Hey guys, just updating his piece because it was released without the usual write up. I spent a lot of time on this work and I hope it shows. Please read the write up to learn more about the process! Also added are some work in progress shots. Enjoy!
Edit to this edit: Kinja is being an insanely weird force and messing around with this post and the time and all this other jibber jabber. Hopefully everyone can see this again.
Original post date was 4/25/14, at 11:58 P.M.
Pokemon One a Day: Snorlax
Whew! Sorry for the late write up, guys! Not sure how many of you read these but I feel it's important for me share my process and struggles to give my work an added layer and dimension to enjoy. For Snorlax, this one is going to be longer than usual (leave now or forever hold your peace) so sit tight!
Snorlax in this illustration…is well, flanked by an army of friends and family. You can obviously see that right from the get go, this is a new level of illustration that hasn't been shared or attempted before on Pokemon One a Day. This is the first time more than one species of Pokemon shares the spotlight, as well as the fact that the canvas space is entirely filled up to the frame.
Usually, the Pokemon of the Day is featured front and center, with no background to give the creature immediate focus. With Snorlax, I wanted to go all out for several reasons:
1) Snorlax, as one of the biggest Pokemon of gen 1, is larger than life in a few ways and his illustration could match
2) Snorlax is one of my favorites, so I'm going to give him a bit of hunka hunka burnin' love with the illustration
3) a full featured illustration is a yet another style of illustration that helps my challenge move along, as this piece is once again different from any other put out before it.
That is to say, if you guys have been wondering, this piece is actually indicative of my personal painting style. I've been sharing art with you all for a long time, and there have been a directory of styles I've imitated to the best I can as well as create on the spot for this series. Have you ever wondered what it would look like if I drew out a scene or Pokemon in my way? Your answer is this illustration, so now you have something that shows insight on me and my voice for once on this series! Of course, this style is done in respect to keeping the original designs of the creatures intact.
So yeah, Snorlax here is seen after well over 15 hours of painting (over 10 hours on Friday in a few sittings) and began conceptualizing 2 months ago. Snorlax is one of my all time favorites, so I thought about what I wanted to do for him earlier on. I've done drafts for Pokemon for future illustrations to warm up or during breaks of illustrations I'm working on in the day. Snorlax would be one I'd go into and work on a little at a time. However, the majority was done on the due date, as I always work on them creatures they day they're due for the sense of urgency that gets me to beat the deadline.
And that I would do, by a matter of minutes. If I didn't get in Snorlax on time and lost this streak because of my ambition…Man, I don't know how I'd feel. But those are feelings I never had to worry about. I submitted the work and didn't have time to write up anything, so here we are!
So now, you might be wondering…How and why did you select the Pokemon that were apart of the illustration?
Let's go with "why" first. Snorlax is one of my favorite Pokemon, and as such deserves the spotlight and keep it solely on himself especially for his day. What I realized as I was drawing a sleeping Snorlax was that it was awfully…lonely. That, and he's a bit too simple in design I never thought about this when it came to the others. But Snorlax, smiling in his lonesome, all of a sudden triggered an idea to go for a story book kind of illustration.
I decided to make this Snorlax a powerful guardian of the forest. To many of the Pokemon around him, he is a father, a brother, a son. This was also inspired by the fact that one of the super early ideas I had for a Snorlax piece was to do a Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli mash up. However, that would be too expected and too easy, not to mention already done by many people when looked up via Google search.
Thus, Snorlax as a gentle giant would be surrounded by creatures who felt comfortable and safe in his care and space. If you look at the work and the arrangement of the Pokemon, the surrounding creatures cradle around him almost as if they're protecting him yet at the same time he too is giving protection. There's this sense of togetherness that I think you can smile and feel good about when seeing this picture. As I was drawing out the Pokemon I was adding, I began to think about the relationships that were built up over the time.
There would be a Sentret that stood watch over Snorlax and his family. There would be a Zoroark that would protect the family with his illusions. A Shiftry, who began life as a Seedot that was traveling with the family in his early days was now grown up and the muscle to protect the group with muscle. Everyone had a story, and Snorlax was the key to them. One day, I'll post a short story I'm writing about the "legend of the forest guardian Snorlax" and tell of the individual Pokemon and relationships.
When it came to selecting who to add to this family dynamic, there was only one thing to do. Select my favorites, duh!
No, that's a lie! Well, it's part of it, haha! I immediately checked out the full dex entry for every single Pokemon and added a photo of it to a list I was making. I would go over the full dex 3-4 times before cementing a large list of Pokemon that would be cut down for the perfect goldilocks set up of critters. I arranged Pokemon who were "natural forest dwellers", "the family muscle", "the babies of the family", and so on and so forth. The selection of Pokemon I made is seen above!
I selected Pokemon for their color, their role in the family, how they might fit in the location of the composition, how natural they would look in the setting, and of course, played favorites here and there. Despite the favoritism (if you're wondering, Zoroark, Heracross, Skitty, Cubone) I think the selection has the right amount of flavor for diversity in the ecosystem to make it feel just right. Also, I found out that I think Starly is adorable :D
In how they are depicted, there is obviously a lot of give and take here, with liberties used for the sake of highlighting Snorlax. The dude is enormous here. Given the center of the canvas, Snorlax must remain the focus all while giving the supporting roles a chance to have your eyes race along the canvas at first glance. I wanted you all to drop a "wow" as soon as you saw this piece. As a work that's taken the most time of all the pieces so far, acknowledgement of that time, love, energy, and determination was more important to me than actually liking the work. Of course, liking the work is largely appreciated in addition…obviously haha. :)
So yeah! Pokemon and their sizes had to be messed around with. Following the official sizes would ruin the illusion of the intended forest guardian Snorlax I was concocting. I tried to give them sizes that felt more realistic for the situation, and I think it works. As for why possible predator and prey are living together, you have to keep in mind that this is just story book idea, and that this is one big family here.
Ohana means family. And family means nobody gets left behind.
Damnit, I should've thrown Stitch into the picture somewhere.
Which leads me to how I stopped at 30 Pokemon surrounding Snorlax! I was kind of forced to, because of time! Otherwise, I would have definitely kept going. Hell, I'm going to go back into this work at a later time and add more and more and fix up a few loose ends and try to look like the vision of it I had in my head. I may update the picture at a later date but it's been my practice that for One a Day, I leave each image as is as a testament to the challenges I've both met and failed.
So hope that explains how and why I added pokemon and break grounds for the general rules of One a Day and focusing on a Pokemon at a time - to cater to the story book style illustration, spice up an otherwise simple Pokemon design, create a shock and awe factor with a new level of detail…and one more reason -
Over the run time of this project, I have been asked a number of times as to whether or not I would be continuing the series into gen 2 and beyond.
The official answer, with indication of the illustration, is no. This series has both given and taken from me, but one a day and my will to uphold it is too much to continue. This will be first and only gen I will tackle…in full. What does that mean? I'll have to figure some stuff out and I'll let you know for sure later. Once Mew hits next week, this series will officially be wrapped up. I added a number of Pokemon from various generations to give those series and dex entrants a voice in this series of mine.
I think it's time I wrap THIS write up now. If you've stayed with me this long, thank you! Like I warned you above, this one had to be long…As big as the illustration of Snorlax was! A lot went into this work and I want to take this time out to say thanks to everyone who keeps up with this series and gave this piece some love, in addition to the rest of the work on a consistent basis. You guys rule all the schools! Whatever that means.
Thanks guys! See you all a bit later today with the first legendary Pokemon of the Kanto Dex, Articuno!
+ 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.