Japan recap – Week 1

Category : Monthly recap

So it’s been a while, hasn’t it! I skipped the October recap, which is entirely my fault and I will blame it on actually finishing my book, while planning a trip and generally freaking out. But nevertheless, I’m here to make amends and to talk about the last two months, but more importantly… JAPAN! As some of you know by now, I spent two weeks in Tokyo, from the end of November to December third, as part of a Quebec BD/comics delegation. Part of the trip was for business/cultural exchange but part of it was also for pure fun and wonderment. A lot of my work was and still is influenced by Japanese comic or video game culture so needless to say that it was like a dream come true. So here is a very abridged summary of my experience in Tokyo, starting with a very busy first week!

Our little French-Canadian, jet-lagged and culture-shocked group consisted of Thomas-Louis who manages the Festival de BD de Québec and who pretty much organized all the trip for us; Gautier, my editor, Francis, Stéphanie and Thierry, fellow comic artists, and Christine, aka Nunumi, an up and coming author who’d been in Japan a couple of times. Thank god she was there to ease us into the rhythm of the country and to translate a few things.

The first week was basically all of us attending activities put together in partnership with the Quebec delegation based in Japan. We gave a talk at Tsukuba University and were addressed as “-sensei”, which I found out, also applies to mangakas, and not only mentors or teachers. I have to admit, I had a bit of an ego-boost at that moment! The talk was hosted by Miki Yamamoto (an insanely talented author and artist), who had visited Montreal as part of the FBDM in May. We were off to a good start!

The following days were spent in two separate “comic book conventions” of opposing scales. The Comic Art Tokyo was in two tiny classrooms at an inner-city university. The Kaigai Manga Festa on the other hand, was held at the GARGANTUAN Tokyo Big Sight, and gathered crowds like the which I had never seen in my life. Oddly enough, despite being halfway around the world, the exhibition floor, the ambiant hum of the crowd, smiling to get people to stop and look at our books… it all felt very familiar. I managed to sell out the few Nuclear Winter copies I had brought and made a few bucks with small prints. Considering the language barrier, I’d say it’s pretty good! One of the highlight of the week was getting to hang out, if only for an hour or two, with old studio-mates Karl Kerschl (who now lives in Japan) and Brenden Fletcher, who gave me a hell of a pep-talk! 

The following activity on our super-tight schedule was a meet-and-greet at the embassy of Canada, with all the protocol and hors-d’oeuvres one could expect. It wasn’t all stuffy and serious though, and I met with authors and publishers and web-comic people, who all seem to be on the verge of some kind of change in their industry. While I’m no expert, I felt like the model of the overworked mangaka slaving on a series for 10+ years, published in chunks in a cheaply-printed catalog (like the Jump), is slowly shifting. To prove the point, Shonen Jump rolled out a new digital subscription service this week, that I assume, will kill their iconic weekly paper anthology… Their is a definite shift in the way Japanese people are consuming mangas, and while comic bookstores are still very much a part of the landscape, I’m curious to see if there is indeed a slide towards phones and tablets.

So that’s the gist of what we actually DID on week one. This was of course, intertwined with a bit of sight-seeing and shopping, but I think I’ll cover my own personal experience of Tokyo in a follow-up post. I wanted to retell the “business” side of the trip because first, it’s the reason I could actually go and, and second, because I believe developing relations with other artists and publishers, regardless of where in the world, is a key part of growing as an indie author. I can’t rely on huge publishing structures right now, especially if I intend to keep on making creator-owned books, by myself. So part of the job is staying in tune with how the media and the market is evolving and that’s done by actually talking to people, be it readers or professionals, wherever they are! Plus, I find it genuinely interesting! I’m incredibly lucky to have had the chance to travel to Japan to hopefully, pave the way for other Quebec artists to visit. It was incredibly enriching, destabilizing, mesmerizing and at points, challenging. I’ll try to gather my feelings and thoughts on the trip for next time, as I write about week 2, which was spent touring the city freely. 

Until next time!

 

 

 


September recap – Coloring, book launch, Scout calendar

Category : Monthly recap

It’s time for another monthly recap! September went by at the speed of light it seems. I spent most of my time at home, coloring Hiver Nucléaire 3 on my slow but surprisingly resilient, 9 year-old Macbook, using a 50$ Monoprice tablet I had bought just because it was dirt cheap. This piece of hardware more than paid for itself and I find the rough surface and sub-par pressure sensitivity perfect for cell-shading coloring. My friend and studio mate Raphael, known as Rabot (go check out his work), did all my flats and honestly, I would be on the verge of a nervous breakdown if it hadn’t been for his help. I’m a sloppy flatter and not having to worry about the holes in the color has made my life a lot easier. I thought I’d share a process shot of the steps I do the colors in. First pass is Raphael’s flats, hence the weird change all of a sudden. I always start with “daylight” colors, no palette, and work from there until the colors kinda make sense! Plus snow!

L’Esprit du Camp had its official launch on September 6th, at Planète BD. A lot of people showed up, Michel and I signed non-stop for the entire duration; it was a success! Touring local book stores, libraries and small events is starting to become one of my favorite part of the job, way ahead of huge pop culture conventions. I’d rather talk to a handful of dedicated enthusiasts than trying to sell my wares to hordes of strangers. Later this month, we did a small signing at the Millennium comic shop, which also attracted a nice crowd.

And lastly, the 2019 Scout calendar is now out in the wild. I’ll upload all images on my portfolio when I get the chance. Meanwhile, here’s a glimpse of the cover! If you see any Scouts selling the calendars in your area, think about me!

I was excited for this in September:

Podcast: I’m not gonna lie, coloring for long periods of time requires a good comedy podcast. I gave My Dad Wrote a Porno a second listen and it’s just as funny and gross as the first time.

Artist: Every now and then I stumble back on the work of Musa, which I still know nothing about to this day. Still, he/she(?!?!) is one of my favorite artist out there and I’m gonna do a proper study of his/her stuff for Inktober.

Reading: I started reading The Expanse 3 last week because I’m a neeeeerd.

Food for thoughts: The concept of taking a day or at least a moment, to recap, regroup, write, think, has gotten increasingly important for me in the past few years. My brain is in constant state of semi-panic, so unless I do a full stop every now and then, I get antsy to the point of physical pain. Scheduling a Personal Inventory Day seemed like a good idea so I gave it a try. I wrote down a few things, looked out the window longingly, tapped my pen against my lips and such. I’ll try to make it stick for a while, it can’t hurt, right?


July and August recap – Hermit mode, book announcement, heatwaves

Category : Monthly recap

It became somewhat of a running joke, but have a hard time remembering events in time. In my mind, everything happened 4 years ago – college graduation, moving in my current apartment, starting being a freelancer, releasing my first book, etc. This lead me to consider doing a monthly recap of what I’ve been working on and what will be coming up. Simple enough!

So August was the second month in a row I decided not to buy a transit pass and limit my travels to a strict minimum, in order to maximize the time I could put working on Hiver Nucléaire 3. This means working from home and not from the studio, which sounds amazing until cabin fever settles in. Some days have been great and productive but a lot were let’s say… sluggish. Thanks to a network of like-minded cartoonists and neighbours, I was able to take my pages with me and work at friend’s or at the Atomic Café in Hochelaga (a place that has fascinated me since it opened 10 years ago). Thank god this place and most of our apartments have a resemblance of AC because this summer has been brutal so far..

So while Hiver Nucléaire 3 is slowly but surely coming along, Hiver 2 got its own color revamp for the english version, set to be released in January 2019 by Boom! Studios. Reworking the colors or the second book proved to be much less of a hassle then what it was in the first volume. I see this process as a great way to learn from my mistakes. Hopefully, the third book will be the prettiest (nah, it WILL be the prettiest). I wish I could share the cover for Nuclear Winter 2 but we’ll have to wait the official press release!

July also marked the end of production on l’Esprit du Camp, a 2 year colouring gig that ended up being much more than commission work. Michel and I worked our asses off on those 2 books and the fact that we haven’t killed each other during that time makes me consider further collaborations. Who knows!  I’ll talk about process and share a few progress shots after the launch of the book on September 6 at Planète BD. Mark your calendars!

Needless to say, it’s been an interesting summer so far. When it becomes too chaotic (I’m easily overwhelmed), I try to remember that I can’t plan everything and that in the end, being a freelancer comic artist inevitably means having to “herd cats” most of the time. And stay hydrated.

While I’m at it, here’s what’s been getting me excited over the last month.

Podcast: Jake Parker’s amazing “Three Points Perspective” Podcast, especially this episode about networking for artists. An absolute must-listen

Artist: Jorge Monlogo. He’s doing some interiors for the Over the Garden Wall comic and it just blew me away. Solid stuff.

Books: Haven’t read much this summer. If anything, just writing this down might be enough to kick my ass back into reading.


TCAF signing and panel schedule

Category : Conventions

TCAF is almost here! This year, for the first time since I started tabling at TCAF, I’ll have an actual English-language book! Nuclear Winter vol.1 by Boom! Studios comes out that very weekend and I’m happy to be debuting the book at one of my favorite event. Toronto has always given me lots of love, even as I only had French books to offer. It’s time to give some love back, en anglais! I’ll also have the usual convention ware, mainly prints, postcards, stickers and such. I might also do commissions depending on my level of energy. I rather not promise anything and go with the flow!

  

Lastly, I got invited to a panel called “Country Comics and City Comics” at the Marriot’s High Park room, Saturday May 12 from 1:30 at 2:30.

As Jane Jacobs said “There is no new world that you make without the old world.” In this panel, cartoonists Michael DeForge, Sylvian Nickerson, Leif Goldberg and Cab will talk about how they explore cities in their comics, and how the places they live affect their work. Moderated by Daniel Marrone.

You’ll be able to find me and my pink hairdo on the second floor of the Toronto Reference Library, at the Lounak Studio table! For the entire programming, check out TCAF’s entire programming.

 

 


Festival BD Québec – Horaire

Category : Conventions

Voici mon horaire de dédicaces pour le 31e Festival de BD de Québec:

Samedi: 12h à 13h30 et 16h à 17h30

Dimanche : 12h à 13h30

Le site dit que c’est pour l’Esprit du Camp et c’est vrai que je dédicace avec Michel Falardeau . Mais je suis aussi là pour signer des Hiver Nucléaire, bien sûr!

Je vais également participer au grand tournoi d’Impro BD du samedi au musée de la Civilisation. C’est spécial parce que y’a 3 ans (je pense), j’ai remplacé in extremis Julie Rocheleau en tant que dessinatrice lors du festival et ce, même si j’avais jamais fait d’impro BD de ma vie. C’est cette fois-là qui m’a donné la piqûre faque ça me fait extra plaisir de remonter sur scène à Québec cette année!

Oh et l’Esprit du Camp est en nomination pour le Bédéis Causa, catégorie Grand Prix de la Ville de Québec… pis je capote un peu….! M’a essayer que ça paraisse pas trop…

 


2018 Horaire de conventions / 2018 Con schedule

Category : Conventions

Parce qu’une année sans deux mille conventions est pas une bonne année! Voici mon horaire de convention pour les prochains mois. Je vais mettre la liste à jour au fur et à mesure que je dis oui à toute.

Festival Québec BD (FBDFQ)

14-15 avril

En après-midi. Y’a aussi de bonnes chances que je fasse partie de l’équipe d’impro-BD de la grande soirée au Musée de la Civilisation!

Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF)

12-13 mai

Avec Lounak au 2e étage.

Vancouver Comic Arts Festival (VANCAF)

19-20 mai

Festival de BD de Montréal (FBDM)

25-26-27 mai

Pis c’est ma fête.

À date c’est pas mal ceux qui sont confirmés!

 

 

 

 

 

 


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