So, let's see, it was the beginning of 2017, I had just finished an aesthetic update of the Gothic Horror Tarot deck and the client project I was working on was out on proof. I wanted to do another project but didn't want anything too big. I was also preparing things for Tsukinocon, the pokemon swap project was doing very poorly online but always sold okay in conventions, mostly because people liked the art. (selling games is hard!) so I thought, "well I have all these old pokemon pins, they are kind of looking very dated, as they are 3 years old now. perhaps I should re-do them in the pokemon swap style?" I knew people liked the art, but they didn't seem too interested in the game aspect, and $25 is a heavy investment for some pretty pieces of art. Thus the concept was born.
Very similar methodology to the Pokemon Swap game, I made a large inked drawing of the pokemon on a page of 8.5" x 11" paper, I made the line work this large because I really wanted the lines to be thin and delicate, one of the failings of the last project was the fact that the line work was so dark and severe. After scanning it in I'd turn it into a vector in illustrator to clean up any weird imperfections. Then I'd stick it in a photoshop template with a background and overlay color roughly corresponding to it's type. There were too many pokemon types to delegate a color to each so I picked 9 colors to cover them all (yellow, pink, red, grey, green, brown, blue, light brown or purple). Then it was coloring and applying the overlay.
Image after vectorizing the lineart
Image Without Overlay
Image With Overlay
Another challenge was that unlike pokemon swap, I was designing for a circular object instead of a card shaped one, many of the designs subsequently featured pokemon sitting or curled up, as opposed to pokemon swap where they were more likely to be in a vertical position.
Image created for a pin
Image created for a card
I also wanted to talk about missingno in particular. When laying out the poster I quickly realized that 151 is a prime number, so I decided to include Missingno. A famous glitch pokemon found in Pokemon Red and Blue, which would round out the number to 152, a very factorable number. I knew Missingno was going to be a challenge, since in the game it's most iconic form is a garbled mess, however it can appear as four different sprites. I searched online and saw that other artists had taken the four sprites and mixed them together, I really liked that idea so I decided to take a crack at it as well! I used some of the other artists work as inspiration, in particular I really fancied the look of the tumblr piece in particular and decided to take that design and adapt it to my style.
The four forms Missingno can appear as in the game. 1 being the most iconic.
Another Artists take on Missingno.
My adaptation of the other artists take on Missingno.
I always feel very refreshed after re-vamping an old project, I'm quite happy with how it came out, to be honest. there are maybe one or two pokemon that aren't my best work, but overall I am quite pleased. I'm spending a lot more time these days on quality control-ing my own work, to make sure that what I make is the best I can make it, so I won't have to do these re-vamps so often, and I think it is really starting to show! Purchase on Etsy