September recap – Cat-goblin, photos, end-of-projects

Category : Monthly recap

Hello, bonjour! September was on steroids, I feel like 4 months happened at once. I’m writing this on a rainy Saturday morning, and I can guarantee a nap WILL happen in a the near future.

The month was off to a weird start when one afternoon, as I was getting out of my apartment, I almost tripped on a tiny cat-goblin right outside my front door. It was clearly lost, so I took it in, started to look for its owner and pretty much had the most exciting week-end in a long time. Part investigation, part you know… having a cat in my house for the first time ever! I eventually found its owner, a neighbour, but I had a good cry the night before we parted. Yuki (its real name) was one ugly-cute cat with bad breath, but dear god, what an adorable little critter he was. I’m glad he was reunited with its owner at the end though!

I spent most of the month working on the Utown chapter 8 storyboard. It took so damn long, I must be the least efficient person at layouts ever! At least I’m fast when it comes to pencils and ink, so that’s a slight consolation. Only once chapter left after this one! When end of project fatigue settles in, I remember that I got very good news concerning Utown this month 😉 More later…!

Utown in a nutshell

The four Fonfon books are also almost done as well. I think I colored something like 34 pages in two days this week? I put on District 31 (a daily drama show with cops that has like… 900 episodes) and just… work work work! Anyway, I can’t wait to be able to show some of the illustrations!

And remember when I said I’d taken my old film camera out? Well, I got 3 rolls of film processed and I think I still need a lot of practice! I’m so used to being in total control of my medium and getting immediate result (digital art will do that) that this whole process feels very strange to me. Humbling, that’s for sure. The important thing is that I had fun going out on photo safaris throughout the city.

Will I ever recover from September? Of course I will! In the name of ART!! Here’s what got me excited this month!

On paper: The Dark Knight Returns, by Frank Miller. Fun fact, it’s my first time reading a Batman comic! Analog Photography, by Andrew Bell. It’s like graphic design/film photography porn.
On the little screen: Finished bingeing Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and got my sleep schedule back.
At the THEATRE!: Le manuel de la vie sauvage. Great adaptation of a great book. I can’t remember the last time I went to see an actual play so this was really refreshing!
Artist: Ash Szymanik. I love the clutter she draws and the proportions of her animal characters. It’s very charming!


August review – It’s too hot, working anyway, Swiss cheese

Category : Monthly recap

Hello everyone! As I’m writing this, we just came out of a 2 week-long, insufferable heatwave. It was so hot that every patch of vegetation pretty much died, and the trees started losing their leaves. I was losing my mind. Working on a warm display tablet became a chore and I fled to my friends swimming pool whenever I could. Thank god it’s over (for now!)

I still managed to get some work done, sluggishly. I finished and sent my Aggretsuko cover in a record time. The FonFon kid book is coming along great, with the sketches done and approved for all four books. While that’s going on, I’m also working on illustrations for a book about WEED. Because apparently I’ve become someone who does kid’s books one day and draws chain-smoking stoners the other day. Everyone seems to be fine with this so *shrug*?!

Also, I went out and bought film for this little beauty again. Not sure at how it’s gonna turn out (I already ruined a film, which got me in a bad mood for DAYS), but I’m having a lot of fun rediscovering photography.

And as you can tell, it’s a bit of a theme…

Lastly, I filled a page of my big, doodle pad! For me, it’s the equivalent of finishing a sketchbook, except it’s all on one page. When there’s no more room, I get the x-acto knife out and cut out whatever sketch I deem worthy of scanning. There’s something incredibly satisfying about salvaging the good parts and being left with the paper equivalent of a Swiss cheese afterwards. It’s silly, but crumpling the rejects with no afterthoughts feels great. Not everything has to be shown!

The long days of summer are slowly fading and I can’t use the heat as an excuse to procrastinate and eat ice cream sandwiches for much longer. Still, this is what I liked this month!

On the big screen: This month, I also made a grand return to the MOVIES. And by grand, I mean, seeing three movies in two weeks. Suicide Squad was okay, not great. Free Guy was way better, thanks to Ryan Reynold’s performance. Green Knight though, was the ultimate palate cleanser. I’m really happy I saw it in an actual theatre!
On the small screen: Still bingeing Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. because it’s a show where literally EVERYTHING happens, all the time.
In my ears: Nothing Much Happens, the podcast that got me out of a god-awful loop of night-time anxiety attacks. It’s what I needed to stop hyper focusing on my breath and heartbeat and I can’t recommend it enough.
Under my thumbs: Been playing Sonic Mania a lot and it’s kicking my ass. I used to power through the original Genesis Sonic levels like it was nothing but now, holy shit! It’s way tougher?! I’m having a lot of fun though! And I got into Rounds, a rogue-like(ish) VS shooter by Landfall Games, who did Stick Fight, a game I played A LOT LOT LOT in the last year!
Artist of the month: Sometimes, an artist who’s good at pretty much everything appears on my radar. This time, it’s Dinah Kalaha! She has a super energetic line and a sense for concept work. I love her stuff!


July Recap – Summer blues, sketches, smog

Category : Monthly recap

Hiya everyone, welcome to the dog days of summer. We have no term to describe the middle of summer up here in Quebec (‘cept the Construction Holidays, which isn’t as poetic). I always get the summer blues around this time of the year; most of my friends are away on vacation while I sulk at home because I don’t drive. I’ve been biking a lot, to see parts of the city that are actually nice for a change. It’s good for my glutes and my mood!

I had a little freak out about deadlines earlier this month (crunching during the summer is kinda disheartening, see above) but everything’s starting to fall into place (it always does). All I can do now is wait for my publishers to come back from vacation and look over the sketches I’ve done. Those include a new cover gig for Aggretsuko! I obviously can’t show the ongoing cover, but here’s a glimpse at the first cover I did for them, last year!

2021 is also the first year where most of my projects are actual books. It hit me not too long ago, and honestly, I’m very happy that I get to illustrate books and make comics for a living. Post-college me wouldn’t have believed it was possible!

Oh and I’ve been taking so much pictures. There was a great apocalyptic smog over Montreal a few days ago and I thought it’ be a great idea to go for a jog, ruin my lungs and take a few pics. I messed around in Light Room a bit but I got mad at how bad my old iPhone for pictures. I’m thinking about going back to film for now, but what I really want is a medium-level digital camera. Alas, I can’t justify the expense right now -_- Until then, I took a lot of pictures with the intention of drawing characters in them… when I get the time!

Oh and here are a few doodles from the scratchpad.

I’m looking forward to August, my second favourite month of the year. Here’s what I’ve been up to in July!

Reading: The Deleted Years, a great article about all those forgotten and lost MP3 files between Napster and iTunes Music and the arrival of Spotify. I have a tiny iPod which is full of music I don’t own anymore. The Rapture, Maximo Park, Friendly Fires, Ladytron, etc. Thank god I kept my CD collection up to this day.
Watching: Loki, one of my favorite Marvel “thing” so far. I even made old school desktop wallpapers with the ending credits. James Acaster’s Repertoire is wonderfully fringe and funny. And lately, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D got me hooked, even though I can’t get over how absurdly good-looking everyone is, for no good damn reason. A hacker chick who lives in a van can’t look like she’s going to Coachella on episode two.
Listening: No Swoon, which I purchased after just one glorious listen. That good. Waaves has a new album, rejoice! Mark Ronson’s interview with Damon Albarn is crazy inspiring. I have the utmost respect for team players like these two, who thrive on being curious and collaborating. One sounds like a toothless scholar, the other, like a stoned prodigy. Very surreal!
Artist: Micheal Sweater. I have a soft spot for comics about dirt bags and I love his style!


June recap – So many comic pages, Pride drawing, tons of recommendations

Category : Monthly recap

Hello everyone! I usually start with talking about the weather, but seeing how most of North America is on literal fire, I’ll just skip ahead this time.

I spent most of the month pencilling and inking Utown. The next chapter is 27 pages-long (they normally run at 21-22 pages) and I felt it. I even ran out of ink at one point!

After all of the manual labor was over, I took time off one morning to do a drawing that had been on my mind since the beginning of the month. It’s been a while since I’d done colors!

I wanted to repost this old 2017 drawing but ended up reworking it for the fun of it. Some people say revisiting old work is a waste of time, but once in a while I like to measure how much I’ve improved by doing just that. It doesn’t serve any real purpose (I’m gonna update the print on Etsy at one point, but that’s about it) other than my own enjoyment. It’s the kind of exercise that reminds me that drawing is still fun!

Other than that, I received some good news concerning a (surprise!) new project that I can’t really talk about. Yep, being vague is also a specialty of mine. Until then, here’s what got me excited this month:

Reading: Deadly Class 4 & 5. Still incredible. For the love of Men by Liz Plank, a very revealing investigation on toxic masculinity. I’m not even halfway done and I’ve been quoting this book every 5 minutes. Princess Jellyfish vol.4,
On my screen: Sweet Tooth, the brilliant adaptation of the graphic novel by Jeff Lemire.
On the BIG SCREEN!: That’s right, I went back to the movies for the first time in a year and a half. To see Demon Slayer: Mugen Train because I’m a NERD and because I COULD.
In my ears: Guess who released a new album? Again? King Gizzard of course! Who else am I ever gonna write about here? Seriously, their new album Butterfly 3000 is FANTASTIC, poppy, trippy, summery, I’m obsessed. I also saw Alias live (gasp!!) and loved it. I can’t wait for an actual album. 60 songs that explain the 90’s is my new favorite podcast. Rob Harvilla’s texts are funny and dry and his deadpan delivery is exactly my jam. He does so much more than talk about a song: he provides context, trivia, musical excerpts mixed with self-deprecating bits about his life as a shitty teen in the 90’s. I love it.


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.


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?


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.


July recap – Production, playlists and vacations

Category : Monthly recap

Hello everyone! With July behind us, we’re now entering my second favorite time of the year, where the weather gets less cruel and the light is extra special.

July was honestly quite good. I finished the storyboard for Utown Chapter 3, after litteral MONTHS of putting it off for various (mostly legit) reason. I was so happy to start penciling and inking again. It’s crazy how time-consuming writing is. Whenever I’m in front of actual pages, on paper, drawing, I think of how small of a portion of the work it is. It takes as long to letter a page than inking it. It’s… baffling!

My update hiatus dragged on a little longer than I had expected as well. So in order to give a bone to my fine Patreon pledgers, I posted my most intimate work yet: the Utown playlist. For some reason, divulging my music preferences was always very nerve-wracking for me. The six-hour-long playlist is an ongoing project on itself! I made an illustration especially for that occasion because I’m weird like that!

And finally, to top off this month, I did something I hadn’t done in 8 years as a freelancer: I took a week off. Real vacations, as in, outside of the city. The last year has been so crazy, so draining and so…weird, that there was nothing I wanted more than to get away, in a cottage, with friends, for a year. I drew a little bit, played a lot of Animal Crossing, but no work was done. And that’s FINE.

So now I’m back, ready to work on Utown full-time until the end of 2020! It should be interesting 🙂 As always, I post progress shots, thoughts and sketches on Patreon, so check it out!

July was surprisingly okay! Here’s what I enjoyed this month:

Reading: Rumble, volume 3 and 4. Still a wild ride, still enjoying it!
Listening: Nothing sounds quite like Garbage’s first album. What can I say, I’m a nostalgic!
Watching: The Old Guard and Warrior Nuns, because we all need badass women dressed in black kicking major ass in old churches. My Neighbors the Yamadas, another lesser-known Ghibli movie about a charming, ordinary Japanese family. It’s such a feel-good movie!
Artist: Zoe Thorogood, for her wriggly, thin lineart. I can’t wait to get my hands on her book, the Impending Blindness of Billie Scott.


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