Doot Doot Garden: The Blog of Craig Thompson
Doot Doot Garden: The blog of graphic novelist Craig Thompson
year of the momo December 30th, 2013

HAPPY NEW YEAR, BLOG-FRIENDS!

After HABIBI promotional travel, 2013 was the year of hunkering down to craft the new book – SPACE DUMPLINS. It began with an injured hand, tossing the first batch of inks, revising the script, then drawing 135 pages of final art to be colored by Dave Stewart.
Just this week, CHAPTER THREE saw completion.

154 more pages to go to finish SPACE DUMPLINS – the big goal for 2014. Thanks to all of you for your continual support & sticking with the Doot Doot Blog. Here’s a reminder of previous New Years on this forum: 2008, 20092010, 2011, 2012. A toast to a cozy & productive year for us all!

green bean & wordstock September 24th, 2013

After getting home from three weeks in LA, I have a couple events unfolding in the Portland area.

1) The local launch for First Second’s FAIRY TALE COMICS with cartoonist (and Laika storyboarder) Graham Annable at GREEN BEAN BOOKS. 1 PM on Saturday, September 28th (1600 NE Alberta Street, Portland). More on that anthology – a sequel of sorts to NURSERY RHYME COMICShere.

2) A two-way stage conversation between Gene Yang and I to scour the crossover themes of our coming-of-age memoirs (AMERICAN BORN CHINESE) and historical, religious epics (BOXERS & SAINTS) at the WORDSTOCK literary festival. 3 pm, October 5th, Oregon Convention Center.

Hope to see you locals there!

 

chunky shark cycle September 10th, 2013

Friends of my brother, GROW ANTHOLOGY, make sweet skateboards out of recycled paper, and they’ve launched a KICKSTARTER campaign to produce their first run of artist-edition boards – THE CHUNKY SHARK CYCLE! It’s limited to only 250 boards…  Chunky and Dandel graphic laser-etched into the top of the deck… made sustainably from recycled paper from a paper mill in my home town! They’re a flexy-fluid longboard ride or an object of art for display. Please, do check in to support the Chunky Shark Cycle Kickstarter and get stickers, t-shirts, decks, complete boards, or purchase my original art. Exciting to merge the two passions of my youth – comics and skateboarding!

(PS: Start following progress on the new book at: <http://instagram.com/spacedumplins> )

 
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…
brazil jam May 24th, 2013

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.

mange ta viande! April 22nd, 2013
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!
 
laser boob army & scrambled seaweed April 5th, 2013

Springtime instigates spring cleaning of the art studio. Here’s a couple of goodies unearthed in the process. Above is a batch of unused illustrations created for a stage presentation at the 2005 ICON Illustration Conference. The general talking point of each illo is: a) preconceptions of comics, b) the obliviousness and/or coping mechanisms of arteests, c) SCOTT McCLOUD as a cult leader of sorts for my generation of cartoonists, d) the reality that most cartoonists pay the bills via illustration gigs, e) the debate over the label “graphic novel”.

Below is another except from the 70 foot scroll I created in fourth grade (1985 or 1986) when I was approximately the same age as Violet in the upcoming SPACE DUMPLINS. Wish I could scan this entire epic for you… in the meantime, there’s a little more on it here.

 

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”.
 
space dumplins December 20th, 2012
My upcoming all-ages book has been officially announced. It’s titled SPACE DUMPLINS and will be published by Scholastic. I want it to work like a Pixar film — fun & appealing to the youngsters, while simultaneously fulfilling to you, my faithful readers.
 
The bad news is that I haven’t drawn any new pages since the last blog-posting, because of a hand injury. Prohibited from drawing, I’ve been obsessively combing over the thumbnail draft, thus further applying the Pixar model of endless rewrites.  My New Year’s plan is to take off the splint and leap back on the drawing wagon. And the book will keep me busy through all of 2013. Aiming for a 2014 release.
Finally, if you’re looking for last-last-minute holiday gifts, there’s still a limited amount of oversized HABIBI screenprints available at CRACK PRESS.  Season’s greetings, Blog-friends! Thanks for checking in throughout the year (despite my infrequent posts). And thanks for making it to any of the HABIBI tour events!
flood fund update November 12th, 2012

Thanks for your patience with the confusion and delay around the art auction to raise funds for flood relief in the Philippines. The fund raiser is finally active on eBay and bids close in a week. Here’s the link:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Blankets-by-Craig-Thompson-Original-Cover-Art-/281018003578?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item416dfa707a