Updates Wednesdays

007-09

posted Sat, August 29, 2015

007-09
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view keiiii's profile

29th Aug 2015, 6:51 PM

keiiii

Releasing this update one day early, as a token of my gratitude for the community. Being mentioned in the "your favorite comics on CF" was an important prompt, but there's a lot more to it, as I'm about to explain... or attempt to, at least.

I've been struggling with depression. It floods my mind with negativity and drowns out all rational thought. In my case, depression really likes to attack my comic. It keeps telling me that my storytelling abilities are utter shit; that my readers ALL fall into one of these categories:

1) 'kind of' like it but aren't crazy about it
2) just follow it for the pretty art, don't care for the story
3) like it for reasons that aren't very important to me
4) have questionable tastes/ very low standards (maybe they like EVERYTHING...)

Granted, some of you probably do fall into one of those, and if you are one of them, I don't want you to feel bad. I too am not super crazy about every comic I follow. And some of my own tastes are more than questionable!

But this is depression we're talking about. This is cry-myself-to-sleep-every-night level depression. It compels me to believe that no one truly cares about the story I want to tell, because I'm doing such a bad job at telling it. And I've been trying not to talk about this in public because I do not want anyone to praise me out of pity. EDIT: Nor do I want anyone to feel bad for not commenting! If my comic can't inspire people to say anything, that's my fault. Or if my comic is so awesome that it's leaving people speechless... well, I can't fault anyone for being speechless, can I?

Then I asked myself: this whole comic is me pouring out my heart into a visual, readable form. If I'm afraid to pour my heart out where my comic is displayed, what's the point of ANYTHING?

So here it is, a piece of keiiiiheart out for the world to see. If you collect three more, your health will be increased by 1 heart!

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view revzet's profile

29th Aug 2015, 7:05 PM

revzet

Aww, don't feel that way, your comic is literally the bomb. Like,I was showing my friends and stuff this the other day because it was so good in plot/art (I usually don't talk about comics with friends too lol).

Also on the page, Danbi doesn't look too good, hope he's ok D:.

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view keiiii's profile

29th Aug 2015, 9:02 PM

keiiii

I'm sure Danbi is just enjoying a relaxing neck massage from the flower.

And thanks. I really appreciate it. The thing with depression is that depression is not rational; depression just is. The rational part of my mind knows that by this point, I have some readers who are really into the comic, but depression doesn't care about that. It overrides all positive thought, no matter how logical or even PROVEN.

I've learned that when depression is roaring at its peak, there's nothing I can do but to wait for it to pass. But once the very worst of it has passed, I can start actively fighting it. On one hand, I wield my love for the story and the characters. On the other, I wield the weapons given to me by my readers. DUAL WIELD FTW.

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view revzet's profile

29th Aug 2015, 9:53 PM

revzet

I totally get it. Depression can be really hard to deal with. :/ I hope you can fight it back somehow with your dual wielding, I believe in you! :0

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29th Aug 2015, 7:55 PM

Guestelle

Let me start by saying this: I am a very private person with my interests and Heart of Keol is THE ONLY comic I have ever recommended to someone else. It is really something I haven't seen anything like before, and both I and the person loved it.

It isn't just the art at all, although I read each strip at least three time, just being stunned by the beautiful colors and lights. While with most comics I'm content to wait for backstories/spoilers to be released on schedule, it's an actual struggle to realize I'm going to have to wait a week/few days to see what happens next. It's incredible how much you manage to make your readers care for the characters and the world. I was genuinely worried about Danbi when the update ended with him sprawled on the ground, to the point that a friend asked me what was wrong. The sheer amount of information you convey to your readers without making every page feel like a social science textbook is incredible. I'm a hugely impressed of careful worldbuilding, and I'm delighted to find a comic that puts so much thought into every aspect, especially when I look back and realize how much I already know about Keol in less than 100 pages.

Keol is an absolute gem. It's a pleasure to look at and read, and I will be able continue to enjoy it for the foreseeable future.

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view keiiii's profile

29th Aug 2015, 9:49 PM

keiiii

Thank you. That means a lot to me. At the same time, I don't want you or anyone to feel bad about being a (mostly) silent reader. I'm a silent reader. My favorite works leave me speechless.

The biggest problem is not the lack of external validation (though depression WILL use that too, when it feels like using it). It comes from within -- my own dissatisfaction with my writing abilities. This feeling that I'm not doing my own story justice.

It's a tough balance to achieve, and even tougher to maintain: the balance between "always strive to improve!" and "be proud of your own work!" Both are important, and I feel like I'm leaning way too much to one side. Trying to find my balance again...

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view NeilKapit's profile

29th Aug 2015, 8:48 PM

NeilKapit

I love both the story and the art. Please believe when I say that I have very high standards, follow it whenever it updates, and hope that I'm someone whose opinion is relatively important. I hope that this helps quell your depression voice, at least for a little bit.

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view keiiii's profile

30th Aug 2015, 1:57 AM

keiiii

Your opinion definitely counts; your comments are some of the most insightful, and I value what you have to say, not just about this comic but also on other topics.

I've found that depression at its full raging height is like a flaming tornado. I cannot possibly turn it off, or even do anything against it with my bucket of water. But once that passes, I can start fighting it, and every ounce of support I get adds more water into my bucket.

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view sylve's profile

29th Aug 2015, 10:22 PM

sylve

I;ve only been reading your comics for a little bit now but your art is amazing and I've recommended this to a few people actually.

Please don't think your comic is bad at all because it's one of the best I've seen. ^-^

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view keiiii's profile

30th Aug 2015, 2:30 AM

keiiii

I'm humbled to have that sort of support! And this isn't really me thinking these thoughts; this is depression twisting my reasonable doubts into something completely ridiculous. I'm still in the process of learning how to cope with it. It just comes and goes whenever it feels like it...

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view alston123's profile

30th Aug 2015, 9:51 AM

alston123

Wow. I'm so sorry for what you have been going through. And for those who don't know or understand, depression is REAL. It's clinical, and it's rough. Keiiii, your comic is amazing. I comment on almost ever page because I love it so much, and you're one of the sweetest people on comicfury. You always take the time to respond. And I love those postcards I won, btw.
Don't be discouraged. HOK storyline and art are equally incredible, and just know that I will ALWAYS support you and this comic. This comic is one of a kind, and that's why it's on the most popular page. And on that note, you have every right to be proud of yourself I know I'm proud of you! ^^:D;);3

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view keiiii's profile

30th Aug 2015, 4:29 PM

keiiii

And I'm lucky to have you as a reader! The most popular page is a bit of a mystery, though... as I'm sure there are other comics with more subs/ comments/ rating. But eh, I don't think about that too much. ^^;

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view melaredblu's profile

30th Aug 2015, 8:31 PM

melaredblu

I adore how Ethan's just looking around at this fight, not really sure what to do, and it's just so awkward. Your sense of humor slays me.

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view keiiii's profile

31st Aug 2015, 12:47 PM

keiiii

I think Ethan has yet to catch a break from 'awkward' ever since he arrived in Keol. 8D

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view JillyFoo's profile

31st Aug 2015, 10:49 PM

JillyFoo

WHAAA...T No no! This is one of the few webcomics I check out right away if I know there's an update. Gosh how does one know if a story is good or not!? All I care about as a reader is what happens next. I am excited to find out what happens next in your comic. I don't know exactly how your comic does it but it does. So.. keep up the good work and keep going! :)

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view keiiii's profile

1st Sep 2015, 1:42 AM

keiiii

Yeah, there's a lot of subjectivity to it, but as with art, writing has its own share of qualities that can be judged objectively as well. It's a craft. If people don't like my stuff for subjective reasons, that's too bad, but I think doing it well objectively can help a ton. Even if people think they don't like something for purely subjective reasons (or can't even explain why they don't like it), often there are objective factors involved as well, to some degree.

I just have to figure out how to consider all that without letting depression consume me. Depression is an illness and is never conducive to productivity.

PS. MAN I gotta catch up on your comic! I was reading it a couple years ago!

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view rufiangel's profile

1st Sep 2015, 2:22 AM

rufiangel

Awww, Keiiii! *hugs* ;3;*

Well, I think everyone has already told you already what you should already know (lol) about how awesome you are and how awesome HoK is so I won't repeat. I'll just say: you do you like you always do, and that's amazeballs enough! <3

Also, Danbi is getting... a head massage? :'D

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view keiiii's profile

1st Sep 2015, 10:24 PM

keiiii

YOU KNOW I LURVE YOU, RIGHT ;A; ❤︎

See, that's something a lot of people chant: "you are enough." Which is true sometimes. But not always, and the mindless positive mantra-chanting is just not for me. It works for some people -- not because they're mindless, but because depression is mindless and they're kind of fighting fire with fire?

But it doesn't work for me. I thrive on practical solutions; in this case, recently I got a really awesome, constructive critique that made me see a major problem with the story so far, and that KO'd depression into near-oblivion. Obviously not total oblivion, as it did come back, but that's the sort of stuff that works for me. Too bad such solutions don't always exist (sometimes there really is nothing wrong with my situation; what practical solution could exist when the problem doesn't exist?). >_<

I'll survive. Preferably not too miserably, but either way I'll survive.

Danbi is... getting a flower noogie.

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view keiiii's profile

2nd Sep 2015, 1:20 AM

keiiii

I should clarify... I wasn't saying you were suggesting the mantra chant. ^^; It's what you genuinely feel about me, and I sincerely appreciate that. I just wish I could be free from depression responding, "ah, but what about the REST OF THE WORLD? What does everyone ELSE think? HUH? HUH???!?"

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view rufiangel's profile

2nd Sep 2015, 12:07 PM

rufiangel

Awww Keiiii~~~!! Why are you such a sweetheart XD *huggles* <3

I'm sorry if I caused you to have to patiently explain how depression isn't very rational for like the zillionth time here on these comments XD;;; ah, if only depression were so easy to expel!

But for what it's worth, I do truly admire that the way you actually tackle it is to go about it practically and not get down by C&C the way some people do. It's because you don't want to settle and you want to grow even better in all the areas, right? That's pretty amazing for an artist and storyteller of your calibre already! Which goes to show that sometimes success is not measured by what numbers or eyes can say, but an assurance from the heart. :)

Maybe a part of artist depression (which I think hits artists at varying degrees, but yours sounds quite painful ;A;) is wishing we could be at the goal post but seeing that we're barely halfway there, and feeling inadequate for it. But everything we do is a process to that point, and I have begun to believe we never actually reach that point; just milestones to the next bigger, better thing.

This comment is getting way too long and introspective but all to say XD that Keiiii, I think you've most definitely overcome some major milestones already in all the storytelling aspects I can think of, and thinking that all you get from here is even better... that's CRAZY SUPER!! And you're already in a great place (earning real respect as an artist and storyteller and weaving an intricate, beautiful tale!) so I know you're gonna abound to even higher heights! GO SUPER KEIIII! <333

(And this message was so long I will put you off the hook from replying to it XD just... read it and know I'm supporting you from the sidelines!)

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view keiiii's profile

2nd Sep 2015, 3:20 PM

keiiii

See, that same fact didn't bother me back when I didn't have depression. I used to take delight in the fact that you never run out of room for improvement. Roughly 10 years ago, I took an artist questionnaire on gfxartist, and one of the questions was about your goal(s) as an artist. I answered that I prefer not to limit myself to a goal that I can see today, for "tomorrow, the world will be bigger."

But now I have depression. OTL

Less importantly, now I'm also committed to a long term project. I'm afraid of ending up with a mediocre story because of my current limitations -- like, what if this is un-salvageable?

The more readers I get, the more it worries me because the reader engagement isn't proportional to the number of the readers. Which is understandable, but there's a shadowy part of my mind that wonders if that's because the majority of my readers only sort of like the comic -- and then depression says, "yes, and it's because your comic isn't worth falling in love with. The numbers don't lie! 4,900 out of 5000 people agree! If you were completely obscure, you could've used the 'oh, people don't love my comic because they don't know it exists' excuse, but NOW YOU CAN'T EVEN DO THAT HAHAHAHAHA"

Even when I'm at the rock bottom, it doesn't make me un-appreciate the casual readers. It just makes me hate myself for butchering my own story and delivering a mediocre product.

I try to alleviate this by taking care of my body (food + sleep + exercise can really help), and also by seeking constructive critiques. The latter has proven to be very difficult. It's hard to get a critique that helps you make a better version of your story, as opposed to changing it in a way that makes it fundamentally different from what you want to tell.

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view rufiangel's profile

3rd Sep 2015, 10:30 PM

rufiangel

Aww Keiiii! I'll respond through PM if that's alright with you ;w;*

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view keiiii's profile

3rd Sep 2015, 11:12 PM

keiiii

Feel free! <333

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view Strange Kidd's profile

13th Sep 2015, 3:25 AM

Strange Kidd

*gives out an imaginary hug (not to be creepy, but just for comfort)* Poor Keiiii. Now I wouldn't really know about depression considering that I've never had it before and I probably never will. But what I can say is that you're doing a wonderful job with your comic. :) I'm surprised that you were able to keep this comic up for so long while you're having depression, and I'll hope and pray that you'll get better soon and keep it going. Can't wait for the comic to get more exciting events, story arcs, and back stories it goes along!
P.S: Sorry if I haven't been commenting as much as I'm suppose to.

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view keiiii's profile

13th Sep 2015, 11:58 PM

keiiii

Nooooooooo, I don't want anyone to feel bad for not commenting. No one is "supposed" or obliged to comment. I'm mostly a silent reader myself, and there are comics that I am VERY invested in yet have never commented on!

My biggest problem is these %$#&( anxiety attacks, which feed my depression. But ever since I've learned that they were anxiety attacks, and not... my actual, grounded thoughts, I've been doing much better. Now when I feel an attack coming, I just mentally float around and let the darkness wash away. I'm not functional during the duration of it, but at least I can cope and ride it out.

It's still not easy to differentiate actual problems with the comic from stylistic choices or depression's lies or whatever. I think that's something I'll need to deal with for a long time, possibly for the rest of my life.

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view Strange Kidd's profile

14th Sep 2015, 7:34 AM

Strange Kidd

You know, I never really knew that depression can be something like that.
But even though you're thinking this may be something you'll be dealing with for the rest of your life, I'm glad you're able to cope it out, even if you're not too functional when it happens. Dealing with a long comic project while coping with depression sounds challenging, but I'm glad you're still able to pull through no matter how difficult. If you weren't able to pull through, you probably wouldn't be doing this comic right now.
Once again, like everyone says, you're doing a great job with your comic. That's pretty much what I can say clearly. :)

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view keiiii's profile

14th Sep 2015, 1:35 PM

keiiii

Anxiety attacks are different from depression, although a good number of people have both; and when you have both, one feeds the other. In my case, depression is pretty mild... but anxiety attacks don't kid around.

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18th Feb 2016, 2:44 PM

plebian_humanoid

I just stumbled upon this comic but I honestly love it. I usually just read a few pages of a comic then move on to a different one but this was one of the few that made me want to keep reading until I reached the latest page. Thank you for all the work you put into it.

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view keiiii's profile

18th Feb 2016, 4:13 PM

keiiii

Aww, thank you for letting me know! I'm very self conscious about a couple of writing issues in the first chapter, so I'm glad you enjoyed the story in spite of those things.

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