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



  • I came across this while trying to decide which colour profile I needed to convert to in Photoshop:

  • Have you ever woke up and realised that you've accidentally created a webcomic? Apparently I have. It all started with me getting bored while I was doing some art exercises. I turned it into a cartoon. Then I did some more cartoons and posted them to my website. What's worse? People keep reading them as in, there are definite spikes in traffic to my site when those posts hit my site! What lesson have I learned from this? Be careful what you post to your website.
    Having said that, I'm off to draw the next installment.
  • Yes it's been a while since I've posted on my worklog. I'd like to say that it was because I was finishing tonnes of comic work. But I'd be lying. My production has been abysmal and I haven't been able to organize myself worth squat. As in, getting up to get to my day job has been a struggle. However, I'm feeling a bit more energized as of late so I'm hoping to be able to power through and get a bunch of things done this weekend before the holidays hit.

    My goal? To finish pencils on Isaac & Lee (which I hope isn't too unrealistic) and to get the brochure and envelope done for my retailer promo package. On Monday I'd like to be able to send out the envelope to get some quotes on how much it would cost me to get it custom printed vs printing it off myself.

    Speaking of printing, I'm trying to decide if I want to get myself a professional grade Giclée printer vs sending everything out to get printed. I had initially thought it would be best to simply send everything out so that I can focus on my work, but I'm wondering if maybe I could do some experimenting with custom printing in-house (or, in my case, in apartment)? This is where I run a cost analysis on it and I'll come back with an answer by the end of next month.

    In other news, I have vacation coming to me in a couple of days. I'll be off of my day job from the 24th until the 6th. Which means it'll be, visiting with family for Christmas and then coming home and re-organizing.....everything (from home to studio).

    (I'm really hoping this post isn't as disjointed and rambly as I think it is.)
  • I've had this idea kicking around in my head for over a year now. I think I want to try to explore it more to see if there is anything there or if it's just a neat concept.

    "Satan's greatest victory was convincing the world that he doesn't exist"
    In the battle for heaven God is cast down to Earth, to live as Lucifer once did. Now God must raise an army to take back what he's lost.

    I have the basic outline, but I want to see if I can flesh it out a bit more. I think it would be interesting for God to be meeting other deities, demons and angels from other religions as well.

    I'm just not sure of how much work I'll be able to do on this. It will likely be something I do when I'm stuck on other projects.
  • It sounds like a big project.

    And yeah, I agree that a lot of folks may believe that god exists more than they think Lucifer exists.
    Most christians believe they will go to heaven and actually *see* the face of god.  But when talking about going to Hell it's mostly just about eternal damnation -- there's not a lot of talk of meeting Lucifer.
    In fact, after you die you're supposed to go to the Holy Gates to be judged and if you're bad then off you go to Hell.

    No talk about Satan greeting you at his gates.  So the whole Lucifer thing isn't as *concrete* as meeting Jesus.

    The most we hear of satan is either his appearances in the old testament or in the form of the anti-christ, which is supposed to happen here *on earth*.  Thus, it's not the fallen angel Lucifer himself.  It's a funny definition, perhaps because religious folks don't want to actually meet Lucifer.  Instead there's a lot of talk of meeting Jesus, the face of god, or "the Holy Spirit".
  • Well, the point is to choose the "good end" and get to Heaven. They focus on the Eternal Damnation part because that's supposed to be enough to scare you away from the "bad end". Hell is not really supposed to be a choosable path with interesting characters. You're supposed to avoid it. ;)
  • Truth.

    And I agree that Eternal Damnation is a scare tactic -- but I'd think Satan himself would also be a solid deterrent.  To think you'd meet him would be pretty bad.  So, as Beth is saying, Satan has done a good job of branding himself as less of an actual *entity* than God / Jesus.

    We mostly see Satan in fiction, and most of them are demons rather than the Old Scratch himself.
    This reminds me of a romantic comedy that I created a while back....  I should run over to my work log and write that up again.  Haha!
  • I pitched it to my friend and at first he didn't find that it could be a believable story. But then I pointed out, what if all the bad things that happened in the world, happened, not because God let them happen, but because God was stranded down here on Earth?
    It's a touchy subject. People feel very strongly about Christianity.
    (It's one of the reasons that I am glad that I self-publish and don't have enough of an audience to cause too big a stir)
    I really don't know how much of a story I've got, but I'm going to play around with it a bit and see what comes out.
  • I've never let the likelihood that people will be offended by my comics stop me from telling the stories the way I imagine them.  It hasn't exactly landed me on the front page of Wizard (if they still published that), but yesterday I got a comment from a guy who really, really loved Fetus Christ, so I think following my "muse" on that was the right choice.
  • Honestly Jason, the only thing stopping me from putting it out right now is that I only have the vague concept and hazy story outline.
    Over the next week however, I'm going to put it through the basics of story development and see where the story takes me. As I already have a bunch of projects that I am scheduled to complete in 2014, this one will likely be a sideline project that I come back to every so often and tweak some more.

    @Jimmie_Robinson I don't know which will be harder to live down, the Tedieval series, or the Drawing Lesson Awry series. Both had/have good views on my site.
  • Today is the day that I figure out how to assign actions in Photoshop. I know this is a thing that many people do everyday, without incident. However, I am one of those people who just use the basic functions of programs.

    Until today, when I finally got fed up with the fact that I can't simply press delete once I have something selected and have it clear the selected part of the image.

    Today is the day that I train Photoshop to do this for me with a simple button press. Wish me luck!
  • Okay, it's the first journal entry of the new year! Everyday is a fresh beginning and a new first. Wow that was incredibly tacky. But true nonetheless. I'm starting off with having the rest of the week off of work. During this time I was hoping to get housework done, but at the moment, I'm feeling more of a drive to get comic work done. So here I am.
    Today I'm going to continue organizing my paperwork and sorting through the story for Grotto to see what I have and what I need to work on.
  • Organizing one's art space can be eye-opening.  Good luck on that.
  • It's something that I've been avoiding all week.
  • So I have to talk to my bank this week, but in all likelihood, I'm going to have to register my business this year. I am currently in negotiations with my boss at my day job and when I do get the contract, he would be paying it to my business name (which I haven't registered yet and may have to alter slightly so that I can actually register it).
    I am lucky that my boyfriend is also has accounting training (gamer/accountant/security professional) and I can hopefully sweet talk into helping me with the financial/tax end of this. This will mean saving many, many receipts and bills etc...

    In other news, I've touched on this in other threads, but I need to sacrifice some babies. I have dead weight on my convention tables that I need to get rid of. I'm thinking that I'll just reduce the price at the next convention and if I don't sell out of them, then I'll just pack them away. Luckily, I'm extremely frugal with my books so it's not as bad as it used to be, and I'm not as concerned with trying to sell out of something that just isn't selling.

    In search of inventory software I came across a program called "Artist's Butler", it's supposed to be a studio management program which tracks inventory of your work, creates resumes for you, mailing lists, consignment orders, etc... I haven't bought it yet, I'm only working in the demo version until I decide if this is a good fit for me. It's an older program, but if it works and I can tweak it for my own uses, then I will be recommending it for everyone.

    Finally, in my work week, by the end of this month, I need a retailer mailing list set up, brochure and envelope set ready to go, and Isaac & Lee #8 ready to send to the printer. The last one is a bit of a stress as I haven't finished pencilling pages yet. But the only answer to that is buckle down, and get're done!
  • I've got 19 days to get a book together, more if you count weekends. This means buckling down and getting it all done. I want to at least try to put my mind to it and see if I push myself, if I can make it happen.

    Tonight, I want to see how many panels I can ink, that will set the bar for me and will let me know if I am going to be doing weekends with this or not.

    In addition to this I still have work to do from my day job (extra-curricular/extra pay) which includes rewriting copy for our brochure.

    All in all I think that I will see 2014 as the year that I start working more as a freelance designer/illustrator which I will be having to balance with my day job and comic work.
  • Note to self: Do not try to set goals for yourself while recovering from a flu. This only leads to heartache.

    I got more work done last night than the night before, but it still isn't where it needs to be. I'm finding myself still too distracted, but I am stuck at home until I get my macbook fixed (see the Psychic Scream thread for details) so I need to ignore everything and try to just focus on inking.

    Then there is also this thing on my website. I've been sketching out this little strip about a stick man and his adventures through various drawing lessons and methods of drawing. People are really reading it and I'm getting new viewers each week. It's only a drawing exercise for me but people are also enjoying it. I just want to make sure that it doesn't take away from my other work. But we'll see how things go.
  • I've started inputting more things into my project management program....Things. Between that and my index punch card system, I hope to be able to keep on top of.... well....Things!
    I really have to get more inking done and last night's migraine didn't help.
    I only have two projects to finish for the end of the month. It really shouldn't be that hard. Honestly!
  • In other news I'm going back over old this case, paintings. For laughs...

  • Okay, so I'm down to 11 days to get things done. I'm going to have to pick up the pace if I want to make my deadlines.
    It doesn't seem like I have much to get done, finish pencilling and inking Isaac & Lee and then finish the brochure. But lately it feels like everything is taking forever to get done.

    I've been feeling like it's time to wind down Isaac & Lee, I want to finish the major story arch and then end off the series. What's interesting is that when I was at lunch with my editor he made a brief mention of me ending the series too. We never expanded on it, but I think we both know that I want to move on to other projects that I need to devote my full attention to. The thing is that it's going to take a while to wrap up this book. So, I just have to get as much of it done as I can. Basically, I'm going to rough out as much as I possibly can as soon as possible so that I can just sit around and ink it while I work on other things.
  • This week has been a nightmare. I've spent most of it trying to get over this stupid head cold. Couple that with working on an establishing shot for one of my panels which took longer than I would have liked.....No where near enough work got done. I have this weekend, sure. But I also have social obligations on Friday and Sunday (with the likelihood of Saturday as well). Once again, I request a clone, possibly two. This would make things so much easier!
  • As I've been reading the forum lately I've come across something that I'm eventually going to have to look at. Branding.
    Up until now, I've just been myself and haven't thought about how I present myself to the public as being part of a brand that I set myself up for. I think that may have led to a lot of confusion for people who were trying to guess what kind of stories I'm telling by how I'm presenting myself. It also doesn't help that I have a bunch of different books, all in different genres. Which, in some ways, I feel has spread me kind of thin as far as people coming to rely on what kinds of books I'm going to create.

    Later on this year, I'm going to be working on a book that is a vast departure from my cute, fun-loving characters of Isaac & Lee. Heck, the art style isn't even the same.
    But because of the nature of the work, I can't just market it through Facebook without having to put an extreme filter on it or risk offending my family. Honestly, it's not that controversial a book, it's more a matter that it is a graphic occult book and my family are very Christian.
    Sooooooo in order to market the book and to reach an audience, I'm starting another Facebook account. A little grittier, a little darker, something that will reflect the story I will be telling. I already have a separate Twitter account that I'm going to start using more once I'm done the Isaac & Lee story. This is just going to be more planning.
  • Yeah, branding can be tricky.  On one hand I have my religious satire, on the other I have my queer porny stuff, and on the third hand I have other stuff I want to do – even inoffensive stuff –  that doesn't mesh with either of those.
  • Branding is hard because it's a two-way street.  The creator doesn't exactly control it.  In my opinion, you can only suggest it and hope your readers latch on.  There are plenty of cases where the branding doesn't work and the public brands you instead.

    Sometimes it's based on your current work or more popular work, or what you may have spoken out for / or against.

    It's double hard for creators who have a diverse range -- as @JasonAQuest was saying.  I have the same problem.  Most folks know me for Bomb Queen, but I'm trying to launch Five Weapons.  Two completely different works and audiences.

    So, branding is tricky, but perhaps you can think of multiple ways of branding yourself for your multiple audiences -- if you don't think the two audiences will ever mix.
  • I don't know if the entirety of my audiences will mix, I'd have to get this book out to find out. The biggest issue is having to deal with family members who likely won't appreciate the work. I am not a big enough name to be concerned with branding usually, but I do wonder if my failure to stick with one single genre and art style, has hurt me over the years.
  • edited January 2014
    I really shouldn't have started that stupid cartoon. Yesterday there was a huge jump in followers on the website. I am deeply worried. It was just an idle cartoon that went on for too long. At this point, I am not done the story, but when I finish it, does this mean that I'm going to lose the audience that I've accidentally built? I've got to figure out how to fix this before I draw myself into a corner...although, that may be the last cartoon I draw of him. Literally drawn into a corner. :)
  • So I went to the doctor on Tuesday and got diagnosed with a sinus infection. I'm now on antibiotics until Tuesday. I realise that this means I'm sick and that I should be patient with myself, but I've got work to do damn it! I was so tired last night that I ended up just going to bed. It seemed to be an unfortunate trend this week. I had a bunch of stuff that was due today and now I'm going to have to reset those deadlines. Not happy. Tonight I'm going to skip the gym and just come home to catch up on work. So exhausted.
  • It's certainly a drag when illness messes up our routines. Rest up, get your energy back and you'll come back stronger than ever!
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