Whazamo! Profiles: Philippe Girard

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Philippe Girard

Open Book is celebrating the outstanding graphic novels and comics published here in Ontario and throughout the country with Whazamo! profiles, contests, videos and a series of original literary comics curated by Vepo Studios. Check out Open Book's Whazamo! page all month long to keep up to date.

In today's Whazamo! profile, cartoonist Philippe Girard tells us about his need for an organized work space, his experimentation with different types of paper and his new book, Killing Velazquez, recently published with Conundrum Press. Click on the illustration below for a better look at a sample of Girard's work. (The image can be further enlarged by clicking on the icon with four arrows that will appear.)

Open Book:

How would you describe your most recent publication?

Philippe Girard:

It's called Killing Velazquez and is published by Conundrum Press. It recalls my encounter with a pedophile priest back in 1983.

OB:

When you're working on a project, which comes first — the words or the images?

PG:

I need a story to start working. But I don't like things to be all planned; I need to leave a few doors open just in case.

OB:

What do you do to get the creative juices flowing?

PG:

I walk.

OB:

What does your work space look like?

PG:

It's a small room in the basement of my house where everything is in its right place. It's surrounded by books (of course) and posters. My work area has to be clean and neat, otherwise I can't concentrate.

OB:

What medium do you most often work with?

PG:

Mostly India ink (Pentel brush pen has been my favorite so far), but also with gouache and watercolor. After spending a few months in France last fall, I started using different types of paper. My last project was drawn on Gerstaecker No. 5, and for the present one I've switched to bristol.

OB:

Why do you think graphic novels are finally gaining popularity?

PG:

Because they target women.

OB:

Who is your favourite graphic novelist?

PG:

I don't like the word "graphic novelist." To me, it's all comics and we're all cartoonists. Francois Avril is my favorite cartoonist.

OB:

Where can we find more of your work?

PG:

On my blog, philippegirard.blogspot.com, and on my website, www.philippegirard.com.


In addition to various collaborations with magazines and daily newspapers, Phillipe Girard has published nine books of comics in French as well as a series of novels for children. His strip Béatrice was serialized for one year in the newspaper La Presse (Montreal), and later in the weekly magazine Spirou. In addition to many nominations in Quebec and Canada, he received a Bédéis Causa award in 2001 for Jim le Malingre: avatars ataviques, as well as the Bédélys Quebec award and the Joe Shuster Award in 2008 as writer for the book Danger public. In 2010 his first book in English, Ruts & Gullies: Nine Days in St. Petersburg was released by Conundrum press to great critical acclaim. He lives in Quebec City.

For more information about Killing Velazquez please visit the Conundrum Press website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

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