As Kay started her career as a digital illustrator in a studio, she had to carry on creating digital artworks in the “mainstream style”. She also created traditional colour pencil portraits on commission, some of which have been featured in art publications such as Colored Pencil Magazine. Over time, she stopped working in studios and went independent, she finally found herself and evolved her digital art creations in the style and voice of her own choice and liking.
So far, she has worked on a few webtoons, on pre-existing and original character designs. The work has led to the creation of a miniseries of the characters in Blerdy Girls. The digital illustrations depict black nerdy girls and their love of anime and video games. The style of the designs is heavily inspired by works of artists Naoko Takeuchi, Kazuko Tadano, Ikuko Itoh and Katsumi Tamegai, who were the team of women behind Sailor Moon.
Blerdy Girls is more than a love for anime and video games. The series also shows that growing up, as a black girl, there was a lack of stories with characters that looked like her or were not stereotyped. McKinney said, “anime, comics, video games and other generally nerdy stuff was great, but I hardly saw characters that looked like me”. This sentiment has fuelled her webcomic’s narrative and the characters. By creating these digital illustrations, other nerdy black people, particularly girls and women, can relate to the characters and the stories, which, as she says, “my younger self desperately needed to see”. Blerdy Girls has now evolved into a brand with its own memorabilia where she produces and sells t-shirts, stickers, and prints.