Ladies I Love: J is for Julie Doucet, Artiste Fantastique

Dirty Plotte No. 1Ready for another A to Z Challenge post?  I have another Lady I Love artist for you!  I first became acquainted with Canadian artist Julie Doucet when I was doing a lot of cartooning in the early 1990’s.  I had immersed myself in underground comics, and was particularly interested in those drawn by women about non-traditional topics, and Doucet certainly fell into that category, writing and drawing about topics such as sex, violence, menstruation and male/female issues.  The first work I read by Julie Doucet was called “Dirty Plotte”, a series that started publication through Drawn & Quarterly in 1991 (although before that it had existed as a photocopied zine as a record of her daily life, thoughts and fantasies).   Similar to her subsequent book, “My Year in New York“, her comics were gritty, loud, messy, honest and just about the exact opposite of “Cathy” (drawn by Cathy Guisewite, remember?).  I loved them because the style was so incredibly new to me, and Julie didn’t seem to shy away from topics that had otherwise been taboo, embarrassing, or atypical of the feminine “ideal”.

Even though Julie Doucet achieved some success with comics (for instance, winning the esteemed Harvey award for “Best New Talent” in 1991), she ultimately tired of that medium and quit drawing comics altogether:

I quit comics because I got completely sick of it. I was drawing comics all the time and didn’t have the time or energy to do anything else. That got to me in the end. I never made enough money from comics to be able to take a break and do something else. Now I just can’t stand comics. — Julie Doucet in “A Good Life: The Julie Doucet Interview” by Dan Nadel

Currently, Doucet writes and makes collage in Montreal; you can see some of her more recent works on her tumblr.  If you’re interested in seeing more of her comics, you can find several of her dream-related comics at the World Dream Bank (search by author – she has several comics on the site).  Additionally, here is a recent interview with Julie Doucet about what she’s been up to in the past few years.  Even though she has abandoned drawing comics, I will always love her drawing style and ability to tell a cringe-worthy story.

Cat Baby

An excerpt from The Recurring Dream (Cat Baby) by Julie Doucet 1994-1995

10 thoughts on “Ladies I Love: J is for Julie Doucet, Artiste Fantastique

    • Yeah, I found the “underground” comics of the early 90’s to be completely fascinating. There’s some amazing artwork, and the stories are often semi-autobiographical, especially by women cartoonists of that time. It was just so novel…and the styles were all over the board. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  1. Thank you! Great to be introduced to a new-to-me artist and learn more about you in the process. I will look at some of the links you provided – anyone writing about living in NYC always interests me. PS I LOVE thephoto of the brown/black fuzzy fuzzy in your cover!! Those little buggers are adorable.

    • Thanks, Sammy! Julie’s book “My Year in New York” is really fascinating – she really combines a lot of autobiography, dreams, and fantasy into her work and it makes you wonder about the life she was living at the time. It’s so frenetic and real but exaggerated at the same time…I can hardly get my head around it! And the wooly bear caterpillar – one of my favorite fuzzy critters 🙂 I set my headers to change randomly between about 10 images that all show something “fuzzy”. I get bored easily! 😀

  2. I love finding women who don’t shy away from gritty and unvarnished in their chosen field. Thanks for introducing me to this one. And I have to say it. I hated “Cathy”. That strip irked me to no end. lol!

    • Ha! I hated “Cathy” too – so stereotypical it made me want to barf. I think I have one more female cartoonist coming up…let’s say around the letter M or so! 🙂

  3. I’d never heard of Julie Doucet before, so it’s great to learn about a new artist. That’s one of my favorite things about the A to Z challenge – learning so many new things from hoping around to a smorgasbord of blogs.

    Hope you’re having fun with the challenge,

    • Thanks, Jocelyn! I agree – I’ve been exposed to a lot of new topics and perspectives during the challenge. I’m having a hard time keeping up though – every day I find more blogs that I want to keep up with throughout the challenge, and now I have so many to read! I’m going to have to keep up the reading and visiting A to Z blogs after the challenge is over! 😀

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