WE’s first-ever Proust(ish) Questionnaire victim is Graham Roumieu, an illustrator who has regularly contributed to Block Magazine. Besides that collaboration, he’s also the creator and illustrator of five books—including a trilogy of faux Bigfoot memoirs—and has been published widely in magazines and newspapers including The Atlantic, Financial Times, and the New York Times. Let’s begin.
When are you happiest during the creative process?
GR: Part of my brain deals with the practicals of an assignment and the other makes the drawing magic happen. When those two are warmed up and working together, it’s like the illustration equivalent of a runner’s high.
What is the greatest struggle you face during that process?
GR: To extend the running analogy—avoiding the biting dogs and out-of-control busses of distraction.
If you could collaborate with someone, living or dead, who would it be?
GR: I did a book with Doug Coupland a few years ago. I really enjoyed that and would love to do it again. Aside from that, doing something unusual that isn’t for a book, magazine, website, or advertisement would be fun. A mural in a Bond Villain’s bunker or something… collaboration being that they “suggest” what I paint while pointing a death ray at me.
What effect does your work have on your personal life?
GR: Like I assume everyone who works alone from home does, I worry that I smell like Yoda and everyone is just too polite to tell me so.
Where do you most often go for inspiration?
GR: I am leery of the concept of inspiration, especially as something to be gotten.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
GR: My books.
What is your most tremendous failure?
GR: Oh god let me curl up in the fetal position and think about that for a while…
What do you think is the most common characteristic of your work?
GR: That only repulsive and sad people dislike it.
What’s one thing you’d like to change about your working life?
GR: Everything was fine until Cafe Brasiliano on Dundas shut down a couple of months ago, so I guess I’d want a lunch-specific time machine. Like Uber Eats, but with a time machine.
If you had to write a motto for your approach to creative projects, what would it be?
GR: ”If you need mottos to do this, you’re so screwed.”
“Bring back Brasiliano!”
For WE’s Proust(ish) Questionnaire, based on the famous Proust Questionnaire, we ask a collaborator the same ten questions about the creative side of life.