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When art and storytelling click: The art of Jenny LeClue Detectivu

Art and storytelling can be two of the most powerful media for creating an impact on their viewers. The unique art style adds to the gritty and captivating story that is woven throughout the game.
eM 7 min read
When art and storytelling click: The art of Jenny LeClue Detectivu

Few words about the game

We have already talked about How can games and movies improve your creativity. And I already shared with you I’m an occasional gamer (it used to be worse but we all are getting older and gaining some responsibilities and priorities, right?). What’s important for me in a game is the storytelling and visuals. Great storytelling is a must-have. You cannot connect to the world, characters and their lives without a story. The visual aspects of games are a standard nowadays. Everyone has high expectations about the graphics and details in it - and no wonder, if you are going to spend time gaming, it should be worth it!

Let’s ask yourself a question: How many times does a game still impress you? I would say rarely. The graphics are spectacular, you can see every tiny hair moving on the character. I don't consider it wrong. Quite the opposite. But is it impressive? Nah, we are used to brilliant graphics. So we love it, we praise it, but somehow we take it for granted. And maybe that’s why we are looking for something that will stand out.

From the artistic point of view, the visual needs take a totally different turn. Suddenly, you crave something more unique, more extravagant. You want to have the wow effect once you click the play button. Your eyes want to be pleased and your breath stopped for a second.

And here is where the art and storytelling clicked - in Jenny LeClue Detectivu.

Stay out? I think not. Mografi

The storytelling

Let’s just be quick here. This blog is not about creative writing, but we should at least mention a little. From the very first moment you start Jenny LeClue, through the amazing story, to the final credits, you will take on a charming adventure you never wanted to end. You will make fictional friends without even hesitating and the voice acting will blow you away. Also let's not foget Jenny’s sense of humour and sarcastic approach.

The game has a captivating plot (although because of the mystery theme it sometimes might appear complex). The distinguished characters have a significant development perfectly underlined by the character design itself.

A story within a story. Jenny herself is a fictional character within the game, as the main overlayer is Arthur K. Finkelstein, an author who is trying to stop the falling sales of his books. He is being pressed to change his next script as the latest books became predicting and boring for the audience. Arthur narrates the story as you progress, but does so alongside Jenny, who is not scared to risk her life and solve an actual murder in the otherwise peaceful and safe city of Arthurton.

Jenny LeClue is a coming of age tale. Sometimes funny, sometimes scary, always mysterious; it’s a story about finding our strengths, accepting our weaknesses, and the blurred lines between what is right and wrong.

You can read more here.

The art of Jenny LeClue Detectivu

Timelapse Lion Illustration” from Joe Russ / Mografi on Vimeo

The beautiful handmade art style

Jenny has a sleek and gorgeous hand-drawn style with vintage mid-century aesthetics. It’s a combination of 2D and 3D, mostly because of the great work of lighting and shadows, which gives the visuals a ton of depth. There is definitely a paper cut-out/paper craft-style feeling. The sharp edges and vibrant colours bring the story to life - even in the dark depths of the spooky mines occupied with ghosts of dead miners.

Each character and location is unique and feels as though time was poured into them to bring them to life on the screen.

The characters

If I had to choose one favourite thing about this game, I think it would have to be the character design. Every character has a unique, distinct look; depth and humour. Let’s look into the character design and what can we actually read as detectives before meeting them.

Characters from JLC, Twitter

Arthur K. Finklestein

  • children's author of "Jenny LeClue books"
  • crying into jars of jam and drinking
  • doesn't like death

Jenny LeClue

  • the only town's detective
  • brutally honest and sarcastic
  • solo superhero, no team player

Suzie Glatz

  • all loved sweetheart
  • secret genius brain
  • girly girl

Dean Strausberry

  • chubby, always friendly man
  • hobby-botanist
  • head administrator of Gumboldt University

CJ

  • the "town idiot"
  • believes in shadow men and extra-terrestrials
  • has trouble keeping a coherent stream of thoughts

The environment

Arthurton is a mythical town that has shops and restaurants along its Main Street, a police station and a library. Nearby are some abandoned mines, mountains, an old observatory and a largely forgotten graveyard.

A game where every screenshot is a potential wallpaper. The atmosphere is breathing with life or death. Every environmental experience in the game feels like you are there, paused in the moment. The work with light and shadows is simply spectacular.

Jenny LeClue may be a home for noir genre, but a lively and colorful one.

The graphic design

Stickers

We love collecting.... stickers (or whatever is possible to collect in a specific game). I know it’s weird how we have it all (Gotta catch ‘em all, right?) but I have to say this is a very elegant add-on to the game. You can feel like a child again, having your own journal with notes and decorate it with stickers that you can find throughout the game. The stickers fit exactly the style of JLC design. They are cute and playful. I specifically like the hard edges and white strong outline which creates the sticker feeling.

Flyers, postcards and other

They beautifully crafted every part of the design in JLC. You will find these tiny little gems hidden in some scenes. You just need to look for them. Posters on a board, decorations of certain rooms and any document you will observe.

The designs fit perfectly into the game and they are sometimes unnoticeable and underrated but with so much thoughts behind them.

“The art of..” book

Yes, you guessed it, I’m the “Art of book.. fanatic”. I just have to have every single book from a movie or game I enjoy. Preferably physical, hard-covered. But sometimes I do not want to wait, or the book is no longer possible to buy. At the time I was doing research for JLC, the book wasn’t available, so I got it in the PDF version at least.

It’s 126 pages full of amazing illustrations, character design and concept art. The only thing I dislike is, it’s just pictures, no text at all. Like I should be happy for 126 pages of the artwork, but I miss the storytelling, I really do.

I’m used to from every “Art of..” book to storytelling, the planning, the background behind the artwork process. Where did these ideas came from? Why is the characters’ final design as it is? What led to the first sketch? Where are the influence and steps that crafted the diamond?

If they will ever rework the book, I hope that there will be more stories and inspiration to read and learn from. For anyone interested below, you can find a link to the Mografi shop on Gumroad.

Jenny LeClue Art book

You have the option to choose from digital or hardcover edition plus some fan merch such as poster, tote bag or shirt. 

Check it out

Some negatives about JLCD

Just because we are here too excited and nice:

  • animation can sometimes feel unnatural, mostly on mobile device
  • the ending - no spoilers, but to my taste disappointing
  • puzzles can feel too easy sometimes

More information about Jenny LeClue

Spoiler alert: The YouTube review may reveal some pieces of information which you don't want to know ahead. 

When I was doing some research I stumbled upon a nice illustration/fan art by TheCrappyHat, I found it pretty cool and surely Jenny would still fit the cloak anyway. Could Jenny look like this when she grows up? What do you think? Let me know below in the comments.
TheCrappyHat - Jenny LeClue Detectivu, DevianArt
👁️‍🗨️
And here we have a noir style from Yakiti. I have to say it's sleek and I just love it. I also discovered it accidentally browsing the internet. It reminds the Mafia style so much.
Jenny LeClue in Noir style by Yakiti
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