Two Decembers ago I did some character design for a series pitch that a couple of friends of mine (Brian Brown and Michael Feld) were making to Cartoon Network.
I put some work in and they were generous enough to sign me up as a co-creator. Cartoon Network ended up liking the pitch and for a little over a year we’ve been wrapped up in a development deal.
The whole process was kind of like a video game. You keep working through checkpoints. If they pick up the pitch you move on to episode premises. If they like the episode premises, you move on to series mini-bible. If they like the mini-bible, you move on to pilot thumbnails. If they like the pilot THUMBNAILS, you move on to production storyboards. Then after that, ideally, you produce a pilot.
We got as far as the production storyboards before the network decided to pass. But the whole experience was exciting as hell, and now I get post all the work I generated for the project:
Here’s the series mini-bible-
Art by me, words by Brian Brown and Michael Feld.
I based most of the designs on different fish, depending on the personality of the character. DB we kind of hit on the first try, but here’s some of the process for the other characters:
Stats based on the puffer-fish. Final version is on the left.
We ended up changing Emilio’s name to Fayaz- and everyone would just call him Az. He was based on a beta-fish. His face took a while to get right. Final version is in the middle.
Patty is one of my favorite characters. I really like the original design I did based on a barracuda, but the other guys didn’t think it was the right fit. Final design on the left.
General Swift is in charge of the Fish-tank. Originally based on an octopus, we ended with the design on the left. I tried to inject some more of her personality with that drawing of her and the gator.
Tink went through the most iterations, but she ended up being my favorite design.
Todd and Maude are a brother and sister-duo, both based on sharks.
This here is Dean Dean, not featured in the mini-bible because he was designed after the episode was written. Also the host of the #2 rated Dean-related podcast.
Finally, here are the production boards for the would’ve-been-pilot, “Dance, Dance, Revolution!” -
I almost forgot. Throughout the whole development deal we were mostly dealing with one person. She was always really helpful and supportive, so around Valentine’s Day I drew up these cards as a thank-you.