2020 Recap – 2021 Goals

Category : Uncategorised

Hello everyone! I thought I’d do the same exercise I did last year to start off the year fresh! It’s been a hell of a year for everyone, but pandemic or not, time did not stop (although it felt like it at points!). I took my daily planner out and spent a moment looking over the year and what I had accomplished. It felt more important than ever to be reminded that, in spite of it all, I made it. So here’s a little recap of the year, what went right and what went differently than expected. The things that got me through this wretched year and finally, a few goals!

Monthly recap

January
  • For the second part of the school year, I now tackle color theory with my students. I come across Johannes Itten’s Art of Color by a karmic stroke of luck in a used bookstore. At this point, I spend most of my time working on my classes.
  • On January 23, I launch the Utown website and the webcomic to the public. It’s a huge step for me.
February
  • I kinda lose it because of the school workload. My anxiety peaks and I consider quitting the teaching gig. It’s a shit month.
March
  • Thank god for the Spring break. I spend a long week-end with friends in a cottage, watching the news about a certain pandemic. On my return, school’s cancelled and thus begins the spring quarantine.
  • My favorite coffee shop launches a funding campaign in order to stay open. I promote a print I’ve made of their storefront and raise about 1400$. The people at the post office become my second family.
  • I get a Switch from my friend Boum! I discover Animal Crossing and I am never the same person again.
April
  • I get an Aggretsuko cover gig from Oni Press.
  • I start working on CSI Ruelle 2.
  • Mustering all my courage, I send the Utown pitch to Top Shelf. It gets rejected in its actual form and even though I understand why, this response plunges me in an abyss of self-doubt. I can’t write for weeks.
  • I take my bike out and my mood immediately gets better.
May
  • I eventually start writing Utown again.
  • The Montreal Comic Art Festival is entirely virtual. I get my ass kicked during a drawing battle with Alex A. I watch a lot of interviews and panels.
  • Confinement measures loosen up. I start going back to the studio and seeing friends.
June
  • I make stickers!
  • My classes end. I’m sad I didn’t get to see my students in person in the end. I’m super proud of their progress and I get a little emotional!
  • Studio Lounak moves! We empty out our crusty local and drag our junk three floors down, where I used to teach (the irony isn’t lost on me).
  • I finish CSI 2. I’m absolutely burnt-out and announce a hiatus on Patreon.
July
  • Summer happens. I see friends, I bike, I go to the studio and I go to my friend’s pool. It’s a wonderful period.
  • I leave for an entire week at a summer house with friends. Probably one of the best month of the year.
August
  • I get a rush concept art gig for a TV series pitch.
  • After close to 8 years of residency, I take the heartbreaking decision of leaving Studio Lounak.
September
  • I start working more seriously on a new comic project with Axelle.
  • I’m tasked with updating the Front Froid logo.
  • The government announces a strict, 28-days quarantine. I get the last of my stuff back home for the studio. I have a little cry about it.
October
  • For the first time in years, I decide to skip Inktober.
  • I work on character designs for our new project.
  • I wreck my back and promise myself to be more careful…
November
  • With the holidays around the corner, I set up my most ambitious merch promo plan. I make new prints and get ready for Black friday sales.
  • I draw Christmas cards!
  • I go to the post office and the printer’s weekly! Yay!
December
  • Holidays!! Cooking! Gifts!
  • I have to re-storyboard part of my fifth Utown chapter. Making comics, amirite?
  • I get one last illustration gig. I’m exhausted from the year and I give up on trying to reason my now deliriously anxious brain. I wait for the year to end.
  • It does! I survived 😀

Highlights

  • Launching the Utown official site. I wanted a nice-looking website, even though webcomics are most often found on social media or Webtoon-sorta platforms now. This website is a perfect collaborative work between me, who did the design and Ken Mallar, who did the web development.
  • I set a 800km bike goal this year and I totally did it (more even!) I also started working out at home and I’m absolutely seeing a difference. Goodbye back pain!
  • It was a very good year on Etsy!
  • I’m extremely lucky to have been able to keep a steady flow of work despite the pandemic.
  • More cooking! And getting better at it!
  • The friends I have, holy shit. They are the best and the walks around the neighbourhood were all moments of great joy.
  • One of my goals last year was to say no more often and geez, did I follow through with that!

Lows

  • I wish my first experience as a teacher had been easier. Everything that could’ve gone wrong, did. I was left on my own, given very little material to build a course and had to switch to remote teaching halfway through. It was overall very rewarding, I liked my students, but the context was so difficult. This entire endeavour took so much out of me that all my plans concerning Utown have been disrupted.
  • Putting out a webcomic in 2020 ain’t the same as it was in 2013. I had this big ambition that writing it in English was gonna get me tons of readers and that I’d at least see a nice, steady increase in visitors and pledgers. It wasn’t the case. I found it very disheartening because I was always convinced that good work inevitably gets noticed. I guess that when algorithms and private interests are at stake, that nice sentiment is no longer relevant. Ultimately, I realize that social media have done close to nothing in helping me push my comic. It’s a crisis of faith for me, because I’m a DeviantArt kid, and putting art online has always been a source of joy. But now, I’m at a crossroad and wondering if I should still invest time and effort in promoting myself online or if I should just slowly focus my energy elsewhere.
  • It’s only recently that I came to peace with the fact that I have some sort of anxiety problem. Even if acknowledging it is the first step, I still feel powerless when things don’t go as planned and my chest starts to tighten. The pandemic made it even more difficult to even think about consulting.
  • I got lonely a lot.

Oufff! That was a bit of a (necessary) bummer! It wasn’t all that bad though. As a proof, here are some awesome things that lightened up the last months.

Favorite things

Goals

  1. Learn to deal with guilt and recognize that it’s a pattern that’s been influencing my decisions all my life. I used to think it was a good motivator but I’ve learned that doing things because I want to, and not because I have to, has even greater power.
  2. Taking time off, more than ever. Away from screens, away from The Noise (aka, everything), whenever the need arises.
  3. Make time for physical activities. Since I don’t commute anymore, I have a feeling the ol’ running shoes are gonna make a comeback!
  4. Fall in love with music again.

So I hope it might inspired a few people to take some time off to reflect on the past year. Thank you for sticking with me, thanks for reading, for commenting and such. I wish you all to reach your goals, to be kind to yourself and to have fun! That’s my motto for this year!

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