December recap – Translating, Utown on Patreon, liminal space.

Category : Monthly recap

Last year this time around, I was making an exhaustive review of my trip to Japan. And now, right now, I’m sitting at home in my sweatpants, with a coffee, and getting ready to review 2019 and plan 2020. But for now, I’ll do December!

You know, good friends will make you change your mind if you’re on a wrong path. I’m lucky enough to have such friends. Initially, I had planned on releasing Utown in English only, out of convenience, or until I found a French publisher. After a talk with my good friend Mel, it became clear: might as well release both versions online, right off the bat. It’s gonna be a lot more work, but it feels right. Plus, translating from English to French is a lot easier than the other way around!

As planned (!!), the first Utown pages were uploaded on Patreon, in early access. What can I say…. the feedback and the love I got from my patrons is incredible. This is why I insisted on going back to making a webcomic; the community! I’m so grateful for everyone who’s been supporting the project since day one. Last year, I still had trouble describing what Utown was about and now, it’s out there, funded, shared, and most of all, read. What a feeling!

For the official launch, I drew this, which is probably one of my favorite picture of the year.

Other than that, I’m writing from the weird liminal space in between Christmas and New Year’s eve (tonight). I lost track of time, each morning I wake up more and more confused–and late. Even if I managed to get some good work done, I’m looking forward to more structure. The holidays can’t last forever (thank god).

December was a tornado of social events, hosting Christmas dinner, comic improv, book launch, aaaah!!! Here is what got me excited (and out of bed) during December.

Reading: Carillon, a self-published book by Jeik Dion and Gabrielle Cadot. It’s like looking at the first second of the collapse of our civilisation, under a microscope. The most unsettling part: it takes place in a loving commune, in rural Quebec.
Listening: Black Casino and the Ghost. The soundtrack to that noir western sci-fi epic comic I’ll never do.
Watching: Haikyu! I rooted more for the fictional Karasuno volleyball team in my living room than I ever did for any real-life sports team. The pacing of this series is perfect. It’s got heart, humor, it’s well written, beautifully done. Sports anime, you strike again!
Watching as well (it’s the holidays, I like TV): Shameless, after a few months of hiatus. The issue of gentrification has slowly been creeping in the past few seasons and I’m taking notes.
Artist: RIP Syd Mead, legendary concept artist, painter, designer, illustrator.


November recap – Thank you Patrons, what is the sun anyway, a lot of drawings

Category : Monthly recap

Hello world! I hope everyone has had a good month of November. Did you get your winter gear out? It snowed here, in Quebec. Earliest snow storm in a long while, because if there’s anything winter needs here, it’s a prequel…

November, it seems, was this year’s final boss. As I was planning out my month, I kept having chest pain and sweaty palms. “How the hell am I gonna do all this?” There was a time when sleeping 10-hour nights didn’t make up for how exhausted my body was. But I learned from flirting with burn-out last year, so I took the necessary measures and at the end, as it always does, everything went fine.

Earlier this fall, I took on a big contract involving drawing 80-something illustrations for a kid’s book called “CSI: Ruelle Verte”. Turns out, it was a LOT of drawings! But it was also nice to draw in a simple and straightforward style. I think it fueled some questioning I had for the style of Utown and eventually led me to tweak the character’s designs.

Speaking of which! The Utown website is almost done. The best decision I took all year was to have it done by someone else (being fellow studio-mate Ken Mallar). Delegating, it’s fun and useful! So while the integration is in competent hands, I’m busy drafting character bio sheets, like I did so many times in the past. Only this time, it’s for real! Anyway, it should come online early next year. In a little more than a week, the first pages will hit Patreon. And since November 19th was a special Thank You day for Patrons, I drew a little something for everyone who has pledged in the last year.

November also has two book fairs, one in Rimouski and the Salon du Livre de Montréal. Lanyard season once again! The surreal part was being on a talk with legendary author Enki Bilal and having him sign my dad’s derelict 1981 copy of La Foire aux Immortels, a book that was my gateway drug into sci-fi. I can’t remember anything I said during the talk (probably for the better) but I’ll remember this moment for a long time!

Whew. I’m tired. One last stretch before the end of the year! As usual, here is what kept me sane during November:
Reading: Middlewest, by Skottie Young and Jorge Corona.
Watching: Klaus, which art was as amazing (thank god). The Dragon Prince, my guilty pleasure (elves, dragons, magical creatures), She-Ra. Overall, a lot of cartoons.
Listening: Blackwater Holylight, an all-female doom metal band. I’m in a phase.
Artist: Eva Vilhelmiina. I’m obsessed with colors since I started teaching and I found her through one of my many, many research sessions.


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