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.

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