Monday, June 20, 2022

Meet Thony Loui, visiting Haitian cartoonist

by Mike Rhode

Thony Loui (a pen name for Anthony Louis-Jeune), a visual designer, artist, and cartoonist from Haiti, was at Fantom Comics this weekend signing his new self-published series, Tanama comic books. He says in his capsule bio, "In 2020, I created 'Tanama' a super she-ro with special powers to support smallholder farmers, and women farmers in particular, as they overcome tremendous hardships and fight off evil forces to combat climate change through tree planting around the world." Bruce Guthrie's photos of the event are here.

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do? 

Comic books. I would consider it as Creole-futurism, fantasy and educational.

My comic book, Tanama: Origins was published in 2020 with financial support from the U.S. Embassy in Haiti, the lifestyle brand Timberland, and the Smallholder Farmers Alliance. Tanama was featured in Haiti’s national COVID-19 awareness campaign with her image on social media, videos, billboards, and murals, reaching an estimated 3 million people throughout Haiti. My comic book characters earned me a special recognition by the arts education group Teatro SEA at their 2020 annual BORIMIX festival of cultural exchange between

Puerto Rico and Haiti. The comic book’s sequel, Tanama, Metamorphosis was just released at the Haitian Embassy in Washington DC, following up with a tree planting event at a Montgomery County park. My ultimate goal is to create my own brand of visual art designs that spread awareness on global issues such as climate change, gender equality and migration. Find out more about Tanama at

How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?

I do a combination, but I mostly use my iPad Pro nowadays. I have to tell you that I am color blind. I was born with deuteranopia.

Do you just do comic book stories? Or do you do animation, political cartoons, or webcomics?

I only do comic book stories. I know how to do animation, but I am not doing any at the moment. I do webcomics.

When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born? 

I was born 3 decades ago in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

What's the cartooning scene in Haiti like? 

The cartooning scene in Haiti is growing and there is a lot of talented artists.

Why did you decide to become a cartoonist? 

I always loved comic books and I grew up reading European comic books since Haiti is a also a French-speaking country. I would find some comic books in libraries or supermarkets, because there are no comic book shops.

What type of comics material do you see in Haiti? 

In Haiti you will find local comic books, a few animators and more political cartoonists. In libraries you can find a few comic books, mostly European ones.

Why are you in Washington now? 

I am in Washington because I am traveling with my partner on the way to her new job. I was working on my comic book launch and now I am promoting it.

What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

 I started as a self-taught artist and after the terrible earthquake in Haiti, I went to study fine arts and illustration in Altos de Chavon School of Design in the Dominican Republic.

You apprenticed with American superhero cartoonist Rich Buckler - can you tell us about that? How did you start that? 

It started because my aunt put me in touch with him in New York,  I had an art exhibit and she asked him if he could see me. After meeting, we instantly connected . He mentored me for 4 years while battling with cancer... working with him, I created Haiti’s first superhero “Djatawo.”

Who are your other influences? 

Jean Giraud, Ralph Allen, Uderzo, Salvador Dali, DaVinci, Todd McFarlane, Travis Charest, Jim Lee, Joe Madeuira.

If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change? 

I would have stayed in business administration class. I dropped it because I couldn't understand why my teacher didn't have a lot of money and he was teaching me how to make money...

What work are you best-known for?

I am best known for my work for Conan O'Brien.

Not the Conan tap tap

American tv comedian Conan O'Brien? How did that happen?

I did a portrait of him behind a tap tap bus ( public transportation bus). After ex former president Trump said publicly  that Haiti and African countries are "shithole" countries, Conan went to Haiti  to prove him wrong. Around 3 a.m. in the morning, after breaking up with my ex, I saw him on Instagram dancing at a local bar in Haiti with a local band. I was inspired and happy to see that he was showing Haiti in a positive way, so I decided to make a digital painting of him behind a tap tap bus. I posted the artwork on my Instagram and I went to sleep. The next day I had at least 60 missed calls and messages from friends and people telling me that Conan was looking for me. I was able to meet him and he commissioned me to make the digital painting on a real tap tap bus in 24 hours The link of my interview with Conan O'Brian is

What work are you most proud of? 

My latest comic book Tanama: Metamorphosis.

Your two self-published comic books about Tanama have a very small first printing - 150 copies, and will be rare. Did you self-fund it completely? How did you decide to do that? Did you use Kickstarter or other crowdfunding? 

No, I received a grant from Smallholder Farmers Alliance, a non-profit planting trees in Haiti. They paid for the limited print runs so I could launch the comic book. I self published the comic book on Amazon's Kindle as well.. I will test their paperback option during this week. 

How did you decide on the charities you're supporting? 

I decided to work with them after having multiple conversations with them, and doing research myself about their operations. I am glad everything worked out and now everytime someone buy a comic book a dollar will go to tree planting in Haiti and in the sub-Saharan Africa. The 2 charities areSmallholder Farmers Alliance: and Trees For the Future:

How can people buy your comic, without seeing you in person?

People can buy it on Amazon. The first book is only in Creole, but soon it will be in translated into English. The print version of the sequel Tanama Metamorphosis is available in  DC at Fantom Comics; it will also be in Big Planet Comics and Solid State Books.

What would you like to do or work on in the future? 

In the near future, I am planning to release a NFT collection of Tanama - a dollar will go toward tree planting in Haiti and Africa. I would like to work on a movie animation of Tanama or a video game. I think would like to be a movie director, NFT artist, or do something related to technology or business.

Are you planning a 3rd issue?
Yes, I am. Hopefully I will be able to.

Any thoughts about having your hero travel with you? By this I mean, when you've been to Mexico City and absorbed the atmosphere, would you set a story there about their environmental problems? 

Yes, she will travel wherever I go. I am  planning to put the comic book in Spanish and of course talk about environmental problems in Mexico city.

What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block? 

I read or I listen to music.

What's your favorite thing about DC? 



Least favorite? 


Staying indoors.

Do you have a website or blog? - amd thonyloui for all social media ( Instagram, Twitter, Facebook).

How has the COVID-19 outbreak affected you, personally and professionally? 

Personally it was challenging because I was going through a breakup, and professionally it was good because I could find work. Several NGOS  were paying me to use Tanama as an ambassador and public figure to promote awareness messages, such as social distancing, hand washing, and to wear masks.

Here's a gallery of art that Thony sent in for this interview, and a few more pictures of him at Fantom Comics -


1 comment:

Thony Loui said...

Thank you for your time.
Thony Loui.