Craig Thompson, a personal favorite, has very few books out there for you to read. “Goodbye Chunky Rice” and “Blankets” showcase his amazing talent as a writer and artist and “Carnet de Voyage” is a sketchbook that again remains personal and accessible all at the same time. Well his library is growing in September with “Habibi”.

Sprawling across an epic landscape of deserts, harems, and modern industrial clutter, HABIBI tells the tale of Dodola and Zam, refugee child slaves bound to each other by chance, by circumstance, and by the love that grows between them.
At once contemporary and timeless, HABIBI gives us a love story of astounding resonance: a parable about our relationship to the natural world, the cultural divide between the first and third worlds, the common heritage of Christianity and Islam, and, most potently, the magic of storytelling.

I personally cannot wait. But as I sit here biding my time I can hop over to the Habibi website where Thompson shows off his pages in progress. I can’t download the pics and share them here so you will have to head over to the site to enjoy them fully, but trust me, it is worth it.

So click HERE and enjoy!

One of the first interviews conducted for The Comic Archive was with Richard Starkings, one of the heralds of digital comics lettering and co-founder of Comicraft with partner John “JG” Roshell. The duo spent some time talking to the fine folks at The Outhousers about their craft. Here is an excerpt:

IH: In the last 19 years of Comicraft, you have found yourself in roles other than lettering, switching the hats per se. If it’s cool, I’d like to ask you about the different experiences of each role:

RS: Hmm, is that a question? Being a Publisher is perhaps the most thankless of all the tasks you’ve listed here — I decide to self publish HIP FLASK because I wanted to hold on to my rights. That meant establishing credit terms with a printer and with Diamond. That first issue of HIP FLASK sold really well and covered my costs so when Al Davison, a friend in England told me he was looking for a publisher for his long out of print OGN, THE SPIRAL CAGE, I volunteered to publish it because I figured I’d established the apparatus for publishing so I may as well use it in-between issues of HIP FLASK. Over the next couple of years I published a handful of extant but homeless graphic novels created by friends in the business, including the brilliant STRANGE EMBRACE by Dave Hine, SKIDMARKS by Ilya, KAFKA and SOLSTICE by Steve Seagle, GUNPOWDER GIRL AND THE OUTLAW SQUAW by Don Hudson, BRICKMAN by Lew Stringer and, finally, THE NIGHTMARIST by Duncan Rouleau.
I doubt I made a single penny off any of the titles — initial orders through Diamond ranged from 400 to 850 copies and subsequent reorders would rarely top 20 or 30 copies. I realized that their were just too many titles for retailers to consider each month and the discount for retailers on independent publishers was just too low for them to give me any real attention. The most successful titles in my library, aside from the first three issues of HIP FLASK were COMIC BOOK LETTERING THE COMICRAFT WAY, which has sold close to 5,000 copies at this point, mostly via Amazon and a small distributor called PARTNERS, and the first edition of TIM SALE BLACK AND WHITE which sold through it’s 3,000 print run.
I made what I now consider the mistake of allowing creators to retain all their rights… publishing other creators’ books made me no profits whatsoever, but some of the creators sold the media rights or made money selling copies of the books I overgenerously comped them (I sent at least 200 copies of each book to each creator). I hadn’t thought ahead — for four or five years afterward I was paying my printer $50 a month per title per month to keep the books in storage. The cost was crippling.
Quite rightly, creators focus on their rights, on their ownership of material they’ve created, and I respected that, and still do. But I was naive and didn’t really recognize the obstacles facing small publishers — or the high expectations that would be placed on me, innocently enough, by the creators of those books. Larry Young, who successfully published a large number of successful graphics novels, including DEMO, LAST OF THE INDEPENDENTS and ROCK BOTTOM took a lot of stick for asking for a piece of the rights to properties he published, and it was only after I followed in his footsteps that I realized why a publisher has a right to ask for a return on his investment.
I don’t regret publishing I learned a lot and met Justin Moritat Norman, who drew most of the first dozen issues of ELEPHANTMEN, because I published SOLSTICE, which Steve Seagle brought to me because he loved our edition of STRANGE EMBRACE, and because of my relationship with Dave Hine on STRANGE EMBRACE, I got to work with Dave and later Shaky Kane on ELEPHANTMEN.
I often say that the best kind of Image Creator is a former publisher/self publisher, Robert Kirkman self published long before becoming a pillar of the Image Comics we know today. He and I both know what we gain by working with Image, because we know what we lost when we published our books ourselves.

IH: I’m a big logo enthusiast, constantly trying to hand draw them out in my sketch books, but there is something to be said about what programs such as Illustrator can do with them. Having had the experience you have working with both traditional means and digital means, what do you feel 20 years later are the pros and cons of working up a logo?

JG: I’ve actually gotten back into the habit of doing pencil sketches and sending them to clients as preliminary ideas. I find once something’s on the computer, it looks so clean and perfect, it’s easy to think you’re finished, when there’s still possibilities and interesting angles left to be explored. Purely computer-designed logos can often end up kind of undeveloped and bland, as opposed to ideas that are worked up from paper and pencil (and eraser!) first.
On the other hand, some great logos have come from sitting there in Illustrator, trying out the word in every font on the menu, finding some that “click”, and going from there. I suppose the great thing is that we now have such an amazing array of tools to work with. Between Illustrator and Photoshop, we can fully realize a logo in perfectly straight-edged, shiny 3D glory, which simply wasn’t possible until 20 years ago.

For the whole interview (which is well worth the read) head over to The Outhousers.

Hidden beneath the surface of every page of beautifully rendered comic book artwork is what many feel is the real challenge of creating comics. Storytelling. Here artist Wes Craig talks about what he feels is his responsibility as a comic book storyteller.

Over at Dark Horse’s Blog editor Scott Allie gives some advice for aspiring artists bringing their portfolios to San Diego Comic Con.

Be realistic. You have to believe in your ability to do good work if you’re ever going to get anywhere, but you also have to be realistic about developing the skills to get the work. Does your work compare to the books on the shelves? If not, focus on showing your stuff to fellow artists and writers, who can give you solid advice on craft. Editors might be able to give you some direction on drawing and writing, but mostly we’re just going to tell you you’re not ready. If you’re not nearly ready for professional work, maybe it’s the wrong time to make a first and lasting impression on editors. If your work doesn’t compare to what’s on the stands, it’s unrealistic to focus on getting work, so your focus needs to be on getting better.
Know what you want to do. Quite often the first thing out of my mouth during a portfolio review is to ask the artist simply, What do you want to do? Even when I explain the question—What kind of career are you trying to begin?–they often can’t tell me. These days, comics is a rich landscape, with so many ways to make your mark, and such contrasting directions to go in. Is your priority to make a steady income, or to tell your own stories? It could be that your style or vision won’t easily find a place in the mainstream, and you either have to accept that that’s not a viable starting point for you, or steer your work in that direction. If it’s your dream to do superheroes, you might have to drastically change your style, or do what David Mack, Jeff Smith, and others have done, and make such a name for yourself doing your own thing that they beg you to draw the guys in tights. Or try going the other way around—do the mainstream stuff until you have a readership, then break out on your own. Just make sure that your work lends itself to your plan.
Focus your energy. I see artists aspiring to get their first paying gig, struggling to get control of a crow quill while their basic anatomy is screaming for help. That would be a good time to choose between a focus on developing your pencils or your inks, rather than being held back by inadequacies in both. I’ve also seen artists who could draw pretty well, but then destroyed their pencils with a total lack of finesse in the inks. That should be an easy choice–focus on the pencils and try out for jobs where someone else can do the inks. Show those uninked pencils, which are going to impress an editor a hell of a lot more than the badly inked pages.
To play devil’s advocate, I want to consider something Eric Powell’s said to me. Eric feels he wouldn’t have gotten where he is without being flexible with his work. He never narrowed his options. He made sure he could take any freelance job that came up, whether it was inking someone he’d never met, or doing the full pencils and inks, or squeezing in a rush penciling job under another inker. And the son of a bitch can paint, too. Oils. It’s served him well, and if you have an aptitude for it, you should definitely go down that road. I’m just not sure everyone does.
Educate yourself about publishers. It’ll show that you’re professional, that you’re a part of the industry on some level, if you’re familiar with the work that we put out before you show us your own work, and it will also save you a lot of time, not waiting in line to show Viz your Spider-Man samples, or Marvel your three-hundred-page confessional about your addiction to Hustler.

via Dark Horse’s Blog

For many creators in the comics field getting published is easier than becoming a regular professional. Getting regularly paid work that allows you to focus solely on creating comics is the goal, but that means a lot of networking and hard work. Here artist Wes Craig talks about his own personal transition from struggling to regular comics pro.