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Théo Calméjane's illustrated FML

Hi gang! My name is Julien and I’m very happy to be with you for this week’s brand new illustrated FML. I’m so happy, I feel like rolling about like a turtle. This week, we’re trying something different. As you may know, FML was originally a French website, where FMLs are called VDMs, and is a huge hit amongst French-speaking people. This article and illustration are being published simultaneously on both websites, and we all hope that everyone will enjoy them. If it’s the case, this sort of occurrence may happen again in the near future.

This week we’re travelling all the way to Belgium, where our artist of the week resides. He’s 22, lives in Brussels and is called Théo Calméjane. “I’ve just finished my studies and I’m now working on cartoon and illustration projects and I’m trying to make a living from doing so. Besides that, I work in a small cinema.”

What is that you enjoy in what you do? What do you miss? “What I enjoy about cartoons is the relative freedom you have as a writer, no schedules, no constraints, only those that mean you have to drop in to work now and again, but in a really independent way. But at the moment I miss working alongside other people in a workplace.”

Amongst other news, Théo is a big part of the Les Machines, a publishing house based in Angouleme, a city in France where an international cartoon festival is held every year. “We oversee our own books in a completely independent way, from the creation of the story to printing, putting the book together, all the way to sending it out to bookshops and the festivals we take part in. With three other friends, we created the magazine CATAPULTE, which has just released its sixth issue.”

He went to art school in Angouleme and got a masters degree in cartoon design. “It was fun!” Now he runs cartoon workshops and would like to be published in the youth-orientated press. He’s also working on a project that contains several chapters, which he’d like to submit to a publisher. “It’s about holidays, fishing and walks in the woods…” We won’t fail to mention that our guest was nominated for the blog newcomer 2012 award, which is pretty classy. Right, next!

So, dogs or cats?
Cute cat.

What are the latest things you’ve liked, movies, music and cartoon-wise?
At the movies, Take Shelter and Drive! As for cartoons, the excellent “Clémence dans les cratères” by Cléry Dubourd and Didissque by Pierre Elahee from Na editions, a small publishing outfit I’d like everyone to get to know!

Who are the main artists that you like, and whose blogs you regularly visit?
I like Tom Gauled, Carl Bark, José Parrondo… As for blogs I often go to Bibliodyssey or Lezinfo, which are sites full of very interesting pictures.

Tell us what you enjoy in life, your passions, your hobbies, and your vices, and everyday pleasures.
I enjoy tennis, Ping-Pong, swimming, eating spaghetti, going to the beach, making snowmen. But the best is still a boiled egg in the morning.

Are you afraid of anything? If so, of what?
A classic phobia: spiders.

As an ending, ask yourself a question that you would’ve liked to be asked, and then it’s up to you whether you answer it or not.
Do you prefer Farfalle or Cannelloni? Cruel dilemma.


To check out this week’s illustrated FML, click here!


That’s it for this week: We leave you with some videos to have a look at while you wait for our next installment next Saturday. There’s a lot of talent in the US Air Force, even when singing Adele. I also wanted to introduce you to a guy who tastes ice cream in a really weird way, to conclude with a “That's a 10.” And as this week the illustrated FML is a bit exceptional, here is also a dad waking up his son in a Doom way. See you next time!


Got talent and want to take part in an upcoming illustrated FML? Send me and email to [email protected], without forgetting to give me the link to your blog or some of your artwork.

#1221 - Illustrated FML - On 03/09/2012 at 5:06pm by Julien - 7 comments

The FML shadow

Don't go anywhere! Not only is there a British artist with us today, but there's BATMAN! How can we top that? We can't, so I could tell you about how this week we found an vaccine for acne, about how Nutella got legal in the US, about Meryl Streep's Oscar speech after receiving her third statuette, and about how Mattel somehow managed to create the Marty McFly skateboard, you wouldn't read it anyway. So let's get to the interview:

-Sye hello, welcome on FML, first of all, is Sye Watts your real name?
-My real name is Simon Watts, Sye is a nickname which has stuck with me since high school. I prefer it to Simon, it has fewer letters. Sometimes people misread the 'y' as a 'u' and I end up being called 'Sue Watts', but I feel that just adds to the fun of things.

-Then, I'll call you Sir Watts. How old are you?
-Sounds good ma'am. I am twenty four, I'll be turning twenty five this August.

-And where do you live? Because if you live in England, I got that "Sir" thing right.
-Hah, well I haven't been knighted just yet, but yeah I live in the North West of England. Close to the city of Manchester.

-Manchester England, England. So I got that part right. Now let me try to guess something else... you're an artist and you have a webcomic, am I wrong?
-This is spooky...  you are spot on. Quick, what did I have for breakfast this morning!

-Eggs, bacon, pudding and plain milk oyster stew because you're English?
-SO CLOSE...  I had Cheerios. Don't tell the Queen though, I might get kicked out of England for not having a Full-English.


-What is your job Sir?
-At the moment I am a full time Student, studying Media and Performance at the University of Salford. I've been picking up a few independent art projects and web-design gigs here and there, on the side.

-So what do you want to do after that?
-I have no idea. Ideally I'd like to be working as an artist. I've done a lot of project work with young people, particularly disadvantaged or minority groups (such as LGBT) which I'd like to continue on a more regular basis. My degree at the moment is serving to help me survive while I work more on the skills I need to help me survive as a freelancer. The economy isn't the best right now, I'm lucky to have the chance to study and work on my art (and comics) in my free time without worrying too much about my finances.

-Let's talk about your webcomic, Syeonline, I can't help but find a resemblance between the main character and you...
-Ahh, you have a good eye! Although considering the main comic on SyeOnline is a journal comic, it was the obvious choice to give myself the starring role 

-Is it 100% inspired by your life or do you invent stories too?
-Yeah, so far everything which has a comic strip has been happened in my life. Although it is from how I experience it, so it tends to have a more comic twist. The plants on my window really are bitching about each other. 

-(I knew that bitch plant thing immediately, bitchy cactus am I right) And that's what really enjoyable about your webcomic, it's because it feels real that it's so pleasant to read. How do you draw? Photoshop, pencil..?
-(Totally) Well, Steven the Gay Stormtrooper is produced entirely in Photoshop using a graphics tablet. The Diary Comic is more traditional, I thumbnail and rough in blue pencil, ink using pens (although I'm doing some experiments with a brush at the moment) then scanned, and coloured in Photoshop (using a graphics tablet).

-That's not very common to see a webcomic made "traditionally". Last question Sir Watts! I know, saying goodbye is difficult, but you have to be strong (or you can also make a comic about it), why did you choose that story?
-Hmm, good question! It wasn't the first story that I had an idea on, but this story sort of gave me a chance to be a little silly. Which was quite hard when I thought about it, because the story is so silly to begin with! It was a case of "How can I make this stupider?" I'm pleased with the result 

-Plus, Batman is like the sexiest man alive. Yes, he exists. And I know he's reading this interview. ([email protected], you now what to do bat boy). Thank you Sir Watts, that was a great interview!







Sye's webcomic :


#1217 - Illustrated FML - On 03/02/2012 at 5:23am by Alice - 2 comments

The FML Puppet

Hello everyone! I'm Keermy and I'm Alice's puppet! Today I'm soooooo happy-happy because there are puppets involved in the illustrated FML! Readers, you should try this at home, put your hand in something, move your fingers and make it talk, you'll see, it's the most exciting feeling in the world. That's exactly what Alice did, and thanks to her, I can now freely talk to you, dear FML audience, about anything I want. So can I have a moment of your time? To talk about our Lord Jesus Christ?
Damned. I thought being a ventriloquist would be more fun. I guess Keermy wasn't that interesting after all. Never mind, let's start the interview.

-Ryan Hudson, hello, welcome onto the FML boat, how old are you?
-I'm 27!

-I see, let's not mention the big 3-0 then, where are you from?
-I'm from the misunderstood land of Salt Lake City, Utah.

-(Come on don't blame us, you had the Olympic games, there's nothing else to talk about) What's your job?
-Ha, yeah. The only Olympic event I was able to attend was the Foo Fighters concert that opened one of the medal ceremonies. Great show. Anyway, drawing comics and posting on the internet is my job. It's a fun one. I enjoy it immensely.

-It's pretty rare to see artists doing webcomics as their full-time jobs, how do you manage an "internet career"?
-I have been really lucky to have a lot of my comics spread virally and I think that is why I've been able to manage it. At the moment all of my income is from ad revenue. I know that isn't the best thing to rely on and I plan to sell merch soon, but it's been working so far. I really have to thank Stumbleupon, Reddit and bookmarking sites like them for making it possible for my comics to spread like they have.

-So are you planning on publishing everything on the internet? No book?
-I'm actually in the process of compiling my book right now. I'm going to be exhibiting at the Emerald City Comicon in March and I want to have the book ready in time for that. I also released a book back in 09' that covered my first year of strips. When I ran out of them I didn't get any more printed.


-Due to the internet, has publishing a book got easier or harder? On one hand, it's really easy for any one to publish something, on the other hand, everybody can do it, so I bet it's hard to earn the public's interest? How do you feel about that? ("How do you feel about that" I feel like I'm an Elle journalist interviewing some diva about her break-up.)
-Well I honestly don't know if it's easier or harder in general. My only concern is having something available for my specific audience. I'm pretty sure anyone who buys my book online will already be a reader of my comic. I'm not really targeting the general population. I'm treating the book like I would any other bit of merch, like a t-shirt or buttons or something. I'm not going to claim that it's the smart approach, but it's what I'm going to do for now. I think with self publishing, you just have know if you will have an audience there to buy your stuff. I wouldn't have a book printed if I didn't have any readers.

-I understand. So, tell us more about Channelate, for those who don't know about it yet!
-Well, it's a comic strip in the "gag-a-day" category, but it doesn't come out daily. I've been drawing it since February of 2008 and did it as a side project until last September, when I finally started doing it full time. Occasionally, my wife Vee will write jokes for the strip. She has a sense of humor almost identical to my own. The jokes range from zany to cynical.

-What are your inspirations?
-I've been really inspired by the humor in South Park and shows on Adult Swim. I remember when I first saw South Park in Jr. High I thought I had finally found a cartoon that was making jokes like the ones my friends and I would make together. A lot of times the humor in my comic comes from the thoughts on a subject that I would normally keep to myself in a public setting.

-And now last question Ryan! Why did you choose this FML story?
-It stood out to me because I actually experienced a similar situation! I was in a bathroom at my college and the dude next to me started talking. I didn't respond like the girl in the FML, but I just sat there thinking "why the hell would he be talking to me???". It only awkward for a second, then I realized he was talking to his wife. But seriously, who does that? Anyway, that's why I picked it.

-And that's how you rocked it. Thank you Ryan, that was fun to do!






Ryan's webcomic :


#1213 - Illustrated FML - On 02/25/2012 at 5:05am by Alice - 1 comments

FML goes too far

"Fake". We do sure hear that word a lot nowadays. But what can you do, sometimes the situation you're trapped in is so unreal that you simply can't make it up. But don't worry, here on FML, these situations are the true heroes, so come along and bring all your crazy stories right here. Plus, the most unbelievable stories can get the chance to be illustrated by amazing artists. And this is what's happening today, courtesy of Aviv Itzcovitz:



-Aviv, welcome to FML! You're the creator of the amazing Stupid Snake webcomic (but we'll get to that later), first of all, present yourself, how old are you?
-I'm 27. I live in Israel, I do some freelance stuff as an illustrator but my passion is comics.

-Okay, so you already answered half of my next question, I'll now have to be inventive on that one. How did you get into being an illustrator? Did you go to art school or something?
-I did go to art school, 4 years of that. It didn't actually help much with getting jobs, but at least I learned to draw better. I guess that's something. I get all kind of jobs, coloring, web design, not just illustration. Sometimes even comics.

-So, how did you create "Stupid Snake"?
-Well, the comic I did before that was half fantasy world and half real world kind of thing. The fantasy part was all wordless, I really enjoyed that. Communicating with nothing but drawings. I wanted to do something that is completely wordless so I can really go wild with it. So that was Stupid Snake. The story pretty much came to me after I already drew about 20 pages or something like that, I was winging it up until that point. So basically it's a fantasy-mystery comic but it's also quite bizarre and most certainly not for everyone. I think it's a lot of fun, but what do I know.


-Yes, you're not objective (but I am, and I can say that it's funny indeed). Who (or what) are your inspirations when it comes to illustrating something?
-I think I can split my inspiration to 1) comics and 2) everything else. Cartoonists that really inspire me, at least at the moment, are - Brandon Graham, Michael Deforge, James Stokoe, James Kochalka, and oh man I guess that's enough for now. By "everything else" I mean art, movies, stuff I discover on the internet in the middle of the night when I have nothing (or when I do have something) better to do. I guess the TV series Lost was a pretty big inspiration for Stupid Snake, that's the mystery part of the comic. Lately I've been inspired mostly by comics, though. Also Adventure Time. That's a fun show.

-You mentioned Lost, I have to ask you, what is your theory concerning the island?
-I really liked what they show in the last season, with Jacob and his brother. I have to admit that I can't really put to words why any of that makes any sense at all, it's like it has its own logic. But that's what I liked about it. I'm not gonna say that the island is "Hell" or whatever. It's just the island. I really can't explain it, and that's why it's so interesting. You just don't know what to expect from that place.

-Exactly like your webcomic. What are your next projects? A new webcomic? A book?
-I'm already working on several comics. The one that is most likely to be finished first is Fishbird. It's about a guy that's trying to catch this weird creature. He's pretty obsessed with it, but he sucks. And then some things happen, and if I'll tell you about them the story will be spoiled, so... It's pretty short, less than 60 pages long, and not wordless.


-More seriously, does living in Israel somehow affect your creations?
-I'm way too deep in fantasy land, so probably not. I keep thinking that I should do a comic about this conflict that's all around me, but there have been better people than me who've already done just that. Unless I really have something to say about it I'd rather not. But maybe someday.

-You'll have to keep us informed. Last question Aviv! Why did you choose this story?
-I got the idea for the comic right away, there wasn't really any question about it. I remember picturing Godzilla crashing through the metro would be the next logical step for this guy's life and that made me chuckle. So that was that.

-Logical, that's the word. Thank you very much for taking part Aviv !






Stupid Snake webcomic :


#1209 - Illustrated FML - On 02/17/2012 at 9:15am by Alice - 0 comments

The better stay at home FML

Supernatural lovers, you're welcome. Yes, today we're not talking about a pop-colorful-watercolor-fanatic artist, we're welcoming a young lady that makes you go wow, fills your brain with question marks, x-files and short stories. Plus, she's from England so she knows all about weirdness (just look at their princess). Let's start, companions. 


-Lucy Lyall, you're today's artist, hailing from the UK, but where do you live exactly?
-I'm living in Swindon at the moment - I moved here for work and I live with my husband.

-How old are you? (I'm so rude, asking for a lady's age, what have I become?)
-I'm 30. 

-What is your job?
-Well, I'm not working currently - but I was working as a mechanical engineer, in the waste-water industry. So, lots of walking around sewage works - very glam.

-Oh, it's very different from being an artist! So, is drawing a real dream or just a hobby?
-A bit of both really. I take it very seriously, but I know that engineering is probably going to earn me more money! Plus, I do enjoy science as well - it's something I've always had problems with, as it's pretty impossible to find a job were you can do engineering AND comics...

-You can create it. As Adam Lambert said : no boundaries. Tell us more about your "strange" webcomic.
-That's true. But on the other hand, I like doing two things that I so different - it means I don't get bored! I'm working on a couple of comics at the moment, but my newest one is called 'Spare Keys for Strange Doors'. I've been updating it for a few months now. It's about a couple who work solving supernatural problems in their city - so, people come to them with problems, or they work with the police. I wanted to create a set up where I could do a series of short stories.



-What's your biggest inspiration on making this webcomic?
-Oh god, now you're asking. I tend to read and watch anything that's got supernatural elements in an everyday setting - I love that kind of stuff. I'm a big fan of Neil Gaiman's stuff - Sandman, Neverwhere, etc. I love Diana Wynne Jones as well. And I was brought up on stuff like Doctor Who, and Buffy. Clearly used the word 'stuff' too many times there.

-What about all those movies starring Steve Buscemi. Seriously have you seen his eyes? They're supernatural. Anyway, what's in the future for "Spare keys for strange doors"?
-Steve Buscemi is awesome. Yes, his eyes are freaky as hell, and that's one of the reasons he's great. But moving on ... I've got a load of scripts and ideas that I want to try out. The story I'm updating with at the moment is about something nasty at the bottom of a swimming pool (so I wasted a couple of hours today googling diving equipment ... got to love the internet). Hopefully, I'll soon be working on a story with my sister - she also writes, and we've been wanting to collaborate for ages. Then ... well ... one of the things I'm enjoying about this project is I can pick up whatever idea I happen to be interested in at the time, and make a story about it, so who knows?

-I now understand why you did that twist on the FML story. How did the idea come to you?
-Ha ha! Surely the obvious question is 'What was she wearing?'. And that was one of the outfits that popped into my head. I only thought of the last panel a bit later though - when I thought how useful it might be to have a chain-saw when you're getting bad service!

-Not only are you an engineer-artist, but you also give people advice on how save some time. You ma'am are awesome.







Strange but awesome Lucy's webcomic :


#1205 - Illustrated FML - On 02/10/2012 at 9:51am by Alice - 1 comments