My cousin and I decided to go halves on Craig Thompson’s graphic novel Habibi as our Christmas present to each other this year. I’ve been eyeing it up for quite some time and it certainly doesn’t disappoint!
From the outside it feels like a secret treasure with its thick, gold embossed covers. It is tactile and just the right weight, heavy, but still manageable for reading under the covers at night. Inside, every panel is beautiful. Rich patterns that tangle into the story, devouring characters; fantastic use of perspective and composition. On the Habibi website I was really pleased to find that Thompson has shared photos of his creative process. I love this behind the scenes stuff and find it so useful to see how other artists go about making things. He appears to start with a very rough sketch which he then works back into with pen. It looks as if he sometimes uses a computer to improve or double check composition. Then, like a total boss, he inks everything by hand!
Before I saw these images, I felt sure that he must have used a computer to somehow help speed up the process of inking the huge number of panels that make up the book. Though certainly all the images have a heart and warmth to them that might be lost if not drawn by hand. I just can’t imagine the precision, dedication and time it must have taken to finish them all! Either way, by hand or computer it is a most excellent tome.
Images used without permission from www.habibibook.com