fábio’s blog… HERE.

craigcrossover event of the summer
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each fallen robin

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Two days ago was Leonard Cohen’s birthday. He started his musical career at age 33. And two days ago I turned 33!
Here’s something I jotted in my sketchbook that morning – from Javier Marías.

craigeach fallen robin
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quick scribble

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I took a couple of days off when my buddy Alessandro visited from Italy. Here’s a doodle from a front porch conversation:

alessandro.jpg

And here’s a little jumble of chapter five progress. It’s coming along!

fivejumble.jpg

Thanks, as usual, for the blog comments. And on that last round, lots of useful self-preservation tips.
For those in Portland, I’ll be at my friend Danny’s LACKTHEREOF cd release party at Holocene tonight.

craigquick scribble
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comics vs sketchbook

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Quick follow-up to that last entry. Peter asked how big the sketchbook pages are. They’re 9″ x 12″.
Here’s another sketch with today’s page of HABIBI laid behind it. The HABIBI pages are drawn within
an 8.75″ x 12.5″ live area, but you can see how detailed they are compared to the sketchbook.

kathleen.jpg

Because the sketches are drawn from life with plenty of space on the page, it’s easy to dash them off with pocketbrush.
But the comics compositions are ridiculously worked over – generating heaps of eraser shavings. And they’re inked with
these sable watercolor brushes (I’ve graduated to the Winsor Newton series seven!)
(That’s my hand posing to give a sense of the page size.)

pageproportion.jpg

Anyways, this HABIBI page was drawn today. And the sketch above is of my friend Kathleen at Benoît Peeter’s apartment in Paris.

craigcomics vs sketchbook
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