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Sugimori Art Evolution by CrystalClair Sugimori Art Evolution by CrystalClair
(EDIT): I'm now aware that the last picture is actually Ohmura's art and that Sugimori got his style from Akira Toriyama.

I noticed that Ken Sugimori's art has evolved into quite a few different forms over the years. I decided to draw 4 that I thought summed up his style's evolution.

Current Sugimori art doesn't even look Sugimori anymore.

I like - 1st> 2nd and 3rd>4th
I don't like the overall structure of the second one but I like the narrow eyes. I'm okay everything but the large eyes in the third one.

I kinda wish Sugimori never made his eyes big. Partly because I like his narrow unique style and partially because my art style has big eyes and Pokemon seems to be looking more and more like my style and it makes me look like I'm copying from Pokemon when I'm not.
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TutanTurkeyTail Featured By Owner 3 minutes ago  Hobbyist General Artist
I honestly prefer his new style...
Kronosx2008 Featured By Owner May 12, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
i know her ilustrations for gold and silver
MegaRezfan Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
It's funny because his style changed again for ORAS, because he definitely still does a lot of art for Pokémon including the characters. But in reality the narrow eye thing was him copying another artist he admired (I forgot) but it's now he's branching out and making something that's I think truly is HIS STYLE :-D

Yusuke Ohmura's, the new artist, style is of course inspired by Sugimori (because it still has to look like Pokémon) but actually he makes his characters much more anatomically correct and has volume to it. Look at this costumecommunityservice.tumblr… So there's the difference if you were wondering.

But looking at Sugi's work for ORAS (Because he definitely contributed character arts) I love how he's growing as in an artist, and I think he was inspired by Ohmura too <3 You just need to look carefully~
CrystalClair Featured By Owner Edited Jan 23, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm familiar with the origin of Sugimori's art-style. The artist he got his influence from was Akira Toriyama and that's where the narrow eyes came from. Early Ash looked pretty DragonBally and so did lots of the early character designs.

I sort of enjoy old Sugimori and the lack of volume in his old art. It was stylized, quirky and unique, even if he did get it from another artist. 

That link is cool. Thanks for sharing it. I'm planning to cover the concept of volume in a tutorial that will hopefully help people.

Also, I didn't notice that Sugimori is now being influenced by Omura. Interesting.

I also must add that while perspective and volume are dynamic and exciting, lower perspective levels (flatness) has its benefits in stock-art/official art. I can't quite make out what it is though.
Duo1 Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2015   Traditional Artist
It isn't Sugimori anymore doing the art work for the people. He does overlook it and applies his style into them, of course, but it's another artist that does the characters. It's a shame though, to be honest. But this is how things work.
CrystalClair Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I just dislike some things that he does like the "buck teeth", big weird eyebrows and now poses that obscure the front of the body like with Flannery, Winona and Brawly though not sure how much of a trend the latter is.
absorBENce Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2014
The third one looks like it hasn't slept in years...
Ashlynx Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2014
I love the 3rd gen style
Poke-Max Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I most like the second style. The first style is too angular, and the third has weird eyes - which the fourth style made even worse. For me, the Fire Red and Leaf Green styles were best.
MegaRezfan Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I like how Sugimori was back in charge of art and design in X and Y, Ohmura was still in there though making all the art (and designs probably) for all the NPC trainers.
joiski Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I just want to point out that Sugimori wasn't in charge of the artwork for the Unova region (fifth generation) (with a few exeptions). He still plays an important role in pokemon artwork, but there's another artist who has "taken over". That's why your 4th picture is so incredibly different.

My personal opinion is that I can understand how the creators after over a decade of using the same kind of style wanted to switch over to something more "fresh" in their eyes (maybe?). But I think that part of what makes pokemon, pokemon is of course the artwork, and I think the Ken Sugimori style, whether altered/evolved as in Heart Gold/Soul Silver/Diamond/Pearl/Platinum or old-school Red/Blue/Green is the equivalent of true "pokemon-feeling". The style is so inviting and approachable, and really makes me want to go out there on a quest to "be the best that ever was" :happycry::love: I also think the previous games have been more fortunate with the trainer designs :dead: Because the clothing designs on Black/White/B2/W2 were really not good :(. Fortunately though, the designs on X & Y are pretty descent, as is the game's artwork. I think they've gone back to a more pokemon-ish style, which is what fans enjoy the most.

Sorry for my random babbling. :XD: I think you did a very good study/good observations. :)

P.S. How can you not like HG/SS artstyle, it breathed life into a gorgeous classic! :heart: I think the style was beautifully executed and felt that each character was done justice. And the eyes. Yes they were bigger than normal but just big enough to not be overwhelming. If they had gone bigger it would ruin the feel. But that's just my opinion :XD:
Sorry again :XD:

darkdoomer Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
if i could post an image reply, i'd embed Louis Wain's artworks - from cute kittens to trippish abstract cat demons.
yoshiboy64 Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
i love his first style it looked more like a comic book back then ^_^
rosemarypiros Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
i want misty back DX i should draw her =D but it might come out bad xD
sidetrack1 Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2012
VERY keen observations! :D.Quoting Bulbapedia

"Sugimori's change of style over the years has been noticeable. Initially, he used a stiff, lightly shaded style that was very reminiscent of the early works of Akira Toriyama. However, in recent years, his drawings of people and creatures have had more muscle definition, shading, and more natural and fluid poses."

Any more deviations like this showing and explaining an artist's developments over time?.
Smitting Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2012
thats not sugimori's art though, its a different artist for generation 5
Chocorroles Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2012
The last face you used looks like Bel's game art face. That artwork wasn't by Sugimori but by Ohmura Yusuke.

All the trainer art in Black & White was done by Ohmura Yusuke except Juniper, N, Ghetsis, Hilda and Hilbert. Those are by Sugimori. Sugimori isn't the main artist of Pokémon since Generation IV.

Ohmura indeed tries to follow Sugimori style like everyone has been doing till now, but there are indeed notable differences in his character proportions, coloring, linework, shading,etc.
CrystalClair Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow! That explains the stark style differences! I'm also disappointed that my favorite BW characters weren't drawn by Sugimori, like Cheren, Shauntal, Lenora, Dento, Iris and Skylar.
*It just seems too wrong to spell it Skyla

I'll have to correct the picture then.
Chocorroles Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2012
He is still the designer and director of all main series games except for HeartGold & SoulSilver, but it's obvious that Ohmura added his touch to the Black & White characters :B the first thing I noticed was the variety of body types and Sugimori normally only limits to a few ones, lol.
IronHardRebellion Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2011
nah, everything's pretty much like his gen 4 artwork nowadays. some characters aren't actually his designs

his old styles kick ass, though
zerudez Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The newer art isn't by Sugimori. [link] [link] [link]
CrystalClair Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Sorry, caught =K-zumi's comment before I saw yours even though you posted half a year earlier, though the first post I saw had the characters who were actually done by Sugimori. That said, I'm glad Sugimori hasn't changed much from HGSS.
MogoriSempai Featured By Owner May 21, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
you didn't shade the 4th one O:
CrystalClair Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The mouth is shaded, and there was almost no shading in the original art. The picture I used for reference was Skylar's.
FlaminJET Featured By Owner May 13, 2011
the last looks way too different
third one looks the best
Dirgenesis Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2011  Student General Artist
In my opinion, his style seems to evolved from that classic and instantly recognizable 'Pokemon' look, to something akin to Astroboy... The new style of Ash in the anime just creeps me out. Maybe I'm just an oldskooler, but the style of the franchise has changed so much since its conception that I completely lost interest in it (quite a while ago, at that). Proof that digital art is ruining good traditional artists.
ZachDoug Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
    It actually wasn't very unique, a lot of very old Anime and Manga styles had the long, thin, narrow eyes. He seems to follow whatever style is popular but keeping a bit of his own style. I am VERY VERY VERY glad his characters got fat faced instead of going on with the pointy Yugioh-like face style. That would have definitely destroyed the cute style for good. But now they still have a bit of Pokemon charm. =D
angeliIy Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2011   Artist
XDDD I love all of his styles.
Yamato-san Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2010
is it just me, or has the method of showing upper teeth gotten popular with Japanese media in general in the last couple of years? See: K-ON!, The Sacred Blacksmith, Kannagi, Haruhi season 2, etc. I can't say I hate this style, but I'm really not fond of the idea of it becoming the norm over what we've had in the past (you know, when wide-eyed expressions were usually pulled off with what was more or less an upside-down red triangle between the nose and the chin).
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