Each year during the month of October there's an online drawing event called “InkTober” where everyone creates daily ink illustrations, and all the way back in 2013 I decided to participate. Toward the end of the month, we were getting closer to Day of the Dead and I decided to mash up a Pokemon with sugar skull inspired design elements. What Pokemon did I choose?
Ludicolo of course! Listen, I don't know why they decided to make a "Mexican" Pokemon that was half duck, half cactus, but I'm glad they did. It was a perfect character to explore this mash-up of styles, and when I was finished, I thought "hey - this could be something."
From there I set out to draw all 150+ Gen 1 Pokemon. (A bigger task than I'd expected!) And I was blazing through them! Unfortunately, doing one or more every day was getting really tough and I was burning out. I remember an artist I respected reached out to me with some helpful constructive criticism. He'd noticed the work was slacking a little and guessed correctly that I was just going through the motions and not enjoying it as much. The work was suffering for it! He encouraged me to take breaks when I needed them, told me not to force the work, and come back when I was ready.
And that's some of the most valuable advice I'd ever received. Over the next three years I completed all 152 sugar skull inspired Pokemon - the Pokemuertos! To keep myself entertained and having fun during this huge project, I added lots of Easter eggs to the mix! There’s a “Freddy Mercury Jigglypuff,” a Squirtle Squad Squirtle, and of course we have that darn Pikachu!
I added all of them to one massive image and popped the entire collection up on Reddit - and it made the front page! You can check out the finished product here in the “Pokemuertos Poster” and see if you can find your favorites.
When the collection was complete, my friends encouraged me to try selling prints at anime and comic conventions because the look was so unique. I tried my first convention in 2017 - WITH ZERO EXPERIENCE - and we'll talk about that another day in a post about "Convention Fails." Seriously. That was a rough one.
So that's it! That's how this whole project got started: a little mash-up experiment with a completely ridiculous Pokemon and patterns I'd grown up with . And here we are, years later, still experimenting, taking breaks, and having fun!