For Craig Thompson, a sketchbook is a travel diary and every situation is an opportunity to draw. Carnet de Voyage is a look back at his two-month jaunt to Europe and Morocco in early 2004. At first, it seemed kinda whiney. He often complains of loneliness and burnout, and I kept thinking, “This guy’s in Europe for free and he’s complaining?” But as the book went on, I got more of a feel for where he was coming from and it didn’t bother me. That’s the thing with books like this. You start off apprehensive, but then you get sucked into everything in the guy’s life and you feel like you know him, sort of.
That said, fuck this fucking cliffhanger ending. I read the whole book of him talking about how lonely he is and then when he finally meets a great lady, the fucking book ends two pages later. Like I said, I started off apprehensive and now I gotta know what happens.
Art-wise, he’s got an amazing eye for detail and since it’s a sketchbook, almost all of the drawing are freehand and off-the-cuff, which makes it even more amazing. The drawings of Spanish architecture made my head spin. Another thing that endeared it to me is that he’s very self-effacing. He draws everybody else as very dramatic and beautiful, but draws himself as sort of an awkward caricature, and when he feels out of place, he draws himself with a piece of hay sticking out of his mouth talking like a slack-jawed yokel.
I enjoyed this book, but Craig, if you’re reading this, what happened with the girl from Switzerland? –Josh (Top Shelf Productions, PO Box 1282 Marietta, GA 30061)