A Sweet Tap On The Back: Nicolas Ménard

ADC Young Guns 12 winner is honored to be among his design heroes

March is ADC Young Guns Month here on the ADC Blog! As we head towards the deadline for Young Guns 13 entries, we will be featuring the works and thoughts of Young Guns 12, the latest class to join the exclusive club of young creative professionals. We will also be sharing the thoughts of the judges who voted them in. This way, you’ll have some idea of what it takes to become a Young Gun — and the answers just might surprise you.

Up next from the hallowed Young Guns 12 class: A Quebec-raised, London-based animator who has been dreaming about becoming a Young Gun — plus two of the judges who helped make that dream a reality.


_NicolasMenardPortraitNICOLAS MÉNARD
London, UK & Montreal, QC, Canada
+44 (0) 7449 859290



When did you first hear about Young Guns? 

I first heard of the Young Guns when I was studying graphic design in college. Julien Vallée (YG7) won the award, and that made me realize a few other French Canadian designers I admired, like Alexandre Renzo (YG5), also won in the past.

At that moment, I started dreaming to one day be part of the club.

I prayed to little Jesus a lot.

What were your impressions of the competition before entering?

I thought it was great that ADC recognized young talent in such a wide range of fields. It certainly felt like one of the biggest recognitions out there!

Did that leave you with any pangs of doubt before entering, thinking you maybe weren’t good enough to join all of the big names that have won before?

I tend to take contests and awards with a grain of salt. There’s dozens of people out there who deserve to be Young Guns but just never applied. I have some friends who didn’t win and I believe they deserve it more than I do. There’s also dozens of people in their early 30s who missed the boat but would have deserved ten Young Guns awards.

That said, I wasn’t really expecting anything. I had doubts on my design skills when compared to some of the past winners. So when I heard the news I was pretty stoked. It’s a fantastic honour, of course.

How did you decide which pieces to submit? Was it a no-brainer or did you have to really think about your entry?

I didn’t really stress about it. I followed the guideline of 50/50 personal vs professional work and that was it. I just made sure to put them in order of scale. My favourite projects at the top, and the less notable ones at the bottom.

Man, what a boring answer. I’m sorry!

There’s dozens of people out there who deserve to be Young Guns but just never applied.”

Tell us what it was like when you found out you won.

It was a really sweet tap on the back. Some of my design heroes are Young Guns, and being put in a group next to them feels pretty alien. I was also very happy when I learned that a lot of my animator friends in the UK scene were also YG12 winners  — heads up to Conor Finnegan, Moth Collective, Sam Taylor and Eamonn O’Neill. It was a good time to celebrate!

Which past Young Guns winners do you admire most?

I’m an excited groupie if I’m standing next to any of the following people:

Christoph Niemann (YG2), Brian Rea (YG3), Damien Correll (YG6), David Kamp (YG7), Johnny Kelly (YG7) Julien Vallée (YG7), Jessica Hische (YG7), PlayLab (YG11) and Anna Bond (YG12).

What have you been up to since winning? Has Young Guns opened up any new doors for you since winning last fall?

When I came back to London I started working on a music video at Nexus Productions for a British producer called Tourist. It was a really sweet project. I’m especially happy with the resulting Tumblr we made to promote the video.

Straight after that I did an animation on an interview with Jack Black, which was a lot of fun to do, even though the animation had to be done in two weeks and that was a bit mental.

I’m doing illustrations gigs here and there, I screen print at Print Club London on my free time, and I’m trying to write a new short film for the Late Night Work Club.

It was funny after the ceremony because they told us that winning Young Guns would really “change our lives”. Yet, my life has been exactly the same! I sleep a lot. I eat tofu. I dream of a future where 2D animation is generated through speech.

But now I can see the world through a transparent cube with my name on it.

What would you tell someone who was deciding whether or not to enter Young Guns 13?

Go for it! It’s worth the investment. And it looks great on your website’s “About” section.

Having the chance to meet your contemporaries at a cool party in New York is definitely the highlight for me. It’s a unique experience.

Also, the day after the ceremony I organized a little dinner with all the animators who were sticking around and it was really cool to get to know each other in a quieter environment.



MattSmithsonCircleThe beauty of  ADC Young Guns is discovering talent I’ve never seen before, while also having the chance to champion someone I have followed and admired in the past. Nicolas is one of those insanely talented artists I have kept an eye on ever since seeing his ‘Micromachines’ animation in 2012. His storytelling, unique style, and impeccable timing are evident in each film he has made, and I always look forward to seeing what he will produce next.

Matt Smithson


JordanBrunerCircleI saw Nicolas’ film “Somewhere” at Animation Block Party and was totally blown away.  His sensibilities are very child-like while also being extremely sophisticated, which I think is a stellar combination. Good on ya, Nicolas.

Jordan Bruner



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