Cover image for Carnet de voyage / Craig Thompson.
Carnet de voyage / Craig Thompson.
New expanded edition.

First Drawn & Quarterly edition.
Publication Information:
Montreal : Drawn & Quarterly, 2018.
Physical Description:
250 pages : black & white illustrations ; 19 cm.
A follow-up to the award-winning Blankets depicts in strikingly detailed black-and-white graphic artwork and first-person reflections the acclaimed cartoonist's travels through Europe and Morocco, where he had remarkable cultural, intellectual and spiritual encounters while making new friends and researching his next novel, Habibi. --Publisher


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
THO Graphic Novel Adult Graphic Novels

On Order



A unique insight into an acclaimed cartoonist's travels through Europe and Morocco Riding the international success of Blankets , Craig Thompson sets out on a tour across Europe and Morocco, promoting the various European editions of his book and beginning research for his next graphic novel, Habibi . Carnet de Voyage is a gorgeous sketchbook diary of his travels as he finds intellectual and spiritual stimulation during the day-to-day work of being an author. From wandering around Paris and Barcelona between events, to navigating markets in Fez and fleeing tourist traps in Marrakesh, we see glimpses of each place, rendered in Thompson's exquisite ink line.

While desert landscapes and crowded street scenes flow across the pages, the sketchbook is packed first and foremost with people--travelers passing through, the friends and lovers he meets along the way, distant figures of old friends and other cartoonists who freely weave in and out of his subconscious. This expanded edition also includes a new epilogue drawn from his most recent European book tour, including several familiar faces and Thompson's reflections on keeping a sketchbook. Carnet de Voyage is a casual yet intimate portrait of a celebrated cartoonist at a moment between works--surprisingly open and candid in his observations and revelations.

Author Notes

Craig Thompson is a cartoonist and the author of the award-winning books Blankets ; Good-bye, Chunky Rice ; and Habibi . He was born in Michigan in 1975, and grew up in a rural farming community in central Wisconsin. His graphic novel Blankets won numerous industry awards and has been published in nearly twenty languages. Thompson lives in Portland, Oregon.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

"They say `Wherever you go, there you are....' I thought with Morocco, I'd be setting out on some exotic adventure, but it turns out I'm just a simple, quiet fellow." So writes Thompson in this travel sketchbook chronicling two months of wandering through Africa and Europe, sometimes as tourist, sometimes as a famous cartoonist on tour. Rather than a narrative follow-up to the award-winning Blankets, this diary reveals both Thompson's creative strengths and weaknesses. Although more or less spontaneous, the book still shapes the material into something of a narrative, the continuing themes being Thompson's self-conscious love of beauty, his sense of isolation and the gradual physical deterioration of his hands due to arthritis and over-drawing. Thompson is honest enough to confront his own self-absorption (he makes constant references to his own whininess), but this recognition reveals that Blankets' na?vet? is more studied than it first appears. Many of the elements that made Blankets so successful are here, not least among them Thompson's incredible, lush line-work and telling detail. Every person he meets is captured with a keen eye and a lively brush, and entries such as one recounting his fascination with Gaud!'s architecture in Barcelona, or a day spent with fellow cartoonist Blutch discussing artistic muses, are both thought provoking and touching. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

New York Review of Books Review

BACK IN 2004, Craig Thompson was coming into his own as a serious graphic novelist. His intimate "Blankets" - an autobiographical tale of first love, brotherly failure and lost faith - had won a number of awards, and his success was helping to move the graphic memoir into the American mainstream. He was also, though, slightly adrift: His girlfriend had just left him, and he wanted to get out of Portland, Ore., which was full of memories of her. Thompson's French publisher organized a book tour, and when other publishers in other countries piled on, the trip turned into an odyssey. To stay productive and to connect to a tradition popular with other artists, Thompson committed to recording a travel diary - or "Carnet de Voyage" - as he went, sketching every day. The result is a swiftly compiled record of his travels in Europe and Morocco (where he researched his long-gestating graphic novel "Habibi"). The sketchbook-cum-travelogue is quite a dreamy object - it doesn't use many separated panels, and drawing often fills the page, black crosshatched edges feathering and dissolving into the ragged white surround. Like others of its type, the book encourages the eye and mind to wander. This is travel in its exploded view. Close-ups of French friends jostle alongside wide-screen landscapes; little notes and arrows carry us along Thompson's stream-of-consciousness; there's a page on how to wind a turban, complete with steps. Thompson's other work can be overwrought; "Habibi," for instance, is a claustrophobic experience, with self-consciously exquisite decoration and Orientalist fantasy crowding the pages, like vines grown too big in the hothouse. "Carnet de Voyage," though, was made at such incredible speed - it was already at the publisher while he was still touring - that it corrects for some of that laboriousness. Thompson's drawings are still lush and considered, flowing across the pages from his Pentel brush-pen, but the book is looser, sweeter, more suggestive than his other pieces. Yet it's not all sweet. He often hates the trip: He's torn about his exchanges with people in Morocco, especially when they demand money from him or he's made to realize that they consider his portraiture intrusive. It's clear that his subjects believe that allowing him to draw them entitles them to something - and this leaves Thompson deeply uncomfortable. The reissued diary now includes a postscript (and postgraph) of the rest of the trip, including updates from a 2016 return visit for his "Space Dumplins" tour and a few sketches of his hosts and friends from before the "Carnet" journey. Even 12 years later, Thompson's last thought is of the woman who left him, the searching taproot of his 2004 despair. Though, one assumes, he has long moved on, the book closes with five "Melissa" drawings, a quintet of sleeping nude portraits that are simultaneously romantic and - as we've been trained to see by reading the book - invasive. Because of the way the "Carnet" functions, because it was made quickly enough to seem relatively candid, we now know how much of Thompson's mind is taken up with searching out and drawing women. His drawing and his libido are tied up together, and it explains the expressive, caressing quality of his line. Less delightful is the way that, in a book full of wit and carefully observed detail, the women he desires all look the same. The women who are his friends look different; some of them I feel I'd recognize in the street. But sex confuses Thompson's eye - and he sees the same curve of hip, the same bowed lip in girl after girl after girl. Explore as far as he might, that's a blindness he does not escape. ? HELEN SHAW is a theater criticfor 4Columns, Time Out New York and The Village Voice.