03 June 2011
Carnet de Voyage, by Craig Thompson
I think that I appreciated the drawings in this book more than I have appreciated the art in pretty much any graphic novel I've ever read. They are really, really wonderful. Just gorgeous sketches. The book is a kind of travel diary - a carnet de voyage - of the artist as he travels through France, Morocco, and Spain. The text isn't all that interesting, to be honest. He doesn't really have a lot to say, and most of what he does say is complaints about being lonely or generally depressed, though he is self-aware about how annoying this is, and seems to be working to improve it. In this, I could actually relate, being a depressive person myself, so I actually kind of appreciated the work for the way it shows you what it's like to be depressive. But if you're looking for reflections on the places he goes, or the culture or history there (a la Guy Delisle's Burma Chronicle, which, you may recall, I loved), you're in for a disappointment. Nonetheless, Thompson expresses a lot about the places he travels to through his drawings. At one point, actually, he has a brief aside about preferring drawings of nude women to photographs of them, and the former as being more expressive, and I think the same could be said of places. I would not be as interested in paging through the photographs of all the things Thompson sees, but I really enjoyed his drawings of them. A very pleasant visual experience overall, definitely recommended.