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



  • I just pencilled the best action scene. I can't wait to get home tonight to ink it. I realise this makes me the biggest art geek and I'm really okay with that. :)
  • Already. I have hit a crunch time. My editor still hasn't gotten back to me about my script. I need answers so that I can proceed with the story. I have a hard deadline to make. Tonight I'm going to figure out just how brutal this schedule is going to be. I'm pretty sure that it's going to be rough. The artwork *has* to be spot on and I'm already going to have to cut some corners to get this thing done on time, which is what I specifically *don't* want to have happen.

    Production schedule. Artwork to follow.
  • Last night I did up a very rough schedule including landmarks that I need to hit. This could go very poorly as I am moving forward without my editor. I'm going over it (after I've been away from the book for almost a month now) and hoping against hope that I don't miss anything while I'm going over the story. Maybe I'll get a response from my editor this weekend, But right now I can't count on that.
    I began editing last night. By July 22nd I need to have my final revisions complete so that I can begin the initial thumbnails. End of story.
  • One week. This script has one week to be ready.
    The way I see it right now, once everything is laid out, I'm going to pencil all of the "easy" pages (the ones that are strongest in my mind) that way I can spend more time on the pages that I'm not sure of.
  • I'm such a weirdo that I have to work from page 1 to the end in chronological order.
    I envy folks who can jump in wherever they feel most comfortable.

    But man, I know that feeling of needing a script to be ready in a week, a month, etc..
    I was like that LAST month... and yet, here I am struggling along.
  • Under most circumstances, I operate the same way. I just want to try this method to see if I can get things done faster. I have a few pages where I have a strong idea of what I want on the page so I want to see if I draw those pages first, if it will free me up to spend more time on the pages where it's going to be a bit of a struggle to get everything down on the page.

    End of story it doesn't matter as long as I can get this book done on time. The key here is to hit every mark on time or to even be ahead of time. Here's hoping I can stick to it.

    Oh, did I mention that apparently not only is my son coming down to visit me for three weeks, but one of Matt's friends will be staying with us until he gets back on his feet (or December, whichever comes first).

  • Another day another bear....and every time I post one, my traffic skyrockets. I don't get it. It's a teddy bear dressed in medieval clothes in a fantasy setting. It's cute. I just wish I had a story to go with them. (I'm currently colouring a Conan the Barbarian inspired bear picture. I'll post it tomorrow)


  • Okay, hopefully now that I've gotten the Tedieval out of my system I can get down to actual work. Today I'd like to have at least two pages thumbnailed.
  • The Dragon riders of Pern as teddy bears. Sigh!
  • Last night I was able to thumbnail four pages which is both good and bad. I have a lot of pages. I think that may have to change my strategy on getting this book done. I'm worried that I won't get my rough layouts done on time.
    I also realise that I have to be very careful on timing for everything. I know that I want to do a Kickstarter to promote this book and to do some pre-orders for it, which means I will have to build some other mini-projects into this larger project. It can be done. I just have to be extremely disciplined.

    I predict there may be a lot more medieval Teddy Bears in my future (apparently my way of blowing off steam while working on this)
  • I did some more work over the weekend. Just now I wrote up a schedule so I new what I had to do in a day at the very least, in order to maintain my overall goal to complete the graphic novel. I sounds so boring when I put it that way, but I want to make this deadline and get everything done that I've listed as part of this graphic novel project.Which also means setting aside a few minutes each week in order to figure out where I am in the project, and where I need to be by the end of the week.

    I may be overly paranoid about falling behind. However, I think I'll be even more paranoid once I begin the final pencils and inking stages.

    The other thing I'm planning on doing this week is to do daily sketches of each of the characters. Just as a daily practise. I want to be able to draw these people in my sleep and the only way to do it is to practise, practise, practise.
  • [Enter repeated expletives here]
    I'm very worried that I won't have enough time to get the thumbnails done this week. Last night was all but a write off with only one page thumbnailed before I collapsed into bed. I have to make sure that I stay on top of this deadline, I think I'm especially hard on this one, because it should be the simplest part of the process (for the most part).
    Today will be the day where I evaluate my strategy for getting this done. So enough talking. More thumbnailing and plotting.
  • As if things weren't annoying enough, my editor finally got back to me. I didn't think he was coming on to this project because he hadn't gotten back to me. Which in itself was frustrating because it meant that I would be doing my own editing (definitely the worst idea ever) but better than abandoning the project all together.

    In the past, he's always edited the rough pencil layouts. The last time he edited for me he mentioned that he'd like to start seeing scripts from me. Which is fine, however, his background is in film and the scripts that he is used to reading are screenplays. I warned him ahead of time that there are differences between the two and to expect them.

    The script appears to be long, but some parts of it need to be in order to create suspense. However, now I'm not so sure that I am creating suspense, so much as boredom. Needless to say, we're going to have a working brunch on Saturday and we're going to go over my rough thumbnails.

    Having said this, Once I get to thumbnailing the splash page, about 1/3 of the way through, I'm going to take a break and practise the character sketches. I am only 6 pages away from this goal so I ought to be done either tonight or tomorrow at the latest.

    The other thing my editor mentioned was that I may have an unrealistic deadline for completing the entire graphic novel. Which is fine. The deadline is to make sure that I get this finished in a timely manner. The most important thing is to make sure that the artwork is solid. Besides, if we trim the script down (and by trim, I'm expecting more like a heavy axe) then it will mean less pages and an easier to accomplish end goal.
  • Last night I determined that I needed a break from doing thumbnails. I needed to actually draw something! I also wanted to test out my new brushes. So, I wound up finishing inking a page that I had originally set aside for a bit.

    Then I felt guilty for not working on Grotto of Poppies, so I did a character pinup sketch.


    Tonight I will be going over the script and making notes so that I can argue with my editor over why each scene is absolutely necessary and can't *possibly* be cut. (Just kidding) Yes, it will be like going to a butcher to trim excess fat off your meat. I think my biggest fear is that once all the fat is cut, there won't be any meat left! I will be a basket case for this whole project. I swear.
  • biggest fear was, in fact, founded. I'm not really surprised. The script had, at one time, been co-opted by someone else who wanted to assert his own influence on the work. A collaboration gone horribly wrong. I was trying to resurrect a script from what I had left. I failed.

    Now I have to rewrite the whole thing. I have a strong story idea, it's now just a matter of putting it down in script form so that he can read it and understand what's going on. I'm rebuilding from the ground up. The only difference is that I have pretty much all of the answers that you need to ask yourself as a writer. So basically I'm filling in the blanks. This is kills my deadline. But I would rather start the whole thing over than to do it wrong in the first place.

    Tonight I am going to be working out a new schedule. I will have to pull some projects off the back-burner so that I can have some new books ready for 2014. I like the fact that I can do that.
  • Getting it done right almost always trumps getting it done soon.
  • Most definitely. This is one of the few benefits of self-publishing. I can take the time I need to make sure that it's done right. This will only give me more time to prepare.
  • Now panic sets in. I am now worried that I can't tell a story.

    That sounds ridiculous, I know. But I've stopped actually writing for a while now. I got into some bad habits with my stream of conscious comics like Isaac & Lee and Space Trucking. Neither one of those have had a script so far. I would just jump into thumb nailing each panel as it came to me. I think that my initial reasoning behind it was that the stories would come to me in single scenes as pictures. At the time, I thought it was easier for me to simply recreate what was in my head than to have to translate and describe the images in my head to words only to have to translate them back into images. It leads to some poor storytelling.

    This post? It's basically a bitch slap to get me writing so that I prove to myself that my fears are unfounded crap.

    I now have some story outlines to write up and some weekly goals to establish.
  • I enjoyed Tedieval! Have we seen the last of him?
  • No, there will likely be more as it comes to me. I just really wish I had a story for him. :D
  • Of course now I've spent all day yesterday noodling around in my brain for a story for Tedieval. I've got a basic concept, kid goes out to seek his fortune and has adventures along his way. I'm thinking along the lines of Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain series. I just need to start writing out an outline.

    Thank you @DinoCaruso for pushing me over the edge to find a story. :D

    This will be a fun change of pace. Especially since I realised that I will be tying up a major story arch for Isaac & Lee and I don't have anything lined up right after it.
  • edited August 2013
    I agree with @DinoCaruso (and others) about Tedieval -- and it's great that you got an itch to do something with it.  However, according to your synopsis "kid goes out to seek his fortune and has adventures along his way...  leaves me wondering where the *teddy bear* aspect comes in?
    Or is that the twist?  That this is a simple adventure just told with a teddy bear?

    Personally, I would play to the strengths of the teddy bear concept.  It's gold.  I'm not saying go all out on a Toy Story limb where an actual teddy bear comes to life unbeknownst to humans -- but I would hope it has something more than just a serendipitous adventure.

    But that's my opinion.  It's your creation and nobody should ever tell the creator what to do.
  • @Jimmie_Robinson You are correct, it is too simple to be able to build a story and then just throw teddy bears in there. All of the concepts are very nebulous right now. Although I do like the idea of the teddy bears being living breathing teddy bears with a bit of a mythos behind it which gets addressed in the story. A creation myth, if you will. :)
  • I have Celtx so I figured that I may as well use it to it's fullest. I've begun inputting all of the information I have for Grotto of Poppies into it. Yes, I still have to meet up with my editor to go over my story outline, but I want to continue to work ahead so that I don't lose momentum on this project.
  • This is what I did this morning:


    I really need to work on developing something for this guy. Right now, he's just a series of pictures and some very loose ideas.
  • I really need to get organised. I feel like I'm not getting a lot of anything done and that I am stagnant. I'm pretty sure that the answer to this is to write down everything that I need to get done (both long and short term) and then start checking everything off as it gets done so I can see progress.
  • I did some research on display and packaging and I think that I have some great ideas for the next convention. I realise that in an ideal world the books should sell themselves but realistically you have to find a way to stand out.

    I'm also looking at doing some "boutique books". I technically have some already and they do very well at conventions but now I want to do some experimenting with screenprinting...providing it doesn't take an extremely long time to do. In order to work it into my studio time I could simply relegate it to the weekends and do a few books every weekend in order to build up stock. But before I get ahead of myself I'm going to get a screenprinting kit to see how easy/hard it is for me to do.

    On another front, I am learning about the joy of Celtx. I am currently inputting character information from Grotto of Poppies into it. I want to see how much of it I can use in order to organise my thoughts on this project. I am very excited about it. Especially considering that I am waiting on my editor to get back to me on the story arch, I can feel like I am still working on the project, just on different aspects of it.

    I've decided that once I've gotten everything plugged into Celtx for the Grotto project, I'm going to explore the world of Tedieval (which is slowly becoming a thing, apparently) It really is like an impatient child tugging at my apron string while I'm trying to fix dinner. Eventually I'm going to have to give it some attention.

    I want to finish the next issue of Sam Hawke. It's annoying because it takes forever to get these issues done, never mind the fact that I really hate my art on the first issue and part of this new book. (Really not my best work) I only have a few pages left to go though so I'm kind of excited about it.

    It's also getting to that time of year when I need to do another issue of Space Trucking. That's not hard, it's just a matter of sitting down and getting it done but I just want to wait until after I'm done Sam Hawke.

    I need to find some time to get some sketch cards done. Tonight will see me getting some cards from the Art store and then I can bang some off while I'm at my desk in the mornings.

    One final note, I'm beginning to freak out a bit. I am wrapping up a major story arch on Isaac & Lee and I don't have a next issue in mind yet. I'm going to have to go over everything with them and figure out where to next.

    (Wow this was a longer post than I was expecting to write. I may have a lot of work to get done... Just a little)
  • I went out and got a screen printing kit. Only to discover that I still need to get a whole armload of supplies in order to do the kind of screen printing that I want to do. Which will have to wait until next month. Which also means that unless I get really lucky, I will not be showcasing any boutique mini-comics until next year. Which is fine. I'm patient... Okay, I'm not really patient at all, but this will teach me some patience.

    I need to take some time right now and focus on the work list I laid out for myself earlier. I've brainstormed everything. Now I need to make some strategic planning so that I can get everything done.

    Introduce: Index cards and cork board. Each item that I need to address gets it's own index card. As I figure out things that need to be done to achieve each goal, I write it on the corresponding index card.

    VCon is coming up in October. I like to call it my craft fair, as I don't sell a lot of books there, but I do network and I sell crafts. As a result, I've decided that I will be using my weekends to dedicate 2-3 hours to sewing items for my table. This year is a pirate theme so I'm going to make some items to incorporate into the theme.

    Again, this is the long and boring part of my worklog where I do nothing but a bunch of writing. However, as I produce things for VCon I will post pictures.
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