Today Melissa gets to chat with 15 year old comic creator Saida Woolf about her new book Soulstream that was picked up by Scout comics under their Scoot label!
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Saida Woolf – Interview
[00:00:00] Melissa: This is spoiler country and I’m Melissa today on the show. I’m excited to welcome a comic book writer and artist here to talk about her debut comic soul stream, SETA Wolf. Welcome to the show.
Saida Woolf: Hi, thank you for
Melissa: having me. Thanks for being here. How’s everything
Saida Woolf: going? Everything’s going pretty well. I’m, I’m getting really close to actually finishing all five issues of my comics.
So I’m really happy. Oh, awesome. That’s so exciting. Yeah. I know I’m going, gonna, I’m going to be, I’m really happy that issue one is out now, but I’m also going to be. Incredibly excited when the trade paperback comes out in the fall. Yeah.
Melissa: Yeah. All that in your hands. Yeah. That’s awesome. Well, so this is your debut comic.
You’re 17. So how are you feeling what’s going through your mind when you, when you see that your, your comic with your name on it is available for people to
[00:01:00] Saida Woolf: Well, I guess it, it makes me incredibly happy to see that my comic is already published. I, I never thought I would be published this early in my life, but I’m really happy about it.
But yeah, it, I’m just really happy that my comic is available for people to read. Cause that’s, that’s really, all I want is for people to be able to read my story. That’s
Melissa: awesome. Yeah. You’re way ahead of the curve. I didn’t publish my first book till I was 35. So, and you know, it’s never too late, but I think it’s awesome that at such a young age, you already know what you want.
And you have the skills and drive, you know, to make it happen. So that’s really cool as your your family been really supportive about
Saida Woolf: that? Yeah, they, they have, my family has been great. My family was actually. They were very, they were, yeah, they were really supportive of me and their support was part of why I started, started submitting it to publishing companies like two years ago.
And that is, and now I’m published, so,
Melissa: yeah. That’s so cool. So tell me a little bit about that, [00:02:00] that journey. You know, when, when did you decide that you wanted to be a comic book writers slash artist. And and how did you go about. You know, taking that idea onto paper?
Saida Woolf: Well I’ve always my entire life.
I’ve always really I’ve always loved telling stories through visual mediums. I’ve always loved to draw. I know around middle school, I decided that I wanted to try to make video games, to tell my stories. Cause I really loved video games. I still love video games and I decided I really wanted to learn how to do that.
So I. I spent several years just trying to learn how to make video games and I made a few and there, and I’m still proud of them sort of. Yeah,
Melissa: that’s impressive.
Saida Woolf: Yeah. After, after all of that, though, at some point I realized I actually really don’t really like coding very much which is quite a big part of creating video games.
So I decided to look [00:03:00] into other methods of telling stories that maybe. Had more elements that I specifically liked. Cause I always, I really liked writing stories and I liked drawing them. So, and I realized there’s lots of other mediums that basically can utilize those two skills to their fullest extent that don’t involve coding and coding is fine.
But anyway yeah, I, I ended up Making a comic to tell one of my stories and
Melissa: that’s so cool. And, and how did you go about, you know, once it was, you know, done to, to how you were like satisfied with it and wanting to submit, you know, how did you go about finding these, you know, comic book companies or just like Google search or, you know, how was that like.
Saida Woolf: Well yet it ended up basically just being through a group through some Google searches. My parents helped me look up different comic book companies. And back then I only had eight pages done, which was the minimum that you had to submit to most companies was just, you would submit the first eight pages, [00:04:00] which was all I had done at the time.
So I ended up. Doing that to just, just a few companies. And then I got an email back from scout comics and they said they wanted to publish it. And that was pretty
Melissa: amazing. Wow. Yeah. That’s such a great feeling. How did you celebrate when you got the news? I
Saida Woolf: don’t remember.
Melissa: It was a blur.
Saida Woolf: It was two years ago.
I remember I was really excited. It was, it was very surreal. But yeah, that was, it feels like, like forever ago, because I was only 15 back then. I was a sophomore in high school, I think. Yeah. And now I’m a senior and I’m still working on the same comic, which.
Melissa: Yeah. That’s yeah, it goes by slow when you’re in the middle of it too, you know?
I mean, it feels like, you know, two years is really not that long, but it does feel like a long time and you probably feel like you’ve even been working on it longer just because it’s probably been in your head before you even put it down on paper.
Saida Woolf: Yeah. It really is crazy how [00:05:00] it goes by so fast, especially how, yeah.
And while, while those years are going by, it feels like forever. Especially since like, I haven’t been alive very long. So even two years is just a pretty big chunk of my lifespan. Right. And how, yeah. And it, it does, it does feel like I’ve almost been working on it for a longer time. Cause just, I feel like all of the past projects and the little stories I’ve written throughout my life have kind of.
Culminated in this, I suppose, and just all the, like making small stories and figuring out what works and what doesn’t and figuring out different plot lines that I really would want to have in a story or different character types that I wished I could put in a story. And it all just kind of came together.
Into soul stream.
Melissa: Yeah. And so I had the pleasure of reading the first issue. Yeah, it was great. Scott was nice enough to send me a copy. So it was so refreshing. It kind of, I can [00:06:00] see your video game influence. I’m a big gamer myself. And there were just the art and elements of the dialogue definitely reminded me of, you know, something like maybe legend of Zelda ish which I thought was really cool.
So, you know, what what inspired, you know, this specific story of, of soul stream and using like the elemental magic and stuff like that?
Saida Woolf: Well, I, I think that soul stream really is it’s the story that I always wished existed and basically. It’s it’s the kind of thing where it, it’s kind of like putting all my interests in a blender and coming out with a comic at the end, I guess.
Yeah, so it’s and it’s definitely the kind of thing where I, I try really hard while I’m working on it to make it something where if this comic had existed, when I was like 10 and I had read it, that it would have been my favorite thing ever. Yeah. So, yeah, it’s, it’s got. It’s got it’s, it’s got elements from superhero comics that I’ve always liked.
There’s definitely some video game influence in there. I know there’s some anime influence too. Occasionally
[00:07:00] Melissa: I picked up a little on that too.
Saida Woolf: Yeah. But yeah, it’s, it’s basically just a lot of the things that I like in media. I’ve managed to pick and cut out different things that I like, and I’ve managed to make this comic out of all of
Yeah. And that’s, I mean, really all it is is, you know, using like your influences and what’s inspired you to like put your own creative spin on something. Yeah. You know, like, I mean, I think that a lot of artists do that and I think also it’s great that soul stream is, you know, appeals to all ages. You know, it’s obviously, you know, kid friendly and you know, young adult friendly, but I think even older adults will enjoy it as well.
I mean, I enjoyed it. And you know, it’s yeah, it’s refreshing, you know, it’s it’s nice to have something that’s not all like Gore and, you know, graphic, just like a nice, enjoyable story about magic.
Saida Woolf: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Well, thank you so much for that. Absolutely. But yeah, I definitely I’m really [00:08:00] happy that I’ve been, I’ve been able to make something that people of all ages can enjoy, especially since just personally, I’ve always loved more lighthearted, just all ages kind of media.
Just because I don’t really like the. Like the graphic stuff that would make it, not all ages,
Melissa: right? Yeah, exactly. What are some of your favorite comic books that you’ve, you’ve read growing up?
Saida Woolf: Let’s see. I know one that I really liked. I really liked the miss Marvel series. I’m not caught up on it, but I really liked those.
Oh, cool. I’ve read. I know I’ve read, I’ve read a lot of the sailor moon comics. Those were pretty cool. Are nice. I think around the time when I was first writing soul stream, I was reading all of the, I was reading a bunch of the Gwenpool comics and I liked those. I’ve read a few of the power, like the really old power pack comics, which I think are really cute.
And yeah, I’m sure there are more, but. Yeah, I really like comics.
Melissa: Yeah. That’s what makes it good. I was just thinking too something that you’d probably like, just based on your style is the lumber [00:09:00] Janes.
Saida Woolf: Oh yeah. I’ve been meaning to read
Melissa: that. Yeah. Yeah. It’s a good there’s lots of different, you know, incarnations of it and different writers that have contributed, but yeah, it’s really, really good.
And it just kind of reminds me a little bit of your style with You know, not as much like in the magical aspect, but just in the sort of youthfulness and and kind of in the art a little bit as well. Which speaking of you’ve literally done everything, right. You’ve done the writing, the art, the, the, you know, the inking, the lettering, everything.
How was that challenging to do all of it yourself?
Saida Woolf: I think, yeah, at some points it was very, it’s been very challenging to do it myself, but honestly, I’m really happy that I decided to do it all myself, just because I’ve learned so much through all this process. And it’s interesting too, when I think back, cause when I was first starting this, it never once occurred to me to try to find someone else to take over a step of this process in the making of the comic, just because.
Just growing up as a, like a person who has been [00:10:00] homeschooled for my entire life. I never, yeah. But whenever I’ve wanted to make something, I’ve just had to kind of figure out how to do it by myself. And like how to teach myself how to do it by myself. Well, not entirely by myself. My mom was there too.
And the internet, I don’t know. Right.
Melissa: Yeah. I get it. You’re well, you’re self-sufficient and it sounds like you’re pretty independent. And when you want something done, you’re like, I’ll just do it
Saida Woolf: myself. Yeah. So I just decided to make my colleagues by myself and also, cause I think that. P part of why I actually decided to start making the comic was just, I realized that making a comic would probably be a really great way to improve my art skills also, because when you’re just drawing pictures, like a lot of times you can avoid drawing certain things like.
If I didn’t, if I wanted to, I could just never draw a background ever in my life. But when you’re making a comic, you have to draw that kind of stuff or the story just like stops making sense. Right.
Melissa: That’s a good point. Yeah. It keeps you like, yeah. I’m practicing all the [00:11:00] different, you know, types of things that will be required.
You know, if it let’s say you get commissioned to, by, you know, DC or you know, Marvel at some point you’re going to. Have to have that skill to right. To be able to draw like pretty much anything they throw at you.
Saida Woolf: Yeah. And yeah, making a comic has forced me to draw a lot of stuff that I never would have tried to draw otherwise.
So I think it’s been a really beneficial experience for me.
Melissa: That’s so cool. That’s very inspiring too. The other thing I wanted to mention was the variant cover is absolutely gorgeous. Oh yeah. Oh my gosh. Did that cover or did you do the cover.
Saida Woolf: No, that was a, the, that variant cover. That’s by my best friend, chorus Sweeney.
She’s. She’s 18. She’s incredible. She’s an incredible artist. She, yeah. And she made that variant cover and I’m so happy that she did that because every time I look at it, I love it so much. And it makes me so happy.
Melissa: That is so sweet. And did she just kind of surprise you with it or did you kind of give her some guidelines?
Like, Hey, I want you to draw this cover for me. You know, how did that [00:12:00] process go?
Saida Woolf: Yeah, I, I, I asked her to draw variant cover for me and she did, and I’m very happy for me.
Melissa: Yeah, it’s gorgeous. I mean the color all of it is just, it’s beautiful and it seems to go, you know, well with the
Saida Woolf: story. Yeah, aha.
And especially since she’s such an incredible artist, if I have a chance to help more people see her work, then I really want to help support her and make sure lots of people get to see her art. That’s
Melissa: awesome. Does she have like a website or
Saida Woolf: anything? I think she has an Instagram page. And it’s at art by chorus weenie.
I’m not sure. Yeah, but yeah, she, she’s amazing and I love her so much and she’s great. Yeah. We can
Melissa: add her information to your information on the show notes too. So if you want to promote her a little bit more too. Yeah. That would be cool. It’s always, you know, it’s always nice when you have, I mean, it’s great to do stuff on your own.
I’m very similar to you. Like where I, I decide I’m gonna do something and kind of [00:13:00] like go into my cave and do it, but it is also nice too, when you have those friends of yours that are also, you know, in the. Same industry that can kind of contribute and help help you get your work done as well. You know, it’s nice, especially if they’re a friend.
Saida Woolf: Yeah.
Melissa: Awesome. So how has it been with Scouts? I know that, you know, that must be really exciting. You know, scout is a really big ND comic book publisher, like just, do you feel like it’s one big family? Like how has that experience been? Yeah.
Saida Woolf: Everyone at scout camp yeah. Being part of scout comics has been really incredible.
Everyone. There is so incredibly supportive and helpful. They’ve all been just so amazing and making sure that every step of this process goes as smoothly as possible. And I’m just really thankful that. Everything panned out the way it did. And I got to be part of this team.
Melissa: Yeah, that’s great. And hopefully when when we go back to normal, normal times you guys can actually get together and, you know, meet in person and, and have a little [00:14:00] celebration, you know, for all of the artists.
Saida Woolf: Yeah. That would definitely be really cool. I know. Yeah. I’d like, I wish I at once everything goes back to normal, I really would like to go to more comic conventions and either set up tables, or if there’s a scout table, I can just go over there and talk to them. Yeah.
Melissa: Yeah. Common concert. Great great experience.
Did you have an opportunity to to go to any before, you know, the pandemic hit?
Saida Woolf: Yeah, actually me and my friend, Cora, we shared a table at the Bakersfield Comic-Con before the pandemic hit. And that was really fun. That was our, that was both of our first time ever. Like selling our artwork at a convention.
And it was a really great and rewarding experience, I think for both of us. Yeah. It’s a
Melissa: of finding it to meet a lot of cool people. Yeah.
Saida Woolf: It was, it was really neat. And also since we were sharing a table, it was a lot easier to talk to people because we’re. So, talking to people is hard sometimes, and it was neat to [00:15:00] like, we could sense since we were together, it made us both, I think, more confident talking to people we don’t know.
Melissa: So yeah. Yeah. No, I agree. I, the first table I ever did was with a friend because I was nervous. Yeah. I hear like, I don’t know what to say. And when you have someone there it’s much easier to, you know, like icebreaking, you know, questions and you can have like a group conversation rather than just feel like you’re on display by yourself.
Speaking of like the quarantine has that. Well, I guess it’s an interesting question for you, cause you said you’ve been homeschooled most of your lives. So I was going to ask you if the quarantine is a factor in your creative process at all, but I mean, you’re probably used to being home a lot anyways, is that
Saida Woolf: true or not?
Or that’s, that’s somewhat true. Actually I will. Well, my my school situation is somewhat interesting because I go to this. It’s like a hybrid homeschool school. So, ever since I started high school I’ve I’ve I used to go to classes twice a week with like teachers and stuff and homework and all that.
So that was when, when COVID hit [00:16:00] that stopped happening, but it was, it was a slightly easier transition just because since we only went to school twice a week we were already used to getting most of our homework online and turning it in online and all that. So that. That helped a bit, but yeah, it’s it’s been interesting.
Melissa: Yeah. That it’s been, yeah. It’s, I mean, it’s obviously different for everyone, but I always like to ask artists and writers, you know, if it’s, you know, affected your creativity at all, because we get so bogged down with like the news and everything that’s going on. Do you still feel like you are able to really express yourself creatively?
Saida Woolf: Yeah, I think so. And in some ways, all of this has actually been somewhat helpful for actually finishing my comic just because I’m making, making this comic has been so much work and I’ve spent pretty much every day just sitting at the table, working on it for hours and hours. And I think that if COVID hadn’t hit, I would have probably [00:17:00] missed out on a lot of.
Like fun stuff. If I had been sitting in there working on my comic all the time, but in this case I didn’t actually miss out on that much because it’s not like I’m missing my prom to draw my comic because there’s no problem.
Melissa: Right. That’s a good point.
Saida Woolf: But yeah, it’s it’s, it’s been very interesting, but yeah, it’s going to be pretty neat when this is all over.
Melissa: Yeah. I think once that, yeah, once you’re able to, you know, get out there and actually, you know, meet, you know, fans and readers, I mean, cause you know, I mean that must be an exciting concepts for you that you will probably have fans, you know what I mean? And then you get to meet them and sign, sign comics.
Are you really looking forward to that?
Saida Woolf: I think so I’m just excited for when I’ll be able to go out and actually promote this book. Just because, well, and since I’ve been working so hard on the book, I haven’t even had much time to like, promote it on social media either. So once I’m done with it, I’m just going to be on social media, [00:18:00] trying to get people to.
Read it, I
Melissa: guess. Yeah. That’s a good way to engage. It’s social media is, you know, cause it’s free. It’s a, it’s a platform that like literally everyone’s on. Yeah, I think that’s a great idea. Instagram, you know, Twitter, even Facebook, I know that a lot of people are kind of over Facebook, but you can still find some great readership.
Saida Woolf: think on Facebook I’ve gotten a surprising amount of. Engagement from Facebook over this whole thing. Like, I didn’t think that people were on Facebook, but it turns out there are actually a good amount. Yeah.
Melissa: Yeah. There’s a lot of like a lot of reader type groups, you know, on there. Like if you search in their little search thing yeah, I mean, you just type in comic books or, you know, whatever it is, adventure novels, fantasy novels.
There’s just like a group for everything with like thousands of people that are just looking for new stuff to read.
Saida Woolf: Yeah. Huh. And it’s, it’s been very interesting, especially since Like, I, I mostly know how Twitter and Instagram work, but I have never really like Facebook. I don’t really know [00:19:00] how it works.
So my mom has had to help me.
Melissa: Yeah, that’s cool. That’s nice that she knows that enough. Right. Is your mom on Facebook? I think so. Yeah. Yeah. So she’s already like figured it out and she can help you now.
Saida Woolf: She knows how it works much better than I do. So
Melissa: that’s been helpful. That’s nice. The good thing about Instagram is, you know, it’s, it’s more just about like the photos, which I like.
Saida Woolf: Yeah. It doesn’t as an artist, it it’s a lot more intuitive for me on Instagram. Cause you just post images and. That’s most of the content is just images, so,
Melissa: yeah, exactly. Yeah. So, you know, what is your, you know, what’s your writing process? Like? Do you outline detailed outlines beforehand or are you what we like to call a pantser where you kind of make things up as you go along and then kind of figure it out afterwards?
Saida Woolf: Yeah. I always try my best to have a pretty detailed outline. Just because, especially with how [00:20:00] time consuming comics are. I don’t want to draw myself into a corner basically and get stuck in a place that I can’t get out of without redrawing a bunch of stuff. Right. So generally, yeah. I try to plan everything out very meticulously before I actually start drawing, I usually write a pretty, a very detailed script before I start working on each issue with like, different, like what, how many panels are on each page and all that.
Although with issue five just recently, like has been a lot more. Like improvised, like the script part of it, just because just because I a lot of that, some there’s some stuff that I have a lot more trouble with, like fight sequences and things like that. So a lot of times I’ll leave that unscripted until I get to it.
And then I just kind of figure it out once
Melissa: I’m there PetSmart.
Saida Woolf: But yeah, I always try to plan things out before I start drawing. Just because drawing takes so long. I do not want to have to do that. Right.
Melissa: Thank you. Like let’s just get it [00:21:00] right the first time. Right. Well, and sees that there’s, there’s going to be five issues total, and then that’ll be eventually turned into a graphic novel.
Saida Woolf: Yeah. So, so stream is part of Scouts, nonstop imprint. So basically issue one came out and then in the fall, they’re just going to release all the rest of the story as a train paperback. I don’t think. Which means there won’t be floppy issues of two through five, but it’ll all be collected into a graphic novel in the fall, which I’m very excited for because that’s all the stuff I’ve been working on for the last two years.
Melissa: no, that’s really cool. And you get to have it all in like one nice book and you get, Oh, hold it in your hands and display it, you know, in your house. That’s very cool.
Saida Woolf: Yeah. I’m really excited.
Melissa: Yeah. Awesome. So what is, you know, I know you’re wrapping this up now, this, this series and what is next for you?
Are you going to be doing something else with Scouts or have you have more ideas for another [00:22:00] comic?
Saida Woolf: Well, right now the plan is I’m just going to, well, I’m going to finish high school. Yeah, and then I’m going to take a gap year and after that I want to go to college. But during the gap year, I’d like to.
Either work on more stuff or just promote my comic, I suppose. It’s I’m not entirely sure. Oh, the one thing that I definitely have to do is I have to get my driver’s license. I still don’t have that. I need to get a driver’s license so I can be a functioning adult in society. So I’m going to have to do that.
Sooner or later.
Melissa: And what so for college, do you want to stay kind of in the writing or art lane or are you going to study something completely
Saida Woolf: different? Not entirely sure yet. I know I’ve looked at a lot of schools that have like animation programs, but I’m still not entirely sure what it is that I want to study.
I know I want to study lots of different kinds of stuff. Like, like I want to take lots of different classes in lots of different types of things. Like I want to. [00:23:00] Take a lot of liberal arts classes, just because I think that putting more stuff into my brain, that’s not even necessarily related to comics or art kit will make everything I make just.
Well, just better, I guess.
Melissa: Yeah, I agree completely. Yeah. It’s, it’s really important. I think, as a writer, too, to really read as much as you can about, you know, things, you know, and especially like when you’re writing something and you know, you’re doing research sometimes they already have like a little bit of that knowledge, you know, whether it’s mythology or history, you know, or even science, you know, depending on what you’re writing it definitely makes you Have more of a well-rounded, you know, bad tricks, I guess, or box of tools, whatever you want to call it.
For lack of a better word, but yeah, it’s, it’s nice to, to learn, you know, as much as possible that you can put into your writing.
Saida Woolf: Yeah, exactly. Just want to go to college and put a bunch of stuff in my brain so that I can make more. Art things, I guess.
Melissa: That’s awesome. What what advice would you give to other people your age that [00:24:00] are hoping and wishing to, to do the same bang and to have a comic book published or a novel published?
Saida Woolf: Well, I think I would just say that if there’s something that you just really want to make but you feel like your skills aren’t entirely. To the point where where you have the ability to make it yet. I think it’s great to just start making your project because eventually as you work on it, your skills will improve.
And I, cause I think that making a big story project, like this is a great way to improve your skills and to just very quickly just And yeah.
Melissa: Yeah, no,
Saida Woolf: that’s great advice. Make comics.
Melissa: Yeah, definitely. Yeah, no, exactly. I think that’s really good advice. Just try to figure out what you’re good at and, and try to get better at what maybe you’re not.
And then and keep working on it, right? Yeah. That’s awesome. Now you might, you mentioned video games. So I have to ask you, are you playing anything specific right now or do you have any favorites?
Saida Woolf: Well I’m, I’m not playing anything [00:25:00] specific right now just cause I’ve yeah, I know. Yeah. I, I know. I really like just like Nintendo games and stuff.
I just think they’re really cute and fun. But yeah, I know I’m looking forward to once I finished my comic to just. Taking a few weeks and just playing a whole bunch of video games. Cause
Melissa: I that’s some video game time. Yeah,
Saida Woolf: I, yeah,
Melissa: very cool. And do you have any interest in the future in like writing like an actual, you know, full length, novel, or short stories or anything like that?
Saida Woolf: I’m not really entirely sure. I guess I know a few times I. I know several times throughout my life. I’ve I’ve tried writing like novel stuff. But a lot of the times I realized that I really do enjoy telling stories more visually than. Through words, I guess just cause a lot of times when I’m, when I try to write and like describe the visuals of something, I just get frustrated that I can’t just [00:26:00] draw it.
So yeah. But yeah, I think I definitely, throughout the rest of my life, I want to try to experiment with lots of different mediums. Like I want to get better at animating stuff. I want to try to make more video games, make more comics may be. Yeah. Yeah.
Melissa: Just to explore the possibilities, right. I mean, you’re so young and you’ve got like such a, you know, a large career ahead of you.
I’m excited to kind of see where your career goes and to like watch you, you know, flourish in this industry because, you know, you’ve, you’ve gotten, like I said, you’re a little ahead of the curve, you know, starting early, early on and, and with You know, a great publisher like scout too, that opens a lot of doors.
So, yeah, I’m excited to see where that takes. Thank you. Absolutely. Well, you know, for those listening please go check out soul stream. I read the first issue. It’s really great. It’s really cute. It’s great for families. They can read together and remember to support your local comic book shops.
[00:27:00] Zeta, thank you so much for coming on today. This is really fun. You’re such a sweetheart.
Saida Woolf: Oh, thank you so much for having me.
Melissa: Yeah, absolutely. Come back on again, anytime. You know, we can talk about the whole series arc once it’s complete, so we’re not giving any spoilers and once that’s out, we can come back and talk about all five issues.
Saida Woolf: Ah, thank you.
Melissa: Yeah, absolutely. Well, thank you so much. Hope you have a good night.
Saida Woolf: I hope you have a good night too.
Melissa: Thank you. Thanks so much.