Beth Scorzato works for Papercutz, a kids’ graphic novel publisher. Coolest job ever? Possibly. She talked to me about about creative work, the soothing power of coloring, great books, and finding inspiration in other female creators. You can find Beth on Twitter @girladactyl.
What’s your main creative gig (this can be your day job, your freelance work, or both)? Describe what you do on a normal working day.
I work as a Production Coordinator for Papercutz, a kids’ graphic novel publisher. We’re a small company so I wear a variety of hats from proofreading to creating files for ebooks to making graphics for web and social media, but my primary job function is to make sure the books actually become books. I try to keep the practical side of the publishing on schedule.
What are your creative, just-for-fun (not money or career advancement) hobbies?
I really love coloring! I started experimenting on my own with digital coloring a few years ago and I’m actually just starting an online class to try and level up my skill on that front. I can’t draw at all, but I find coloring very soothing and rewarding.
What inspires you? Feel free to be as literal or as figurative as you want.
Other female creators! As cheesy and feminist as that sounds, I work in a heavily male-dominated segment of the publishing industry. Even with “nerd culture” becoming more mainstream, within the community there is still a lot of the same pushback against women that has been going on for years. But there are so many phenomenal female creators that I look up to that are willing to stand up and say, “No. I am good and what I do and I deserve to be here and anyone who’s not on board can GTFO.” Seeing work by other awesome creative ladies always gets me fired up to go out and make something awesome.
In three words, describe your creative aesthetic/viewpoint.
Make great art.
How would you describe your creative “process”? Does it involve a lot of staring into space, doodling, or candy eating?
It definitely involves a lot of coffee. I’m a procrastinator to the extreme, but it’s become a part of the process for me. I work well under a deadline and I find the longer I wait, the more my brain subconsciously ruminates on a problem. I’ve cracked many a storyline (I used to work as an Assistant Editor for Paper Lantern Lit) and written many an article in bed at three a.m. When I do finally sit down I tend to find it all just rushes out of me all at once and I usually end up with something I’m pleased with. Of course it still needs secondary editing but I never tend to find that as hard. It’s certainly not a process that works for everyone and I’ve had people tell me it sounds incredibly stressful, but I’ve found a lot of great work, personally, in essentially building up pressure and popping the cork.
What creative accomplishment are you most proud of?
For about three years I ran Spandexless, a website dedicated to the review and feature of indie comics outside the superhero genre. It’s a project I was and still am passionate about and I am incredibly proud of the site and community we built around the works that we covered. Unfortunately it’s a project that I’ve had to put on hold, but I’m always thinking of what the best way to bring it back and make it viable will be.
What’s a big creative challenge/failure/embarrassment you’ve learned from?
Ironically this is probably also Spandexless. I’m so disappointed and dismayed that the site ended up falling to the wayside. It was a serious lesson in time-management and a problem I’m still trying to solve. It was a huge undertaking and I wouldn’t take it back for the world, but next time I need to come into it with a better plan.
Who’s your Creative Lady role model (this can be a person you know, a celebrity, a fictional character, etc.)?
Kelly Sue Deconnick. Hands down. She’s absolutely amazing.
What time of day are you most creative? Are you a morning person or a night owl?
I guess this goes hand in hand with the “popping the cork” creative process but I find my best work happens between about 2 and 5am. It’s not the most practical but sometimes it’s just got to happen! I’m least creative right after I get out of the office for the day.
Being an awesome Creative Lady can be overwhelming. What do you do to relax?
Read! And drink tea! With my cat! I’m such an old lady.
What books would you recommend to other Creative Ladies?
Oh man this is a dangerous question because I have a tendency to read things from all over the map. In terms of comics I would highly recommend Habibi by Craig Thompson, but only if you’re already familiar with reading comics because it’s some heavy-duty graphic stuff. If you want to read a slightly less intense comic I’d recommend The Unwritten or Fables. If you want something aimed younger I’d go with Princeless. In terms of regular novels? I’ll always swear by anything by Neil Gaiman or Nick Horby. But that one book that I buy every time I find a copy just to give it to other people is How to Buy a Love of Reading by Tanyan Egan Gibson.
What advice would you give to other Creative Ladies who want to do what you do?
Just keep applying and keep learning. Comics is such a small segment in an already insular publishing agency. But if you are talented and qualified it will show. Good dedicated workers can be hard to find in any industry. Prove yourself. Put your work out there. The Internet has become the greatest tool for an aspiring comics artist. Get yourself out there and constantly strive to be better and never let anyone tell you you can’t do it. Not everyone is going to work at Marvel or DC but there are so many other amazing publishers out there that want to work with new talent. Don’t give up!
What’s your Creative Lady motto?
If it’s worth doing then it’s worth doing right. You don’t have to be perfectionist every time, but don’t waste your time on personal projects you’re not proud of.