On Nov. 23, 19-year-old Saida Woolf sat near the entrance of Illusive Comics & Games on Stevens Creek Blvd. in Santa Clara and sketched in her notebook. In front of her was the comic book she created when she was just 16 years old.
“When I was in my sophomore year of high school, I decided to start making this comic. And I submitted the first eight pages to Scout Comics and they said that they wanted to publish it,” said Woolf.
“It’s basically the story that I wish existed when I was 10 or 11,” continued Woolf. “I think that if I had found this in a bookstore when I was that age, it would have been my favorite thing ever. So, I wanted to create it so that it would exist for other kids.”
COVID sped along the book’s creation. Woolf grew up in the southern California town of Tehachapi and without anywhere to go during the shutdown and classes to attend via computer, she had plenty of time to work on the first volume of her series.
She took a gap year last year to share her comic book at conventions. Her mom, Joanne, says it was a great learning experience.
“She’s the introvert artist. So, this has all been so good for her. She can talk to people so much better now than before,” said Joanne.
Saida is in her first year at San Jose State University, which is how she ended up signing copies of her books at Illusive Comics & Games just before Thanksgiving. Now she’s balancing time between working on volume two of her comic book and her studies. The benefit now is that she’s learned a lot about herself and her work.
“I think definitely, a lot of the time, there’s this mental obstacle to starting big projects like this because you worry that you’re not good enough to make it as good as you want it to be,” said Saida. “But I really think that by making something like this, it helps you get better. And you become to the skill level that you were like, ‘Oh, shoot, I wish I was that good at art to draw a comic.’ But by drawing the comic, you get better.”
No matter what Saida does, her mom is supportive.
“We kind of had her on a science track. We homeschooled and then she did like a hybrid program for high school,” said Joanne. “So, she was doing science fairs and participating in state science fairs and stuff, and then all of a sudden, it was like, we realized this was her.
“She was kind of doing art as well as that,” continued Joanne. “And so, we just, whatever it is, you’re wanting to follow, we’re all in. I always tell people when I show up with my Scout [Comics] shirt and stuff, it’s like, ‘Well, I don’t have kids in soccer. This is us cheering her on.’”
It was the science track that helped Saida start her comic book path to begin with. She won a coding competition and used her prize money to purchase an iPad. She used the iPad to draw and create her first comic book.
To find Saida Woolf’s comic book, Soulstream, visit her website: saidawoolf.com. The teen is planning to attend San Diego’s ComicCon this July.