Thursday, September 15, 2011

Zita 2: The Finish Line

On Tuesday afternoon I loaded all the files for Zita 2 onto a little thumb drive, stuck the thumb drive in an envelope and, with the help of the good people at UPS, I sent the little thing off to the Flatiron building in New York.

Then I think I smiled a lot.

This book took far longer and was a far greater challenge than I had ever expected it to be. Everyone involved was very patient with me as I worked and reworked the story for months on end. Anna, of course, was the most patient of all. It was pretty intense there at the end, as the deadline loomed and I juggled freelance projects and the herculean task of coloring well over two hundred pages of comic. During the last couple days I couldn’t even put my contact lenses in. I’ve never felt so relieved to have a project wrapped up!

On Wednesday I did something almost unheard of for me: I took a day to just relax. It was a sunny day, so in the morning I had Anna drop me off in Strasburg, which is the town just up the road, and I walked the five miles back home along the railroad tracks (a long walk counts as relaxing if you’ve spent weeks hunched over a Wacom Tablet), my old satchel full of cheap snacks I had picked up at the Dollar Store. The snacks were for my D&D friends. At one point the tracks turned into a bridge crossing the river. I chickened out in crossing the bridge, and instead forded the river, which turned out to be just as fun, if a lot wetter. It was a beautiful day.

I also made a trip to the library and today I’ve been catching up on my reading, recharging my creative batteries, and already I can feel the glimmer of excitement for upcoming projects.

So stay tuned! I’ve been meaning to kick things up a notch around the ol’ blog and I have plenty of art and news, bonus book projects and other fun things to post over the next couple of weeks.

Here's a little image from the book:


Margaret E. Perry said...

oh ben! congratulations!!!

Annie said...

Way to go!

anna said...

Bravo Ben!!!!
When you have a little 'time, here are some good things.
Soon I am sending you my little books!
Buona giornata!!!

The Diatribest said...

Ben, I am so happy for you. What a wonderful accomplishment you have done. I'm hoping that I can get to where you are.

SAC said...

That is so beautiful.

Do you sell art prints?

Red Herring Jeff said...

Awesome Ben! That balancing act between personal and freelance work is so hard, and becomes even harder when they both have deadlines! Ha-ha-ha!

One of the funny things about art blogs is that we often only post the work that we're excited about, or that actually relates to us personally. For every one of those pieces, it seems like there's 10 (or 50) day-to-day drawings of turkeys playing soccer or something.

I'm soooo looking forward to seeing the next Zita book!

Ben Hatke said...

Jeff, I know! Balancing freeland and your "own" work is a difficult thing.

This was like a perfect storm of deadlines for me because I was finishing the book while illustrating a Pre K Literacy book that had the same deadline. I've neer had anything like it. For about three weeks I was working from 8:30 am to midnight.

I learned that eye strain is an actual real thing. Not only could I not put my lenses in, but I could barely go outside in the sun!

Ben Hatke said...

Oh and SAC, art prints are on my to-do list.

Thanks Caroline! Keep your forward momentum! As Apelles says about drawing, "never a day without a line." For writers it's like "never a day without some typety-typing."

sdn said...

I can't can't CAN'T WAIT to read this.

j'aime o'gorman said...

WOOHOO! huzzah!
and there was great rejoicing.

Arkonbey said...


Congrats and we all appreciate and enjoy the fruits of your hard work.

When should I head to my local bookstore to pre-order?

Sarah said...

WooHoo!! Glad it's finished! And godd for you for taking a day to relax. You'll have two happy nephews when I tell them it's finished. They have been waiting eagerly!

Anthony VanArsdale said...

congrats, man!

Ben Hatke said...

Thanks, Anthony. I have to thank you and the others who helped me out especially. Having that help with the coloring was such a boost.

Kimberlee said...

Congratulations! This houseful of fans here is very excited for you! (and love the illustration of yer tired but happy self)