Welcome to the first blog post of 2024 at Social Made Local, where creativity meets community! Let's start the new year right with a collaboration that has been brewing for months behind the scenes with local cartoonist Marc Rousseau. In this interview, we delve into the artistic process, discovering how Marc seamlessly fused his unique aesthetic with the core values of Social Made Local to birth the whimsical Delete Dog design.
Can you share more about the collaboration between Marc Rousseau Comics and Social Made Local with us? What brought about this partnership, and what can fans expect from the collaboration?
After years of an awareness of one another, with moments of sniffing at each other, it’s about time we jumped in the pool and made a project together. Social Marc Made Rousseau Local Comics smashed together at last. Expect nothing less than excellence.
You have a strong connection to Saskatoon. How has the city influenced your artistic style and storytelling? Are there specific aspects of Saskatoon that you find particularly interesting?
Yep, I’ve written two comic books now about the city. I’m always intrigued by the scrappy-little-dog quality of the place: it barks loud for a little pup. That combined with the colourful characters who call this place home, there’s an endless pile of things to write about here.
Your artwork features unique and intriguing characters. What inspires your character designs and the stories you tell through your comics? Are there specific themes or messages you want to express?
My character designs are usually themed around composite collective opinions on what people think other people think about each other. If that’s complicated- I look for the intersection of stupid and relatable, that sweet little Venn diagram’s creamy centre. As for writing, I try to shine a spotlight on things in life that seem so commonplace that they blend into the background of the day-to-day. But I think when these things are examined closer, it’s easy to realize how ridiculous the normal patterns of society can be. It’s fun to me to remember that we’re all just making up the rules as we go.
Can you delve into the inspiration behind the Delete Dog? What does Delete Dog represent, and what do you hope people take away from this design?
Oh sure. The design follows in line with the rest of my writing style, but condensed to one shirt of course. Golden retrievers are just jolly dogs who wants to hang out with you all day, y’know? Juxtaposed against a lot of people’s lifestyles now of being consumed in a barrage of messages and emails all day, I think it’s good to remember to knock it all off for a bit. The design is loud and bright, so wearing it is a constant reminder to reassess what we’re doing.
How do you view the synergy between your creative work and the mission of Social Made Local to support and inspire content creators?
Addition by subtraction, I suppose. My hopeful message to get across to content creators is to remember to take it down a notch and make sure you’re not always “on”. Remember to breathe and make room for yourself instead of trying to maximize every moment for productivity, and we’ll get the best version of you when it is time to work. It’s a rough mindset to get out of that I wrestle with often. Making specific time for work is as important as making specific time for not-work.
In the world of comics and art, collaborations can bring out unique and unexpected results. Were there any surprises or memorable moments during the creative process of working with Social Made Local on this project?
I had my heart very set on a completely different design. It got shot down pretty thoroughly in the rough draft phase, and I had to reorganize my approach. The design we ended up with here is a combination of two backup designs I had. Thinking back now, I think this is the best design for this project, and I really love it now. It’s good to have an outside source give some guidance and focus on what makes sense for a project and what is just me having my own fun. As someone who makes most art alone, it’s nice to have a second opinion elevate a concept and shake me out of my tunnel vision.
Saskatoon has a growing art scene. How do you see your work contributing to and influencing the local artistic community? Are there specific ways you hope to inspire fellow artists or engage with the community?
I hope my projects help tell a younger generation that making comics is cool. If the comics scene in Saskatoon built up in partial thanks to the books I’ve made, I think that would be the biggest success in regards to influencing my community for the better. I’m seeing the seeds of that here and there already. It’s important I think because comics is a medium with few-to-no set rules, and I think it can be freeing to approach something where there’s no wrong answers.
You are most known for your books A Miserable Guide to Saskatoon Part 1 and now Part 2. What inspired you to create this book series, and will there be more?
Yes, those books are my fault, and I’m sorry. (sarcastic chuckles) The original was born from a concoction of perspective and desperation. Moving to Canada from the US and seeing everything here from a slightly tilted outsider’s view, the original pages were made for my own entertainment to make sense of things. I’ve been making comics since I was a child, so it made sense to do this for me. The second book is because people kept asking for more- I continued to say no, but they wore me down. So here we are five years later with the sequel. Will there be more? I can’t see ragging on Saskatoon for my whole life, but I think I may have one more book about the place somewhere deep in my guts. Time will tell, but as of today I would give the one more Miserable Guide in the future a hardy “probably”.
Finally, for those who may be new to your work, what advice do you have for readers diving into the world of Marc Rousseau Comics? What can they expect, and what do you hope they take away from the experience of exploring your creations?
Readers who have any passing interest in the city of Saskatoon and have about an hour of spare time should check out either A Miserable Guide to Saskatoon or A Miserable Guide to Saskatoon 2: It’s Just More of the Same. You can read one book without another- there’s no through narrative, so relax. My hope is readers come away with the feelings of “Yeah, I feel this way too. I guess we all do!” and “Wow, everything is kinda dumb, huh?” Don’t look into anything else I’ve ever made though, it’s all gross and stupid.