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.


January recap – Utown website launch, rocky start, storyboard.

Category : Monthly recap

I’m late, I’m late! The past few days have been hectic. I had a bit of a meltdown over the workload at school. Fortunately, with the help of close friends, I managed to get things into perspective. Funny thing is, I re-read the goals I had set for myself for 2020 and I have been thoroughly ignoring my own advice. So even though the year was off to a rocky beginning, I promise I’ll take better care of my head. After all, I have a comic to make!

Speaking of which, the Utown website launched officially! It’s everything I ever hoped for and more (the animated title!!!) and updating pages gives me great joy. Check it out if you haven’t already!!

I also started storyboarding chapter 2, which makes me really damn hopeful. I’m getting into the meat of the story, introducing characters, writing the dumbest banter and just…having a good time. Storyboarding used to be this dreaded task that required my utmost focus. But I learned from a master and now, it’s getting easier and easier–and fun! If I can manage to keep that pace up, I’m sure I’ll find a good cruising speed and plow through enough pages to maintain a good buffer on the webcomic. Yay!

The year has just begun but here’s what got me excited in January:

Reading: Wool (The Silo series) by Hugh Howey. Hawkeye, the Fraction/Aja run.
Watching: Kipo, the new Netflix series! Sex Education season 2.
Listening: Little Dragon! And that new Gorillaz song, Momentary Bliss (that video omg).
Artist: Yun Ling. She’s based in Montreal and I’m a sucker for her lonely, surreal paintings.


2019 Recap – 2020 Goals

Category : Monthly recap

New year, new planer, new goals, new everything! It was a hell of a year, you guys. Honestly, just looking back at the schedule and the amount of stuff I did in 2019 is overwhelming. I have a lot more white hair, that’s for sure! So here are a few highs and lows from last year, so I can freakin’ move on XD

Highlights

Grant for Utown: That’s a given! It changed everything. It allowed me to make long-term plans, focus on getting a Patreon page off the ground, pay someone to make a proper website, etc. For the first time in years, I stopped waking up in the middle of the night because of money-related panic attacks. But most importantly, I learned that putting in the work, getting help and caring actually paid off. Half-assing everything because “what’s the point”, is a bad habit of mine and it needs to go!

Etsy shop: For 2019, I had set a precise income goal for Etsy. I’ve had the shop for a few years now so after going in to fine-tune the listings, it started paying off. Plus, a lot of folks at the studio got their own stores off the ground and I just love exchanging tips and tricks with everyone!

Invader Zim covers: This highlight is super personal, in the sense that I got to work for a franchise I absolutely love. Jhonen Vasquez had such an influence on me as a teen (there’d be no Utown without him) that when I got the email he had approved my cover sketch, I almost passed out. It’s more symbolic than anything else, but dang!

Lows

Sick from stress: This summer, I got a nondescript corporate gig. I dreaded, had nightmares! before the start of the contract. I felt sick, dizzy, out of breath. Fast forward in September, before the start of class, same thing. It’s normal to fear the unknown, but I came this close to having full-blown meltdowns way too often this year. I’m sure it knocked off a few years of my life. I don’t ever want to feel like this again.

Goals for 2020

  1. Make Utown the best goddamn comic about friendly slackers in a fictional town as possible. Find an publisher. Merch (that I’d want to buy)!
  2. Enjoy life a little more. Run and bike the stress away. Strong legs are good for kicking life in the face!!
  3. I know it’s cliché but: a little more self-love. Less pressure. It took a couple of scary episodes to realise this.
  4. SAY NO A WHOLE LOT MORE.

Alright, well, we’ll see in a year what worked and what didn’t. Until then, take care of yourself everyone. And thank you so much for sticking by. 2020 is gonna rule 😀


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.


October recap – Inktober, first class, holing in.

Category : Monthly recap

Happy Spooky month everyone! This year, I’m dressed as an overworked freelancer; faded hair color, that sweater, the tell-tale complexion of someone who’s forgotten to soak up the last rays of sun of the year. The wool socks.

I’m kidding, I’m kidding. Partly. It has been a big production month, between churning out illustrations for the kid’s book, Inktober, preparing classes and trying to work on Utown.

This year, I half-heartedly started Inktober, thinking that drawing the Hiver Nuclear characters would be motivation enough to keep going for 31 days. It proved true for the first two weeks, and then, inspiration started to dwindle and as soon as I found myself out of buffer pencils, that was that. Maybe it’s a good sign? I’ve squeezed everything I could out of those characters. Time to move on! Regardless, I did have fun drawing those 24 Inktobers; if anything, it was a good inking practice.

On October 7th, I gave my first Color for Animation class. I don’t think I’ve been this nervous in years. And of course, it went well! What an experience, honestly. It is equal part planning and improvising, trying to go faster or slower, reading a room, repeating, losing my voice, hitting all the wrong modifier keys and of course, making bad jokes. I get a few smiles out of the students and I do hope they’ll learn a trick or two!

Oh and I got my Surface Pro! Not regretting my purchase so far. Thanks to having a functional computer at home, I was able to catch up on Utown, finish all the tones and the corrections and finally wrap up chapter 1. It feels like a huge milestone. The next step is finishing writing all the dialogues so I can have a proper idea of the number of pages this hulking project is gonna be. You heard it first: I’m thinking something along the lines of 210-230 pages. Woof.

Speaking of Utown, I got the itch. I drew Sam and Ed, my go-to art therapy subjects. Oh… how amazing this would look in colors…. siiiiiigh

You know what’s best about the end of October? DISCOUNTED CANDY!! So until I stuff my face full of Sour Patch Kids, here’s what got me excited this month:

Reading: The Utown outline. In what universe did I think this was ready to be storyboarded?! Also: every single Photoshop tutorial out there.
Watching: Daybreak on Netflix. I got a big Turbo Kid vibe out of it. It has it flaws but the way the show breaks the fourth wall and deals with the flashbacks is really fun. It’s a fun, fun watch.
Listening: A lot of post-punk and new-wave stuff. Watching Atomic Blonde was a trigger I think.
Artist: Loic Locatelli. I’m a sucker for clean/sketch linework like this one, that seems to be done effortlessly in one decisive stroke.


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