Craig Thompson "Reading"

Thursday night I made the 75 mile, 90 minute drive drive to the Skirball Center in West LA to meet my husband (who had to sit in traffic for two whole hours to drive the 58 miles from his office- seriously, Southern California, get your transportation shit together) for the Craig Thompson “reading.” I use the term loosely, given the fact he actually read nothing but instead provided a visual lecture of sorts.
First off, I just have to say that despite the Skirball Center being so far away, I still really love it. This Jewish cultural center is set on lush green grounds (you can hear the bull frogs at night!), has a great architectural design and staffs some great people. They put on a Nick Hornby reading awhile back, as well as many other events, for both the Jews and the non-Jews (they have an awesome looking Noah’s Ark interactive exhibit that I’d love to go to… if I had kids/had some to borrow).
Thompson started off with a PowerPoint presentation with pictures of his process- it was fascinating to hear how he goes about planning his books and the stages the illustrations go through (check out his site). He showed us everything from the primitive sketches, to how he lays it out on a page, to the final result. Thompson admittedly finds the artistic side of the graphic novel easier; he struggles a bit more with the writing.
Source: Alicia J. Rose via author's site
Writer’s block (which he compared to the “drought” theme in the novel) was discussed several times in his lecture and during the question and answer portion of the night. Thompson’s description of it made it seem like a disease of sorts- almost crippling at times, and lasting for months. His advice for others that suffer is a heaping dose of Just Keep Working- hopefully it will do the trick. Speaking of the Q&A, Thompson was extremely generous in how many questions he took and the depth and sincerity behind his answers. He was extremely thankful that people attended and supported his work.
I thoroughly enjoyed attending the event, and, as always, I left wishing that one, I’d actually try to become a writer and that two, I didn’t have to drive so far for readings…

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