Before we begin, I wanted to share a special message with you all.
I sought to share my work with TAY and Kotaku a few weeks ago because I felt I never fit into the world of Tumblr and DeviantART where I was sharing my work before. As my work revolves around gaming and areas of pop culture that Kotaku and readers of TAY seem to enjoy, I figured I could find people to share work with...And I seemed to have gotten more than that.
You've all been way too kind to me, and I cannot explain enough how much it means to get support like that. Kotaku has featured my work twice, raising my profile more than I ever have in 3 weeks than in the past 3-5 years I've been frequenting DA and Tumblr. And more importantly, that profile has brought me really cool friends that I never made online before.
So this one is for all of you who day in and out take time out to say awesome things, give me critiques, and treat me as a friend.
Thank you! Thanks to each and everyone of you sexy people.
Without further ado, let's begin!
Everything else was filler, wasn’t it? I mean, maybe not the starters, but THIS is the fella you’ve been waiting for!
As if he needed an introduction…Number 25, the electric mouse pokemon, the face of Pokemon, Pikachu!
I wracked my brains for weeks, as early as the first week of this project to come up with designs for Pikachu that would live up to the hype and expectation of the Pokemon. I tried everything, and nothing was working…So how do you think I would come to feel that earlier today, on the day he was due, I came up with this?
The thing is, days prior, I decided to settle on doing a gajinka, or “humanized” transformation of Pikachu, as seen above. I was really enjoying the progress I made with it, after a slight redesign and building up the character, and I would have gone for releasing that instead of this but I held back on two reasons
1) I wasn’t sure you were all ready for something so drastic (which isn’t fair on my part to assume)
2) some of the feedback from early viewers (family/2 close friends) were good, but not what I was expecting.
One thing they all happened to say was “It wasn’t what I was expecting,”
And that could be a good, or bad thing, but deep down, it felt negative. Now, I’m not one to let opinions sway my creative thoughts but I realized soon after that I should treat Pikachu for what he is stripped of all his merits and titles…And that he’s yet another Pokemon. Although that was tough to do, I began to work on two Pikachus simultaneously.
As I did, I realized something. With Pikachu, I was a quarter of a century down, which is a milestone to some degree. I haven’t missed a day, and I would use this Pikaboy as art to say thanks to all of you, between TAY and my other platforms...But mostly TAY since everywhere else, people just like or favorite without stopping by to say a word. These interactions I have with you all are among my favorite parts of the day, after drawing.
So to go back to how I came up with this piece, I ended up designing several Pikachu and was scribbling them all over the digital canvas. The linework was messy and overlapping, and I sought to break down the forms of Pikachu into various forms by shape. Wide head, small eyes. Long head, big eyes. Wide head, big eyes, small body. It kept going and going. I then thought to simply illustrate this entire piece by cleaning it up and presenting a collection of Pikachus, which I was excited to do when I saw that maybe there was one I liked more than any of the others.
I took this one and began to give it attention…Proper attention, unlike how I began to translate my minds thought without a second look for the previous scribbles and drafts of Pikachu for this collection shot.
What Nintendo has done to Pikachu’s design, more than any other Pokemon is humanize him more and more as the years passed by. Pikachu, originally, was very chubby (which made him really cute, in my opinion) and had a very stocky and limited stature. By elongating Pikachu and making him thinner and giving him longer limbs, he could be more expressive and emotive. Kotaku even did an article on this.
My attempt at Pikachu began as a building point from the original rendition of Pikachu. My Pikachu is rotund, chubby, and really packed in physically. As the electric mouse Pokemon, Pikachu always felt more rabbit-like to me than mouse, although there is a rodent out there called a Pika…but it looks nothing like Pikachu. The body of this Pikachu is a fusion of both a mouse and rabbit, but each animal has equal footing in representation, all while having the general shape of a Pikachu.
In this concept, I illustrated Pikachu with blue eyes, the reason behind it is that he is currently discharging electricity. As seen in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Pikachu’s eyes turn blue when he uses his signature attack Volt Tackle. I kind of used that as inspiration for the eyes but it should be noted he still has dark brown eyes in my concept. On top of that, I chose to make his cheeks light up when electricity is being manipulated as to showcase the power and energy hidden in the actual glands/cheek as stated by the Pokedex. I think it adds a nice touch and personality to the little fellow, and having the eyes and cheeks light up as they’re close to one another helps bring the earlier explanation home.
I played around with ideas of fusing bits of Pichu and Raichu into the evolution to show the transitioning process but I chose not to as I realized each of the designs are very unique to themselves. Pichu has a tail and ears unlike Pikachu, and Pikachu’s tail and ears are unlike Raichu’s. Perhaps the only big change outside of the rabbit-y ears is Pikachu’s tails is more closely in style to Raichu’s tail end but even then, Pikachu’s tail has a zig-zaggy shape so I sought to make it more organic by softening it up with curves.
And yeah, I think that about wraps it up! I hope you enjoyed this read and the art! Please do share this art and series with other fans, of art and Pokemon! Thanks so much for your support. Enjoy your weekend and see you on Monday!
+ Pokemon One a Day is a series illustrated and curated by Bonny John in an effort to represent the entire catalogue of characters from the world wide phenomenon that is known as Pokemon. The idea is simple - to draw and share one new Pokemon a day (weekends off!) until every Pokemon is completed. This project is an exploration of fine art styles for learning and leisurely purposes. +
Links to my YouTube, FB, Twitter, DeviantART, and Tumblr can be found on my official website