As it became tradition, here is my end-of-year recap. It’s been, for all intent and purpose, a crazy year. I’ve never put out so much work, so many drawings and comic pages. Sometimes, I felt like a JPG factory! It’s been a year of incredible highs and bitter lows, opportunities and experience. So without further ado, here’s the year’s recap!
- I start off the year strong (and tired) and finish inking Utown and produce the biggest Pile of pages I’ve ever done for one book.
- Bertrand et Moi, a 4-book series I illustrated, comes out.
- It’s uncharacteristically cold in Montreal, I turn into a human popsicle.
- I finish a comic on local expressions forLes trésors de la langue française. It’s my favorite one-page comic of all time.
- I catch Covid and I watch a TON of basketball anime. Thanks to this dumb show, I actually kinda understand the rules of the game, just in time for the NBA finals!
- I finish the Utown cover and send the final files to Oni Press for the English version.
- Because I’m a grown adult, I illustrate and do the layout for a book on weed with my long-time stoner friend. Life achievement!
- We reveal the cover for Utown and set the launch date. It’s finally happening!
- 420 grammes, the aptly-named book on weed, comes out. We make the best/most obnoxious playlist for the event.
- I write a bittersweet post-mortem Patreon post on what it was like, publishing a webcomic in 2021.
- I start a French-language newsletter!
- Utown arrives in stores! We have a party in my favorite coffee shop and I’m absolutely ecstatic. One of the best days of my life, no question asked.
- MCAF is back as a proper outdoors festival on St-Denis street this time. It’s INSANE. I sign one million books, it’s my birthday, I’m all over the place, it rules.
- We announce the Hiver Nucléaire collected edition.
- I attend TCAF as a tourist with Boum. I meet Dan Berry (with whom I did a long interview) and hang out with Danielle Corsetto. The beer in Toronto is too damn expensive.
- Etsy arbitrarily changes its Canadian sales tax rules and it fucks me over. I close my shop in protest for a month.
- Frustrated with Etsy, I launch my own print shop, hosted on my website.
- Oni Press, my English-language publisher, is in turmoil and rumors run amok on the internet. I freak out (everything turns out okay but–damn.)
- I table at the Montreal Comiccon for three entire days. My body disagrees with that whole idea.
- I bike around town a lot, take pictures, and dream of a city with no cars.
- Mentally, I’m not doing so hot. The Utown hangover causes me to say yes to a ton of freelance work as a way to keep myself busy.
- For the first time in my life, I give therapy a chance.
- I start scanning sketches for a future artbook.
- The Hiver Nucléaire collected edition launches!
- The ceiling of my home office starts to cave in and we discover the roof has been leaking inside for weeks. I move everything out, the room is sealed to reduce the smell of mold and it generally sucks.
- Clearly, I need to draw for myself so I decide to do OC-Tober, a 31-day drawing challenge.
- I’m now working from my dining room, surrounded by mountains of stuff.
- I get slapped with a copyright infringement notice from Etsy and a lawsuit from Sega. I lose access to my Paypal account and I call around town to find some legal advice. It’s super stressful.
- My new artbook arrives and I start the holiday sale marathon in my shop.
- After two months, the roof is fixed and I’m back into my new and improved home office! Yay!
- I make a new set of holiday cards and for the first time, bring them into comic shops for consignment. Take that Etsy!
- It’s time to make a best of 2022 end-of-year playlists and look back on the year!
And it’s been a great year, art-wise!
Highlights of the year:
- Without a doubt, the release of Utown. I kinda still have to pinch myself once in a while.
- I know I talk about it often, but investing time and effort into photography has done wonders for my morale. I think I was missing a real hobby. By the way, I put together a page for my favorite photos!
- Migrating my shop, starting a newsletter and thriving to stay independent is more important for me than ever. It’s hard work but it’s worth it.
- Seeing live shows again and splurging on merch!
- Therapy works.
And the lows:
- I got sick more times this year than I ever did since like, elementary school.
- The roof leaking into my office was an added layer of stress I didn’t need.
- The sobering realization that the Internet is more hostile to artists than ever. Between having my name in a lawsuit, my Etsy and Paypal suspended, AI art and the Twitter breakdown, it’s been terribly irritating. But it also mobilized artists, online and in real life like never before and that’s encouraging.
Goals for 2023
- Yoga! I used to hate it but since starting again, it’s really what I needed all this time.
- I’m getting over the Utown hangover and for my own well-being, I need to start thinking of a new comic project. Once I’m done with freelance stuff, I’m gonna start writing. I’d love to have a solid project to pitch by April/May.
- Promote the release of Utown in English and let this book go afterwards.
- Revamp my website because it is OLD! Find a way to make it bilingual without having to translate it myself.
- Grow my mailing list in French. Start one in English?
- Figure out what to do with Patreon, now that it’s no longer used as early access for a webcomic.
Writing this recap has made me realize that releasing four different titles in the span of one year probably won’t happen to me again anytime soon. It’s also been a weird year online and I’m feeling the weight of the combined betrayals from the platforms that had, until now, allowed me to make a bit of extra cash and put my work out there. But on the other hand, it pushed me towards trying new things, like a newsletter and such so it wasn’t all that bad! The entire AI made me ponder about my role as an image maker and what I can bring to the world that a computer can’t– and whether or not I want to keep feeding social media with what I do. The Utown phase of my life is also mostly over (!!!), and I’m actually looking forward to new comic projects in 2023. Drawing for myself is still my favorite way to spend my time but I’m also ready to take better care of my head and my body. And you know what, writing these monthly blogs and recaps is a wonderful way to keep myself accountable. So thank you for reading, sticking by and giving feedback, it really means the world to me. I’ll see you in 2023!