Tonight (last night? What time is it? ...oh. Yeah ....um, last night), I got to experience something awesome. I went to a reading/showing of Craig Thompson, cartoonist extraordinaire.
He does really awesome stuff, like this:
To be honest, I had never heard of his work before I went to the reading. Not that I have anything against graphic novels as a genre - I've dabbled here and there - but, I'm certainly no expert. In fact, I wouldn't even claim to be a guesspert. But, to see his work and to hear how he came to draw those works was pretty phenomenal.
I mean, as he explained, Good-bye, Chunky Rice was his earliest work (the adorable turtle), and after that he wanted to do something more serious (Blankets). But to do something as personal as Blankets, as it is based off of his personal life, is tough work. To be a good writer, one must step on some toes here and there, and I suppose he did so there. But, what really enthralled me was how he managed to draw Carnet de Voyage, perpetually on the go, in France and Morocco. I mean literally, on the go. As in, he showed us pages that he drew while he was walking, on the train, on the streets, never stopping, never at his desk.
Talk about a work ethic.
And then he showed us pages from his soon to be published Habibi. World, (aka, the two off-the-cuff people who happen to chance upon this blog) Habibi is gorgeous. It is visually gorgeous. I'm buying it when it becomes available. And I'm going to get Blankets too.
You should have seen the way he signed books. He took out his illustrator's pen and he DREW the person he was dedicating the book to on the first page of the book he was signing. It was stunning. Mucho gusto.
Luckily for me - I who did not have a book for him to sign - he works at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, which is maybe 30 minutes away from here. Guess who's going to show up at his office all stalker-slash-screaming-teenage-girl-ish?