Scratch Cat Pokemon
Meowth is a pokemon largely associated with wealth, in that it has a golden "koban" (currency in the Edo era of Japan) on his forehead in addition to having a signature attack called "pay day". I immediately made a connection with Meowth to the "lucky cat" statues that are associated with Japanese and Asian culture.
By way of research, I found out the actual name for these cat statue/charms/talismans is "Maneki Neko", which translates to "beckoning cat" hence the paw reach held high and calling the viewer to it. Eventually, I found out that Meowth is more or less inspired entirely by this figurine. It made sense, but also kind of surprised me. Here I thought I had an original idea of representing Meowth in this form...But I haven't seen it been done like this yet (to be fair and honest, I didn't really check extensively, so I could be completely wrong) so I kinda may have that going for me, I guess :P
I set out to work by pulling up various references for the maneki neko to create a Meowth in this caricature, and my first draft ended up with a very squatty and fat looking cat. At first, I thought this was fine because being chubby is associated with wealth - at least in the olden days. Having meat on you meant you had money to afford an abundance of food. Nowadays it makes people think you be having McDonalds on speed dial.
Anywho, I decided to paint Meowth in full gold, which is one of the more popular color choices for the maneki neko. It was either this choice, white, or pay homage pay homage to his original colors...And I as you can see, I kept the gold to embody the financial luck element of keeping a Meowth charm with you or in your house for the sake of this illustration.
After a while, I saw that the thick bodied Meowth wasn't resonating with me. He looked creepy, and I began to stylize it closer to the references I was using, trying to make it more compact and cuter. This approach fit Meowth's original body type scrappy nature better, all the while invoking the original maneki neko reference. At the end of the day, I balanced both Meowth with the charm, mixing and matching attributes of both cats and incorporating key features to reach the end result.
So there ya have it! One lucky Meowth, at your service. May good blessings and fortune come your way, dearest viewer! As always, thanks for looking and reading, and be sure to tune in tomorrow.
+Pokemon One a Day is a series illustrated and curated by Bonny John in an effort to represent the the first generation 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 from the set is completed. This project is an exploration of fine art styles for learning and leisurely purposes.