Recap 2022 – 2023 Goals

Category : Monthly recap

Hello hello!

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!

January

  • 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.

February

  • 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.

March

  • 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!

April

  • 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!

May

  • 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.

June

July

  • 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.

August

  • 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.

September

  • For the first time in my life, I give therapy a chance.
  • I start scanning sketches for a future artbook.

October

  • 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.

November

  • 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.

December

  • 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.

Final thoughts

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!


2022 Recap – The Cool Stuff

Category : Monthly recap

Hello everyone! The year is almost over and it was ripe with great music, books and discoveries.

Initially, I wanted to send out one big yearly recap/recommendation list but it kept growing and growing so I decided to cut it in two. I found new bands and read books through friend’s recommendations and samples from Bandcamp’s great lists and articles. You might find something you like in there!

Best albums:

More of the music I liked on Bandcamp.

My Best of 2022 Playlist on Spotify. Be warned, it gets a bit emo 😛 

This is also the year I made an official Utown soundtrack, which I obsessively curated from the big list I kept when I was making the book. It follows the mood and the pacing of the comic and features deep cuts and gems from the 80’s-90s as well as more recent tracks. It’s REALLY good.

Best stuff on screen (series or movies):

  • The Bear
  • Never have I Ever
  • Everything everywhere all at once
  • RRR
  • Turning Red
  • The Owl house
  • Heartstopper

Coolest artists:

  • Adam de Souza, aka Kumerish and his fantastic, ongoing comic Blind Alley.
  • C.M. Thomas, a great photographer with an eye for the eerie and the familiar.
  • Alariko for their stunning, unique background illustrations.
  • Violaine Briat and Rodney R. Rodney, the weirdest/ most endearing webcomic out there.

Coolest people:

  • Aubrey Gordon and Micheal Hobbs for their podcast Maintenance Phase on diet culture, body image and fatphobia. It’s both informative, researched and incredibly funny and it helped me in ways I didn’t think I needed.
  • Struthless, just a cool illustrator giving out art/life advice on Youtube. I wanna be friends with him. Bonus accent!
  • KingJvpes, a San Francisco film photographer who shares tips and tricks online. I’m really grateful for people who take the time to explain their craft.
  • Kathryn Nikolai, the writer and narrator of Nothing Much Happens, the bedtime story podcast that has gotten me through the worst nights of CPAP insomnia. If you can’t sleep for various reasons, I HIGHLY recommend giving it a listen.

Best books:

  • The Green Bone Saga by Fonda Lee. My favorite books of the year. Fantasy Chinese triad clans with MAGIC POWERS. Ambitious, lore-heavy universe.
  • The Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhano. Super driven protagonist claws her way up a cruel and patriarchal society. She fights giant alien bugs in Qi-powered mechas, she’s angry most of the time and really wants to smooch.
  • It’s Lonely at the Center of the Earth by Zoey Thorogood. Zoey’s autobiography comic breaks the form all throughout the book. The tools she uses changes. The way she draws herself changes. It’s weird and gut-wrenching and totally mind-bending.
  • The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows by John Koenig. There is something incredibly satisfying about putting a word on a feeling you could never explain. The book itself is a beautiful little object that fits the whole sad, dark academia aesthetic perfectly. Has to be read in the dark, while staring longingly at the rain-covered window.

So there you have it! What did you enjoy this year? Favorite movie, favorite book or favorite comic perhaps? I’d love to know 🙂 


November Recap – Work boots everywhere, holiday sale and TOASTS

Category : Monthly recap

Hello world, I hope you’re all doing good. Each time I do one of these recaps, I start out by looking at my calendar to see what I’ve done during the month. I think November barely had any days without appointments, events or guys in work boots walking around my apartment. It’s been busy. But there is light at the end of the tunnel! My ceiling is fixed and by the time I post this, I’ll hopefully have moved back into my office, after almost two months of working from my dining room. I’ll miss eating in front of the computer even though it’s a terrible habit.

Between the ongoing freelance work and book fairs, I’ve been hard at work on my online shop. My Etsy account is still suspended and since this is normally the most lucrative period of the year, I went out of my way to make my shop as nice as possible. It’s the kind of task that I always dread, but as soon as I start making banner ads and other promotional material, I get 100% in the ZONE. There’s a part of my brain that really likes “playing shop”! And this year, not only did I open my own store, but it’s stocked with items that I’m really proud of. It’s a good feeling!

This page is probably incomprehensible in English but it’s the illustration of a local expression “Y aller aux toasts”, meaning “to go all in/fast”. You can see what the other 24 cartoonists came up here.

Book fair season is officially over! Thank you Rimouski, thank you Montreal, you’ve been great. I’ve seen enough carpeted convention centers and stacks of books for a while! Thanks to everyone who came out to get their books signed and have a chat. It’s always such a treat.

Announcements

As mentioned above, there’s a huge sale going on in my shop right now.I only do one a year, during the holidays so now is the time to get some sweet printed goodies. This year, there are new raccoon holiday cards, three new prints and the artbook I’ve been talking about non-fucking-stop for the past two months. Just go wild, I say! The little space I have left has been transformed into a warehouse/post-office and I am LIVING. I did mention I loved playing shop, didn’t I? 

And for the local crowd, my holiday cards are on sale at Planète BD and la Librairie le Renard Perché. As soon as I find a minute to travel all the way to the nether regions of St-Henri, I’ll drop some at Crossover Comics on Notre-Dame. Okay, it’s also an excuse to go eat at the Greenspot!

And whatever I have left in stock by this time will be on my itsy-bitsy tiny table at the Atomic Café Kermesse on December 11th. I might have a few copies of Utown and Hiver Nucléaire to sign, depending on the space available. See you there!

Until then my friends, I hope you have a great holiday season with your loved ones, whoever they are or in whatever form they might come. Stay safe, stay good and stay toasty! I’ll be back in December with a best-of-the year list, maybe? Take care <3

Cool Stuff

Reading:

  • I finished Jade War this week, and I’ve been having LOTS of dreams about it.
  • My favorite newsletter of the moment is Garbage Day. It’s a casual but clever newsletter about what’s happening on the Internet (hint: it’s weird). It’s pretty tongue-in-cheek and I’m always happy when it lands in my inbox.

On the small screen:

  • The Crown is back! Everyone’s miserable and Diana’s gloomy side-stares should get their own name in the credits. MORE.
  • So after being chased out of my home office by water and gravity, I was the target audience for this video: How space can improve (or destroy) your life. It’s full of nice little insights and research results on why we should very much care about the spaces we inhabit and spend 90% of our time in. Full-time, at home freelancers, I’m looking at YOU.

Playing: 

Children of Morta, a Diablo-rogue-like with gorgeous art. The kind of game where I can switch my brain off and kill hordes of pixelated monsters without a single care in the world.

Cool artist:

  • Peter D. Harris paints very slick, very realistic scenes that feel both familiar and slightly off-putting. I love his series of liminal spaces with no one in them. Shoutout to the Montreal metro making various appearances!

Cool account:

Office: “A Love letter to the Golden Age of Corporate Kitsch”. I’m old enough to remember the mood of these pictures but not nearly enough to have worked there. There are weird shots of nerds in basements that I don’t really get, but this collection of optimistic, corporate lifestyle pictures is wonderful.


October Recap – A series of unfortunate events, OC-Tober, Inky Fingers

Category : Monthly recap

Recap

Hello everyone! Spooky month is over and boy was it eventful, both good and bad. It all started when the ceiling in my home office started caving in after heavy rains. I’m gonna spare you the details but I had to move everything into the dining room, in which I’ve been working ever since. Since then, I’ve had just the worst luck with everything, from losing my phone (and finding it again), to breaking rolls of film in my camera, getting two flat tires in one week, breaking my CPAP mask, getting suspended from Etsy and other irritating mishaps. But at the same time, I had just the best time with my friends, who treated me to the Gorillaz show and a weekend in the woods. I long for a “normal” week…

And with all of that, who’d be dumb enough to do an art challenge like OCTober/Inktober, right? Me, that’s who! Hahahaha! Even though I’m in the middle of a big freelance contract, nothing is more compelling than to draw 31 portraits of imaginary people for my own self-indulgence. And growth as an artist, of course. You can see them all on Patreon or Instagram. Here are my favorite ones!

The Hiver Nucléaire omnibus (French) is out in stores! The launch event went great. Thanks to everyone who showed up!

Announcements

The artbook is here! It’s called Inky Fingers and it looks really good, you guys! 40 pages of crispy black and white art, exclusive drawings and maybe the best Naruto fanart that’s ever been made? That’s just my opinion. It’s already up for sale! I would really like it if you’d check it out because…uh, I’m gonna be real for a minute: I love making and selling prints but last week, Etsy closed my account for an indefinite amount of time. So now, mere weeks before the holiday season starts, I can only rely on my own little store, which has no marketplace to drive traffic to. So if you’re looking for a place to buy prints, stickers, holiday cards or this new artbook for yourself or someone you care about, this is the place to go. Expect new raccoon cards and big sales starting next month. Thank you!!

This is for the local crowd: I’ll be signing books at the Salon du Livre de Rimouski and the Salon du Livre de Montréal. Check out the French version of this post for the list of hours or better yer, subscribe to my newsletter!

That’s all for this month (thank god). I have fewer recommendations that usual because of *points at everything*.

Reading:

  • Welcome to Hell, Elon.” The Verge has a few heads up for the millionaire man-child who bought Twitter and will likely ruin the very few last good bits of this cursed platform. Which I still very much enjoy, thanks to a decade of curating an artist-oriented timeline. “You break it, you buy it.”

On the small screen:

  • I finished Never have I ever and really, really enjoyed it. Three seasons was just the right length for this wonderfully witty and touching teenage rom-com series.
  • Not for the faint of heart, Cyberpunk: Edgerunners was uh… a lot. It’s visually stunning at moments, followed by long shots of no animation whatsoever and overall, a bit much for me. Maybe I’m getting soft, but man, was it ever bleak. Studio Trigger be Triggerin’!
  • And on the opposite animation spectrum, I’m liking the new Bee and Puppycat installment a lot. The pacing is super weird, there are tons of sequences of things turning into other things, everything has a cute face, and Puppycat is ugh, the best. I wish the characters were less oblivious to everything but I suppose the lightness of the show draws from this aspect a lot. I’ve been trying to track down the soundtrack like crazy!

In my ears:

  • Toronto-based Alvvays has released their third album called Blue Rev. Power dream-pop cranked on 11, with layers upon layers of sound. Shoegaze at time, but with a spine. Pressed is a Smiths-reminiscent, jangly two minutes of pure bliss. Fantastic.
  • King Gizzard released 3 albums in October, because why the fuck not. Changes is my favorite one so far, and it’s on its way to becoming one of my favorite album from them (out of the freaking 23 they already have).

September Recap – In motion, 35mm fun, Dawn Valley

Category : Monthly recap

August Recap – Season change, 35mm fun, Dawn Valley

Recap

Hi there, fellow kids! I hope you’re all doing well after what has been a very moist month of September. I’ve been focusing on my mental and physical health a lot, making some changes, generally working a little less but seeing more real humans. Everything is falling into place for what will be a very busy end of year. It’s time to pick up the pace a bit!

I talked about my upcoming sketch/art book last month and it’s coming along very nicely. I scanned and cleaned all the sketches, about 70 different ones in total and put together a nice cover. For the first time, my sketchbook is gonna have a title! It’s gonna be called “Inky Fingers” because I make an absolute mess of my hands each time I pick up a pen. Here are a few examples of what’s gonna be in the book.

This month, I spent a lot of time out and about, taking pictures with the ol’ Olympus and the new (old) Ricoh point-and-shoot I got from the good folks over at Club Photo 35. Biking on a nice afternoon with a camera around my neck is honestly the activity I enjoy the most. Not even drawing manages to put me in such a focused, quiet headspace. I was dropping one film after the other at the lab this month; it’s tough on the wallet but nice on the soul. I post my best photos on Instagram!

Back before the pandemic, Axelle and I worked on a comic pitch aimed at the United States market. Long story short, it blew up in scope and size and we decided to pull the plug after making nine full-colour pages. I’ve been posting sketches and character designs on Patreon and if you’re contributing, you’ll get to see the whole pages in the next two weeks! 

Announcements

The Hiver Nucléaire collected edition is coming out October 24th in stores! I got my hands on a copy and holy shit you guys… it looks so good. The all-white cover came out great. The new paper, the remastered colors and the new font make a world of difference from the original printed versions. I hope it will please new and old readers alike! Still no date for the launch party, but I’ll keep you posted!

Remember that Craig drawing I did last month? Well, I made a print of it after all. Not only that but I got a fresh batch printed and ready to be hung in your living room/darkest closet. Check it out!

One last thing: I decided to do OC-Tober, a self-absorbed version of Inktober during which I’ll draw most of my original characters from different eras. I’ll post one every day on Instagram and Twitter if you follow me on there!

That’s it for September, guys! I’m gonna eat squash soup for every meal until I turn orange. Until then, take care!

Reading: 

  • I just finished Jade City by Fonda Lee and I LOVED IT. Imagine a classic Hong Kong gangster movie but everyone wears magical jade stones and are really good at punching. I can’t wait to read the second volume!
  • Trashed by Derf Backderf. Part documentary, part journal comic on trash collection and our fucked up relationship with our garbage. I swear I could smell the truck through the pages.

On the small screen:

  • Shameless was a huge inspiration for Utown and since day one, Lip Gallagher was my favorite character. When I saw that Jeremy Allen White held the main role in The Bear, I was immediately piqued. And man, that show did not disappoint. Not only is it wonderfully well written, but the editing and the choice of shots (hands doing things, a straight shot of a piece of background, fast cuts of Chicago streets, etc) made it feel very comic-like. One of my favorite series of the year!
  • I fell back into Taskmaster because I’m a sucker for problem-solving. I wonder how well I’d do on that show?

In my ears:

  • Wilderness of Mirrors by the Black Angels. It’s the fuzzy soundtrack to a gang of very-cool looking villains (possibly with dark magical powers).
  • Warpaint’s Radiate like This goes down like the smoothest, mellowest cold beverage. It’s perfect “at home” kinda music.

Music related: People are ditching Spotify to save their love of music. I think it’s totally okay to casually use Spotify to listen to cool playlists but discovering new music requires time and a bit of dedication. My friend’s recommendations rarely disappoint (they know me!) and result in purchases more often than not. I hope to achieve the same here, ‘cause sharing is caring!

Cool artists of the month:

  • Violaine Briat makes a comic about a couple who encounters the weirdest/sweetest neighbour ever created in comics in my opinion. I read through the entire archive of Rodney R. Rodney in the middle of the night this week and I’m still thinking about how clever it is.
  • I discovered Yonil’s work through the latest True Grit’s brush set. I love the lo-fi, nervous line work he does.Good stuff!


August Recap – Monachopsis, art book, Hiver Nucléaire omnibus

Category : Monthly recap

Recap

Hello little birdies! Whew, what a month. What a weird month. While scrolling online, I stumbled upon the word monachopsis. It’s a made-up term describing the feeling of being out of place, a little off. For some reason, it always kicks in the summer for me. Right now, some of my fall projects are being pushed back so I’m just kind of idling. Anyway! I love made up words so of course I bought The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows as soon as I found out about it. What can I say, I embrace my true emo self!

The Hiver Nucléaire collected edition is DONE and sent to the printer. It’s gonna look amazing! The book contains all three volumes plus a sequel that only appeared in a collective in 2012, and a whole new cover. All the pages were relettered and remastered as well so it is going to feel like an improvement over the original release. It might be my most luxurious book so far? It has FLAPS! Did I become a superstar overnight?! I’ve been posting some of the best artwork and old teaser posters on Patreon because I think they’re still pretty great. I’ll announce the release date when I can but it’s coming in October for sure!

The Prévost comic book festival was the summer’s last event. It’s more or less my crowd and market, but I got to meet really nice people in a wonderful setting. I’m pleasantly surprised at how popular Camp Spirit is, even after all these years. It’s a great book, so no wonder!

August 12 is a special day for book shops across Quebec so I made a drawing of Craig, Utown’s most educated punk. The original drawing has text but I decided to retouch it for the fun of it. Maybe a print will happen? I dunno why I like this drawing so much but I do.

I also drew some good summer outfits. I really missed doing this kind of exercise. Notice how I’m turning into a blouse lady.

Sketches! So many sketches! I’m working on a new sketchbook/artbook and gathering drawings on scraps of paper, margin doodles, discarded sketchbooks and other scribbles. Scanning and cleaning inked drawing is honestly one of the things I love the most. It’s so zen! I feel like I’m part scavenger, part archivist and part scrapbook artist. I’ll try and get the book done before Expozine in November. 

Announcements

And while I’m working on a new artbook, it’s still possible to get the one I made in 2018. Since I’m slowly running out of physical copies, I made a nice PDF and put it up on sale on Gumroad for five bucks. You can get it here. I’ll announce the 2022 artbook as soon as I schedule a print run.

That’s all for now. See you next month! In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for the austice.

Cool stuff!

On the little screen:

  • Rewatching What we do in the Shadows (the TV show). Might be in my top 5 comedies of all time. 
  • Sandman is hitting all the right buttons: high collars, talking ravens, brooding protagonist, magic and y’know, Lucifer.
  • Architects take a look at houses from different TV shows. Or the importance of set/background design, in TV or in comics, as a mean to tell a story!
  • Stay on Board, a documentary about pro skater Leo Baker. It’s about what happens when you have to navigate between being your true self and doing what you love the most. Truly inspiring.

In my ears:

  • Thrift shop finds of the month: Tracy Chapman, The Verve, R.E.M and Tori Amos. Music my dad listened to, music that always makes me feel good. 
  • It’s Bandcamp Friday tomorrow, so consider supporting bands that you like, if they’re on there. Here are my recent purchases!

Some reads: 

  • Glénat re-edited Ranma ½ in double-volume books and I finally gave in. This manga was hugely influential for me as a teen. My only complaint is how utterly, painfully French the translation is. 
  • Why don’t Millenials have any hobbies? I have side hustles to side hustles, so I totally get this article. That’s kinda why I picked up film photography last year. There’s no money in this (yet).

Cool artists:

Speaking of photography, I found out about C’est Paulette, a local collective of designers and photographers. They also run an analog photo store/community called Club Photo 35. I went to visit their space last saturday and bought a new camera (it wasn’t supposed to happen!) Plus they’re really friendly!


July Recap – Pool side, Comiccon Mega Edition and new shop

Category : Monthly recap

Recap

Hello there! How’s your tan? I’ve been touring pools and biking a lot so mine’s going great. If only it lasted all winter!

Sixty. Two. Thousand. People.
That’s how many people attended the Montreal Comiccon earlier this month. YEAH. Luckily I didn’t get COVID but I forgot how exhausting it is to table for three full days. Thankfully, I was surrounded by my comic buddies so it made the (rare) down times a lot more entertaining. We get really stupid at around hour 5 of standing behind a table! The week before the event, I decided to finish this sketch of Eddie Munson to try and ride on the huge Stranger Things popularity wave. I wish it had sold more but hey, at least it’s done! And guys, look at this “Everything Everywhere” print I got from Marie Bergeron, who was actually there when I walked by for once! I’ve been a huge fan of hers for years, so there was no way I was passing up on this poster. Ah, spending your profits on the same day, it’s a way of life. 

In other more nerve-wracking news, I was minding my own business, biking back from Nota Bene when I got a message concerning Oni Press. You know, my English publisher for Utown? An article had just dropped saying the company fired four senior staff members and was rumored to shut down all of their original content in favor of franchised IPs. My stomach dropped and I spent the following evening refreshing Twitter, which was a VERY bad idea. Things eventually cooled down and I talked to my editor last week: Utown is still on track, albeit coming out later than initially planned. The US publishing industry is responsible for quite a few of my premature white hair but as always, we’ll pull through! What a week though!

As I mentioned last month, I had to close my Etsy shop for two weeks. I used that pent up rage and revived my old Big Cartel shop. Doing things out of spite is an excellent motivator! Since the start of the year, I’ve been trying to become more independent in my business and having my own hosted shop feels really good. I’ll have to work super hard at promoting it to make up for the loss of traffic from Etsy’s HUGE market place but I’m ready! Check it out if you can, tell me what you think! 

In order to have a shop exclusive, I finally scanned and formatted this illustration of Nadia from Russian Doll. It’s one of my favorite drawing from this year 🙂

Announcements

I’ll be attending the Festival de BD de Prévost on August 12, 13 and 14. It’s outside, it’s nice, it’s free and there’s a lake at the resort we’re staying at. It’s like work AND vacation all at once.

That’s it for now! If you go out (please go out), don’t forget your sunscreen! See you in a month 🙂

Cool stuff

On the little screen:

  • I enjoyed Moonknight a lot more than I thought I would! Oscar Isaac is brilliant in it.  
  • Stop everything and go watch RRR on Netflix, preferably with friends. It makes Avengers Endgame look like a school play. I SCREAMED.
  • Open your Mind, a really well-done documentary on the history and science behind psychedelic drugs and their use in modern medecine.

Under my thumb:

  • I’ve been playing a bit of Perfect Tides, a retro-looking point and click game taking place in the early 2000s. It’s really relaxing so far!

In my ears:

  • Death Song by Black Angels. It’s trippy, heavy at times and super melodic. An instant buy. 
  • Been revisiting Lush, a British shoegaze/guit-rock that instantly hits a nice nostalgia chord with me . 
  • Gorillaz has a new song and a really good video called Cracker Island and it’s a banger. 

Some reads: 

  • Speaking of Gorillaz, I got the big art book full of new Hewlett art and great hommages from artists from all over. I’m overdue for a proper fanart!
  • Some Japan-themed reads: an interview with the owner and founder of Madarake, a legendary hobby/book store in Tokyo. I spent a good hour in there when I went in 2018, completely immersed in the art book section. We need places like this, more than ever. In the same vein, the history of Shonen Jump, the magazine that shaped the manga industry. Just walking by the building gave me chills. Here’s a tour!
  • A look inside Shibuya’s Bridge Listening bar. I love the idea of a “third place” between work and home (which is the same for me). Plus, don’t you just want to be friend with the owner?

Cool artists:

Étienne Poisson, who I met at Comiccon. He’s frighteningly good with ink, holy shit.


June Recap – TCAF, Nuclear Winter news, lotsa music!

Category : Monthly recap

Recap

Hi everyone! It’s time for the June recap, so let’s just dive right in and not dwell on anything that happened this month, because, holy hell.

The biggest highlight of the month was my trip with Boum to TCAF, after a 4 year absence. We went as tourists and not exhibitors this time, which gave us plenty of time to look around and buy all the zines and books. So. Many. Books. And since I love talking shop with people who are outside my little group so I was looking forward to spending some time with Danielle Corsetto and Dan Berry, two seasoned comic artists I admire a lot. I missed the TCAF hangs!

Utown is getting some attention from the press so I made a post about its coverage on Patreon. My poor protagonist is getting dunked on a lot, and I love it. Maybe I have a pattern, but I do like creating despicable characters. As long as the readers feel strongly about them, I’m happy! Marco from Nuclear Winter also ended up having a bad rep, which he deserved wholeheartedly. 

Speaking of Nuclear Winter, it might be time to announce that there’s a french-language anthology in the works. All three volumes, collected, re-letered and re-mastered. The English-language editions went through a thorough recoloring, so that’s what we’re putting in the omnibus, as well as an 8 page-prequel that only exists in a collective that came out 9 years ago. Re-visiting my first comic is equal parts cringe and comforting. There are a lot of issues with writing and layouts, but there’s no way it could’ve gone any differently. It was my first real comic project, holy shit! I’m still very fond of Nuclear Winter and I hope the collected edition can find its way into people’s bookshelves. And into their heaaaaarts!!

The best drawing of the month comes in the form of a fake album cover/track list. I made an “official Utown soundtrack” to accompany the book, like you would for a movie. Music has always been a huge part of my process and sharing playlists has never been easier, so I took advantage of that!

Announcement

The Montreal Comiccon is back in full swing, baby, from July 8th to July 10th. I’ll be tabling the entire time, so come and say hi if you’re around. I’ll be at booth #2730, at the very end of the showfloor, with most of my fellow comic friends. And yes, I’ll have some Utown copies to sign!

On a more ugh note, my Etsy shop is closed for a few days. Long story short, Etsy has changed its sales tax options and it’s screwing me over big time. I’m thinking about opening a shop on another website, so I’ll keep you posted on this. That’s the reality of operating a small business on the Internet. You can’t get too attached to platforms…

Alright, that’s all for now. Enjoy summer you guys, I’ll see you next month 🙂

Cool stuff

On the little screen:

Each summer I get my bike out and wonder how much better our life would be if there were generally less cars in cities. So enjoy a few bike-related videos!

In my ears:

Reading:

  • Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao. It’s like an anime in a book, with a ruthless and unapologetic heroine. Big mechas, magic, technology, everything!! 

Cool artists, TCAF edition!


May recap – Utown launch, MCAF, social media fatigue

Category : Monthly recap

Hi everyone! I hope you’re all doing well. A lot happened this month so I’m not gonna dawdle on the weather or the fact that we had our most precocious heatwave ever recorded over here ha ha ha!

Guys, it’s done! Utown arrived in bookstores on May 16th. We launched the book on May 18th, at the Atomic Cafe. I signed for uh… four and half hours. It was intense but so, so fun! We went out for a drink after and I think I was nodding off mid-sentences at one point. My face hurt from smiling the next day!

After two years of no-show, we finally got our Montreal Comic Arts Festival back in live action. This time, the festival occupied a stretch of closed off street, right in the middle of the Plateau. “Busy” doesn’t even start to cut it. Everyone I know made record sales, despite an entire day of rain (out of three days). Unanimously, we stated that this was perhaps one of the best comic-oriented event in the province ever. The bar is high for next year!

Working on a webcomic full-time for the last three years has made me very wary of the ins and outs of online promotion. From podcasts to long articles on how to “beat” the algorithms and monetize your art, I spent a lot of time and energy writing captions, resizing images and constantly thinking about where I’d post my next sale announcement, image or new page. And honestly, I am exhausted. I’ve been watching a lot of videos on the benefits of quitting social media (even Instagram!) and while I’m not there yet, it gave me the push I needed to finally start that newsletter I’d been thinking about. While posting on Facebook drains me of all joy, working on my website and newsletter fired me up like crazy. It’s pretty much the French version of this blog and what I post on Patreon at the start of each month but anyone can subscribe here. I’m sending my first one this month and I’m pretty excited!

Surely enough, I kinda crashed after the launch. One sure way to get me back on track is to draw for myself and draw someone who has it a lot worse than I do. Mainly Nadia from Russian Dolls.

What’s coming

Watch out Toronto, Boum and I are going to TCAF as tourists! It’s gonna be like a vacation, but with COMICS! I’ll bring a few sketchbooks and goodies, so try and find me if you’re attending 🙂

Lastly, there’s a Utown sale at my shop until June 8th. I got new postcards in there as well!

Cool stuff

Been watching: 

Artist I dig:

In my ears: 

  • I’ve been really into 50s to 70’s soul, rock, MoTown and other oldies on this great Spotify playlist.
  • DIIV, one of my favorite band of all time, re-released Oshin for its tenth anniversary. Doused is such a wonderful song.
  • We went to see Blackwater Holylight with about 25 other people at the Ritz last week. If you’re ever looking for a soundtrack to that girl-centric, dark elf wizard doomy gloomy epic novel you’re working on, that should be on it.

Reading: 

  • Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas. It’s a story about a young trans brujo, someone who can see spirits and help them cross into the afterlife. It’s full of magic, romance and hot, bad boy ghosts!

April Recap – Getting out there

Category : Monthly recap

Hello hello! Spring is in the air, there are glimpses of greenery in the trees and I walked around wearing a t-shirt and no jacket yesterday. Oh yeah, May is here! April was filled with events and social outings, which were very welcome after our endless spring-ter (spring and winter at the same time) spent hunched over, rushing to finish Utown.

Speaking of which, it’s really, really, really done. For real. I sent the files over the printer at the beginning of the month, we got the proofs back, the promo material has been printed, posts have been made; now all is left to do is wait for the launch. Normally, I should get the books at the end of the week or early next week, which seems absolutely unreal. Comics!! I also uploaded the last pages of the webcomic on Patreon and for the wide public. Two years and a half of bi-weekly pages and 203 pages in French and English later, it’s DONE. I wrote about what it was like, maintaining a webcomic in 2020 vs 2012 in a long post on Patreon. Spoiler: I’m not doing it again anytime soon! So yeah, all I’m thinking about now is the actual book and the launch night, which will take place in real life. The event is here by the way, if you’re in Montreal around this time. Come say hi!

We also had the launch for 420 Grammes, the book I illustrated and talked about in the last recap. The event was a success, lots of old friends showed up and I had a wonderful time. Three days later, I left for Quebec City to attend the Salon International du Livre de Québec and the Québec BD Festival. Aside from the holiday edition Comiccon last December, this was my first time back at an actual, pre-pandemic sized book fair. Yo, there were a LOT OF PEOPLE! I was happy to be back behind the Front Froid/Nouvelle Adresse table and I marvelled at how far our little publishing house had come during the past few years.

After doing almost three years of heavy, weird bilingual promo for Utown, I’m once again in a language conundrum. I’ve been writing on the internet in English for so long that I kinda expect everyone to just… be able to read it. But as my books are getting a lot more traction in Quebec, I always feel bad about doing most of my posts in English or sometimes, English and French. And since I wanna start relying less and less on social media, this blog and my Patreon posts are becoming more important than even. But honestly, I can’t translate everything I write, it’s just too much work :/ This is why I’m testing a French-language newsletter, that will be kinda like these recaps, with added announcements. French-speaking readers can sign up here!

Lastly, I drew a print of our local snack-bar, the Pataterie (which you can buy here). The co-owner wrote me this morning and said he loved it! Turns out, everybody loves getting fanart, its universal. Speaking of which, two of my friends composed and recorded a song inspired by Utown. How awesome is that?!

Oh yeah, I got an old of film developed! Some of ’em turned out okay!

So that’s it for now! May is gonna be in-sa-ne, with Utown premiering at MCAF, the launch, and other comic-related activities spread throughout the month. I’m looking forward to talking about everything in the next recap! In the meantime, here’s what got me excited in April:

On the big screen: I went to see Everything, Everywhere, all at Once. I hadn’t been this hyped about a movie in a long, long time. The VFX were done by FIVE PEOPLE?!

On the little screen: Russian Dolls is back, Nadia is the chic-goth hot mess I wish I was (but also, not really) and the series starts off perfectly. I found the ending rushed, but I really enjoyed it nonetheless. Everyone on Twitter is screaming about Our Flag Means Death, the pirate rom-com we didn’t know we needed BUT DID. It’s an absolute delight!

On the even littler screen: Hey, can we agree that Katsuhiro Otomo is the best draftsman of our era? Cartoonist Kayfabe did a read-through of his out-of-print artbook and I’m still not over it. As I’ll never be over Akira and why it looks the way it does. Film photography Youtube is just the most soothing place to be on the internet. I enjoy watching KingJvpes thrifting and talking about plastic boxes with lenses.

No music recs this month; I’ve been living in almost total silence for the past two-three weeks? I think my ears needed a break!