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"<a href="http://www.gocomics.com/culdesac/" TARGET="_blank">Cul de Sac</a>" creator Richard Thompson sketches Petey, his most personal character, at home in Arlington. The comic strip centers on a family in the suburbs.

Dustin Fenstermacher/For The Washington Post

Thompson in front of an easel in his basement studio. He is nominated for cartoonist of the year by the National Cartoonists Society. It's his second straight nomination for his strip, which was syndicated almost four years ago.

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Thompson in front of an easel in his basement studio. He is nominated for cartoonist of the year by the National Cartoonists Society. It's his second straight nomination for his strip, which was syndicated almost four years ago.

Dustin Fenstermacher/For The Washington Post

A papier-mache bust of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer adorns a wall of the Thompsons' house. \

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A papier-mache bust of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer adorns a wall of the Thompsons' house. "Our house is full of costumes, props and art supplies," Thompson says, "some of it hard to explain or justify."

Dustin Fenstermacher/For The Washington Post

A case filled with pen nibs sits next to Thompson's drafting table in his home studio.

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A case filled with pen nibs sits next to Thompson's drafting table in his home studio.

Dustin Fenstermacher/For The Washington Post

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"Cul de Sac" is syndicated to 140 papers.

Dustin Fenstermacher/For The Washington Post

Thompson often works late in his studio. After experiencing months of shakiness and clumsiness, the cartoonist discovered he had Parkinson's disease in 2008. \

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Thompson often works late in his studio. After experiencing months of shakiness and clumsiness, the cartoonist discovered he had Parkinson's disease in 2008. "It slows me down, but it hasn’t really affected my drawing hand at all and it's treatable," Thompson wrote on his <a href="http://richardspooralmanac.blogspot.com/" TARGET="_blank">"Cul de Sac" blog</a>.

Dustin Fenstermacher/For The Washington Post

While he works, Thompson listens to Brahms -- the favorite composer of late \

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While he works, Thompson listens to Brahms -- the favorite composer of late "Peanuts" creator Charles Schulz, too.

Dustin Fenstermacher/For The Washington Post

Thompson inks over a sketch of Alice Otterloop, one of the characters from \

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Thompson inks over a sketch of Alice Otterloop, one of the characters from "Cul de Sac." The surname is a play on the “Outer Loop” of the Beltway.

Dustin Fenstermacher/For The Washington Post