Lakes Festival Focus 2018: Animator and Comics Artist Guy Delisle

Lakes Festival Focus 2018: Guy Delisle. Photo by Sandra MehlEvery year, in the countdown to the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, we bring you a series of interviews with guests at the event. This “Festival Focus” for 2018 is Guy Delisle, the award-winning Canadian animator and comics artist.

In 1994, Guy made his first short, Trois petits chats, which piqued fellow filmmaker Michael Dudok de Wit’s interest. Dudok de Wit asked Delisle to collaborate on his film Le moine et le poisson, which won the César for best short film in 1995.

In 2000, Delisle published Shenzhen, a graphic travelogue about his time working at an animation studio in the eponymous Chinese city. After that, more travelogues followed: Pyongyang, Burma Chronicles and Jerusalem, the latter winning the award for Best Album at the 2012 Angoulême festival.

From 2013 onwards, he published his three-part A User’s Guide to Bad Parenting, based on his own experiences as a father.

His latest book, Hostage, is the true story of Christophe André, who was taken hostage while working for an NGO in the Caucasus in the 1990s.

The Handbook to Lazy Parenting will be published by Drawn and Quarterly in 2019.

Roughs for Guy Delisle's "hostage", published in 2017

Roughs for Guy Delisle’s “hostage”, published in 2017

What are you working on, comics-wise, right now, and when will it be published?

Guy Delisle: I have done a series of illustrations based on a famous French writer. It was meant to animate an event at a Bookfair, where we had a talk together. After the talk< we decided to try to make a book out of it so we sent it to our publisher and it will come out in 2019.

Which comic project you’ve worked on are you most proud of and where can people see it or buy it?

Guy: I guess it would be my last project, Hostage, the biggest book I have ever done. It was a challenge to talk about the story of an NGO guy who was kidnapped for three months. It’s an almost day by day description of his experience and you can find it in libraries.

Art from "Hostage" by Guy Delisle

Art from “Hostage” by Guy Delisle

How do you plan your day as a creator? (Do you plan your day?)

Guy: I do the writing in the morning and the drawing in the afternoon. In a good day of work, I can finish one page. That’s a good rhythm for me, and in order to achieve that, I don’t turn on my computer before noon.

Art by Guy deLisle

What’s the best thing about being a comics creator?

Guy: The variety. I do a bit of writing a bit of drawing and a bit of colouring, all that in one day.

And the worst?

Guy: Not knowing what the future will be like.

Art from "Jerusalem" by Guy Delisle

Art from “Jerusalem” by Guy Delisle

What most distracts you from getting your work done?

Guy: The computer. I need it for some specific aspects of my work, like a reference for an image or precision for a historical point [in a script]. But when the machine is turn on it can captures you for an infinite number of distractions.

Shenzen scene by Guy deLisle

Shenzen scene by Guy deLisle

Do you think it’s easier or harder for young comic creators to get published today?

Guy: In my time, you had to be published somewhere. There was just a few big publishers and some magazines. I started in independent magazines.

Today, you can start to show your work on a blog very easily. If you get a lot of attention a publisher will contact you. It’s another way to start.

Art by Guy deLisle

Have you ever been to the Lake District before?

Guy: No, it will be my first time.

Which one comic creator would you most like to meet, and why?

Guy: I had the chance to fulfil the dream. I had the chance to briefly meet Moebius – and the same with Art Spiegelman. They where both heroes of my youth, and I have been very lucky to meet these two amazing artists.

How do Festivals and other comics events help creators most, do you think?

Guy: In festivals, you get to meet a lot of people that work in the comic field. It never happened to me but i know people that work together and they met in a festival.

Art from "Burma" by Guy deLisle

Art from “Burma” by Guy deLisle

What one piece of advice do you offer people looking to work in the comics industry?

Guy: Get a job first and work on your comic. That’s what I was doing working as an animator and doing comic on the side.

What’s your favourite comic right now and where can people get it?

Guy: I am reading a series by Taiyo Matsumoto, called “Sunny” – fantastic artwork and beautiful short stories.

Guy, thank you very much for your time and we look forward to seeing you in Kendal.

• The Lakes International Comic Art Festival will be back in Kendal 12th – 14th October 2018. Tickets for the Festival are on sale now from: 

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• Web:
• Twitter: @guy_delisle

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