In this unit I have been asked to create a graphic narrative for a competition type brief that “Tall Story Studios” has released. For my entry I need an original graphic narrative for a web series.
The first thing I did was try and plan out the pros and cons for the type of narrative I would use, style, genre etc. Below is my starting mind map were the only real thing I was able to decide on was to choice to do a comic/ manga narrative.
Going on, I went onto to try some sketches to better idealise a narrative.
I went through a number of them. Below is my thinking process from rough sketches of anthropomorphic rabbits to chibi stylised characters until I started to focus on an idea.
At the beginning I thought about doing what seemed to be a stereotypical fairytale story with the the protagonist bring a princess who is engaged to be married. However as the story evolves the audience would discover that the present king is a tyrant who is terrorising his kingdom. The man the princess is to be married to is someone she has never met before, set up for political means. The narrative would be based around the princess assassination of the king in order to free the kingdom and herself.
I eventually dropped this idea as I thought that it would be too hard to accurately market, as well as design to the degree I wanted.
I moved onto another fantasy setting which was more original in that it was centred around a magical ritual where the goddess of the moon and the god of the sun would dance with only a portal in order for them to see each other. A story on how the sun and moon move across the sky.
I really liked this idea but I ended up scrapping it due to my lack of knowledge with dance (and how stiff that would make the movements). As well as how dull it make be narratively.
I shortly considered the idea of working with rabbit ninjas but that didn’t go past a rough sketch.
I ran out of ideas so a few friends recommended the chibi style to be which I reluctantly used to create a few characters. The first (from left to right) would have been something else to do with dance, the other a “Robin Hood” type shooter game. Then I reworked an RPG character of mine that I drew quite a few years ago.
I liked the design of that character so I continued with the idea only with an art style I much prefer. Thinking about Sci-Fi I created two other characters and a vague storyline on these aliens who had been kidnapped to an unknown planet for experimentation. I later changed the idea slightly.
Based on earth for better immersion that has been subjected to a war raged by an alien fleet of kidnapped and enslaved. In a militarised future the war has ravaged their natural resources and destroyed entire countries, the setting would be a city – “Haven” – that has been left a destitute shell with inhabitance of both sides of the conflict being forced to live together.
Humans who are the minority with the alien invaders constituting over half the population when they were left unable to leave with the destruction of their ships, and were then forced to settle on Earth.
This has led to horrendous conditions and crime running rampant. Racism would divide Haven even further than the loss of life. At the centre of the city, they have used parts of alien technology that had survived in order to renovate to try and preserve as much as they can. However, the further from the centre you travel the worse the surroundings become until it turns into the slums.
The Main characters would work in the homicide division of the new government which centres around the worst areas of the city. Navigating through rubble and the homeless, it is the dowels of what the war has left behind and very dangerous which would be very dangerous to the characters. The people in this area are desperate and it is not beyond them to attack if they feel threatened enough or they are in need of food or money, depending on who the player is unfortunate enough to stumble across.
I went on todo another mind map with the idea of that storyline in mind. It helped me solidify my thoughts on what I am doing.
I have taken inspiration from a few manga that follow a similar tone or theme that I want to create in my own graphic narrative. Detective Conan (or Case Closed in the English translation) has a lot of elaborate mystery crimes with a Sherlock-esque detective. For my own storyline, I want it to be more realistic. Where less deductions are made on assumptions from slim evidence found.
One of the first things I did was properly design my characters through the sketches I had previously done in order to figure out the type of feel I was going for.
I had already designed my three main characters (first from left to right), the uniform for offices (second), the uniform for detectives (third) and the outfit worn by the “commander” who is in charge of all the separate divisions (fourth) as well as design her face (fifth).
I completed these designs with quite a contrasting colour scheme. I kept quite strongly with blue to help the association with the police.
Officially I modified the art style slightly, made sure it was more professional looking by making the line art stronger and really focusing on the colours like shading. I wanted to try and incorporate a strong essence of what most comic books look like inside of the more typical manga style.
I started to look at different text fronts I should use in my graphic narrative that would best fit with the overall style.