Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ken Sugimori

Ken Sugimori is a Japanese artist widely known for the art and the creation the many monsters for the video game series Pocket Monsters (a.k.a Pokemon). Sugimori has been working on the series from the start, starting from 151 monsters to now 649 monsters. Most of his artwork is only Pokemon due to the fact he and Satoshi Tajiri founded the game company Game Freak.

What I like about his earlier concept and character designs is his watercolor use. I believe the shading and lighting of his art from 1996 is very different from his work now. His early work is very reminiscent of Akira Toriyama's (Dragon Ball). Sugimori's style comes off as playful and it appeals to a much younger audience. I feel that it is very successful because, due to design and creation of the game's world, it led to the Pokemon phenomenon among children. When I was younger I often found myself looking at guide books and game manuals for the series just for the artwork.

1997 Bandi Pocket Monster Card series:
Character artwork:


  1. I know exactly what you mean man, I use to do the same thing when I was a kid. I actually really enjoy a lot of his earlier work, like the image above, as opposed to a lot of the more abundant commercial art of the characters and monsters. They just have a lot more energy to them for me, just the way they were set-up in different poses, and I also really enjoyed the craftsman-like quality with the color. Very, very cool.

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