Brainstorming Story Ideas

To get some inspiration for this project I looked on Pinterest for writing prompts and looked at shows I enjoyed. I found that I was drawn to supernatural stories, so I came up with two stories. The first is about a cafe built on a grave so the worker has to serve the ghosts at night, I liked the idea but found it difficult to expand it further than the initial idea. The second is about a detective that dies and has to solve his own murder with the help of a clairvoyant, this idea flowed much easier, and I had no issue expanding it. 


Art Style

After deciding to go with the second idea, I started thinking about the target audience, genre and style it would be. I wanted the show to be for 15s and up so I looked into shows that were targeted at a more mature audience such as Arcane and Batman: Bad Blood showed. Shows with mature themes tend to have more ‘realistic’ human proportions, however, I am not very good with realistic human proportions, so I decided The Batman and Batman Beyond would be a good in between to use as it is more in my skill range. 

I did some experiments with trying the other styles, however I felt most comfortable with the most stylised one. 


Title and Tagline

Since my show would be a detective show I looked into what other detective shows are called. The most common trope is calling it after the main character’s name, e.g. Frost, Farther Brown and Columbo. I also noticed they also used world related to death, criminals and the specific division the police in the show where from. I came up with these names and taglines based on my research. I really liked both The Phantom Detective and The Death of Hawthorn however, when read with the tagline The Phantom Detective sounded better. 




The Detective: 

To start I looked up all the different detectives I could think of in shows and games as reference. Common traits of detective characters are long trench coats, shirts with optional vest and dress pants. 

I chose a broad build for him as he would work out while being in the force. I first tried the long coat with a neat appearance and facial hair, I wanted all the sketched to have facial hair as I find it makes a character look more mature and older, he is supposed to look 41 but some of the sketches do look a bit younger than what I was going for. 

For the second one I tried a short puffer jacket, it looked cool, but he no longer read as a detective, more like an off-duty cop. 

The third and fourth designs were pretty similar to the first with the long coat. However, I did a jumper and messy shirt. I ended up going with the fourth one as I liked his slightly messy appearance and grey streaks in his hair. 

Next, I tried different colour pallets. I found most detectives have a very brown pallet normally accented with a black or red tie with a white shirt. These are my colour pallets, I like the third one as there is a good balance of dark and light colours. 

For his ghost form I changed his hue to blue to make him appear lifeless. I didn’t want him to have a ghost tail so I decided his feet and legs would fade. I also tried adding blood to his shirt where he got shot to show how he died. The second has a more drastic fade than the first. I used dark gray line art for the third and blue for the fourth. I went with the first as you can still see his legs even when faded and I like the blood detail. 

If I had more time, I would try to make him look less generic, he ends up looking like any other detective character. 

When it came to naming him, I looked into names could mean death or ghost, this was to hit at what happens to him. I went with Hugh Hawthorn. 


The Clairvoyant: 

Trying to find clairvoyant character proved to be a bit of an issue as I could not find many that weren’t stereotypes. I figured since fortune tellers most often wear scarves and shawl and layered jewellery, looking into hippy and bohemian fashion also works as the clothing styles are similar. 

The clairvoyant is a thinner build than the detective as he is not used to running around fighting crime. I tried different shawls and trousers to make him appear mystical, without it looking like a costume. I liked the second outfit, but it felt out of place next to the detective, so I tried to make a more casual look. Three and four is a combination of the first and second; I changed the shape of the shawl and gave him dress pants, also gave him long hair. I went with the fourth one. 

His colour pallet was a lot more fun to work with as hippy clothing tends to be colourful, the problem was I didn’t want him to look like a clown beside the detective to I desaturated the brighter colours so he wouldn’t stand out as much. I used shades of reds, purples, greens and blues as these showed up the most when looking into fortune tellers. I liked the third one the best, he looks the most mystical as the colours remind me of a fortune teller’s table. If I had more time, I would have added a pattern around the shawl’s edge as it looks a bit plain. 

With more time I would have played around with more mystical fashion, colours and symbols in his design. 

For his name I looked into names that meant garden or guide. His last name is the same as a famous fortune teller. I chose Marshall Castello. 


 The Hitman: 

I looked into different goons and villains for the hitman. A lot of evil characters I found have facial scars, sharp jaw lines and wear suits or at least are well dressed. Since my character is known as the dentist, I also looked into what dentists uniform look like.  

I wanted the hitman to loom over characters and be more muscular to make him more intimidating. I tried the full suit and hat, but he looked too much like a generic henchman. I then drew him in full scrubs with a mask which was more alone the line I was looking. I then tried combining the first and second so his scrubs would be covered a little to make him look inconspicuous. I also gave him a big toothy smile and small dark glasses. I preferred the scrubs being on full display as it kind of loses the dentist look. The fourth is a combination of all the elements I liked, the scrubs, facial scare and mask and the hair. 

For his colour pallet I stuck to blues, greys and blacks as this is common in dentist offices. I also coloured his skin to look sickly and a little grey, it makes him look unnatural and off putting. The fourth one is the best one from the bunch, but I think I could have experimented with colour more. 

To improve his design, I feel I could have made him look more deranged as he looks too calm, the third design with the teeth was the closest to him looking crazy. 

For the hitman’s nick name, I tried to match a name to a signature, I liked the Dentist the best as it is one of the more discrete signatures so the corner would not notice anything wrong with the detective’s body immediately. 


Here are all the characters in a line up so the heights and builds are more noticeable, I did not get to finish this piece, so I used the previous art to make the line up, so it had all the final colours. I am happy with how the characters look like a group. 



For the environment, I referenced images of morgues and alley ways. I also looked at how Batman Bwyond created their backgrounds. They use blocky shapes with paper wrinkled over top to add texture. They also use a limited colour palette of blues, greys, purples and browns. 

Since I am not the best with perspective, I made some quick scenes and lighting block outs for both environments. 

I then painted over the models using straight lines to make the scenes look more angular. I like the external environment, it looks cool, but the internal environment is not as good. It could be the colour choice or because it was the first one I did, so I got better with some practice. If I had time I would go back and add more details to the internal environment and change the colour and lighting. 


Pitch Bible

For the pitch bible I had the idea of making it look as if it was an investigation corkboard or a case file. After talking to Sarah, she told me I could do both as it is all on theme as well as maybe making some look like a newspaper. Here is my moodboard for the pitch bible. 

I started by using assets from Canva to block out my initial layout ideas then swapped most of the assets out for some I had drawn. Most of the final pitch deck are my assets but I ran low on time, so the coffee rings and background cork and wood are form Canva. These are my asset sheets.

 Overall, I am happy with my pitch bible. The characters are fun, and the backgrounds were a great learning experience. If I was to do this again, I would work more on the art style and character designs, I feel like I could have pushed the style more as well as adding the characters to the background to see if they fit. 





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