What drives this creator of viral Pokémon fanart to continue making new works

captured from pokeyugami's fan-made video

Written by. Nick Mosier based on the original Japanese article (original article’s publication date: 2022-06-06 14:55 JST)

pokeyugami is an artist that submits high-quality Pokémon fanart to Twitter and Instagram. Their work is based around the idea of Pokémon games that were released in a dimension separate from our own, including the below video which went viral, looking like it was taken from a game.

The video is a 3D recreation of Viridian Forest from the first-generation games complete with Caterpie, Weedle, Pikachu, and a Bug Catcher wonderfully represented. The below video is a recreation Route 3 from the same games. There’s a Jigglypuff, some Spearow, and even a Lass standing around waiting to battle.

pokeyugami also posted a video in June featuring new Pokémon from the upcoming Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, with a trainer walking alongside the new fire-starter Fuecoco and a Smoliv and Pikachu hanging out. We can see the trainer sharing some words with another trainer and their Sprigatito as well.

These videos made a huge splash on Twitter with each of them getting over 10,000 retweets. In addition to just the impressive quality, they also incorporate a look reminiscent of the companion artwork and media for the first-generation games, with the color usage and designs being praised.

pokeyugami’s work covers a wide range. They’ve made Pokémon card inspired art, a Volo illustration that looks straight out of a game magazine, a neon Eevee sign, and much more. One might reasonably assume it’s the work of multiple artists, but somehow, it’s all made by one person. So just what exactly is the intention behind all this fanart? We decided to reach out directly to learn more.

As for what got them started making fanart, pokeyugami says it started when playing the Pokémon Trading Card Game with a friend. They wanted to use their own favorite Pokémon and would make cards with different Pokémon drawn on them while leaving the abilities as they were. After that received a reaction on Twitter, pokeyugami says their fanart activities began.

pokeyugami made the above videos that look like in-game footage using Maya and says that each one takes around a week to make during their spare time from work. As for why the designs are so close to the style of the first generation of Pokémon, pokeyugami says they would pour over the instruction booklet of the early games and wanted to put those illustrations in motion. They also say it’s in no way intended to be a rejection of Pokémon’s current style.

When asked about the variety of works they’re capable of producing, pokeyugami commented, “I think I learned the fundamentals of expression as a student and make use of that.” When it comes to the videos, pokeyugami says, “because it’s fanart, it’s an edgy look at what’s possible,” and that they want to make something for those who remember the early days.

In addition, pokeyugami explicitly refers to their work as fanart in multiple places and says that they don’t want to forget to be thankful and respectful of the original creators and rights holders, since fanart is intrinsically an infringement of copyrights and can exist thanks to their generosity.

pokeyugami’s work is extremely detailed. When we asked about some of the other pieces besides the videos, they said the below image of all the trainers that teach you how to catch your first Pokémon took a lot of work. Each Pokémon game has a part where someone teaches the player how to catch Pokémon, and this illustration brings them together in a cohesive illustration. pokeyugami says looking into these sections was also fun. We can see other works they’ve done with the characters lined up in a circle, so it may be a composition they’re particularly fond of.

It’s reasonable to assume making this fanart is a time-consuming endeavor. When we asked what has kept them continuing to do it for so long, pokeyugami said that making fanart is like engaging with a piece of Pokémon content.

pokeyugami explains that they played enough Pokémon Legends: Arceus to complete the Pokédex, something that takes a decent amount of time, but felt sad once it was over. Games end, but the fun of creating content yourself can continue on. Just like playing the video games and card game, for pokeyugami, making fanart is fun.

pokeyugami says they’ll never forget how their heart raced when Professor Oak first yelled out after them when stepping into the tall grass and says that feeling is a driving force for them both publicly and privately.