September recap – Moving out, catching up on comic pages, social media overdose.

Category : Uncategorised

Hello everyone, I hope you’re all doing okay (all things considered), wherever you are. It is now fall in Montreal, the leaves are starting to change, and there’s a thin, pink, 15% Overlay layer on everything. Apple deserts have been eaten, sweaters and leggings purchased, tea restocked, fleece bed cover spread. As I write this, the Quebec government announced a 28-day quarantine for the two biggest cities in the province and their surroundings. I won’t be able to see my friends and family in an indoors setting and with the temperature quickly dropping, meeting in parks and for walks won’t be an option for long. The only thing left to do is to brew various hot beverages and work, work work!

The announcement came two days after I hauled the rest of my studio gear back home. Talk about a close call… So this weekend, I plugged in everything and got the ol’ desktop computer running again. Working on a full-size screen instead of a tablet is a welcome change. Not gonna lie, I got teary before leaving Studio Lounak for good. I’m gonna miss the mediocre coffee and my studio mates!

September kept me real busy, with a quick concept art gig, some logo work and Utown, as usual. I’m desperately trying to build up a comic buffer again, but it’s so tricky! September was rough on Patreon: I posted some solid, story pages but also lost a whole bunch of patrons. Like, right before some good plot reveals. Of course I try to not let it get to me; I don’t claim to know why people pledge and why they decide to stop and it’s perfectly fine this way. But you know, you want your creative endeavors to go in one direction: up! Still, working on Chapter 4 brings me great joy, and for now, that’s all that matters.

Speaking of promotion, the idea of starting a newsletter has been gnawing at me for a while and I would absolutely love to have a first draft by the end of October. I have no idea if this would even work, but it’s something I really, really feel like trying. It might be a bit old school, but I truly believe there is power in reaching people directly by mail, instead of through some random, punitive social media algorithm. Ultimately, I want to kick one social media platform out of my life; if I can retain some fans with a newsletter, great. If not, well… my mental health will still improve, nonetheless. A blog and a newsletter: 2005, here I come!

September was… nice. Despite everything, it was a good month. Here’s what got me excited this month:

Watching: Schitt’s Creek, which I started less than a week ago. I can’t express how much of a feel-good show this is. I also binged The Great Pretender, a very nice looking anime that has a certain Cowboy Bebop flair to it.
Listening: 30 years late, I discovered Curve, a heady, UK electro-alt band that makes me want to paint my nails black a lot. And when I thought 2020 was beyond redemption, Doves released their first album in eleven years.
Reading: Fangs by Sarah Anderson. It’s a lovely little comic book about a werewolf guy and a vampire girl, in their everyday relationship. It is very simple, yet very endearing.
Artist: Will Kirkby Wonderful, funky lineart with a very marker-y, loose coloring style. He does really good, chunky character design.


August Recap – Big decisions, nostalgia and new projects

Category : Monthly recap

Hello world! How’s the “end of summer” treating you? Here, it’s hay fever season. Ever woken up while you were sneezing? It’s brutal and very confusing. Do not recommend.

So August went by in a flash! After taking a nice week off, (in nature! far from work!), I took a big, important, and somewhat heartbreaking decision: I’m leaving Studio Lounak. Y’see, in 2013, little baby-me submitted Hiver Nucléaire to my soon-to-be publisher, Front Froid. If the project was selected, I’d get not only a publishing deal, but also a one-year residency at their Mile-End HQ, Studio Lounak. You know the rest…So there I was, newly unemployed–I mean, freelancer–ready to settle in a big studio, in a gigantic concrete sweatshop, with a bunch of top, pro comic book artists. I was absolutely star-struck, and not at all deterred by the lack of furniture and um…questionable cleanliness of the place. Over the years at the studio, I built friendships with artists from various backgrounds, sat on the board of Front Froid, worked on countless projects (sometimes late at night), threw away tons of moldy containers from the fridge, looted furniture from all over the building and more. Those 7 years, going on 8, at the Studio were… how can I say… absolutely memorable. I would walk in sometimes, amidst the mess, the clutter, the mountains of action figures and bookshelves of comics, giant drawing tables, and just… take it all in. But most of all, it was the conversations, sometimes casual, sometimes extremely passionate, standing over my studio mate’s tables, that I’ll miss the most. Artist workshops, those places where like-minded people can come and make a mess, are so, so fucking important. I’m forever grateful I was given the opportunity to live this experience. So, why am I leaving, after all these years? Logistics, mostly. Public transit, during a pandemic, is not something I’m excited about, and if I can avoid it, I will. It was a hard decision but I’ve been essentially paying rent and not going. There’s no way this will change when winter gets here. So… yeah. This is my last month…!

My first setup! There was nothing…!

Other than that, I’m -still- working on Utown. After a long, painful writing slump, I got it through my thick head that no scenario was going to be perfect on the first draft. Who knew that putting too much pressure on myself would had this effect!! But as always, everything made sense when I finished storyboarding. It took a while to get there (it’s a long book), but there’s some tension starting to build up, and the plot is starting to take shape. It’s very rewarding!

There’s also this other project with fellow comic artist Axelle Lenoir, but it’s too early to get into details. I am VERY excited about it!

Speaking of feeling creative, I received the Art of Invader Zim artbook two weeks ago and read it cover to cover in two sittings. It’s full of old concept art, storyboard and gorgeous background artwork from the new movie. What I liked the most though, was the retelling of the early production days, when the IZ team was seen as the weird misfits of the Nickelodeon studios. I’ve read a lot of artbooks in the past years (mostly from animation series), but this one hit home, thanks to all the early 2000’s references. Seeing blown up panels of JTHM in an artbook, I dunno, legitimized this weird, cult comic I was convinced no one else liked but me. And made me dream about having one day, my own animated series 😀

So that’s that for August. Here are a few things that I liked this month!

Reading: Southern Bastards book 1, in small increments. It’s…woof, it’s bleak, bust masterfully done.
Watching: Aggretsuko season 3. It’s surprising how cinematic this show gets sometimes. Season 3 had me on the edge of my seat!
Listening: A loooot of shoegaze and dreampop. My favorite album this month is Gentle Grip by Public Practice.
Artist: Charmaine Verhagen. I’ve been following her since the wee days of DeviantArt! I think she’s just the coolest.


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