April Recap – Snack bars, doodles, finding the right brush.

Category : Monthly recap

Bonjour, hi! Last month, I learned my mom HATES the month of April. Like, with a passion. Normally, if you ask around, people would rather erase March from all the calendars, but my mom says the unpredictable weather of April has her on edge for 30 days. I thought she was overreacting, but it freakin’ SNOWED during two days, so yeah, mom knows best.

After having been invited to participate in an upcoming Pop-Up shop event in St-Henri, I decided to draw one of the neighbourhood’s most iconic landmark, the Greenspot Restaurant. People really seem to enjoy my illustrated storefronts and apartment portraits, so I drew this one specifically for the event. The print is already up for sale but I’ll be at the event on May 15 and 16 to sell’em in person, as well as a bunch of books and prints. It’ll be my first “tabling” event in more than a year, so I’ really looking forward to it.

A thing I used to do back at the studio was to leave a big 18×24 paper pad on my drawing table, at all time. This made doodling on a whim a lot easier, as I didn’t have to look for a sketchbook each time I felt like scribbling. I got back into this habit last week, after buying a good ol’ 5$ pad of cheap cartridge paper. This got me drawing for fun again, something I dearly missed in the past months. Pencil, ballpoint pen, half-dead markers, old crayons and the occasional halftone sheets each get their moment of fame when I’m sitting at my drawing table. The hardest part is trying to keep this space somewhat tidy! Anyway, here are a few Utown-related pics that I photographed and spruced up.

Lastly, I spent an entire week working exclusively on digital inking of our comic pitch (go back and read the previous few entries to know what I’m talking about). It’s my first time inking such a complicated project using a display tablet, and it’s miles away from what I’m used to, but it’s a fun experience. I think I downloaded about 12 Clip Studio brushes, as well as going over my extensive collection to find THE ONE. You just know when you find the right one, you know? (I still like inking by hand better, don’t tell!)

That’s all for now! Here’s what piqued my interest this month. I hope you find something you enjoy!

To read: After seeing Wes Craig’s incredible new cover for Deadly Class, I decided to get the first three trades. It’s even better than the first time I read it!
On the screen: Shadow & Bone and Uncanny Counter, because it seems I love shows about ordinary people who can conjure VFX to get out of trouble.
In my ears: Citizen’s Life in Your Glass World, a catchy, energetic album that’s been on heavy rotation this month.
Artist: Adam, alias @kumerish. He has such a cute and efficient style!


March Recap – Sleep clinic pt.2, inking videos, covers.

Category : Monthly recap

Hello! March, aka the Final Boss of winter, is over! Although I can’t complain, it’s been abnormally nice and dry (snow-wise). I even got to wear SHOES?! Very pleasant.

Want to have some more exciting sleep apnea-related news? I know you do! Well, this month, I had a bunch of appointment’s, which led to seeing a surgeon for a possible maxillo-facial surgery. According to the doctor, I’m a good candidate for this kind of procedure, which involves a lot of bone sawing, titanium screws and morphine. Apparently, it’s far from being a walk in the park, but is safe and yields good results. If anything, I might delay the surgery until fall, when eating soup for two months sounds less nightmarish. I also scored a CPAP machine and I’m starting to see the light at the end of this sleepless tunnel. To be continued!

I’ve spent pretty much all of the month working on Utown. Chapter 6 was pretty hardcore to draw and ink, but I think it’s gonna look amazing. I’m slowly starting to think about what’s coming after Utown. It’s weird! Anyway, I posted a little inking video on Instagram, to show the process. Check it out if you haven’t!

Also, I finally received my copies of the Invader Zim alternate cover I drew like.. two years ago! So here it is, along with the sketches that didn’t make the cut. God, I love making covers. I wanna do more!

March has been defeated, gain 300 XP points and the will to start jogging again. Here is what got me excited this month!

To read: Princess Jellyfish Vol. 2. It keeps on being charming and delightfully funny!
On the screen: Knights and Bikes. Perfect co-op game for a rainy weekend, with absolutely stunning artwork. What a treat!
On the screen again: Parks and Recreation! Amy Poehler is a national treasure.
In my ears: Graywave. Sad, sad sad girl music.
(Hopefully) on my wall: Helvetica Blanc. I discovered their work a week ago and I almost did a spit take. The perfect blend of graphic and weird hit the right chord.


February recap – Sleep clinic, new book deal, climatic scenes.

Category : Monthly recap

Hello everyone! Isn’t it fun?! It’s been a whole year since the pandemic hit! Boy oh boy, I sure am not getting tired of reliving the same day over and over, and wearing every legging/sweater combo possible. THE FUN WE’RE HAVING!

A while back, I mentioned having problems sleeping, due to what I suspected to be obstructive apnea. After a particularly bad week this month, I snapped and decided to book an appointment at a sleep clinic. Turns out I stop breathing like… A LOT, during the night. No wonder I wake up feeling I got run over by a truck… Anyway, this saga is far from being over, I suppose.

Topic change! I finished all of my commissioned comics, which all went incredibly well. The week I sent in my last invoice, I got an email from a children’s book publisher interested in working with me. Never stop not stopping, as we say in the bizz! It seems that once you do one children’s book in Quebec, you are put on A List! We had our first meeting last week and I’m really excited about the opportunity. I can’t say who it is just yet, but I think it’s gonna be delightful. The text itself is just so charming!

Some Utown news: I’m almost done storyboarding Chapter 6, which features a pivotal moment of the book. It has crowds and cars and tons of backgrounds and it’s taking FOREVER to do. Fun fact: comics absolutely do not get easier with time. There’s always a daunting scene to plan and draw! Anyway, there will be two or three chapters left after this one. It’s starting to feel like the end, which is SUPER WEIRD!

Oh and lastly, after months of preparation, I started pencilling the pages for the pitch Axelle and I are putting together. Starting a new project always makes me giddy but this one… is something else. Maybe I’ll be able to post a few excerpts once I’m further along.

So yeah. I waltzed through February in a sleep-deprived state but here are my favorite things:

To read: Naruto! Even though I watched most of the animated series, I’d never read the manga. It’s both endearing and humbling to see Masashi’s Kishimoto’ debut.
On the screen: Kid Cosmic. That’s cartooning done right. The background art!!
On the screen again: Space Sweepers! Oh how I needed a less-than-subtle sci-fi flick that checks those boxes: 1) the spaceship has pedals 2) and we get to see the engine 3) the crew is broke 4) but ridiculously competent at everything. Bonus for having country-specific ships filled with stereotypes.
In my ears: Sweeping Promises and the new King Gizzard album. Both wildly different, both acquired tastes?
In my mouth: I make a goddamn good chicken soup, you guys.


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.


2020 Recap – 2021 Goals

Category : Uncategorised

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!

Monthly recap

January
  • 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.
February
  • I kinda lose it because of the school workload. My anxiety peaks and I consider quitting the teaching gig. It’s a shit month.
March
  • 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.
April
  • 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.
May
  • 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.
June
  • 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.
July
  • 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.
August
  • 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.
September
  • 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.
October
  • 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…
November
  • 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!
December
  • 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 😀

Highlights

  • 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!

Lows

  • 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.

Favorite things

Goals

  1. 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.
  2. Taking time off, more than ever. Away from screens, away from The Noise (aka, everything), whenever the need arises.
  3. Make time for physical activities. Since I don’t commute anymore, I have a feeling the ol’ running shoes are gonna make a comeback!
  4. 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!


December Recap – Holiday cards galore, festive mode activated, all hail deadlines

Category : Uncategorised

Deck the hall and something something, falala lala la la (that’s my French Canadian version of the song). Hi! I hope everyone had a decent Christmas night/day/other! My Christmas was relatively quiet, so I took on the task of making a traditional meal regardless. Amidst all the gift shoppin’ and food buyin’, the time spent in my kitchen, making meatballs and gravy was one of my favorite moment of the month.

Last month, I prepared for my most aggressive Etsy promo/marketing plan ever. I wrote how the Thanksgiving sale was a success in the November recap. I’m happy to report that it kept going STRONG in December, even more than I had expected! Twice I had to go back and get another batch of cards printed! (Maybe I should’ve planned I was gonna mess up folding a cutting a few ones…. whoops!). I’m very grateful for everyone who ordered and I’m sure my prints found good homes.

After food was made, gifts wrapped and last emails answered, I allowed myself to do a little holiday drawing. It’s been a bit of a tradition of mine over the years but 2020 needed something extra cute.

The next thing on my list is to make a goal and recap post for 2020. I’m excited to revisit the year nonetheless. It’s always an enlightening exercice!

December was a race to the end, but here’s what got me excited this month.

Reading: The Remain of Days, by Kazuo Ishiguro. It feels like an ocean of calm during these crazy times.
Watching: Bill and Ted, which I watched on Christmas Eve. Don’t ask, dude!
Listening: K.G by King Gizzard and the Electric Wizard. It’s… hard to describe but it’s absolutely worth a listen!


November Recap – All the promotion, spooky house, and a review of the 99PI book

Category : Monthly recap

Hello everyone! How’s it going? Yes, I’ve reached the point where I’m talking to the void of the Internet. Two months of confinement will do that to ya. My weeks are long strings of more or less the same routine of working, playing the Switch, running errands, going to the post office and fighting off very intense cravings. I want to eat chips so bad. Like, all the time.

One task that broke the monotony though, was getting ready for Thanksgiving sales on Etsy. Each year I plan better and further ahead, because I’ve been caught off-guard too many times in the past. So this year, I spent a lot of times making visuals for ads, taking pictures of prints (you know how much work it takes to make a sprawl of prints look like a candid shot?) and scheduling posts. Now that the sale is over, I realize how exhausting this all was, even though it was absolutely worth it in the end. That kind of obsessive planning and stats-checking is like the perfect drug for someone with high-functioning anxiety like me. One time I misspelled the URL of my shop in a Twitter post and almost had a heart attack. You ever see someone hit the DELETE button 5000 times in the span of 1,2 seconds? Next year, I’ll try to pace myself!

So in the spirit of the Holidays, I decided to include a free greeting card with every order. I think I’ll do that each year, because cards are just such nice little paper objects!

While I’m not super vocal about it, I’ve been working on a comic pitch with fellow cartoonist extraordinaire Axelle Lenoir. We’d rather keep the project under the radar for now, but I decided to share one piece of location design I drew. Enjoy!

Last month, I said in my recommendations that I started reading The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design, a book based around many of the topics of the wonderful 99% Invisible podcast. I cannot recommend this book enough. 99% Invisible City is a field guide to the obvious and conspicuous elements of the urban built environment: the history of the utility pole, how curbs came to have a slope on their corners for wheelchairs and strollers, and how raccoons and squirrels came to be part of our weird, urban ecosystems. Amongst many, many other things.

It’s written in the form of broad chapters (Architecture, Urbanism, Landscape, etc) and separated into dense half-page or page-long exposés, so it’s like getting concentrated shots of super interesting facts about well… everything! I loved how it weighed in on how some design decisions inevitably affect marginalized citizens, without taking side. A good example was an entry about “hostile design”, that aims at making public seating uncomfortable, not to attract homeless people. I was downtown last week and immediately noticed that vicious form of design on some benches around Concordia Universtity that had that weird, useless “armrest” in the middle (plus the utility markers in pink! there is also an entry on their meaning!). I also loved the part about Moonlight Towers, huuuuuge arc-lamp light posts that cast insanely bright light in certain US cities. This is the kind of thing that I’d read about, put the book down and immediately loaded Wikipedia on my phone because I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I had to do this a few times, to look up pictures of famous buildings (like the Lincoln Tunnel ventilation buildings!) so it made for a very engaging read.

If anything, this book is a praise in favor of paying attention when walking about. That’s something I’ve done most of my life and this book felt like I wasn’t a total nutcase for taking pictures of crooked stairs, holes in subway stations or… hidden fallout shelter panels. And as an added bonus, the book itself is a beautiful object, ripe with illustrations. My only complaint is that it’s very, very US-centric, but it didn’t ruin the book too much for me. In terms of non-fiction, this is probably the most fun read I’ve had in years.

Anyway! November is over, so here’s what has kept me excited this month:

Reading: I’ve been thinking about this little text “Death to Bullshit“, especially in regards to the Facebook user experience. I’ve done so much promo and posting on my business account this month that I grew increasingly aware of how mind blowingly bad Facebook’s interface is. It really tested my patience. It is the pinnacle of bullshit.
Playing: Hades, on the Switch. I am Very Bad at it! (but I think that’s the whole point?!
Listening: I’ve been writing and storyboarding to some fuzzy stoner rock and shoegaze playlists. I’m not really paying attention, but Somali Yacht Club caught my ears!
Artist: Why not check out Patrick Vale, the illustrator responsible for the marvelous line-intensive drawings in the 99% Invisible book!


October Recap – Confinement, maintenance, not-Inktober

Category : Monthly recap

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?


September recap – Moving out, catching up on comic pages, social media overdose.

Category : Uncategorised

Hello everyone, I hope you’re all doing okay (all things considered), wherever you are. It is now fall in Montreal, the leaves are starting to change, and there’s a thin, pink, 15% Overlay layer on everything. Apple deserts have been eaten, sweaters and leggings purchased, tea restocked, fleece bed cover spread. As I write this, the Quebec government announced a 28-day quarantine for the two biggest cities in the province and their surroundings. I won’t be able to see my friends and family in an indoors setting and with the temperature quickly dropping, meeting in parks and for walks won’t be an option for long. The only thing left to do is to brew various hot beverages and work, work work!

The announcement came two days after I hauled the rest of my studio gear back home. Talk about a close call… So this weekend, I plugged in everything and got the ol’ desktop computer running again. Working on a full-size screen instead of a tablet is a welcome change. Not gonna lie, I got teary before leaving Studio Lounak for good. I’m gonna miss the mediocre coffee and my studio mates!

September kept me real busy, with a quick concept art gig, some logo work and Utown, as usual. I’m desperately trying to build up a comic buffer again, but it’s so tricky! September was rough on Patreon: I posted some solid, story pages but also lost a whole bunch of patrons. Like, right before some good plot reveals. Of course I try to not let it get to me; I don’t claim to know why people pledge and why they decide to stop and it’s perfectly fine this way. But you know, you want your creative endeavors to go in one direction: up! Still, working on Chapter 4 brings me great joy, and for now, that’s all that matters.

Speaking of promotion, the idea of starting a newsletter has been gnawing at me for a while and I would absolutely love to have a first draft by the end of October. I have no idea if this would even work, but it’s something I really, really feel like trying. It might be a bit old school, but I truly believe there is power in reaching people directly by mail, instead of through some random, punitive social media algorithm. Ultimately, I want to kick one social media platform out of my life; if I can retain some fans with a newsletter, great. If not, well… my mental health will still improve, nonetheless. A blog and a newsletter: 2005, here I come!

September was… nice. Despite everything, it was a good month. Here’s what got me excited this month:

Watching: Schitt’s Creek, which I started less than a week ago. I can’t express how much of a feel-good show this is. I also binged The Great Pretender, a very nice looking anime that has a certain Cowboy Bebop flair to it.
Listening: 30 years late, I discovered Curve, a heady, UK electro-alt band that makes me want to paint my nails black a lot. And when I thought 2020 was beyond redemption, Doves released their first album in eleven years.
Reading: Fangs by Sarah Anderson. It’s a lovely little comic book about a werewolf guy and a vampire girl, in their everyday relationship. It is very simple, yet very endearing.
Artist: Will Kirkby Wonderful, funky lineart with a very marker-y, loose coloring style. He does really good, chunky character design.


August Recap – Big decisions, nostalgia and new projects

Category : Monthly recap

Hello world! How’s the “end of summer” treating you? Here, it’s hay fever season. Ever woken up while you were sneezing? It’s brutal and very confusing. Do not recommend.

So August went by in a flash! After taking a nice week off, (in nature! far from work!), I took a big, important, and somewhat heartbreaking decision: I’m leaving Studio Lounak. Y’see, in 2013, little baby-me submitted Hiver Nucléaire to my soon-to-be publisher, Front Froid. If the project was selected, I’d get not only a publishing deal, but also a one-year residency at their Mile-End HQ, Studio Lounak. You know the rest…So there I was, newly unemployed–I mean, freelancer–ready to settle in a big studio, in a gigantic concrete sweatshop, with a bunch of top, pro comic book artists. I was absolutely star-struck, and not at all deterred by the lack of furniture and um…questionable cleanliness of the place. Over the years at the studio, I built friendships with artists from various backgrounds, sat on the board of Front Froid, worked on countless projects (sometimes late at night), threw away tons of moldy containers from the fridge, looted furniture from all over the building and more. Those 7 years, going on 8, at the Studio were… how can I say… absolutely memorable. I would walk in sometimes, amidst the mess, the clutter, the mountains of action figures and bookshelves of comics, giant drawing tables, and just… take it all in. But most of all, it was the conversations, sometimes casual, sometimes extremely passionate, standing over my studio mate’s tables, that I’ll miss the most. Artist workshops, those places where like-minded people can come and make a mess, are so, so fucking important. I’m forever grateful I was given the opportunity to live this experience. So, why am I leaving, after all these years? Logistics, mostly. Public transit, during a pandemic, is not something I’m excited about, and if I can avoid it, I will. It was a hard decision but I’ve been essentially paying rent and not going. There’s no way this will change when winter gets here. So… yeah. This is my last month…!

My first setup! There was nothing…!

Other than that, I’m -still- working on Utown. After a long, painful writing slump, I got it through my thick head that no scenario was going to be perfect on the first draft. Who knew that putting too much pressure on myself would had this effect!! But as always, everything made sense when I finished storyboarding. It took a while to get there (it’s a long book), but there’s some tension starting to build up, and the plot is starting to take shape. It’s very rewarding!

There’s also this other project with fellow comic artist Axelle Lenoir, but it’s too early to get into details. I am VERY excited about it!

Speaking of feeling creative, I received the Art of Invader Zim artbook two weeks ago and read it cover to cover in two sittings. It’s full of old concept art, storyboard and gorgeous background artwork from the new movie. What I liked the most though, was the retelling of the early production days, when the IZ team was seen as the weird misfits of the Nickelodeon studios. I’ve read a lot of artbooks in the past years (mostly from animation series), but this one hit home, thanks to all the early 2000’s references. Seeing blown up panels of JTHM in an artbook, I dunno, legitimized this weird, cult comic I was convinced no one else liked but me. And made me dream about having one day, my own animated series 😀

So that’s that for August. Here are a few things that I liked this month!

Reading: Southern Bastards book 1, in small increments. It’s…woof, it’s bleak, bust masterfully done.
Watching: Aggretsuko season 3. It’s surprising how cinematic this show gets sometimes. Season 3 had me on the edge of my seat!
Listening: A loooot of shoegaze and dreampop. My favorite album this month is Gentle Grip by Public Practice.
Artist: Charmaine Verhagen. I’ve been following her since the wee days of DeviantArt! I think she’s just the coolest.


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