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?