March Recap – Sleep clinic pt.2, inking videos, covers.

Category : Monthly recap

Hello! March, aka the Final Boss of winter, is over! Although I can’t complain, it’s been abnormally nice and dry (snow-wise). I even got to wear SHOES?! Very pleasant.

Want to have some more exciting sleep apnea-related news? I know you do! Well, this month, I had a bunch of appointment’s, which led to seeing a surgeon for a possible maxillo-facial surgery. According to the doctor, I’m a good candidate for this kind of procedure, which involves a lot of bone sawing, titanium screws and morphine. Apparently, it’s far from being a walk in the park, but is safe and yields good results. If anything, I might delay the surgery until fall, when eating soup for two months sounds less nightmarish. I also scored a CPAP machine and I’m starting to see the light at the end of this sleepless tunnel. To be continued!

I’ve spent pretty much all of the month working on Utown. Chapter 6 was pretty hardcore to draw and ink, but I think it’s gonna look amazing. I’m slowly starting to think about what’s coming after Utown. It’s weird! Anyway, I posted a little inking video on Instagram, to show the process. Check it out if you haven’t!

Also, I finally received my copies of the Invader Zim alternate cover I drew like.. two years ago! So here it is, along with the sketches that didn’t make the cut. God, I love making covers. I wanna do more!

March has been defeated, gain 300 XP points and the will to start jogging again. Here is what got me excited this month!

To read: Princess Jellyfish Vol. 2. It keeps on being charming and delightfully funny!
On the screen: Knights and Bikes. Perfect co-op game for a rainy weekend, with absolutely stunning artwork. What a treat!
On the screen again: Parks and Recreation! Amy Poehler is a national treasure.
In my ears: Graywave. Sad, sad sad girl music.
(Hopefully) on my wall: Helvetica Blanc. I discovered their work a week ago and I almost did a spit take. The perfect blend of graphic and weird hit the right chord.


February recap – Sleep clinic, new book deal, climatic scenes.

Category : Monthly recap

Hello everyone! Isn’t it fun?! It’s been a whole year since the pandemic hit! Boy oh boy, I sure am not getting tired of reliving the same day over and over, and wearing every legging/sweater combo possible. THE FUN WE’RE HAVING!

A while back, I mentioned having problems sleeping, due to what I suspected to be obstructive apnea. After a particularly bad week this month, I snapped and decided to book an appointment at a sleep clinic. Turns out I stop breathing like… A LOT, during the night. No wonder I wake up feeling I got run over by a truck… Anyway, this saga is far from being over, I suppose.

Topic change! I finished all of my commissioned comics, which all went incredibly well. The week I sent in my last invoice, I got an email from a children’s book publisher interested in working with me. Never stop not stopping, as we say in the bizz! It seems that once you do one children’s book in Quebec, you are put on A List! We had our first meeting last week and I’m really excited about the opportunity. I can’t say who it is just yet, but I think it’s gonna be delightful. The text itself is just so charming!

Some Utown news: I’m almost done storyboarding Chapter 6, which features a pivotal moment of the book. It has crowds and cars and tons of backgrounds and it’s taking FOREVER to do. Fun fact: comics absolutely do not get easier with time. There’s always a daunting scene to plan and draw! Anyway, there will be two or three chapters left after this one. It’s starting to feel like the end, which is SUPER WEIRD!

Oh and lastly, after months of preparation, I started pencilling the pages for the pitch Axelle and I are putting together. Starting a new project always makes me giddy but this one… is something else. Maybe I’ll be able to post a few excerpts once I’m further along.

So yeah. I waltzed through February in a sleep-deprived state but here are my favorite things:

To read: Naruto! Even though I watched most of the animated series, I’d never read the manga. It’s both endearing and humbling to see Masashi’s Kishimoto’ debut.
On the screen: Kid Cosmic. That’s cartooning done right. The background art!!
On the screen again: Space Sweepers! Oh how I needed a less-than-subtle sci-fi flick that checks those boxes: 1) the spaceship has pedals 2) and we get to see the engine 3) the crew is broke 4) but ridiculously competent at everything. Bonus for having country-specific ships filled with stereotypes.
In my ears: Sweeping Promises and the new King Gizzard album. Both wildly different, both acquired tastes?
In my mouth: I make a goddamn good chicken soup, you guys.


January Recap – Curfew, commissioned comics, manga craze

Category : Monthly recap

Hello everyone! We made it! We actually made it through January, the month that lasts 59 days. This time, during a particularly dreadful game of pandemic lottery, Quebec won its first ever curfew. No more going out after 8 PM, while most non-essential stores remain closed. The sun sets at around 5, it’s been dreadfully cold, we can’t visit anyone or indulge in retail therapy so this month has been B O R I N G. Not that I’m running out of things to do; it’s just, there are so many days in a row where I can do the exact same thing without losing my mind.

With this said, it was as good time as any to be swamped with work. First off was a gig from Les Débrouillards, which included a cover, a one-page comic and a header illustration. Feeling energized from taking time off during the holidays, I aced this in no time. Then, there was another one-pager for an exhibition in Quebec. I took a week to work on Utown, finished the heck out of Chapter 5 and then… I had no choice but to tackle the final gig. I had come up with the concept while in the shower (a film noir thriller starring… typography terms. Don’t ask.) I had a vague idea of what I wanted it to look like but I didn’t know if I could pull it off, so I spent a few days stubbornly refusing to start the damn thing. But as always the deadline was motivation enough and little by little, I got around to it and I can now say it’s one of my favorite commissioned comic ever. All the while I kept thinking back, yet again, to Austin Kleon, who wrote about doing the work in front of you. No need to overthink, just… do the work. The added difficulty is that I insist on changing style and tools each time I get a new comic gig. It’s the perfect occasion to try out new things! It’s time-consuming but it’s a great learning experience in the end.

Three panels from three different projects!

So while this was all happening, I upgrades my working gear! I bought a second-hand Huion tablet from fellow cartoonist Axelle Lenoir. It’s my first real display tablet, can you believe it?! It wasn’t long until a whole slew of new back pain appeared, so I got a kneeling chair as well. One thing for sure, it can’t make my posture any worst! In any case, here’s what I drew to test out the tablet.

Other than work, I fell in love with mangas again this month. I got Princess Jellyfish by Akiko Higashimura for Christmas and finished her amazing auto-bio Blank Canvas at the same time. And then, I started reading Bakuman and I was hooked! At some point I had to hold back from shouting “I KNOW WHAT IT FEELS LIKE!!” at the book. I watched a few Man Ben episodes as well (it’s a show that follows the artistic process of selected manga-kas) and I felt this profound love for the craft. Making comics is just the fucking best.

Which brings me to my last and most important news! Utown is gonna be published!! In French for now, by Nouvelle Adresse. I can’t wait to hold this nice little brick in my hands. But until then… there’s SO MUCH WORK LEFT! Gotta keep at it 😀

January was long, too long, but here are my favorite things this month:

Books: Bakuman by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. Princess Jellyfish and Blank Canvas by Akiko Higashimura.
On the screen: Pretend it’s a City, featuring a slightly saltier version of myself in the form of Fran Lebowitz. I loved every second of it.
In my headphones: A lot of jazzy Youtube playlists because I don’t have the mental space to hunt for new music. Fell back into Interpol again.
In my mouth: Lemon pie/lemon cake.
In my house: Space heater that is 3 feet away from my butt.


November Recap – All the promotion, spooky house, and a review of the 99PI book

Category : Monthly recap

Hello everyone! How’s it going? Yes, I’ve reached the point where I’m talking to the void of the Internet. Two months of confinement will do that to ya. My weeks are long strings of more or less the same routine of working, playing the Switch, running errands, going to the post office and fighting off very intense cravings. I want to eat chips so bad. Like, all the time.

One task that broke the monotony though, was getting ready for Thanksgiving sales on Etsy. Each year I plan better and further ahead, because I’ve been caught off-guard too many times in the past. So this year, I spent a lot of times making visuals for ads, taking pictures of prints (you know how much work it takes to make a sprawl of prints look like a candid shot?) and scheduling posts. Now that the sale is over, I realize how exhausting this all was, even though it was absolutely worth it in the end. That kind of obsessive planning and stats-checking is like the perfect drug for someone with high-functioning anxiety like me. One time I misspelled the URL of my shop in a Twitter post and almost had a heart attack. You ever see someone hit the DELETE button 5000 times in the span of 1,2 seconds? Next year, I’ll try to pace myself!

So in the spirit of the Holidays, I decided to include a free greeting card with every order. I think I’ll do that each year, because cards are just such nice little paper objects!

While I’m not super vocal about it, I’ve been working on a comic pitch with fellow cartoonist extraordinaire Axelle Lenoir. We’d rather keep the project under the radar for now, but I decided to share one piece of location design I drew. Enjoy!

Last month, I said in my recommendations that I started reading The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design, a book based around many of the topics of the wonderful 99% Invisible podcast. I cannot recommend this book enough. 99% Invisible City is a field guide to the obvious and conspicuous elements of the urban built environment: the history of the utility pole, how curbs came to have a slope on their corners for wheelchairs and strollers, and how raccoons and squirrels came to be part of our weird, urban ecosystems. Amongst many, many other things.

It’s written in the form of broad chapters (Architecture, Urbanism, Landscape, etc) and separated into dense half-page or page-long exposés, so it’s like getting concentrated shots of super interesting facts about well… everything! I loved how it weighed in on how some design decisions inevitably affect marginalized citizens, without taking side. A good example was an entry about “hostile design”, that aims at making public seating uncomfortable, not to attract homeless people. I was downtown last week and immediately noticed that vicious form of design on some benches around Concordia Universtity that had that weird, useless “armrest” in the middle (plus the utility markers in pink! there is also an entry on their meaning!). I also loved the part about Moonlight Towers, huuuuuge arc-lamp light posts that cast insanely bright light in certain US cities. This is the kind of thing that I’d read about, put the book down and immediately loaded Wikipedia on my phone because I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I had to do this a few times, to look up pictures of famous buildings (like the Lincoln Tunnel ventilation buildings!) so it made for a very engaging read.

If anything, this book is a praise in favor of paying attention when walking about. That’s something I’ve done most of my life and this book felt like I wasn’t a total nutcase for taking pictures of crooked stairs, holes in subway stations or… hidden fallout shelter panels. And as an added bonus, the book itself is a beautiful object, ripe with illustrations. My only complaint is that it’s very, very US-centric, but it didn’t ruin the book too much for me. In terms of non-fiction, this is probably the most fun read I’ve had in years.

Anyway! November is over, so here’s what has kept me excited this month:

Reading: I’ve been thinking about this little text “Death to Bullshit“, especially in regards to the Facebook user experience. I’ve done so much promo and posting on my business account this month that I grew increasingly aware of how mind blowingly bad Facebook’s interface is. It really tested my patience. It is the pinnacle of bullshit.
Playing: Hades, on the Switch. I am Very Bad at it! (but I think that’s the whole point?!
Listening: I’ve been writing and storyboarding to some fuzzy stoner rock and shoegaze playlists. I’m not really paying attention, but Somali Yacht Club caught my ears!
Artist: Why not check out Patrick Vale, the illustrator responsible for the marvelous line-intensive drawings in the 99% Invisible book!


October Recap – Confinement, maintenance, not-Inktober

Category : Monthly recap

Hi everyone, tout le monde, friends and les amigos. How are you holding up? Between the now renewed, strict Quebec confinement rules, the upcoming American elections and that end-of-fall, nearly-winter gloom, I think I might guess the answer. As for me, I survived the first 4 weeks of confinement without too much trouble. There has been a LOT of walks with friends, which I recommend whole-hardheartedly. Getting out of the house is what has kept me sane and in relatively okay shape for the past months. That’s especially true for freelancers! And as Austin Kleon said in his book “Keep Going”, the demons hate fresh air.

When the government announced that we’d all be spending October indoors, I thought “great! Time to write a HUGE to-do list for this month! (seriously, it takes up an entire page. It’s terrifying). So of course when I reviewed my planner to see what the hell I had done this month (it went by so fast), I revisited the dreaded list and… half of the stuff remained unchecked. Not wanting to fall into a spiral of guilt, I (surprise!) went out for a walk to chase the oh-so familiar feeling of failure nagged at me. So what, I didn’t get to work on setting up the mailing list, like I said I would. Comic pages were still done, damn good pages too! It’s so easy to lose track of actual goals when you have to juggle 7 tiny jobs at once. A friend on Twitter wrote recently that there are actual people getting paid to manage social medias, come up with clever marketing plans and make sense of the algorithms and trends and whatnot. I am not one of those people. Last time I checked, I was still just a cartoonist. The newsletter will wait for when the time is right and I will not be losing sleep over it (in case you couldn’t tell, this is me trying to convince myself). How do you get your little guilt-trip demon to shut up?

But thing, Utown is still a webcomic. Which means, I kinda HAVE to put in work to get people to read it. So this month, between Chapter 3 and the start of Chapter 4, I did a lot of low-key maintenance on my portfolio, the Utown website (now with a retro RSS feed!) and redid the visuals for the social media excerpts I post each week for the public website. I’m sure I can hear some of you going “uuuugh, boring” but I really enjoy that kind of work. “How can I get people to read the comic I’m making, as easily as possible, while still putting out nice visuals”, is like, my quest, as a graphic designer and a cartoonist. And when I do find solutions, it’s the nicest feeling! Yes, I get very excited about making Twitter headers like this one:

This was also the first time I didn’t do Inktober in years. Lack of time and energy, mostly. Still, I did a weekly update with the four best drawings from each year. Here are my four favourite of all time I guess?

And of course, I couldn’t pass up the occasion to draw a little something for Halloween!

October was rough on the body (guess who hurt their back and tripped on the sidewalk in the same week?) but here’s what got me through it, with or without the help of muscle relaxants.

Reading: 99% Invisible City, aka the Book Made For Me. I got emotional reading the introduction, thinking “other people pay attention to these things?” And by things I mean, emergency staircases, utility poles and ghost signs painted on buildings. (I’m a nerd). I will definitely be writing about this (beautiful) book when I’m done.
Watching: I finished Schitt’s Creek and a good, ugly cry at the end. It is an absolute masterpiece of character writing. And just before Halloween, I started “What We Do in the Shadows” (the series). Now, if I was allowed to pick one otherworldly power, it’d be to turn into a bat, while shouting BAT!
Listening: Partner’s In Search of Lost Time. The first song is about being high at the groceries and there’s another one describing the joys of watching shitty afternoon shows when sick and home from school, all in perfect late 90’s pop punk fashion. And gay.
Artist: Gareth Davies. His body of work is crazy impressive, but what I like most are his recent doodles. He managed to draw the best dirt bikes I’ve ever seen?


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.


July recap – Production, playlists and vacations

Category : Monthly recap

Hello everyone! With July behind us, we’re now entering my second favorite time of the year, where the weather gets less cruel and the light is extra special.

July was honestly quite good. I finished the storyboard for Utown Chapter 3, after litteral MONTHS of putting it off for various (mostly legit) reason. I was so happy to start penciling and inking again. It’s crazy how time-consuming writing is. Whenever I’m in front of actual pages, on paper, drawing, I think of how small of a portion of the work it is. It takes as long to letter a page than inking it. It’s… baffling!

My update hiatus dragged on a little longer than I had expected as well. So in order to give a bone to my fine Patreon pledgers, I posted my most intimate work yet: the Utown playlist. For some reason, divulging my music preferences was always very nerve-wracking for me. The six-hour-long playlist is an ongoing project on itself! I made an illustration especially for that occasion because I’m weird like that!

And finally, to top off this month, I did something I hadn’t done in 8 years as a freelancer: I took a week off. Real vacations, as in, outside of the city. The last year has been so crazy, so draining and so…weird, that there was nothing I wanted more than to get away, in a cottage, with friends, for a year. I drew a little bit, played a lot of Animal Crossing, but no work was done. And that’s FINE.

So now I’m back, ready to work on Utown full-time until the end of 2020! It should be interesting 🙂 As always, I post progress shots, thoughts and sketches on Patreon, so check it out!

July was surprisingly okay! Here’s what I enjoyed this month:

Reading: Rumble, volume 3 and 4. Still a wild ride, still enjoying it!
Listening: Nothing sounds quite like Garbage’s first album. What can I say, I’m a nostalgic!
Watching: The Old Guard and Warrior Nuns, because we all need badass women dressed in black kicking major ass in old churches. My Neighbors the Yamadas, another lesser-known Ghibli movie about a charming, ordinary Japanese family. It’s such a feel-good movie!
Artist: Zoe Thorogood, for her wriggly, thin lineart. I can’t wait to get my hands on her book, the Impending Blindness of Billie Scott.


June Recap – Comic hiatus, stickers, Z?

Category : Monthly recap

Hello everyone! Summer’s officially here and I’m getting that nice biker’s tan: nose, arms and everything from the knees down. Spending some time outside, be it in parks, on a bike or on the balcony is good for the soul. I need my daily sun intake!

June has been a month of change. My teaching job ended at the end of the month and it lifted a big weight off of my shoulders. I also finished working on the second volume of CSI Ruelle Verte, a cute book series I’ve been illustrating for part of last year and this one. Two big engagements, over! Yeah!

Just before the pandemy started, my studio mates and I learned that the spot in which Studio Lounak had been for the past 15 years was gonna have its rent go up by 30%. Yeouch. Luckily, another spot in the same building opened up, so we embarked on moving years of accumulated junk into a smaller space. It took three days just to get me settled in! The new space is nice and clean! Unless we’re mistaken, we came to the conclusion that Studio Lounak is now Montreal’s oldest, still-running comic artist workshop. Pretty neat, huh?

All this commotion took time and energy, and I had no choice but to announce a hiatus in Utown updates, after the end of chapter 2. Truth be told, writing and boarding chapter 3 turned out to be lot more challenging than I expected. Self-doubt crept in after pitching to a publisher. Even though I love this project with all my heart, I began questioning the strength of my scenario. And to top it off, a few really bad nights confirmed what I’d been suspecting for a while: I’m pretty sure I have obstructive sleep apnea. Seeing a specialist might take more than a year, but I check all the boxes. The lack of restorative sleep has been slowly gnawing at me; on bad days, I can barely function and I drift in and out of sleep all day long, to try and catch up on zzz’s. Thank god, the really bad days are few and far apart: on the okay day, I can get a few hours of work done, with the help of my friend coffee! In life, I rolled a pretty low constitution score; I don’t do all-nighters and I simply can’t work if I feel tired. For all these reasons, I fell behind on Utown and had to take a break. And who says announcements says new drawing!! It had been so long since I drew for myself, on paper, that I did this entire illustration in less than a day. Don’t they look cozy? Maybe I’m projecting!

STICKERS! I’m super picky when it comes to merch but I have a soft spot for stickers. I waited until I could score a deal on die-cut stickers before ordering in a bunch to FINALLY finish my 3-piece set. Tags were printed, packs were assembled and the first Utown Pack is now on sale on Etsy!

June was hectic but in a good way. I’m looking forward for the second half of 2020 (am I jinxing it?!) Here’s what I enjoyed while deliriously sleep-deprived!
Listening: Shitty Times Vol 1 by Crocodile. I do love a good garage band. (Appropriate title, much?)
Reading: The Dregs, a comic about a homeless man scouring Vancouver’s Downtown East-side for his lost friend, amidst plans of urban renewal. It hit a chord.
Watching: Dear White People, Queer Eye and Ghibli movies! Enough shit going on in the world, I need some escapism!


May recap – Virtual festival, rewards, printing stuff again.

Category : Monthly recap

Hello world! While some of you have been having what we used to call spring, here we had a TURBO SPRING. In the span of three weeks, I went from heating to installing my AC amidst one of the hottest week we’ve had in May ever. Talk about fast…

May flew by more quickly it seems. There were exciting things coming up, like MCAF and my birthday! We also learned that outside gatherings were going to be permitted, which chased off some of the gloom. Of course, the Montreal Comic Arts Festival still happened virtually, but it was so well done, with panels and talks and activities, that I got to “attend” more events than ever! I’m still bummed about not tabling but I’m excited for next year! I’m very grateful for all the effort and hard work the organisers and volunteers put into this year’s “online” edition.

Thanks to the support of my dear patrons, I reached my first Patreon goal earlier this month. The reward, a nice desktop wallpaper (I’m old-school) is available in various sizes and colors on Patreon. Here’s a little preview! I might turn it into a print…

Speaking of which, the company I use to get my Etsy prints done (partially) re-opened. This means I ordered a big bunch of prints that have been out of stock for the past few weeks. Going to the post office is still an odyssey but hopefully shipping and managing prints will slowly go back to how it was before.

Utown was in the Journal de Montréal! And I gave an interview to Baron Mag. Looks like Utown is starting to stir up some interest!

May happened. The events in the States, the (very justified) yelling on social medias is the reason why I’m posting this recap so late. I just… couldn’t. But there’s always art and music so here’s what got me going this month.

Watching: Finished She-Ra, had a lot of feelings! I’m still recovering from Dorohedoro, which has shots of delicious-looking food and the next minute, absolutely brutal scenes of violence, blood and body horror. It is very strange.
Watching (streaming edition): My friend Sam play the Final Fantasy 7 Remake. I had a lot of GASP, SHOCK, AWE moments. Everyone is very attractive. The ending was very confusing. I kept calling the Whispers “the flying dirty socks”.
Listening: The new Dears album. I can’t stand anything too aggressive these time around so this works.
Reading: Again, not much. I borrowed some comics so I should have new recommendations 😀
Artist(s): I would love to highlight all the artists I discovered while perusing the #drawingwhileblack hashtag on Twitter but there are soooo many! Here are a few!
https://twitter.com/QueenKhameleon
https://twitter.com/kvjous
https://twitter.com/euqinimodar
https://twitter.com/evan_monteiro


April recap – Fanarts, Utown chapter 2, Animal Crossing is now my life

Category : Monthly recap

Hello everyone! I hope you’re all in good physical and mental health. Me, I’m this close to expecting Sonny and Cher’s “I got you babe” to come on every morning. In terms of weather (my second favorite topic in these recaps), April was just the March sequel nobody asked for. My big “getting back into running!” plan pretty much went down the drain, alongside the 56 000 metric tons of trash that the city hasn’t cleaned from the streets yet.

Speaking of neglected inner-city neighborhoods, the second chapter of Utown has started! There was such a big break between the production of each chapter that I feel like it’s a different project! I really like chapter 2, I like the pacing, the characters get their best moments and best of all, it involves breakfast. I’m starting to think food is a theme for me…

Bandwagon time! The 6 fanarts challenge was just the excuse I needed to draw a bunch of characters I liked, doing nothing but posing. Not gonna lie, Tails is my favorite of the bunch! And whaddya know, Cybersix is still fucking fantastic.

Another thing I worked on is a blend of digital drawing and photography. I have hundreds of reference pictures with no one in it, so I tried merging illustrations into them. It was HARD but a real fun technical challenge. I want to do more but finding interesting photos with a good enough resolution isn’t as simple as I thought. If this works well, I’ll try to make a “Polaroid Pack” or something for sale. We’ll see!

Oh! I was invited not once, but twice, as a guest on Les Mystérieux Étonnants, a long-time running podcast about culture. It was a lot of fun and it’s the longest I got to see my friends (in a video call) in… a real long time.

That’s it for the fun stuff! I spent the rest of the month doing the usual, prepping my class, working on the second volume of the children’s book I’m illustrating, taking walks whenever I can, avoiding going to the groceries, etc. AND PLAYING ANIMAL CROSSING.

So April has been the same week over and over, between repaying debts to my one and only overlord Tom Nook, eating sandwiches and missing my friends and family. Still! Here’s what got me through this endless loop!

Listening: Hot Chip’ 2019 “A bath full of ecstasy” because if I can’t get out of my house, might as well dance in the living room. Hot Chip is a band I keep coming back to when I feel down!
Watching: Community, which I absolutely loved for two seasons. And immediately started hating once the characters become aggressively aware of how tropey they are. It was fun while it lasted. Midnight Gospel also landed on 4/20 and trust me, it’s better enjoyed sober.
Reading: The rants of half a dozen very cute, but very needy villagers.


March recap – What is even

Category : Monthly recap

Hello everyone! Whew! What a month, right? What a 17-year long month! I’ve resorted to keeping track of time by counting the squirrels that walk on the wires outside my home office. In which I now live, apparently. When I got my Surface last year, I cleared my desk of all the wires and clutter, dusted, installed a nice plant and thought “this is an interior design blog-worthy desk!” Oh boy, that went out the window REAL FAST in the past weeks.

Alright. First of all, I hope everyone is in good health, still sane, with enough food to avoid going to the now forsaken grocery stores. I won’t get too much into the pandemic, because I wrote about it two weeks ago. Since then, not much has changed. I go on walks, I talk with friends via Facetime, I work a little and I spend an unreasonable amount of time doing dishes. There are always dishes, I swear… Taking it one day at the time is pretty much the only thing to do right now. I’m incredibly grateful to still have work, projects and healthy relatives and friends I can call when I need. This situation made me realize… I’m lucky.

When I learned my favorite local coffee shop launched a GoFundMe to stay in business, I decided to give them a hand by advertising the illustration I made of their storefront last year. The response has been overwhelming! Tons of people bought the print and I was able to make a donation that I couldn’t have made out of my own pocket. I really hope it can make a small difference. It’s still available for sale on my Etsy store! I’m gonna need help packing and shipping everything 😂

So amidst all this chaos, some work got done, at least. I finished the second Utown chapter, sketched some covers and managed to survive giving my first remote class. My anxiety levels have gone up and down throughout the month but each new hurdle is a learning experience. I now know how to stream Photoshop on Discord, and what it feels talking alone in front of a screen. Hint: WEIRD.

What even was March. Here is what kept me semi-sane during the month. More than ever, music, movies and books are a lifeline.

Listening: I returned to Bandcamp after years of neglect, because it felt right to start paying for albums again. I bought some stoner rock by King Buffalo, and next on my wishlist is Little Dragon’s new album. The title “New me, Same us” is strangely appropriate? And because it feels like the end of the world, some Muse is always in order.
Watching: Oh hello binge-watching! Beastars was pretty good, shocking even. I’m in no mood for heavy, serious gritty series, unless it’s animated! Enter Castlevania, in which you can tell what characters are important based on their hotness level. That simple! It had some pretty dope fighting sequences as well. And why not marathon Lord of the Rings, the ultimate escape? All of this, in three weeks. Geez.
Reading: Rumble, a beautifully rendered comic about old gods and immortal warriors caught in a battle in modern time.


Februrary recap – the drawing itch, whoops anxiety, first kids book

Category : Monthly recap

Hello world! My titles are becoming more and more insane, which might be an insight on my mental state! February was good for most parts. School’s out for two weeks, which is a welcome breather. Some surprising warm weather made it possible for me to start jogging again, something I’ve been thinking about for months!

After I got the Chapter 2 storyboard duly reviewed and corrected by cartoonist extraordinaire Axelle Lenoir, I gathered my supplies, dusted off my pencils and started actually drawing. It had been months since I had drawn actual comic pages and I could feel this intense itch to pick it up again. Penciling those pages was an absolute charm. Guys, I fucking love drawing.

I reread my January recap and boy did I skim over that month. I had an intense whoops, anxiety! moment in January and I think I was too exhausted to even write about it. I could blame it on the workload that comes with being a teacher for the first time, or the winter blues, or anything else for that matter. But truth is, it’s me. Just me. I set the bar high, so fucking ridiculously high, like, all the time. Even though it’s not considered a “real” condition (like generalised anxiety or social anxiety), I check all the boxes for high-functioning anxiety. Bad at “real life”, over-planning, avoidance, restlessness, impatience, forgetfulness, overindulging, etc. Looking back, I keep finding a million things that connect to this, and how it is intrinsically part of my personality. I don’t mind talking about it publicly at all–in fact, I wouldn’t have known about it if it weren’t for people on Twitter sharing their own experience. I’m very grateful for it!

Okay! The bummer stuff is out of the way! The children’s book I illustrated last year came out in February! It looks real good and I was super happy to hold it in my own hands. CSI: Ruelle follows three intrepid little girls who are on a mission to find out who’s been destroying their community garden. They have gadgets, a secret hideout, tons of pets, basically, everything I wanted as a kid. Check it out!

Anyway, here’s what got me excited this month!

Watching: The Shape of Water (finally!) I also rewatched Spiderman: into the Spiderverse and it’s just as good! And I have a confession to make: I had never seen The Godfather in its entirety. I remedied that last week.
Listening: Some artsy, post ensemble named Preoccupations. Perfect mood for dark nights of the souls. And Bodega, which is really growing on me. Grimes, aka, the most out-of-place artist in my library, has a new album and it’s fucking fantastic.
Artist: Jordan Nickel. Super colorful, slick AF, pop-art collages/paintings. If I had a LOT OF MONEY I would commission him to decorate my exceedingly large house.


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