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!



March recap – That damn swab, making a book, going out.

Category : Monthly recap

Hiyah! I hope everyone’s doing good! It’s lovely lover here, the breeze is gently pushing flurries of leftover garbage from the winter around. A gigantic discarded mattress bloomed right outside my front yard. Trash season is truly a sight to behold in Montreal.

March came to a screeching halt after testing positive for COVID earlier this month (not before giving it to my best friend, during her birthday dinner :/ ). I was out of business for 3-4 days, but it ended up feeling like a regular flu (hurray for getting my three shots!). In the meantime, I worked on the Utown cover and watched an embarrassing amount of Kuroko’s Basketball episodes.

The cover and back cover of Utown are done! As for the interiors, I got my first round of feedback from my editor and made a few changes in dialogues throughout the book. The printed version is gonna end up being a little different than the webcomic, but that’s part of the plan! The files are going to the printer on April 7h, so this is the last stretch. I’ll post the cover as soon as I can on Patreon, as well as inside illustrations, breakdowns and processes once the book is over!

After being stuck in isolation for a week and a half, it felt good to go see a live show, get together with friends in a cottage and go to a book launch. Next week, I’ll be at the Salon du Livre in Quebec, and I’m looking forward to signing books again 😀

A lot of really good stuff came out this month, so here’s what got me excited during March!

In my ears: Bodega’s Broken Equipement is way better than what I expected and has been on heavy rotation for 2 weeks. Yard Act, a recommendation from a friend: witty post-punk with great lyrics, and a few danceable songs. Franz Ferdinand released a great compilation of their best work and it hasn’t aged a day. I would’ve bought it if I hadn’t grabbed the first album like, 2 days before at the thrift store.

On TV: Kuroko’s Basketball, as I mentionned earlier. Taylor Tomlison’s Look at You standup special, which is right up my alley. Ahhh, self-deprecating jokes about therapy end medication are the best 😀 . I also watched Turning Red, had a blast and immediately put on the Backstreet Boys after the movie was over.

Artist: Stranger wolf, a Montreal-based illustrator that kicks ass! Check out her print shop as well!


February Recap – Cafe sketches, zigonnage, second-hand everything

Category : Monthly recap

Hello everyone! February brought with it the end of most pandemic restrictions over here. Dinners with friends and family happened, we started drawing in cafés again (it sounds more pretentious than it is) and I feel generally good! If winter could end somewhere in the next century, it’d be very swell.

As I’m writing this, Utown is about to be shipped to my publisher for review. I spent the month tweaking wonky artwork, fixing faces and changing bits of dialogues here and there. And adding a third shade of halftone because I’m a dummy who can’t let go until the end apparently! One of my favorite Quebecism is the verb “zigonner“, which means to tweak and waste time doing a menial task. Let me tell you that I’m zigonning the hell out of that book right now. Announcement! Utown (in French) is gonna drop somewhere early/mid May, just in time for this year’s FBDM/MCAF. I am losing my goddamn mind with excitement, I cannot wait to hold that book in my hands and promote the shit out of it. Now if I could just decide on a cover…!

Madame Bruno, the best/most useless assistant

With Utown out taking less and less space in my schedule, I started drawing for myself more. A trip to a local thrift store prompted me to draw last fall’s Outfit of the Day lineup, just like the one I did in summer. I find that drawing these is very fulfilling exercise and it always makes me feel better about myself. The power of art, amirite?

I’m almost done ripping my awkward, indie-sleaze-ish CD collection and doing so made me realize there are a lot of forgotten bands I still really, really enjoy listening to. One Saturday afternoon, I went to one of the few surviving used music/book store on the Plateau and spent an hour browsing for the fun of it. I know I sound like a raging nostalgic (I’m not the only one), but I couldn’t afford to shop at HMV for new releases until well into my college years so second-hand shops were where I built a resemblance of musical culture. Plus, with what went down with Spotify over the last few weeks, owning my music feels I dunno… right. Plus, they look dope.

L’Échange on Mont-Royal.

So with that, January III -I mean, March- is here. Here’s what got me excited during January II, The Revenge – I mean, February.

Reading: Karl Kershl’s Abominable Charles Christopher, all three issues. It’s my first time reading them cover to cover in 2-3 sittings and what a treat.
Watching:
Why do we Care if Movies are “Realistic”, an 11-minutes essay by Patrick Willem that kinda blew my mind. I started thinking about my work on the whole realist/formalist spectrum and I had a moment. He also thinks Marvel movies look like shit, and yeah, can’t disagree.
– Cartoonist Kayfabe’s Print Magazine episode, in which the guys go over the super niche, 1988 special edition of the magazine, entirely devoted to comic books. As someone who used to pour over graphic design magazines, this episode was pure delight. The ads!
Listening: Not just old stuff, I swear! Gravity Licker by Clear Capsule. Gotta love a band that makes up their own sub-sub-sub genres on Bandcamp *rolls eyes*. Montreal’s own tragic romantic figures The Dears are still Very Good. A comprehensive guide to King Gizzard’s discography made me 1. Like them more 2. Fear them more.

Cool art, bro: Libby. Cute cozy art! Artists need to get proper portfolio/gallery pages for chrissake’s./rant


January Recap – Cold prison, the pile, daydreaming

Category : Monthly recap

Hello everyone, I hope you’re all doing good! As I’m writing this, Quebec is sluggishly getting out of yet another round of curfew and restaurant closings. I can’t wait to draw with some friends over beer and coffee again, guh!

Normally, I open with some weather news because 1) I like small talk 2) if you lived here, you know how it rules over every other aspect of our lives and 3) it’s basically free complaint-fodder. But this month man, this month was TEDIOUS. January is never fun, but a wave of relentless, bitter cold just swooped over the city for weeks and made getting ready for each outing a part-time job. Some days I decided just not to go out, which I never do and opted to stay inside, huddled around my space heater.It was rough for the morale but I think the worst is behind us (hopefully!)

To be honest, the timing of this awful cold snap/lockdown wasn’t too bad. I doubled down on work, having literally nothing else to do, and finished inking Utown on January 6. 203 pages of inked comic look real sexy, so I did what every cartoonist do and took some pictures of The Pile. The amount of love I got after posting them really lifted my mood! As we speak, Utown is, in all intent and purpose, done, with only minor corrections left to put in. The post-prod stage–between finishing the pages and the actual launch of the book– is such a weird liminal space. I want to celebrate the most mundane milestone (because I’m exhausted and proud of my work), knowing well that from now on, I’ll have less and less control over how things go. It’s a hell of a ride!

If you want to take a peek at what it was like, inking all these pages, I made a TikTok account on which I uploaded most of my process videos. Watching someone work is like special ASMR for me, so I hope it’s pleasant to you as well. I hope to do more of these in the future!

Bertrand et Moi, the book series I illustrated for FonFon came out in stores too! So between raking my brain on how to illustrate the cover of an essay on weed without being too obvious, promoting the books and finishing Utown, you could say it was an eventful start of the year. The way I like ’em 😛 I still took some time to finish this Edwin picture I had lying around. Drawing for fun is fun!

And as if my office wasn’t messy enough, I started another kind of pile. I could put the CDs back in their box (I will) but I like having having ’em around. I don’t miss post-college Cab, but I still like her tastes in music! Don’t mind the late 90’s Canadian alt-rock gems, I was a teenager at one point too 😛

Reading: Annulé(e) – Réflexion sur la cancel culture, by Judith Lussier.
On the small screen: Deadly Class: visually stunning, but trashy AF. I’m glad I read the comics first, so I was ready for the incredibly bleak tone and gory content of the show. What a fucking shame they pulled the plug after one season though, I really liked it. Killer soundtrack as well! I also binged Midnight Asia and it made me miss food and people and events and the general concept of fun.
Listening to: See picture above 😛 Other than that, the new Billy Talent (Crisis of Faith), which has one of their best song but a lot of their worst ones -_- I found that Meat Wave’s (god that name) Volcano Park EP tugged at similar heartstrings than Billy Talent but did it better.
Artist: Wonderful, wonderful alariko. Their artwork is like therapy.


2021 Recap – 2022 Goals

Category : Monthly recap

Hello everyone! It’s January first and we’ve been slapped with a 3 week curfew over here. I’m in my pyjamas, coffee by my side, blasting some music and even though he situation’s a bit bleak right now, it’s time to look back at the year, with its highs and lows. That exercise alone always makes me feel better!

January
  • After years of smug resistance, I buy a used display tablet from a friend. It takes me 0.3 seconds to fall in love with it.
  • I get commissioned for a comic for la Maison de la littérature in Québec City and I do the cover of the Débrouillard’s special Art edition.
February
  • I work on another comic, this time, for the FBDM’s “X” anthology. It’s my favorite commissioned comic in a while.
  • Utown gets nominated at the Sequential Art Awards!
  • Meanwhile, I start notice how increasingly awful I feel in the morning. I book an appointment at a sleep clinic and get diagnosed with severe sleep apnea. It sucks.
March
  • It’s peak pandemic bullshit, I get tested after close friends catch it. There’s still a curfew in effect, I only see friends outside.
  • I buy new running shoes and set a running goal for the year.
April
  • I start working on a kid’s book project called “Bertrand et Moi”.
  • I draw a new iconic storefront for a pop-up event in St-Henri.
May
  • Suddently, everything happens! The Montreal Comic Art Festival is online again this year, so I do a few talks and live drawings.
  • We have the pop-up event and it’s a success!
  • I also get my first vaccine shot. Things are finally starting to look up, the province-wide curfew is lifted on my birthday.
June
  • Boum and I give a lecture on webcomics and online promotion.
  • Utown is coming along great.
  • I have my first real panic attack in years, after weeks of horrible sleeping patterns. At this point, the CPAP machine and me are NOT on friendly terms.
July
  • I get another Aggretsuko cover gig!
  • Summer is full of bike rides, running and visits to my friend’s house (with a pool!!)
  • I also buy 35mm film for my old camera and start taking photos again!
  • After discovering podcasts and soundtracks for sleeping, I finally start having restful nights again.
August
  • One of my best friend talks to me about an essay on weed he wants to write and I agree to illustrate it. We get a publishing deal like, ridiculously fast?! I immediately start sketching, while working on the kid’s book. Being an illustrator is weird.
September
  • I find a weird, goblin cat (but I return it to its owner… sniff).
  • I talk to Front Froid about a potential Hiver Nucléaire anthology.
October
  • I work on everything, but I’m starting to get nervous about the deadline for Utown.
  • I bring a few pages to ink at a cottage retreat with friends.
November
  • I do another (!!) Aggretsuko cover, a new holiday card for the Comiccon in December and I plan and promote the shit out of my Thanksgiving Etsy sale.
  • Axelle and me decide to pull the plug on the comic pitch we’ve been working on for the last few months. Sometimes you gotta pick your fights!
  • Since I’m also in charge the book layout for our weed essay, I dust off my graphic design degree and browse fonts for hours. I profess my undying love to InDesign once more.
December
  • First Comiccon in more than two years!
  • I finish writing and storyboarding the last Utown chapter.
  • The omicron variant sweeps over Quebec and until two days prior to Christmas, I don’t know if I’ll be able to see my family or not. No one shows symptoms so we get together.
  • I pencil a few pages (and drink wine) between Christmas and New Years. Curfew is reinstated and we’ve come full circle!

Highlights

  • The little community that formed around Utown on Patreon and on social media. Each comment, each reaction is a little gift 🙂
  • Utown is gonna be published!
  • Buying more albums on Bandcamp, reading reviews, discovering new artists and generally getting more excited about music.
  • Biking up the mountain became an activity that I actually looked forward to!
  • Getting back into photography as a hobby is really fun!

Lows

  • Obviously, getting diagnosed with sleep apnea was a huge blow.
  • Pandemic fatigue, anxiety about *points everything* and using the CPAP machine made me very aware of my squishy insides. 3 AM online queries about heart diseases became a regular occurrence.
  • Between the housing crisis, artists getting ripped off by NFT platforms and the frustrating fight for our own neighborhood’s right to peace and quiet, 2021 has been a ripe year for outrage. It’s kinda exhausting.

Goals

I reached a few of the goals I set last year, so that’s encouraging! Here’s what I wanna accomplish in 2022.

  • Draw for myself after Utown is done. Fanart, illustrations, random characters, doodles, etc. After 3 years of black and white comic, it’s time to start playing again.
  • Do things more mindfully.
  • Run a 10k by the end of the season and bike to unexplored lands!
  • Fall in love with movies again.

Final thoughts

The Utown page update schedule is how I kept track of time over the last two years, one chapter bleeding into the other, month after month, scheduled update after scheduled update. Working from home during months of lockdown became very, very repetitive. So, going from mad production mode to book launch mode is gonna be a huge change of pace and honestly, I’m looking forward to it. Can you believe it? I have four books coming out next year. FOUR!! With that said, I think I need to take a break from comics for a while and try new things. So as always, thanks for reading and sticking by. Have a great 2022 everyone!


December Recap – Tabling, race to the end of the year

Category : Monthly recap

Hi everyone! I’m in full annual recap mode so I’ll get December out of the way for now.

The month started with the holiday edition of the Montreal Comiccon. It was my first convention in person since the start of the plague, so needless to say I was vibrating the week before. I had a huge table all for myself, new comics, new prints, a new holiday card and… a mask at all time. It kept the con-crud at bay at least!

Other than that, December was a race to the end of the year, with many projects heading towards completion. I put the finishing touches on the last Utown chapter storyboard (and had a little cry about it). Not thinking constantly about what happens next in my comic is gonna free up so much mental space, I might start renting it.

A few days before Christmas, Covid cases started to spike out of control, tests were nowhere to be found and I didn’t know if I was gonna see my family or not. I was hit with a wave of mental and physical exhaustion that signalled that it’s indeed, the end of another pandemic year. I drew for myself, made gifts (which always cheers me up), watched a bunch of movies and tv and ended up seeing my parents and my sister anyway.

Oh and I got a new computer, but it’s as underwhelming as a desktop PC can be. But hey, I can play games on Steam now!

Next post is gonna my end-of-year recap, which I always love writing. Stay tuned! Until then, here’s what got me through December.

Reading: Zviane’s bonkers Football Fantaisie. A one of a kind, brick of a comic, truly one of the best book I’ve read in the past years. A master class in comic!
Watching: The Matrix Reloaded and Revolution, back-to-back. Way better than what I remembered! Aggretsuko season 4, as soon as it landed. I also finished Centaurworld, and really, really enjoyed it!
Listening: To my friend’s best-of 2021 playlists (I also made one!). And this really good playlist of music that the Beatles were influenced by.


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