Doot Doot Garden: The Blog of Craig Thompson
Doot Doot Garden: The blog of graphic novelist Craig Thompson
color tweaks & carnet’s tenth March 5th, 2014
Just wanted to share some of the incredible work Dave Stewart’s pouring into the SPACE DUMPLINS colors.

We decided the palette was getting too muted & subdued, so he’s tweaking the pages just enough to infuse the grimy dinginess of outer space clutter with a burst of cartoony, kid-friendly levity. Previous incarnations on the left – updated versions on the right.

In other news, I realized that today is the exact ten year anniversary of my CARNET DE VOYAGE travel & book. To celebrate, I dug around for a photo or two, but they were sparse, because as noted in the back of the book, zero cameras were used in the creation of it. It is my unaltered travel diary begun March 5th, 2004 and ended May 14th, 2004. The week following, my buddy Frédéric and I scanned the three sketchbooks and layed out the book in Lyon, France – no edits other than a proofread from my non-native English speaking friends.


After spending 6-7 years on HABIBI, I can’t fathom that I created a book in less than three months. It helps to not make anything up, not edit, not use any photo reference, and avoid penciling as much as possible. First scruffy photo is in Morocco on the journey to Merzouga.


The second photo was provided by Lewis Trondheim – me drawing on the beach in Montpellier, France: young, naïve, skinny & shirtless.

paddling vs pushing pixels August 23rd, 2013
Thank you, Jordi, for your reminders and thanks to all you loyal blog followers for your patience in this two month lapse between posts.

Portland has the best summers in the world, so there’s been the typical sunny day distractions of: A) river swimming (drawing buddy Scott)B) white water rafting (flip on the Deschutes)C) a little surfing (Justin loads the boards on my car – fifth one on the back seat), and D) lots of stand-up paddling (Brazilian twins Fabio & Gabriel on the Willamette).
 

In the work world, dealing with recurring hand problems, I’ve experimented with some alternate drawing techniques, including investing in a 13″ Wacom Cintiq.  1) Adrian Tomine’s latest OPTIC NERVE has a genius lampoon of “our generation’s” resistance to the new brand of art tools coupled with our frustration towards the declining quality of old world art supplies (bristol, brushes, ink). 2) For a couple of days my drawing desk became a clutter of video monitors (yuck).
 
3&4) I managed to digitally pencil a page, but then (5) printed out blue lines and reworked with an actual tangible pencil.
Here’s (6) Dave Stewart’s colors (digital) on my India inks (analog).
Purists will be relieved to know I’m sticking with the old-fashioned pencils and sable brushes for now. Digital dabbling, however, did push me to adopt a new working method of pencilling on cheap sketch paper, then scanning and printing blue lines on bristol board to ink by hand. Saves me the hassle of light box tracing and erasing pencil lines.    More summer-time announcements coming soon…
zach & mo & krejg. March 7th, 2013
 During my March 5 – May 14, 2004 travel diary CARNET DE VOYAGE, this little bean-bodied critter invaded my sketchbooks as a conscience to counteract my whining & sentimentality. Nine years later, it’s satisfying & familiar to revisit the character in the pages of SPACE DUMPLINS, though I seriously envy how off-the-cuff I used to churn out the pages. The critter has a name now – Zacchaeus – after a favorite wee little tax-collector from the Bible.
 
There’s a new presence in my work studio that shares the same energy as Zacchaeus - frisky & distracting & never tolerating the whining - a kitty, name of Maurice (no Biblical reference). Here she is surveying new and old appearances of Zacchaeus. To the right, she protects the drafting table from her throne of crumpled jackets.
 
In other news:  A)  I’m participating in an exhibition at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco with an amazing cast of illustrators. I SEE WHAT YOU SAY opens March 23rd.
And B) the latest foreign edition of HABIBI to debut is from my Serbian publisher Komiko. I wanted to mention it, if for no other reason because I like seeing my name spelled “Krejg”.
 
back to the drawing table November 7th, 2012

Thanks for the reminder, Jordi. It’s been five weeks since my return, and I’ve finally started drawing the NEXT BOOK. Twelve pages are finished, but I’m still reclaiming the discipline & drawing muscles required to make final pages. It’s still a bit soon to reveal the details of the project, but I will say my focus is on the all-ages book. While brainstorming/writing (earlier in the year), I gave equal attention to three ideas, but the time-consuming demands of drawing have nudged the other two books to the backburner. Here’s some preliminary sketches of the new book’s hero – VIOLET.

In other news, here’s a link to the BLANKETS MARRIAGE PROPOSAL of Becca & Mike mentioned at the end of last month’s post.
A sweet moment and a great honor as an author to find one’s book connecting so deeply to readers’ lives. Best wishes to Becca & Mike!

 

home-back May 24th, 2012

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…

 

stump down & melt town April 26th, 2012

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.

 

hi jack and hi at us March 25th, 2012

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.

march madness March 11th, 2011

Happy Friday, Blog-friends! Another month has slipped away since posting. A few of you asked if I’d attend ComicCon on Thursday,
and the answer is YES. Top Shelf will be debuting new editions of BLANKETS (hardcover & softcover) to match the dimensions of HABIBI.

Sechan asked about posters and prints, and though none currently exist, I promise to have some by tour time. The past few weeks have
been crazy busy with promo materials and foreign translations and tour mapping, and many of the destinations you’ve asked about — Spain,
Brazil, Toronto — are on the list. (Colombia… who knows?) Finally, some folks recognized my brief, but crazed cameo as the ringside announcer
in Menomena‘s new TAOS video. It’s directed by Alicia J. Rose who also snapped some promo photos of me, including this one in Astoria, Oregon.

That last sketch is a sneak peek of a contribution for Giant-Sized MADMAN. Thanks to you all for staying in touch!

ripoffs & inspiration February 12th, 2011

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!

fanart friday December 17th, 2010

Happy Friday, Gang. While HABIBI production is stuck in limbo, why not share some pre-release “fan art”? A manuscript of HABIBI accompanied
me to the Atlantic Center of the Arts, and many of the associate artists had a chance to peruse it. A few of them even created tribute pieces!

Seen here: Thi Bui, Jake Wyatt, and Harris Wolf. The fourth is a reposting of Jen Wang‘s beautiful tribute. She has an incredible new book
of her own debuting at First Second Books — KOKO BE GOOD. Such an honor to see other artists depict the HABIBI characters!