I could have sworn that I wrote a Creative Works Update #5 before. I could have sworn I uploaded the complimentary video as well. I can’t quite remember if I posted it though. When I went to go post it, or at least check if I had uploaded/had a working draft of it, it was no where to be found. So either I am experiencing the ~Mandela Effect~ (darn alternate universes) or it was my imagination. Probably just my imagination.
In a way, I’m glad I never wrote or recorded a Creative Works Update #5 (well, wrote, anyway; I did attempt a Creative Works Update #5 video before, but I didn’t like how it was turning out, so I stopped). I don’t think there was much progress or change to it as there is right now. I’m pretty dang excited to be bringing you this update!
Last Time on Creative Works Update
You can go read the entry here, if you missed it.
If you don’t want to go read it or reread it, the summary of it was: I was working on a Special Project that involved putting up generic TrainerKelly’s Network merchandise on my shop and I was almost done digitally inking all the illustrations for it.
And…that’s it. That’s really all you need to know.
This Time on Creative Works Update
I continued to work on the special project, more or less, after that ramble. I managed to finish: ALL the illustrations, ALL the graphics needed for the third party websites, and all BUT four mock-ups.
…then I stopped.
I had lost complete steam, mostly because I realized I was very, very, VERY uncomfortable opening my online shop without story content of any sort. Even with generic TrainerKelly’s Network merchandise, I still felt extremely uncomfortable. I said I wasn’t going to reopen the shop without story content and I meant it: it ain’t reopening without story content. On top of that, I didn’t like all my hard work on the other pieces of merchandise were going to be shoved into digital storage…I want them to be out in the open! After the story content is posted, of course.
Since I lost steam, I decided to take time to contemplate what I was doing with TrainerKelly’s Network. What did I want it to look like over the long haul? What did I want it to look like in the next year or so? Where do I want it to be in 5 years? What projects do I want and need to focus on for the remainder of this year? How do I best use my time?
Reflection reminded me of something that I’ve known for a long while now: I am most productive towards the end of the year. Specifically, late September to about December 23rd. Sooooooo…autumn.
I am most productive in Autumn.
I have observed year after year that I have the most energy from late September to about December 23rd. After that, I shut down and…usually struggle to stabilize myself for about 4 months and then spend the rest of the year fighting a battle with depression…if you read the last entry, you know that’s probably because I take too long of a break in January and it throws me off for the rest of the year.
Anyway, for some reason, this year, I realized that I’ve been approaching how I take on my productivity year all wrong. Each year, I clear my slate on January 1st, since it’s the calendar year. Then I spend the whole year fighting myself to be productive, despite knowing I’m not going to hit the productivity levels I get in Autumn until Autumn. Why restart January 1st? Why not continue? It doesn’t make any sense to do that if I’m at my most productive during Autumn.
I think the calendar year is helpful for my personal goals, but for anything productivity-wise, especially creative projects like for TrainerKelly’s Network, I need to follow the flow of my natural productivity cycle.
From what I have observed:
- After the first day of Summer (the longest day of the year), I become more quiet and introspective;
- I start feeling the itches of productivity in August and have found it a great time to plan for projects to be worked on from late September, onward;
- The itches continue through early and mid-September. When it hits late September, I am productive, almost non-stop, until December 23rd. I currently experience a depression dip in October, but I am very aware of it this time around, so if it happens again, I am ready to take it on!
- I rest for the rest of December. I find my itches to work on projects return during January. Normally, I ignore them until February, but since I have repeatedly seen this cause depression, I am changing that in 2019 to start projects earlier in January;
- I notice a light productive season in late March;
- I notice a dip in production in April, which I believe is due to a depression dip similar to the October one. If this happens in 2019, I will be tackling it like I am doing with the October one. If not, I will observe how my productivity flows this year during this month;
- I pick up again in May and work until about the first day of Summer;
This is the first year I fully realized how much following my natural productivity cycles would benefit me. Heck, it was the first time I realized I should be following them in the first place! I’m excited for the rest of 2018 and all of 2019 since I get to implement my observations into real life and make adjustments accordingly.
For 2018, I did find that implementing my summer month observances and following my productivity flow, my depression was much less than it normally was. I found myself more stable in July and August than I have in previous years. I also found myself more excited and in higher energy than previous years as well since giving my productivity cycle recognition. I guess I will be seeing if 2019 delivers similar or better results!
Deadlines and Things
With my reflection, I have decided on an set deadline of January 1st, 2020 to have plenty of story content completed. Plenty is defined in this case to be 1 to 3 years of content ahead. That way, there is a consistent flow of content and if, for some reason, I needed to take a break for a few months, I could. Or, you know, take my time producing even more content to be even better and learn some new things while doing it.
While the story content would not be posted on January 1st, it will be rolling out in 2020. I am set on that. I’m going to have plenty to post, for once. Including many completed projects.
To have some projects, which I am going to be referring to as things for the rest of this post because I’ve gotten sick of using the word “projects” (it sounds too business-y and lifeless at this point and it doesn’t serve me), completed by the deadline, I had to pick out 5. I picked out 5 to focus on. That was the number I got from my mind. Pick out 5 things you want to work on and work on them. Stop worrying so much about whether or not you’re writing the main storyline! Do what interests you.
So, I picked out 5 things and picked out the things that interested me. The 5 things are:
1.) Make Me a Model– Yes, the comic that has been on hiatus for two years (wow, has it really been two years?), is going to be worked on. Originally, I was hesitant to working on it because it wasn’t a part of the ~ main storyline ~, but looking at Bea Mawel (the main character) once again and acknowledging that…uh…I already started it, I might as well finish it! Plus, I’m excited to see it fully completed and updated into my new comic style!
I have mentioned it before, but Make Me a Model is being updated to my new comic style, with the lone exception to the first 3 pages and the cover, all of which are in full colour. I know that this is a large thing to tackle, but I do believe it will benefit the comic in the end, especially because it gives me a chance to redraw scenes I am not happy with. And trust me, there are a bunch of those.
2.) 1- and 4- Panel Comics – Okay, technically these are two things, but I am considering them one because of how casual they are meant to be. The 1-Panel comics are supposed to be posted on Instagram first, then TKN and the 4-Panel comics will be posted across other websites. The stories contained within them are generally simple and may serve as inspiration for short stories, if I feel so inclined.
Similar to Make Me a Model, but not on such a large scale, Naitmarish Glimpse and Fairy Glimpse are getting a tweak. Namely, I’m colouring/screentoning them in the way I am currently doing my comics. However, unlike Make Me a Model, I am not redrawing them. I will be continuing Naitmarish Glimpse and will be adding two more to Fairy Glimpse before putting it on hiatus;
3.) SM – I have mentioned this comic in the past, but have not said much about it. I will be doing this comic as well. This one is a newer one. I really feel like I need to do this one because it’s a timeline reference point and has an effect on the main storyline, although it may not be obvious at first.
4.) Kelly the Dreamer’s Casual Adventures – I was going to make this only short-form comics featuring Kelly the Dreamer. However, I have decided to make it whatever the heck I feel like doing that dang day! That means if I want to post up a comic, sure! A short story? Heck yes! An illustration? You betcha! An animation? …probably not, but you never know!
I’m still having some trouble trying to figure out how I approach this series. It’s hard for me because I’m like “what does Kelly the Dreamer even do???” but I know: she explores different versions of herself and inserts herself into different situations in temporary realities. She’s a dreamer. I’ll admit that the dreamer in me is conflicted between giving longer, more interested storylines to her and another part just wants to throw up random cutesy comics and illustrations of her. I guess only time will tell once I contemplate it a bit more…hmm….
5.) Short Stories – Short stories is kind of on the same level of debate as Kelly the Dreamer’s Casual Adventures because I am not quite sure how I want to approach writing them. How often do I write them? How do I select them? Can I do the main storyline, but also character and world building stories as I please? Which worlds am I and do I want to write for? How many will I write and how many do I want to write? How can I stop being intimidated to write short stories, as at one point in my life, I wasn’t?
With these 5 (technically 6) things picked out, I finally have a much clearer direction of where I want to go. They may seem contradictory to what I realized last time, which was I was putting too much focus on my comics, but you know what? I like my comics. I think they’re a great way to introduce the characters and the worlds and are engaging in their own way. Sure, they are a lot of work, but I think they will pay off in the end. Hopefully, many people will enjoy them, but even they don’t, I will!
Progress on Things
I’m pretty pleased to say that I have made some light progress on the things I’ve mentioned above!
The most notable ones are putting Make Me a Model, Naitmarish Glimpse, and Fairy Glimpse all in their own page management documents to make it easier for me to work on them when it is time to. They all have been resized to something more appropriate for what I’m doing as well. I have laid out the storyboard for the rest of Make Me a Model on the blank pages, while Naitmarish Glimpse and Fairy Glimpse have the pages of what they are written up to added, although currently blank. I will be sketching on all of them at some point.
My 4-Panel comics have made no progress as well. For one set, I was farther than I thought I was, but for another, I wasn’t as far as I thought I was. These will be worked on, most likely alongside Make Me a Model, Naitmarish Glimpse, and Fairy Glimpse. Well, one of the 4-panel comics, anyway, since all I need to do with those are colour them. The other set still needs to be drawn and be laid out.
For Kelly the Dreamer’s Casual Adventures, I started a few things, but they’re currently more involved than what I was originally intending, so I kind of need to go and plot down some points before I continue them. After writing this post, I think I should start writing some of the cutesy comics for it while I’m contemplating on where I want to take the stories for the series. I have decided too that I can allow my anime personas to join Kelly on adventures as well, if I wanted to. Why not do self-inserts with your own characters? Harharharhar…
SM is probably the least touched out of everything. I haven’t done anything to it because anything I need to do takes more work than I am willing to put in right this second. However, once my productivity season starts, I am hoping I have the chance to change that! I still need to finalize character designs, as well as place designs, before moving forward with drawing the series. This is an important comic to the series, however, so no matter how much I avoid it, it needs to get done sooner than later.
For short stories, I’ve been writing summaries. Lots and lots of summaries. Most of them so far has been for the main storyline and the development of the villain. Just today, however, I started writing some of the character & world building stories I am interested in. While I’m not sure if I will be writing them during this year (I may just want to plan), I’ll be writing in 2019.
Back in the day, I used to have a habit of doing illustrations. No matter what my mood was, I could do an illustration from start to finish. However, that ability has declined over the years and has completely vanished. Even right now, I find it tedious to start an illustration from start to finish without breaking it up over several days, despite it only taking me 3 to 5 hours on average.
I have decided to build a habit of: doing one illustration twice a week and one short story twice a week. I want to get into the habit again of doing these things so if I don’t feel like doing anything or even if I do, I am doing something. I also believe this will benefit me in the long run, as I will be able to produce more illustrations that can be used in a variety of ways and short stories that need to get done anyway.
So far, I have been semi-successful in doing illustrations and not successful in the short stories. I usually do at least one illustration a week or so, but I’ve only written two short stories since I started well over a month ago. I seem to have a fear of writing short stories right now for some reason, but I’m trying to work on getting over that. I think it’s kind of weird, but I know it’s my mind focusing in on a compliment a friend had given me a long time ago on a fanfiction and it has made my mind criticize me a billion times, despite when I reread my works, I find that it was over-exaggerating how bad I was doing. Oh man, gotta love the mind!
I’m going to be aiming to do better in the coming weeks. I know it’s beneficial to me to do so.
Well, obviously, the short stories are because that is a part of my goals. If I can get into the habit of them, I am guaranteed to have 2 written a week, if not more. If I consistently stick with writing 2 a week, that is 104 short stories! I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty dang good to me! Same thing with the illustrations, which will be used for things like advertisements and visual content.
Speaking of illustrations, I’ve tweaked my process when it comes to Painted Dreams, which is my default colour style. I was inspired by my new approach to comics. Thinking about my new approach to comics got me thinking: what do I not like about the colour process and why?
I don’t like line art. It removes the life of the sketch and I don’t like how it looks, especially on my own pieces. I think it’s easy to ask me why I don’t do line variety (I do, but it’s not dramatic). I think line art in general looks too wire-like. Occasionally, I see really good line art, but they’re often more of pieces that were purposefully inked to stay in black and white. Line art, also, takes a long amount of time in Painted Dreams since I had to draw each piece on different layers in order to colour them at the end because pure black line art didn’t look good with the style.
I realized in my colouring process, specifically with Painted Dreams, it was the one step I REALLY did not like. I used to have some other steps too, back when I drew stuff on paper, but since I converted to all digital for my illustrations, it has been helpful. However, I still had one thing I did not like: line art.
After I realized that and analyzed why, I then asked myself if the line art was necessary.
The way I was doing it and using it? Naaaaaaah. That’s what I decided.
I thought back not only to my new comic style, which forgoes the digital inking process and uses somewhat cleaned-up digital sketches with colour. I also thought too to the numerous digital sketches I have done recently and over the past several years that are simply just sketch lines and splashes of colour.
Of course, I wasn’t quite sure how it was going to work out, just using sketch lines.
To my surprise, I LOVED IT. Even more surprising? I have LOVED IT repeatedly! I am continuing to experiment with it to see much I can do with it. All of you will be able to see them in time.
Just to Note:
- This changes does NOT affect my cel-shaded style nor my chibi style (which I usually cel-shade anyway). I feel like using my sketch lines as the line art for those would just be…weird;
- I am not applying this change to Make Me a Model. The coloured pages are staying as-is. On top of that, a certain merchandise set for the characters of the series will continue with the previous style for consistency;
- Future illustrations on merchandise and all of the website will be in the style;
- The Special Project is the old style and will remain in the old style since it has already been completed.
I’m excited to share the style with you guys. I really love it and I hope you do too! If you don’t…that’s okay too. It’s what I will be going with from now on though, however.
Towards the Future
I am looking at the 5 (technically 6) things I have chosen to do as things I am starting in September and am expecting to work on them until completion (if there is something to be completed in the first place). What I have written and chosen is only the beginning. The very beginning.
Currently, I am taking a front-end web development course. I am doing this for my future. I don’t want to get into to many details, but the decision to take it has made it feel like I have roots coming from my legs and digging deep into the ground. It’s what I have been needing. While TrainerKelly’s Network is not the only reason why I am taking it, I can already see the benefits the knowledge will have when it is time to redo the website, once again, in preparation of debuting all the stories I have to offer.
I’m excited for Late September to come. I’m excited to see less sun and more moon. I’m excited to breath in the crisp air of autumn and that of winter. I’m even excited to be wearing long sleeves once again. The night owl in me feels so alive during this time of year.
I’m excited for things to come and things I’m doing.
I will see you in the next update!
Thanks for reading!
Recommended Social Media Page
If you are looking for status updates of my works, definitely follow my personal Twitter account, @trainerkelly. I have a history of tweeting about my projects on there. For instance, you can see I have been tweeting about what I have been doing with Make Me a Model.
While I have other social media pages (links are on the homepage), I highly recommend following me on my personal Twitter. You will get the most up-to-date progress on projects and often times, in real time.
I may post other random things (like comments about the weather and retweets for my favourite J-Pop group, FAIRIES), but you will inevitably get status updates on projects that I won’t post elsewhere, at least not for a while.
Even if you don’t personally follow me on Twitter, if you are looking for progress updates, I highly recommend checking there first!