The sun is setting later, the light is giving out that certain “spring feel” and despite the relentless cycles of snow, rain and flash freezing, winter is on its last legs. February has also been for the last three years, a dry month for me, a challenge to resist the alluring call of BEER and such. Last year, I treated myself with Jamie Hewlett’s art book to congratulate myself; this year, I’m eyeing the Mutafukaz artbook; I haven’t seen the movie yet but I’m fantasizing about ogling at those incredible Studio 4°C signature background paintings.
Just when I thought I had my share of travels for a lifetime, I was presented the opportunity of going to Lyon, France, for a francophonie event in March. At first, I had a violent internal struggle. I didn’t think I had the strength to dive back into the logistics of traveling, the jet lag, packing and such, but I’m happy I accepted. Lyon and Québec have a long-time partnership when it comes to comics and I’m eager to see that side of the Francophone market. So yeah, another trip in March!
After putting it off until the very last minute, I finally got around to working on a short comic project about my visit to Tokyo. It’ll be part of a collective of local and Japanese artists. We all had to avoid using text to facilitate translation and it turned out to be a real struggle! My very first comics ever had no text because I thought I was an illustrator and not a storyteller, but after a few books, I can’t even imagine not writing in dialogues. I chose a super simple style for this short comic and ended up learning a lot about readability and simplification. I’m really proud of the end result!
And lastly, I got commissioned to draw an actual building! It was a very unusual request but I’m not surprised that drawing endless rows of store fronts and houses would lead up to this. It might even become a thing? Who knows! I’m lucking I got such a charming triplex, complete with original wood cornices and my favorite, varnished bricks. Yes, I have an opinion on building materials… I’m weird like that.
February was short and I drank a lot of tea, but here’s what got me excited this month:
Watching: Umbrella Academy. This series has a lot going on for it, but suffers from subtle and crippling writing flaws at times. It hasn’t stopped me from binging the entire series in just a few days. As a proof of how I like the characters, I even drew Number Five on a whim.
Reading: Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by the late Anthony Bourdain. I watched the Parts Unknown episode where he revisits Provincetown, the first place he ever cooked, and I teared up. I’m in absolute love with the book and I find a lot of fucked up wisdom in his writings.
Artist: Dan Black, who does incredible poster work over at Landland. I’m impressed by the integration of lettering into that sort of old, rust-belt architecture. It’s really outstanding work and it makes me want to have a go at making posters… Their shop is here. God, I wouldn’t know which one to chose.
Bonus: An Instagram of New York doors, and nothing else. Of course, this brings me great joy.