Big Thompson in Small Press

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Last year, Craig Thompson's Blankets not only won an incredible amount of awards, but it went down in history as one of the most important graphic novels in existence. While everyone saw the beauty of Thompson's art, it was his writing that garnered the majority of the acclaim. This year, with the release of his graphic travelogue, Carnet De Voyage, Thompson's artwork took the forefront in spectacular fashion.

Craig Thompson released only one solo book, the aforementioned Carnet De Voyage, in 2004. He prefaced that book with a warning that it was not "the next book." While that may be true, Thompson also shows us that, even in this personal diary, he is a born storyteller. His artwork flows absolutely brilliantly throughout the piece. The few sequential areas of the book, thus, fit in perfectly. Impressively, each image, be it a pin-up of the scenery or quick drawing of a person, speaks volumes.

At the close of the book, Thompson reveals that virtually no photographs were used in the creation of Carnet De Voyage, revealing perhaps the most impressive aspect of Thompson's art: his eye for detail. Each and every drawing has an incredible amount of detail, from the gorgeous architecture to each of the distinctive characters, Thompson truly excels in this aspect. Thompson, however, never over-renders his images. He knows which details to include and which to leave out, his drawings are truly elegant.

In Carnet De Voyage, Thompson tells of person upon person begging him to draw a picture for them. It is easy to see why. He captures the very essence of each moment in his drawings. Thompson's style, too, is totally unique. It is soft and angular at the same time. He uses a variety of brush strokes. Ornate borders and cartoons surround the story. The resulting images are always a pleasure to view.

So, there you have it: Yet another article praising the artwork of Craig Thompson. Broken Frontier is approximately the thousandth website to name Thompson as its small press artist of the year, or some other similar award, right? You know what? He deserves a thousand more.

- Eliot Johnson

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