As our regular readers know, I am an artist. I do the art design you see here at Mega Dads, I run a Facebook page showcasing my work (The Art of Adam Leonhardt), and I write and illustrate children’s books. Drawing is something I’ve always loved to do and a lot of that inspiration has stemmed from some of the creative work I’ve seen in video games.
As a kid great art design was not lost on me. I was drawn to the character designs of masters like Yoshitaka Amano, or Keiji Inafune or Tetsuya Nomura. Characters in video games were often the subject of my studies and drawing practices. Video games were a place where cool heroes came to life in ways that they didn’t in the comic books that I read. I was fascinated by great characters like Locke from Final Fantasy VI and I would compare Amano’s designs to that of the sprites I saw on my screen. It was a great way for my artistic side to be ignited.
As I grew older my shelves began to pile up with conceptual art books from my favorite franchises such as Tomb Raider, Xenosaga and Journey. This Christmas I was gifted with a book of designs by Yoshitaka Amano from the Final Fantasy series. As I looked through the pages of that book I began to realize that even though today we have some of the greatest art designers in the world creating video games, we don’t really know who the artists are like we should.
There are only a few examples I can think of of designers that we know by name in the video game industry today. That’s kind of sad. When I play the game Journey, the one thing that stands out more than anything is the beautiful art, but where do the praises go? Who do we thank for the iconic beauty of that game? I think part of the difference is that today there are large teams designing characters and worlds, whereas back when teams were smaller we had singular visions guiding that art direction. But I think we should still be paying tribute to the great work that goes into the visual design of video games.
So for my part to say thank you to all the hard-working designers and artists I have decided that for 2015, every one of my blog posts here on Mega Dads is going to include an original speed-painting by myself of one of my (or your) favorite video game characters. Every other week when I post I will put up my latest painting for you guys to see and here’s the deal: Anyone who writes a comment here at Mega Dads requesting a character to be painted will have their request honored. ANYONE. So just leave a note here and let me know which character you want to see me paint and I will put it in the queue.
The first character in this series is actually a duo and was designed by Gregg Mayles from Rare for the hit Nintendo 64 series with their namesake. Here is Banjo & Kazooie.