Beth Wagner's Work Log (Isaac & Lee, Space Trucking, Sam Hawke, A Grotto of Poppies)

edited September 2014 in Work Logs
I've decided to start this thread to keep specific accounts of everything I need to get done and what I am working on. Occasionally I'll post artwork but mostly I'll be tracking my progress in various projects, including ones that I haven't officially announced yet. So here goes:

Work List:

-  Ink'd Well Comics Anthology - Cats of Ulthar four pages camera ready art due - June 1st
-  Pedde's Planet (my personal working title as he never told me the name of it) - Seven covers, first one due June 30th
- The Guardian #3 - The biggest priority to get done therefore it's reasonable to have it finished by August 1st
- Isaac & Lee #7 - ideally done by end of June but more realistic deadline August 30th
- Isaac & Lee Coles Notes edition - no deadline but will be finished for next convention
- Space Trucking #4 - no deadline whenever the next one is ready
- Grotto of Poppies - Would like to see the first issue done by December but no specific deadline as ensuring artwork is reasonably acceptable is most important

Today's work goal:
- To get at least the next page for the anthology pencilled

Nice to do:
- To get all of the pages pencilled for the anthology
- more Isaac and Lee thumbnails
- First page of Grotto finished
- First page of The Guardian pencilled

Let's see what actually gets finished today, shall we?


  • Cruising right along, I actually got two pages pencilled. That leaves the last page and then I can begin inking.
  • Today I want to get most of this page inked. Then I'm going to stuff it and mount it on my wall. Yes, this is the way it's feeling to get this work done. It's pulling teeth to get this thing finished, but it will be done. I want very much to have all the pages inked by Saturday. Tomorrow I lose a pint of blood so I don't know how much I can count on my inking skills, but if I am remotely okay I'm going to get some of the easier parts done.
  • I'm not good at keeping these work logs going. Mostly because I get caught up in updating my websites or doing other things. Also, I never really know what to put into the worklog. That is until now. Now I plan to put down my progress in hopes of getting this new comic to actually see the light of day.

    The rough script is already done and now I'm revising it and seeing all of the mistakes I made the first time around.

    Yesterday I was focussing on the pacing for the chase scene. It didn't build up enough suspense because it wasn't drawn out enough. I was able to thumbnail the beginning of the scene, which makes me feel like I've lost. I feel as if I should be able to simply write out the script without having to resort to visuals. When I say that I mean thumbnail out some of the scenes and then write the script for the thumbnails. It seems like I'm doubling back on myself when I do that. Part of what I want before I truly begin this book is an actual finished script. I don't know why that is so important to me as I've worked without traditional scripts before. I guess I've just hit that point where I want to make sure things are planned out properly before I simply launch into a stream of consciousness story that may have all kinds of plot holes and weak points.

    My biggest stumbling block is that I've never really considered myself much of a writer. Heck, I've never really considered myself much of a storyteller until recently. I now am realising that I need to get over those hangups and focus on the fact that I do have to write in order to make the stories and by that fact alone I must also be a writer, which means I need to learn how to write more effectively or at least be less lazy with my writing. I need to be less lazy with everything.

    This is where I write something that is hard for me to say. I am a lazy artist. I haven't been putting out my best work. For a while it was more important for me to simply get over my hang ups about how to get my work out there. Which I did. My work is out there. I'm now ready to start bumping up the work and really making it look good before it goes out.

    Which brings me to my new book. New to the world anyway. I'm ready to start doing my best work for this book. Making sure each page looks how I want it to, and yet not handling it with kid gloves. It's a balance but it's also a challenge that I want to succeed with. So until I get the script done, I'll be doing concept sketches. Drawing each character until I can draw them in my sleep. Let the fun begin.
  • I'm also not good at these work logs... not because of other things i'm just not good at updating myself.
  • The balancing act between Get It Done and Do It Right is one of my biggest challenges. I'm most likely to succumb to my perfectionist tendencies, which leads to not getting things finished.
  • Get It Done and Do It Right is the bane of all artists.... who care about their craft.

  • The first stumbling block I had was Getting It Done. I had too many hang ups and was too worried about the artwork, so the work never got out there. Now that I know I can Get It Done. Now it's time to focus on Doing It Right.
  • So the nice thing about writing is that I don't feel as pressured as I do when I'm drawing. The words can only go together in some many different ways to tell the same story with the same mood and feel. I've taken up the challenge of scripting three pages a day, Although I won't really count myself in with everyone else until I get to the new script. But I don't want to discourage myself. This challenge is meant for me to get comfortable with the writing. And so with that, off i go to, you know, write. :)
  • I usually take the weekends off so that I can relax and unwind. Not this weekend.
    On Friday I went out to get things ready for Vancouver Fan Expo. My choice this time was to print as much out as home as I could, as I have a bunch of mini-comics that I need to print out. I can only hope that this gamble pays off. If the lines aren't as clean as I need them to be, or if I can't maintain consistency throughout the books, then I'm going to have wasted a bunch of money on this. The worst part is that this is out my hands now. I'm at the mercy of my printer's quality, which should be good enough for what I need. Emphasis on should.
    On Saturday I managed to rewrite and revise quite a few pages of comic script. I'm not really sure exactly how many pages I wrote as it was a matter of losing a bunch of pages and then writing a few more. I'm starting to get back into the zone effectively which is good because that's what I need to have happening right now. More writing, less drawing.
  • In an ideal world I would finish the script completely before I start laying out and doing pencils. But I really want to get down to drawing this. I have a feeling that this is going to be one big tug of war between writing and drawing. I think I'll stave it off with concept sketches and working on other projects where all I need to do now is the pencilling (aka issue #2 of Sam Hawke)
  • The writing is going slowly, but I'm starting to get into the groove of it.

    In the meantime, I'm balancing that and getting ready for a convention next weekend. Now, I wouldn't say that I'm freaking out at the moment, but my comics haven't arrived yet. I'm not dealing with a last minute fiasco. Will not. This weekend is cut off time for the convention. Whatever I need to have ready has to be done this weekend. Anything after that is a blessing.

    People have thrown down social obligations for me as well for this weekend. I'll do what I can but this is really going to be tricky. This weekend I have to be organised to a fault and maximize everything that I'm doing. That includes using my morning commute to do packaging design and inventory planning.

    So much business to sort through and so much comic work to do. Sigh.
  • I think I have to relegate myself to not doing any artwork this week. If I'm lucky I can get some writing done while I'm in transit over the week, otherwise my focus for the week is prepping for Vancouver Fan Expo. I've already lost the weekend due to other issues (see psychic scream thread) I have to get back on the wagon this week. It's crunch time. More importantly, it's collating time.
  • This business model doesn't work.
    It never does for me.
    I always think that I like the convenience of printing everything off in the comfort of my own home so it's not so bad if I have to.
    It's bad.
    It's very bad.
    I'm running too much waste. It's stupid. Never mind that I'm coming across books where the pages haven't backed up properly so now I have to review why I have page 2 backed up with page 19 (for example) and then I have to print it off again and hope that I have enough ink to finish this.
    This is way too time consuming and I simply don't have time to do this.
    I'm going to look at some last minute booklet printing through one of my local "go-to" printers. So annoyed.

  • And that's why I'd rather order from Ka-Blam even though it's more expensive and takes longer.
    It's worth it to have them deal with the aggravation. (Still haven't found a decent local cheap printer.)
    When I was learning how to format a printed book, that was one thing. But now that I can do it in my sleep I just don't need the hassle.
  • Exactly, however my order from Kablam hasn't shown up yet. I really needed that book for this convention. (Which still wasn't a good reason to try to print from home)

    I've always tried to limit the amount I've printed at home for just this reason, but it's been a while and I forgot how time consuming it really is and unless I fork out for a laser printer, the quality won't be what I need it to be. It's even worse, because I didn't realise just how many books I have under my belt. Right now, I just have to get as many of these books put together, fix the mistakes and then try to salvage what I can.
  • Ka-Blam is backlogged with orders right now. It took them 2 weeks to review my pages for @$$hole! volume 2: The Dating Game after I submitted.

    They got to it as quickly as they did because I e-mailed them about shipping. FYI, they over-charged me for shipping last year and this year. Upon finding the error, they did give me a very generous credit.
  • Yeah, you can't be in a hurry with Ka-Blam. Since I haven't found a local printer that charges less than double Ka-Blam's price I just give myself 45 days from time of order. (Even though their standard is to ship within 28 days... and they almost always do.) One of these days I'll find a decent local printer... or break down and buy a better laser printer and paper cutter. 
  • @TrevorAMueler I knew that this may be a problem. I gave them a month for turnaround and shipping, I think it's a border issue.

    At any rate, I have had issues with Ka-Blam getting things to me on time, so I had a back up plan. The biggest issue was that when I decided to do an ashcan version of the newest comic, I felt it would be best to re-release all of the issues in that format so I could sell them in nice, neat packages.

    @GregCarter I had originally planned to have a 60 day cushion, then my computer suffered a meltdown so I had to come up with a back up plan. I've since come up with a better back up plan for next time. I just have to ride out this issue.
  • I would love to be drawing or writing right now. There is nothing I'd like more. But when you're a one man woman show.... You get to do the creative and then you have to do the press runs and work on the business side of everything.
    I am down to the wire and I had sewing that I needed/wanted to get done. Looks like that will be happening tomorrow night.
    No pressure. Not at all. :)
  • I always plan on Ka-Blam (or any printer) needing a minimum of 4 weeks to turn around a project. Thankfully I didn't need mine for C2E2 - because it would show up a week later. However, since it took them 2 weeks to review the files, I am a little nervous about getting volume 2 in time for ACEN in May....
  • So guess what finally came in the mail yesterday? THE NEW ISSUE of Isaac & Lee !!!! I officially don't care what else happens now. I have my new book in my hot little hands and so, after some last minute printing and sewing....I'll be ready for tomorrow!!

  • After taking a night off I'm back into the swing of Doing the Work. The convention was fantastic and it was a blur of drawing sketches, talking to fans and tablemates and selling books. My only regret was being so tired on Saturday that I couldn't make any of the afterparties.

    I did a short photo essay about the last day of the convention:
  • I did some more writing last night, not as much as I would have liked. But some is better than none as they say. I want to put together some sort of work schedule so that I know whether or not I'm on the right track. My only problem right now is that I don't know how fast I can revise this script. It would be so much easier if I even knew how long the finished script is. The script page count is hovering around 60 written pages but even that doesn't mean anything as the formatting is waaaaay off. I just want to draw the book and be done with it. But obviously patience here is key.
  • I'm still revising and writing.
    This morning I decided to do some brush practise. Which was when I discovered that I need to get more ink. I'm really stuck on Speedball. It's the ink I learned how to ink with but I think I really need to experiment and see if it's really the right ink for me. I need to get a bunch of different kinds of ink and brushes to test out. It's like they always say, "the right tool for the right job"
  • Because these are just me experimenting with the brush and ink, I didn't really want to show everyone yet. But I'm having a lot of fun with brush work:


    they are baby steps but I'm going to keep practising while I finish revisions on my script.
  • edited April 2013
    Like I've been complaining about, I don't seem to be achieving the dark blacks that I'd expect to with the ink I'm using. Here is my latest frustration:


    The amount of ink I used on this doesn't even show. I realise that my brush may be too thin and that is something I'm going to look at as well but I was certainly hoping for a darker line.
    Back to the drawing board as they say.
  • For your style the lines are crisp and clear enough. You can darken them in P-slop if you wish. AND, soemthing that's a bit grey isn't necessarily a bad thing. Its good to strive for your ideal look, but their's also value in NOT obsessing over it. Can you get a good looking print of the art?
  • I could definitely get it darker in Photoshop. My work has never had a lot of darkness to it (I was always getting in trouble from my art teachers for not putting enough lines on the page) so I wanted to experiment with doing some really dark pieces with a lot of heavy line work. I am not interested in doing a lot of work in post at the moment, it's practising the brush strokes and laying down a lot of ink. Sadly, it looks like Speedball doesn't have the rich dark colour that it used to.
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