I can almost hear the creaking of the wood floor of a long time, no update. Could one be wondering: what has TrainerKelly been doing? Where are all the projects? What has happened?! Are they coming out soon? Are they not coming out soon? Did TrainerKelly succeed or did TrainerKelly fail? I’m sure I would be wondering all those things myself if I wasn’t TrainerKelly, but you know what…I am TrainerKelly. It’s my job to inform the zero to one person who actually reads this blog and watches my videos on what exactly has been happening.
My Original Schedule
I had decided to take a break from working on anything but videos in January. I honestly would have continued working, but I always end up stopping around December 23rd for a break that lasts through January. However, this long break usually bites me in the legs. It ends up resulting in an annoying bout of depression that lasts until April.
Which is exactly what happened this time.
I mean, okay, to be fair, there had been a lot going on that added to the depression. However, it started with not working on my creative projects like I need to. It’s what fuels me to participate in life, after all.
Note to Self: Next January, continue working on projects, even if you take a break from December 23rd to January 1st or 2nd.
The depression really slowed things down, or at least, it felt that way.
February was supposed to be spent finishing up the first 12 pages of The Birth of Death and the other new comic I have, then move onto updating the older comics, ideally in March. April was supposed to continue with more of that. As I said though, depression got in the way, along with some realizations.
I have been feeling strongly that my focus has been off on TrainerKelly’s Network. I can’t tell you I didn’t know why, as I could hear it screaming in the back of my head, but I chose to look the other way because I needed to treat it as “business.” And it turns out, it was looking at TrainerKelly’s Network through a gigantic business lens that definitely pushed much of what will probably make it succeed off to the sidelines.
The first thing I already knew, but decided to ignore was the fact the short stories are the most important part of my universe. Not the comics, not the novels, but the short stories. The novels are perhaps the second most important with comics coming in not too long after. I’ve been focused on comics for the past two or three years because they are rather engaging, visual content that could, theoretically, draw more people in. One of the goals with the comics is bring people in for them, but have them stay for everything else. However, by focusing on the comics, I am losing the bigger picture.
That’s not to say I am cancelling my comics. Oh no, I’m going to do them all. I just realized I need to shift my focus from the comics to the short stories. I want to make sure I have both to roll out, however. It’s not like I don’t want to do the comics. Sometimes, I really am into them! Other times, I’ll admit, I dread them. I’ve never been all for drawing comics, no matter how much I want to. There’s something different between a single piece of art and something that is sequential.
The other realization is that the people who are most supportive of me also know me personally. I’m not some random artist from an Artist Alley table that they bought a cute piece of artwork from. These are family, friends, and acquaintances, who all know me on a personal level to varying degrees. It’s through knowing me on a personal level that people are able to connect with me better.
While I’m sure eventually, when I have story content being actively posted, my characters will foster the connections instead of myself. However, while everyone, including myself, is waiting, I think I need to stop being 100% business and get a bit more personal with you guys. Yes, I’m doing that here on Rambles, but I want to do more of it everywhere. I think being a bit more personal with you guys will help a lot with fostering a connection and will hopefully get you excited for the works I bring out!
The last realization, related to wanting to get more personal with you guys, has entirely to do with my online shop. I put it into maintenance mode for right now because there is quite a bit of work I’m going to be doing for it. You can learn more about it here. Anyway, I am not comfortable with just simply leaving the online shop in maintenance mode for months on end. After thinking about it, I realized I could sell TrainerKelly’s Network-themed merchandise while I’m creating the story content. Like, you know, TrainerKelly’s Network-themed t-shirts, mugs, bags…stuff like that. This has led to a special project, which I’ll talk about in a bit.
Work Actually Done
If you couldn’t tell from above (I actually think it’s hard to tell), I actually did some work. Sure, not a lot lot, but I did a bit. Excluding all the YouTube videos because you should know those from my previous posts, right? Right.
- completed sketches on all but one page of The Birth of Death (I felt drained after completing page 11);
- put my online shop into maintenance mode;
- drew, inked, and coloured a picture for the homepage of TrainerKelly’s Network, plus created a graphic with it;
- put a message on the homepage of the website, announcing all the changes coming to TrainerKelly’s Network;
- came up with a special project that I am currently inking and am projecting I will be colouring this weekend (I think the total number of images sketched is 22);
- wrote up basic summaries for 33 different short stories, which kind of just popped out of me, even though I did not feel motivated to write them up (it was a very much an “oh, I don’t feel like doing this” and “wait, when did I get to 20?” and “how’d I get to 30?!”);
I also created artwork and graphics for the gameplay series my husband and I are doing over on his YouTube channel, if you want to check it out.
I feel like when you read the previous two sections, it kind of implies I didn’t get really anything done, but…you know, I got a bit done. Not as much as I wanted to, but I still got things done nonetheless!
The special project is in two parts:
Part 1: Generic TrainerKelly’s Network-themed merchandise
Part 2: Kelly the Dreamer’s Casual Adventures
Part 1 is what I am currently focusing on. While I have two illustrations of Kelly all ready on my online shop, I lack items with my anime forms. And yes, while I have a handful of illustrations featuring my anime forms, none of them are appropriate for merchandise. The lone exception is the one with me cupping an orb in my hands that I pretty much use everywhere, which will be available on merchandise once the shop reopens.
I decided to create 3 sets of illustrations featuring my anime forms and Kelly. Technically, there are three images in each set, but Kelly the Dreamer has 6 additional images for the orbs that surround her because I’m super extra.
The first set are just simply headshots of my anime forms and Kelly:
The second set are full-body shots of my anime forms and Kelly:
The last set are chibi versions of the second set:
All these images will be then placed on merchandise and as soon as I’m done (and perhaps purchase some samples), I will reopen my online shop, but only feature those products and the products I have shown in my videos. If they aren’t in the videos, they aren’t being posted just yet.
Part 2 is something I haven’t worked on, other than the website layout sketch. To be completely honest, I’m not even quite sure if I’m doing it yet. The original idea behind it is to just post a comic featuring Kelly the Dreamer literally whenever I feel like it (hence “casual” in the name), but I may expand that out to short stories and what not. I like to think of it as an exercise or experiment. I’m still adjusting to my new comic style, so having something fun and casual would be nice. However, as I said, I may not do this because it continues with the idea of losing focus on what I actually need to get done. Who knows though – I could literally finish Part 1 and jump right into Part 2!
I thought I was a lot less productive than I actually was, so I’m pretty happy to see that I got quite a lot done! I do feel like the special project seems random, but it’s all I want to do currently. I’m excited to see my projects finished, but I know I have a lot more work cut out for me ahead. I hope you all join me on this journey!
Let me know what you are thinking in the comments below or on social media!
Note: I have been calling this series “Bite-Sized Update”, but I realize that that title does not work for the videos I am releasing on YouTube, so that name is going to be used for another idea I have in the future, but I am not there quite yet. From now on, this series is just going to be called “Creative Works Update.”