Sunday, November 20, 2011

Craig Thompson

I had the pleasure of attending a talk by one of my favourite graphic novelists, Craig Thompson, last Wednesday at Boswell Books on Downer with Lilly. Lilly is the one who first introduced me to his work a few years ago, urging me to read Blankets, and we totally nerded out when we saw Craig standing in line at Starbucks before the talk.

He gave a presentation about the process of creating his latest work, Habibi, which was followed by a generous Q&A session.

I love listening to other artists talking about their process. Yes, we are all working toward a final product, but it's the process we really love. Craig talked about his endless pages and pages of thumbnail sketches, showing us photos of sketchbooks he has filled. I was interested to learn that when starting a project, he immediately begins storyboarding. He will toil over these thumbnails, the sketches being almost as detailed as the final illustrations. He works to perfect details in their thumbnail stage so that by the time he has to work on final art it is just the mechanics of drawing he has to worry about.

Habibi is rich with details inspired by Islamic art and is an interesting contrast to Blankets, whose imagery is inspired by stark winters growing up in the Midwest.

He stayed to sign (and doodle in!) books after the talk. It was great getting to talk with him while watching him effortlessly personalize each book with a quick sketch. 

If you have never read anything by Craig Thompson, I highly recommend it! His beautiful pen & ink illustrations and moving stories have literally caused me to just sit and read from cover to cover in one day.

Many thanks to Boswell Book Company for hosting such a great event!

(All process images from Craig Thompson's blog.)


  1. He's my favourite too! I would love to go on one of his readings/talks but I'm afraid I would nerd out like you said you did! :D :D AND he never comes to Sweden, buhu...
    Every story, even his own travel journal - Carnet De Voyage is so beautifully fragile. Can't wait to read Habibi!