Teni’s Notes: This is both a test post for a few blog categories, and a way to archive my original announcement from February 2020, regarding the project’s shift in scope. The format and original copy will be preserved here to share additional context from the Introduction page, and for posterity.
BASTET: “As it turns out, the project has been due for this type of update for some time — which the artist @tenicola (aka @teninini, colacanvas, and “Teni”) finally got around to, after having enough headspace to approach it.
“And just to avoid worrying anyone seeing this — nope, Teni is not dropping DEITIES project anytime soon. She’s not going anywhere, and neither am I! Or the rest of my pantheon!
“But Teni mentioned she was worried about projecting that outcome, due to how inactive she’s been online, and how quiet she’s been about progress. She’s hoping this update can add some clarity on what’s actually going on, and what to expect going forward.”
“The rest of this update is below the cut, as text mixed with panels. It’s on the long-ish side, and while it’s best to skim through everything for context, you can also skip to the section “SHIFT IN [PUBLIC] SCOPE” if you just want to get to the point.
“Without further ago, let’s start with some history that Teni wanted to share for full context — again, under the cut!”
[ HISTORY OF DEITIES PROJECT ]
BASTET: “DEITIES Project — and the main story for said project (Deities of Duat: The Chaos Seal), which is intended as a long form webcomic — has been in development, privately and offline, since late 2014. Teni meant to keep it private for as long as possible, until she felt “ready” to share it.
“However, she was motivated to take the plunge and reveal the project’s existence with these color tests and with this comic, as part of her coursework for her visual storytelling class. You know the one…”
“The surge of encouragement from both her classmates and her followers motivated Teni to create this blog — the one you’re visiting right now! It was Teni’s full intention to use this blog to share progress on the main story, as a full-length webcomic, while building and engaging her audience.”
“However, along the way were a few… unforeseen obstacles that reared their head. Some obstacles were mitigated by making steady updates to the story and blog, but some were much more challenging, and she thinks it only fair to disclose some of them for context…”
[ OBSTACLES OF LIFE ]
BASTET: “The first obstacle was the sudden onset of chronic lower back pain — just before the launch of the DEITIES blog in 2016. She still has it to this day, and says this ache makes it unbearable to sit or stand in the same position for too long. Among several inconveniences this causes, it also means she can only draw in short bursts before her stamina taps out, or before needing pain relief — like heat, ice, and pressure.”
“As you might imagine, it’s not the most fun condition to have when you enjoy drawing! And it’s taken a while for Teni to cope with this daily frustration. She’s still planning to find answers and a treatment to help reduce it, but has also accepted that she’s been dealt this hand — not unlike other creatives that deal with some form of chronic pain.”
“The back pain was one obstacle, but having to deal with different interpersonal struggles and friction was another. Some spiked her usual feelings of anxiety, and in one relationship’s case, made her question whether or not the project was worth continuing. (On that note — Teni does not want to call out anyone or guilt them, she just wanted to bring it up as a factor for the larger point she’s making — just bear with us!)
“The third big obstacle a few years back, was having a day job that had an… ‘unfriendly’ work environment, and was paying a lot less income than she fairly deserved. And near the beginning of 2018, she was laid off from said job, putting a halt to any income she was earning only a week after signing the lease to her first apartment!”
“Teni didn’t go into detail about those months of job hunting and taking tech classes, though she explains bits of it in previous updates. But the lack of financial stability at the time hung over her head constantly. The way she put it was: ‘It was hard to motivate myself to indulge in something I loved, but that didn’t provide income, while I was in the middle of an extended job hunt.’”
“She didn’t expect all these obstacles in succession when she launched the project. And she admits that she felt a combination of frustration, impatience, and disappointment for not updating the project at the same pace she started.”
“This was not because of any pressure from followers — she told me you all have been incredibly understanding and patient! It was because of the fact that the project had been publicly promoted for so long, and she set her own expectations and goals so high — without factoring the likelihood of life getting in the way. There was also the lingering fear of disappointing a lot of people, if one day she had no choice but to stop the project for her own livelihood and health.”
“Ah, why am I adding to this creative angst — Teni didn’t want this to be a sob story! I’ll move on haha.”
[ IN A BETTER PLACE ]
BASTET: “Thankfully, in spite of all those obstacles, things are turning around for Teni in this new decade. A year ago she found a job with a feasible income to support herself, and an overall healthy work environment within her team. She’s also fostered healthier relationships with her family and friends, and even made closer connections with the best friends she’s had for ages!”
“And while her back pain is… still there, it’s a manageable part of life that she’s still determined to find answers for and improve.
“Not to mention that in the past year, she’s been able to work on other projects, more quietly, and indulge in drawing other characters and fanart for fun. She’s consumed more of her favorite media in the interim as well to support others, and to sate her own curiosity and interests.”
“Moving on to how this relates to this update, now that we have some backdrop for what’s been happening…”
[ AREAS OF INTEREST ]
BASTET: “Again, Teni is not dropping DEITIES Project — she admits the fear of having to make that call had crossed her mind, but it’s not something she thinks she’ll need to reconsider right now. Her bigger concern has been how to approach this project publicly, moving forward. And after giving it some thought, she’s made some observations that may shed light on this answer.
“Teni wanted me to emphasize the idea of her doing a ‘reset’ for the public presentation and development of DEITIES Project — not to change or hide the development thus far, but to reframe the project’s scope — what it’s focus and goals are, more or less.
“…Oh– looks like she made some visuals to help with this — you two mind lending me a hand?”
“You all might have figured it out by now, but Teni absolutely loves drawing character art and designs. She also likes panel-style comics, as well as the dialogue, expressions, and SFX that comes with it. She can work on them offline without prompting, but she also loves sharing what she comes up with!
“What she’s less fond of sharing is some of the other… *ahem* unmentionables and time-consuming work that comes with traditional comics. Things that take hours to set up and hours to practice, let alone execute for the final product — an unfortunate hurdle when you’re a one-person production team, and you can only draw in small bursts at a time.”
“She initially tried to put off the more indulgent art that she liked, in order to focus the less-favored obligations… but she realized that this just made her feel demotivated to work on anything, and less got completed as a result.”
“Overall, Teni’s coming to terms with both her own limitations and her personal drive, and wants to shift her priorities accordingly for the project — even if it goes against the grain of what’s considered ‘good’ or well-meaning advice for a personal project.”
[ SHIFT IN [PUBLIC] SCOPE ]
BASTET: “Instead of treating the DEITIES main story/comic as the ‘end game’ goal of this project — and pouring all her available energy in preparing for it and hyping it up — Teni wants to shift the main story as a future, and more private ambition, until she’s in a better place to execute it and share it publicly.
“No, she does not have any estimate or TBD date for when this will be, or when she’ll make public updates on it’s progress or launch. It may even remain private indefinitely. And for now, she’s okay with this.
“Because (1) The main story “The Chaos Seal” is not the only story that’s worth telling from this project. Smaller side- and backstories, and even small character interactions, have their merit as well — something Teni learned from drawing askbox responses, completing memes with the cast, and character exploration with friends. And with the main story not sucking up all the oxygen, she thinks it’ll leave room to tackle the others more easily — whether they’re planned ahead of time or are spur-of-the-moment, and as comics or different formats.
“(2) Removing the DEITIES main story from its public pedestal will also allow her to work on other non-DEITIES things as they crop up — and with less irrational guilt to indulge in things that aren’t ‘priority’ for completing the comic. Meaning more art of her original characters, fanart, giftart, collabs, memes and bandwagons, and other smaller projects. Heck, she might even give herself permission to relax.
“And (3), perhaps most importantly — Teni realized that DEITIES Project shouldn’t have to start and end with the so-called main story, and placing the story aside wouldn’t mean the project suddenly becomes a waste of time — as she originally worried about projecting when her life took a twist.
“DEITIES Project just… is. It already exists, and the characters and world already exist — with or without a completed webcomic to validate that existence.”
“But anyway, I side-tracked. The point is, Teni’s planning to shift DEITIES project to just that — a project, with room to continually grow, explore, and experiment with, and to engage with others as she feels comfortable, without the pressure of having a giant epic to tell.
“So while the main story and comic is going to shift to something more gradual and private — the way it was originally meant to be — this shift in scope will help adjust the project’s longevity, and also set the stage for some changes to be made around the blog, and for the public presentation for DEITIES.”
“However, that content will be less scheduled and remain sporadic — things will ‘happen when they happen,’ but what Teni has in mind will hopefully be enjoyable for those following the project.”
[ WHAT’S NEXT– ]
BASTET: “Here’s the thing: we actually had more to share, but Teni made the call to save it all for another day — to avoid making this update longer than needed, and to also avoid announcing any plans prematurely. No need to risk building pressure all over again or burning out, right?
“She asks for everyone’s patience and to give her another few weeks to re-calibrate things, address pressing questions, and work on some overdue housekeeping on the blog — and to just draw whatever pops to her mind, cuz hey, why not? After that, she’ll wait until any project items are already in the works and on the road to completion, before she announces that they’re coming — an ‘under-promise but over-deliver’ approach.
“But one thing you can look forward to are more featured deities from the main cast and the supporting cast — including those colors tests she’s been working on since last year, and then some! There’s no shortage of inspiration or fodder, so to speak.”
[ IN CONCLUSION ]
BASTET: “So to recap! DEITIES Project will be shifting its scope and priorities, so that the main story and comic is developed more privately, and more characters and lore will be explored online at a more manageable pace. On the surface, that may not look like much is changing, but hopefully this update can make expectations more clear.
“Teni knows that there may be some in the audience who may feel down about this decision, or who were looking forward to the webcomic to be completed above all else. She says that’s totally fair, and encourages anyone looking for stories to check out her recommendations. But she also hopes you’ll understand, and be willing to stick around for other content in the meantime.”
“That brings Teni — and me — to one final point. Which is to sincerely thank you for all of your support, encouragement, and patience these past few years. In addition to things that are still in the works, there’s a lot of content on this blog that had been inspired by everyone’s engagement, which we can’t thank you enough for!
“Teni and I, and everyone else from the pantheon, are excited about what’s next for Deities of Duat and DEITIES Project. And we’re looking forward to sharing more content, more freely, in the upcoming year for you all to enjoy.”