The blog of Richard Thompson, caricaturist, creator of "Cul de Sac," and winner of the 2011 Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year.

Showing posts sorted by relevance for query stacy. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query stacy. Sort by date Show all posts

Sunday, May 6, 2012

This Week's Cul de Sacs, April 30 to May 6, 2012

Here are the roughs I sent to Stacy Curtis for this week of strips. Besides inking Cul de Sac, Stacy's got a full plate of children's book work, some of which involves traveling for school visits. This means he has to do the inking in a hotel room, not the most ideal situation for us sensitive art types whose psyches demand a familiar work environment to maintain creative flow.

So I thought a repeating Petey might make things easier all around. And as Petey tends to freeze up under mild duress all it needed was a stinkbug to provide just that.

Having decided on repeating Peteys-
it was an easy jump to overdoing it-
and piling the Peteys on.
If one flustered Petey is funny then an infinite number of them'd be a riot-
I hope. These are representative of the batch of roughs I foist on Stacy every week. Note how they get gradually sloppier as I lose track of the progress of the meager story arc. In fact I had no idea how to end it, so I told Stacy I would do the climactic Saturday strip, which features enough second panel exposition by Alice to frighten off anyone who dislikes text-heavy balloons.
So it all worked out well enough.

I did the Sunday about a month ago. It's photoshopped out of a dozen bits and pieces but, ssshh, don't tell anybody. Alice and Dill have had several Drawing Fights; victory has been disputed in all of them.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cul de Sac for March 26, 2012

Starting tomorrow, March 26th, I'll be producing Cul de Sac with the assistance of Stacy Curtis. Stacy's a cartoonist, illustrator and printmaker who draws editorial cartoons, comics and illustrations and is now doing mostly children's books (I find children's book illustrators to be uniquely trustworthy). He'll be doing the inking, mostly on the daily Cul de Sacs. He also promises to go out for doughnuts and coffee, a nice gesture but somewhat useless as he lives 700 miles away.

Except for freelancing illustration, which is by its nature collaborative, I've never worked with anyone before. Some types of comics are built for this kind of piece-work, notably comic books, which distribute the work among divers hands much the way a medieval studio would. But a comic strip, being small and intensely imagined, usually has just one name on it, usually the guy who started it (though often anonymous craftsmen are involved in writing, drawing, lettering,  etc. - ssshh! you didn't hear it from me).

I'll continue to write Cul de Sac and draw roughs for Stacy to try to decipher and I'll do as much of the final inking as I can. Of the weeks of strips we've produced so far I've inked only the Sundays, though that may vary from week to week. 

This change isn't made lightly; I'm as obsessive and grabby and unwilling to share as some four-year-olds I could name. But after some months of missed deadlines and last-minute repeats I'm willing to bend a little. My thanks to the folks at Universal for being sensitive and helpful, especially John Glynn, one of the most helpful and sensitive former Chicago cops I've worked with; Shena Wolf, a more appreciative and unflappable editor than I deserve; and Lee Salem, the most supportive man in the business.

And thanks, Stacy. So far so good, huh?

Friday, July 29, 2016

Cartoonists Stacy Curtis and Dave Kellett remember Richard Thompson

Both Stacy and Dave knew Richard - Stacy worked on Cul de Sac with him, and Dave interviewed him at length for a documentary.

Rest in Peace, Richard Thompson

Dave Kellett's Sheldon comic

Monday, April 9, 2012

Now Go Listen to Stacy Curtis

Now that you've committed Chris Sparks' interview to memory you need to do the same with Tom Racine's interview with Stacy Curtis. Stacy spills the beans on his early, violent career as an editorial cartoonist, describes our Clouseau-and-Cato-like working relationship and explains his Banjo Pig Awareness program.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Wash Post Blows the Lid Off Cul de Sac Shocker

Mike Cavna has the story here.

Last night he ambushed me with some gotcha questions-

1. Can you tell me how you came to this decision now? Was there a moment that this choice became clear, or has this been a long and gradual decision -- perhaps one that had a tipping point?

 A. I've known for a year or more that I was working on borrowed time.  My lettering had begun to wander off in 2009, but that could be fixed easily enough. But when Alice's and Dill's heads began to look under-inflated last winter I figured I was losing control of the drawing too. When I needed help with the inking (the hardest but most satisfying part of drawing the strip),well that was probably a tipping point. Parkinson's disease is horribly selfish and demanding. A daily comic strip is too and I can only deal with one at a time. So it was a long, gradual, sudden decision.

2. Was there one aspect of creating a daily comic strip that made you decide this was too much? Perhaps it was more the drawing, or the writing, and/or the deadlines? And did you consider letting an assistant -- perhaps Stacy -- carry the load for an extended period of time, or not so much?

A. The deadlines would be the obvious answer as I've hated and feared them all my life (true of most cartoonists, I've found). Yeah, I thought about passing along more of the drawing to Stacy. I thought he did a wonderful job inking my roughs. But I was having trouble separating the writing and the drawing. I found that one fed off the other more than I'd realized' that it was an organic process, to use pretentious art talk. Most of the time I'd start a strip with no clear idea where it was going, or There'd be an end without a beginning. And I'd figure it all out as I was inking it, which isn't the best way to work and would've driven a conscientious editor crazy. One reason I hate and  fear a deadline is that I can't finish a damn thing without one, and everything is mutable right up till the last minute. And often beyond..

3. How are you feeling these days? And what's next for you -- perhaps short- and medium-range -- in terms of treatment?

A. Well, I need some work. Last winter I took time off for a month of BIG therapy at Bodykinetics Rehab and it was tremendously helpful. Basically it recalibrates your body using big, exaggerated movements and yelling and silly walks. But then I went back to work and slacked off and began to decline physically. This was when it became clear Parkinson's didn't mesh too well with a daily deadline. I got wobblier and had a few falls, and I've pushed the meds as far as they'll go. So the next step is something called Deep Brain Stimulation, where they implant wires in your brain, adjust the current and Boom, you're good to go. It's a process that takes 4 to 6 months and I'm just starting out.

4. Is there an overriding emotion you feel now that you've made this decision? Relief? Sadness? Resigned joy? Deep gratitude?

A. All of those. Relief because I've not lived without a deadline of some kind hanging overhead for almost 30 years. Sadness because there was more I wanted to do with the strip that would only be possible with a daily format. Resigned joy because I don't know, because it sounds good. And deep gratitude because I fell into this dream job at the last possible moment and got to produce work I'll always be proud of and made friends I'll always respect.

5. Will you continue to draw (perhaps with less demanding deadlines) -- maybe freelance, magazine covers, back to drawing cows for the FDA or Milk Advisory Board *smile*?
Or are you hanging up your Hunt #101 Imperial for good?

A. I'm not ready to quit, but I'm sure my work will change. It may look like it was done by Cy Twombly using his sleeve.

6. How do you feel about having had the space and stage and opportunity to draw Cul de Sac for as long as you did -- as well as all the acclaim, respect, fandom (from book sales to the Reuben Award)?

A. Like I said above, I fell into drawing a daily comic strip more by luck than design. And that kind of luck is unimaginable, at least to me. I feel like I've squeezed a lifetime career into way too short a time (though I started working on Cul de Sac almost 10 years ago). It took me forever to figure out the Reuben, because it's one of those "not in my wildest dreams" things.  But I finally got it: it's like finding this fabulous object, an artifact of an ancient civilization that's far in advance of our own, and it's crashed in my backyard so I get to keep it.

Mostly, I'm grateful to all who pushed me into this. Starting with Tom Shroder and Gene Weingarten, on through Lee Salem, Rich West, Bill Watterson, Greg Melvin, John Glynn, John McMeel, Pat Oliphant, Amy, Emma & Charlotte Thompson, Mike Rhode, Nick Galifianakis,  Chris Sparks, Shena Wolf and ending maybe with Anna Glynn or Emily Sparks. Without them I'd still be doing covers for the Milk Advisory Board. And also my Mom, who told me years ago if I ever did a comic strip it'd be pretty wonderful, but I'd probably drive myself crazy.

7. Any final "Cul de Sac" thoughts or sentiments you'd like to say to your many fans?

A. Don't wander off yet1 There'll be a joke after the credits.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Today's Cul de Sac in Rough Form, April 28 2012

This is the rough of today's strip I sent to Stacy Curtis for inking. I draw the roughs on Canson Marker Layout, a semi-translucent paper, using various sizes of Micron pens. Then I email it to Stacy, who prints it out to his preferred size and slaps it on a lightbox, then inks it on bristol with one of his grungiest, unwashed and most-favorite pens while I take a nap. I did a little photoshop fussing around with the middle panel. It originally had hundreds of tiny zombie toads, and I realized it's an unnecessary cruelty to inflict crowds on my inker, so I simplified it. Some.

And that's how a comic strip collaboration is run these days.

Monday, March 19, 2012

This Week's Cul de Sacs

This week's strips will likely debut on the New York Times Children's Picture Book Bestseller List, because pretty much everything Mo Willems does makes it on the list. Because Mo Willems is just that good. And he's done pretty much everything.

Unfortunately, my daughters, being born too soon and consequently being too old, missed out on Mo's menagerie; the Pigeon, Elephant and Piggie, Leonardo the Terrible Monster, Naked Mole Rat and my favorite, Knuffle Bunny and Trixie. Which means I never got a chance to read Mo's oeuvre aloud to a sleepy child.

But I did get a chance to have a Gookie-off with Mo, which is the next best thing-
But wait, there's more! This week's Cul de Sacs wouldn't show up in reproduction, would be but pale shadows, without the sensitive inking that cartoonist and illustrator Stacy Curtis provided. If you need a dab hand with pen and ink, Stacy is the man to call. And if you call him, you'll soon find yourself drawing a Banjo Pig.
I'd better get mine drawn if Ii know what's good for me.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Some tributes to Richard Thompson in the press (updated as required)

WUSA: Local acclaimed illustrator dies at 58

ComicsDC's Mike Rhode:A short personal remembrance of Richard Thompson

Brian Fies: Richard Thompson


Donna Lewis: So many words. So few words.

 Washington Post's Michael Cavna's online obituary


John Martz: A Cartoonist Remembers His Hero, Cul de Sac’s Richard Thompson

Stacy Curtis: Rest in Peace, Richard Thompson

Dave Kellett's Sheldon comic

Scoop: In Memoriam: Richard Thompson

A Certain Line: When the laughter stops

Washington Post's Michael Cavna: These are the Richard Thompson masterpieces we’ll most remember him by

RIP: Richard Thompson, creator of “Cul de Sac” by David Malki

Encore Stage: Remembering Richard Thompson, Creator of Cul de Sac

Cartoonist Richard Thompson Dies of Parkinson's Disease by Peter Dunlap-Shohl

RIP, Richard Thompson: How the artist extends to us the hand of profound wit and humanity By Michael Cavna

Comics Journal: Tributes to Richard Thompson - Craig Fischer and Warren Bernard and Charles Hatfield

Mike Lynch: Richard Thompson 1957-2016

John Gallagher's tribute cartoon for Richard Thompson

Life Without Richard Thompson by Anton Scamvougeras

Comics Journal: Dancing on the Manhole Cover: The Genius of Richard Thompson by Phil Nel

John Gallagher's tribute cartoon for Richard Thompson

Life Without Richard Thompson by Anton Scamvougeras

Comics Journal: Obituary by Andrew Farago

RIP Richard Thompson by Dana Jeri Maier

Donna Lewis' Reply All tribute

Friday, July 18, 2014

Small things

Here's another teaser quote from that impatiently-awaited, incipient best-seller the Art of Whosis (as  seen on TV!*), But this time I include some actual text, taken from an actual PDF of the actual book, to sweeten the deal! Once again the part of "BW" is played by Bill Watterson while I assay the rĂ´ll of "RT" (we did funny accents),

This is what I was trying to get at in the previous post about the specific vs. the general. A comic strip is the ideal medium to bear small ideas (no jokes, please), especially one with little kids in it. I'll show you; here's a strip from the Post Magazine that's not in the Complete Cul de Sac because I forgot about it, even though it's one of my favorites; I gave it to my brother for Christmas. He kindly lent it back for use in the Art book. 

That's taken from a true, well I hate to call it a "story"; it's barely an anecdote. But both of us remembered it, that one inch gap between iron and shirt that made the animatronic maid's efforts so stupidly poignant. Woodie's windows were an important part of Christmastime for us as it was for many in the DC area, so I knew this would resonate back when CdS was a local strip.

Here's perhaps the height, or nadir, of smallness. For a week Dill followed that bug. You can't get much punier. Yet in  the last year of CdS, I tried some microscopic gags, all to make producing  the strip easier.

This is a rough for Stacy Curtis to ink. A week of repeating the same scene led to this-

In short, the constant search for Ways to Do Things Faster, the Shortcuts to Fill the Page, make smallness ideal.  Look at one of my favorites-

There's so little movement in it that I used the same rough for 8 panels! Alice is the only movement, and she's just fidgeting around. And the smallness is carried through the dialog; casual chitchat that goes nowhere. I'm almost embarrassed to've constructed a whole strip around this.

But that's my other point; that a comic can be made up out  of the mist desultory, small, nothing  banter imaginable and successfully present a legitimate funny, universal idea. And there's a chance you'll make your deadline.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Still Kicking

And Stacy Curtis claims the news of my passing was somewhat exaggerated.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Today's Cul de Sac in Rough Form, April 30 2012

A word of warning: Petey doesn't move a muscle all week. I find it makes things easier to draw if they're static and repetitive (and I hope Stacy agrees). I'm telling you this up front in case you're hoping for big action sequences or derring-do so you're not disappointed.