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Updated: Apr 27, 2022

I've been a fan of the BBC sitcom Ghosts since it started but the third series made me all the more appreciative. I hadn't noticed before quite how measured and surefooted this series is, with elements only now coming into real play in series 3 having been laid down from the beginning. I love that it's a series that has confidence in its characters and set-up not to rush.

I think in the era of streaming TV we've seen a lot of shows which kind of run through premises, never quite committing to anything very satisfactorily. Shows which rush through ideas and focus on twists and subversions, showing little applied imagination with what to do with the new status quos these set up. But Ghosts keeps its premise uncluttered and knows how to mine an interesting situation and set of characters for many stories.

I had a play with cartoon versions of the main cast.

The obvious reference points are the real actors but I've been informed by other things too. In a cartoon cast one wants a real variety of shapes, characters who will be recognisable in silhouette so I've done a lot of exaggeration there and taken cues from personality. The shapes of characters help place their energy differently.

Whenever I do a bit of character design one point I am always particularly aware of is making sure the female characters are just as varied and stretched into cartoonishness or grotesqueness as the male. Too often in cartoons male characters will come in all kinds of fun shapes and sizes where there is a single 'pretty' model for female characters or at least female protagonists.

With ghosts one is off to a good start in any case since the actors have very different looks and are further given very different shapes by their various eras of dress and hair styling.

One thing I notice in drawing to the reference of the real cast was that there's a lot of off-white going on across a lot of the costumes. Possibly not a deliberate choice of the costumer and more just an artefact of undyed material being common across all eras. But I have leaned into that a little as a good lead for helping signify a shared characteristic - ghostliness.


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