Event Recap: On Loving Women Book Launch

On Thursday, February 20th, Librairie Drawn & Quarterly was overjoyed to launch Diane Obomsawin's newest book, On Loving Women, translated from French by Helge Dascher and published by Drawn & Quarterly! Diane presented a slideshow of her work, showed process for On Loving Wome, and played a short animation, all to an avid crowd.

Diane's earlier work provided a gorgeous border for our massive On Loving Women stacks, and sold like hot cakes.

There was a massive crowd despite the weather, but with a little rearranging everyone got in.

Store staff member and resident badass Helen gave a wonderfully insightful introduction, discussing Obomsawin's pared down style and the themes of excitement, confusion, and shame that emerge in On Loving Women.

Diane's presentation took a chronological look at her work, starting with some of her earlier, "rougher" comics (ex: comic recipes Bacalao!). She spoke a bit about her childhood; she moved 14 times in her youth, and would make a comic to remember what had happened during the day.

While working at the NFB she created the animation Here and There, in which all of the characters are chickens. She described how this method of animation created an emotional distance in a very personal story.

Diane's work for burger place La Paryse (no longer in business... RIP La Paryse) involved food-based characters trying to make their way to the restaurant. The whole comic was done on napkins. Past work also focused on Diane's surreal dreams. She chronicles her strange and unique dreams in L'oie de cravan and Plus Tard. She also discussed the importance of her dog Mimi, after whom the graphic novel Pink Mimi Drink is titled, and how happy her life has been since Mimi entered it.

Above is another excerpt from one of her books. This one showed her dream of a restaurant experience disturbed by a crew of shy cows, and an arrogant one who makes eye contact.

For On Loving Women, Diane was inspired by Michel Tremblay's account of "the first sparkle" of his sexuality and decided to interview her friends to acquire their stories of that moment. It was important to Diane to get her friends to tell her, as she knew how intimate the discussion would be. She also saw how much pain there could be in that type of memory.

Afterwards, Diane answered questions and showed a short animation called La foret. One audience member wanted to know how her friends reacted to being in the book (no surprise that responses were overwhelmingly positive). Something she found rewarding was the way her work was able to turn a sad experience into something that, while still upsetting, could be laughed about, and relived in a positive way.

Diane stayed afterwards to sign copies and talk to her many excited fans. We know all of you who missed the talk are still wanting to see delightful Diane in action, so here are a few more upcoming appearances!

Toronto: Diane will present a slideshow and be interviewed by Alex Tigchelaar at The Henhouse on Friday, March 7th.
Montreal: Diane will sign at the Festival BD de Montreal. The festival takes place at the end of May in Parc Lafontaine.

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