Hello everyone! I thought I’d do the same exercise I did last year to start off the year fresh! It’s been a hell of a year for everyone, but pandemic or not, time did not stop (although it felt like it at points!). I took my daily planner out and spent a moment looking over the year and what I had accomplished. It felt more important than ever to be reminded that, in spite of it all, I made it. So here’s a little recap of the year, what went right and what went differently than expected. The things that got me through this wretched year and finally, a few goals!
- For the second part of the school year, I now tackle color theory with my students. I come across Johannes Itten’s Art of Color by a karmic stroke of luck in a used bookstore. At this point, I spend most of my time working on my classes.
- On January 23, I launch the Utown website and the webcomic to the public. It’s a huge step for me.
- I kinda lose it because of the school workload. My anxiety peaks and I consider quitting the teaching gig. It’s a shit month.
- Thank god for the Spring break. I spend a long week-end with friends in a cottage, watching the news about a certain pandemic. On my return, school’s cancelled and thus begins the spring quarantine.
- My favorite coffee shop launches a funding campaign in order to stay open. I promote a print I’ve made of their storefront and raise about 1400$. The people at the post office become my second family.
- I get a Switch from my friend Boum! I discover Animal Crossing and I am never the same person again.
- I get an Aggretsuko cover gig from Oni Press.
- I start working on CSI Ruelle 2.
- Mustering all my courage, I send the Utown pitch to Top Shelf. It gets rejected in its actual form and even though I understand why, this response plunges me in an abyss of self-doubt. I can’t write for weeks.
- I take my bike out and my mood immediately gets better.
- I eventually start writing Utown again.
- The Montreal Comic Art Festival is entirely virtual. I get my ass kicked during a drawing battle with Alex A. I watch a lot of interviews and panels.
- Confinement measures loosen up. I start going back to the studio and seeing friends.
- I make stickers!
- My classes end. I’m sad I didn’t get to see my students in person in the end. I’m super proud of their progress and I get a little emotional!
- Studio Lounak moves! We empty out our crusty local and drag our junk three floors down, where I used to teach (the irony isn’t lost on me).
- I finish CSI 2. I’m absolutely burnt-out and announce a hiatus on Patreon.
- Summer happens. I see friends, I bike, I go to the studio and I go to my friend’s pool. It’s a wonderful period.
- I leave for an entire week at a summer house with friends. Probably one of the best month of the year.
- I get a rush concept art gig for a TV series pitch.
- After close to 8 years of residency, I take the heartbreaking decision of leaving Studio Lounak.
- I start working more seriously on a new comic project with Axelle.
- I’m tasked with updating the Front Froid logo.
- The government announces a strict, 28-days quarantine. I get the last of my stuff back home for the studio. I have a little cry about it.
- For the first time in years, I decide to skip Inktober.
- I work on character designs for our new project.
- I wreck my back and promise myself to be more careful…
- With the holidays around the corner, I set up my most ambitious merch promo plan. I make new prints and get ready for Black friday sales.
- I draw Christmas cards!
- I go to the post office and the printer’s weekly! Yay!
- Holidays!! Cooking! Gifts!
- I have to re-storyboard part of my fifth Utown chapter. Making comics, amirite?
- I get one last illustration gig. I’m exhausted from the year and I give up on trying to reason my now deliriously anxious brain. I wait for the year to end.
- It does! I survived 😀
- Launching the Utown official site. I wanted a nice-looking website, even though webcomics are most often found on social media or Webtoon-sorta platforms now. This website is a perfect collaborative work between me, who did the design and Ken Mallar, who did the web development.
- I set a 800km bike goal this year and I totally did it (more even!) I also started working out at home and I’m absolutely seeing a difference. Goodbye back pain!
- It was a very good year on Etsy!
- I’m extremely lucky to have been able to keep a steady flow of work despite the pandemic.
- More cooking! And getting better at it!
- The friends I have, holy shit. They are the best and the walks around the neighbourhood were all moments of great joy.
- One of my goals last year was to say no more often and geez, did I follow through with that!
- I wish my first experience as a teacher had been easier. Everything that could’ve gone wrong, did. I was left on my own, given very little material to build a course and had to switch to remote teaching halfway through. It was overall very rewarding, I liked my students, but the context was so difficult. This entire endeavour took so much out of me that all my plans concerning Utown have been disrupted.
- Putting out a webcomic in 2020 ain’t the same as it was in 2013. I had this big ambition that writing it in English was gonna get me tons of readers and that I’d at least see a nice, steady increase in visitors and pledgers. It wasn’t the case. I found it very disheartening because I was always convinced that good work inevitably gets noticed. I guess that when algorithms and private interests are at stake, that nice sentiment is no longer relevant. Ultimately, I realize that social media have done close to nothing in helping me push my comic. It’s a crisis of faith for me, because I’m a DeviantArt kid, and putting art online has always been a source of joy. But now, I’m at a crossroad and wondering if I should still invest time and effort in promoting myself online or if I should just slowly focus my energy elsewhere.
- It’s only recently that I came to peace with the fact that I have some sort of anxiety problem. Even if acknowledging it is the first step, I still feel powerless when things don’t go as planned and my chest starts to tighten. The pandemic made it even more difficult to even think about consulting.
- I got lonely a lot.
Oufff! That was a bit of a (necessary) bummer! It wasn’t all that bad though. As a proof, here are some awesome things that lightened up the last months.
- Schitt’s Creek
- Great Pretender
- Ryan George, a Montreal treasure
- Animal Crossing
- The Invader Zim artbook
- 99 Percent Invisible City book
- My bike, which I got at Vélomane
- My mom’s quilt
- Café Hélico
- Café Atomic
- Brossard Bagels to ease the grief I no longer work in the Mile-End.
- Rediscovering Bandcamp
- Inking with G-Nibs
- The Groceries podcast
- Learn to deal with guilt and recognize that it’s a pattern that’s been influencing my decisions all my life. I used to think it was a good motivator but I’ve learned that doing things because I want to, and not because I have to, has even greater power.
- Taking time off, more than ever. Away from screens, away from The Noise (aka, everything), whenever the need arises.
- Make time for physical activities. Since I don’t commute anymore, I have a feeling the ol’ running shoes are gonna make a comeback!
- Fall in love with music again.
So I hope it might inspired a few people to take some time off to reflect on the past year. Thank you for sticking with me, thanks for reading, for commenting and such. I wish you all to reach your goals, to be kind to yourself and to have fun! That’s my motto for this year!