The protagonists for my pitch of an original show for kids: Ghost Hunter Yuki.
Yuki Hisakawa is an ordinary girl like any other, having moved to Sunnyshore with her stressed, divorced father to live with her curmudgeonly but mysterious grandfather. One day, she accidentally breaks a magical snowglobe, called the Rift, and releases the magic back into the world. Now horses become unicorns, pigs can fly, and Yuki has the power over ice, snow, and the supernatural.
With the help of her father, grandfather, a psychic baby tapir, and a mischeivous goblin, Yuki uses her newfound gifts to stop the monsters, ghosts, and beasts, keep the peace, and collect the pieces of the Rift before they fall into the wrong hands.
After breaking the Rift, Yuki gains the powers of cryokinesis (ice manipulation), thermokinesis (temperature manipulation), astral projection, intangibility, invisibility, and some degree of psychic abilities.
Yuki decides to use her newfound powers to fix the barrier by putting the broken pieces of the rift back together, and return the misbehaving ghosts, monsters, and mythological beasties back to their homes. (Of course this is easier said than done.)
Of course, since she's mostly a pitiful human, she's not very good at using her new powers...at least at first. More often than not, though, supernatural powers aren't enough, so she has to use her innately human wiles and resourcefulness to save the day. (Hilarity ensues, of course.)
The hero of my original series, "Ghost Hunter Yuki," who is by all appearances a normal school girl. Her parents are divorced, she now lives with her father Ken, whose new job landed him in the cheerful seaside town of Sunnyshore. They have moved in with Yuki's curmudgeonly yet goodnatured paternal grandfather Yosho in his home above his convenience store. She attends 7th grade.
I designed her specifically to be an "everygirl," with an unremarkable background and personality. She is awkward (such is puberty), aloof, reserved, and sarcastic, however when she shows kindness it is always genuine, and she will only smile when she means it. She is by all means the most unlikely girl to get superpowers, but by virtue of her pre-teen clumsiness, she breaks the artifact known as the rift, returning magic to the world and awakening her dormant superpowers.
While designing Yuki I took a look at some successful depictions of pre-teens in animation, and observed actual twelve-year-olds in action. Yuki isn't too emotive (she's less of a feeler and more of a thinker or doer), so these expressions aren't too exaggerated, but are just wacky enough to provoke a laugh or two. (What parent hasn't seen their twelve-year old with one the four expressions in the top row?).
I wanted to show two sides of this character: the irritable, sarcastic and sulky on the top row, and more confident, humble, good-natured (yet rather mischevious) on the bottom row. As a character, she has a sense of humor and can laugh at herself, a trait that could win many friends, both in-universe and among potential viewers.
Early into the story, Yuki acquires a loyal animal companion--a baby tapir named Sniff, who came to the local zoo fresh from Malaysia. Like Yuki, he too has supernatural ancestry (the Japanese dream-eating Baku), and when the rift breaks, he gains new psychic powers and the ability to learn human language.
At first Yuki's not too thrilled to have Sniff as a sidekick for a couple of reasons: one, it's hard to explain while why there's a weird little "pig-elephant" following her everywhere, and two, she's not particularly fond of waking up every morning with said pig-elephant sucking on her forehead with his nose every morning, due to his newfound taste for dreams.
Nonetheless, Sniff proves himself useful. His psychic powers, such as telepathy and telekinesis, can be helpful in battles, and the fact that he can talk is a plus. So Yuki can learn to tolerate the forehead-sucking in the future.
Some drawing practice and facial expressions for Sniff the Dream-Eater. I specifically designed Sniff to appeal to kids as the animal comic relief, to make him cute and potentially marketable without being too sticky-sweet and nauseatingly precious, or alternatively, obnoxious and purposeless.
I kept his design simple, taking cues from shows such as Adventure Time, and easy for viewers to remember and artists to draw. These studies are mostly to highlight his naive, oblivious, and playful personality.
For every great hero, there is a greater villain.
The Fox fills the role as Yuki's arch-nemesis. Originally an ordinary fox, when the Rift broke, his dormant shapeshifting powers awakened, allowing him to assume a powerful semi-human form. As a servant and familiar of the Red Witch, his mission is to collect the pieces of the broken Rift before the Ghost Hunter can retrieve them.
I designed him to be rather cute and attractive, so when the audience realizes that he's evil, it jabs them. He is also designed to be Yuki's--and the Ghost Hunter's--opposite. The Fox has a cynical and underhanded, yet bubbly, charming and cocky persona, he comes across as charismatic especially when compared to our hero.
The Fox is a worthy adversary, as clever as our hero and more naturally talented. Using the power of illusion, he can appear in any form for a brief period of time, and he can freely adjust his voice to imitate anyone or anything. Like his animal namesake, he has night vision, greatly enhanced speed, strength, and agility that far overpowers our hero. However, his superpowered form takes a toll on his sanity, and as battles wear on and he loses his energy, he gradually becomes more unhinged and feral before reverting back to his powerless animal form.
The Fox is designed to be Yuki's opposite: a moody, volatile, charming trickster. Because retaining superpowered semi-human form requires a lot of power for him, he gradually becomes more unhinged the longer he stays in this form. As such he has some pretty extreme mood swings and can get a little crazy. Here I want to show the range of his emotions to convey both his villainous charm and his mild insanity.
Specifically the Hopkinsville Goblin of American lore! Like all mystical creatures, the goblins are mischievous little creatures, and Jax is a typical example of his species. Jax is fun-loving, cheerful, mischevious, playful and innocent. Like all goblins, he likes scaring and humans, other creatures, and sometimes other of his own kind, just for laughs, but never malicious. He becomes a member of the Ghost Hunter's team, acting as the muscle with his indestructible body and raw strength, and as the comic relief.
I based his design on the original depiction of the Hopkinsville Goblins of the Kelly-Hopkinsville encounter. His body is metallic, grey, and tough like the real goblins were said to be (they were allegedly bulletproof), with bright glowing eyes. I channeled Tim Burton and Jhonen Vasquez while creating this design; I intentionally made Jax look both creepy and cute to sell his innocent yet mischievous behavior.
When designing Jax, I wanted to remain faithful to the original depiction of the Hopkinsville Goblins, but simplify it to be more appealing. For inspiration, I looked at various other aliens (the Hopkinsville goblins were rumored to have possibly been aliens), such as the classic grey men, Disney's Stitch, and the works of Jhonen Vasquez. In fact, I designed the Goblins to have some resemblance to the Irkens from Invader Zim.
I wanted to highlight Jax's carefree, fun-loving and wacky personality and elaborate body language. Because he's so simply designed, he's very easy to draw and fun to work with, especially when he falls in "love" with people and things.
Son of Gramps and father of Yuki, Ken is an overworked paper-pusher in his early forties. Still reeling from the unexplained disappearance of his mother thirty years ago, and deeply hurt by the failure of his own marriage, his suffering has made him depressed, insecure, anxious and cynical.
Ken is understandably less-than-thrilled that his daughter has chosen to put her safety at risk, superpowers or no superpowers. However he chooses not to complain, since he tends to be the go-to "Dude in Distress," constantly being harassed and preyed upon monsters, and has to be rescued by his daughter quite frequently. Eventually he gains the self-confidence not only to support Yuki as the Ghost Hunter, but actually join her in her fight against evil, mainly as the "Smart Guy" who comes up with strategies and studies the monsters Yuki must fight.
I designed Ken specifically so he would have a big role in the series, unusual for a parent in most cartoons, and to be a dynamic character in his own right. I made him a figure older viewers, such as parents, can relate to. He adds an element of maturity to an otherwise wacky series, and sometimes his own mundane adult struggles are made just as whimsical and wild as his daughter's middle-school woes.
Yuki's paternal grandfather. Your typical grumpy old man. A curmudgeonly cheapskate who runs a convenience store in the town of Sunnyshore. His floundering son and pubescent granddaughter move in with him, much to his displeasure. Despite his gruff demeanor, he is ultimately a decent man who loves his family.
Gramps' bitterness can be traced back to the disappearance of his wife, from which he and his son never fully recovered. Gramps has a lot of secrets, a colorful past as a construction worker and thirteen-time black belt champ, and has retained much of his strength and vitality. Gramps has plenty of secrets of his own, but now aids his newly superpowered granddaughter in her role as Ghost Hunter, acting mostly as the bare-knuckle brawler. Of which he isn't completely thrilled about.
Sniff's great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great etc. grandfather, the mysterious and elusive Baku. The Baku is an Asian creature made up of the parts left over from various animals, its closest descendants are the tapirs (such as Sniff).
The Baku is a creature that is both revered and feared. It is a symbol of good luck and is called upon to feed on the nightmares of children. After a kid has a particularly awful dream, they can summon the Baku to feed on it. But careful! If the Baku isn't satisfied after eating, is summoned for a petty reason, or senses ingratitude, it will feed upon the summoners hopes and dreams as well.
A small variety of the creatures Yuki faces as the Ghost Hunter. Some are evil, some are simply mischievous, some are only misunderstood, and some need major discipline.
Portrayed here are creatures from around the world: Trixie the Nix, a seductive, monstrous version of a mermaid that loves shopping, makeup, and terrorizing the innocent; a baby lion that has mutated into the part lion, part goat, part snake, firebreathing Chimera; Mushroom Head the green fairy, the ringleader of sprites who mess with humans and other mortal creatures for kicks; Willy the Will-o-Wisp, who occasionally acts as a guide to supernatural hangouts for our clueless hero; and Joxter, aka "Jox," the Yara-ma-yha-who, a vicious little red monster from Australia who happens to be Jax the goblin's cousin.
Among the many creatures who have returned to the land thanks to Yuki breaking the interdimensional rift. Fairies are tiny, dainty yet powerful creatures, one with nature. Be warned though--while we have grown up with tales of sweet, innocent fairies, according to traditional western and eastern folk tales, the "fair folk" don't always play fair. These fairies are amoral, carefree tricksters that see humans as playthings. One of the playthings ends up being Yuki's hapless father, and Gramps' beloved convenience store.
I designed them to be simple, charming, kitschy and cutesy, like the Sanrio brand toys. Only far more twisted. They all have ridiculously sappy names and act as a gang, with the green fairy "Mushroom Head" leads.
This...delightful fellow is the thorn in every Latin American livestock owner's side, the "chupacabra". He's nasty emaciated creature that terrorizes and drinks the blood of livestock, especially goats (his name literally translates as "goat-sucker" in Spanish). He's not necessarily malicious, he just does what comes naturally and eats when he's hungry, which is often.
He's mostly a nuisance in Yuki's neighborhood. The situation generally involves butchers, burger joints and hotdog stands. Naturally hilarity ensues. I designed him to be sort of comical, following the traditional description as a scrawny canine beast, as well as the more fantastical "alien" interpretations. I added sillier elements as well, throwing in traits from werewolves and, of course, Chihuahua dogs. I also threw in some elements from John Kricfalusi's Ren & Stimpy, for extra comical exaggeration.
Sibling rivalry at its finest. Shen and Aren are dragons, with Shen being on the "good" side and Aren being a reoccurring antagonist.
Shen is your typical benevolent Eastern dragon, who controls the rain and weather, and is said to bring good fortune to anyone lucky enough to lay eyes on her. Aren is the stereotypical destructive Western dragon (the kind that hoards treasure, kidnaps princesses and is slain by knights), he breathes fire, and his presence brings drought. He is also 500 years younger than his sister.
One of the recurring characters of Spirit Hunter Yuki, a powerful Chinese dragon. Typical of those of her kind, she is seen as benevolent, or at least benign, with the ability to control the weather and ocean at will. It is said that even seeing her will bring good luck.
Shen's relationships with humans is somewhat complicated. Although history depicts the Chinese dragon as a figure benevolent to humans, and Shen is no exception, she is somewhat aloof, haughty and proud. She sees humans as weak and co-dependent. For all her condescending tendencies, though, she's still willing and able to help our hero whenever she may need it.
Aren is a Western (European) dragon and the younger brother of Shen. He acts as something of an antagonist. Unlike Shen, who is loved and revered, Aren is hated by humans in Europe. He can breathe fire and his presence is said to be an ill omen and can trigger harsh, barren droughts. That and his appetite for meat (livestock, mostly), tendency to hoard (he's compulsive and loves shiny things the same way birds do) gave him a less than favorable reputation among humans, giving them excuses to fight him, attempt to slay him, or curse him.
Aren's personality is dark, sinister, yet tragic. His bitterness and selfishness can definitely paint him the villain, however years of hatred from humans has started a vicious cycle that is hard for him to break. Most of his crueler actions are simply to spite his sister, of whom he is understandably jealous.
Here I practice drawing dogs, in a style reminiscent of Disney cartoons or the comics of Osamu Tezuka. These designs are my attempts to familarize myself with non-human subjects and practice animal anatomy. As you can see, they are of different, whimsical breeds and have some personality, a few based on dogs in my own neighborhood.
The devious and playful protagonist of my first animation, "When Octopi Attack." She's a rare, genetically modified species capable of spending brief periods of time out of water. She loves tea, cookies, and making mischief.
A majestic and pretty species. Yes, I know narwhals already exist.