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Monday, 1 July 2013

My Favourite Artists: #1 Shinkiro

If you asked me who my 2 favourite visual artists are, I would say American comic book artist, Greg Horn & Japanese video game art illustrator, Shinkiro; for me, the work of these 2 artists inspired me to take up drawing and to do what I love doing in my spare time.

Born on December 14 1962 as Toshiaki Mori, he is known as Shinkiro, a Japanese illustrator & concept artist. Many of his works are video game related, in particular on the King of Fighters, Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting games at SNK.

One common criticism that has been leveled at Shinkiro, and of which has been cited by a number of people, is that all the characters faces that he depicts look the same. Which is very true; however, one can argue this in itself is a characteristic trademark of Shinkiro's. Artists have their own style, as well as technique that makes their work stand out from many other artists, -and his work is no exception. His style is one I find very unique. Yes the faces may look the same, but in regards to other things such as tone, composition, proportion, realism, his take on the characters arms, other parts of the body, they are all well depicted and the quality is of a high- standard photo or painting you'd see in art galleries.

What one aspect a person may find off-putting about his/her's work, can actually be an asset, in terms of it becoming a personal style or technique. Sure enough, you may not like how it looks visually, but you can't really fault the guy for trying and the amount of time and effort he took to create it in the first place. 

When you look at a piece of work by Shinkiro, you can easily tell and distinguish that it is from him. How would I describe his style? Unlike what others may think, I would definitely not classify it as 'Anime' or Manga. Far from it. I don't see it as Anime. If anything, my take of his style is that it is a Japanese/Far Eastern take on realism or hyper-realism. Disregarding the characters similar looking faces that is. His realistic air-brush style was what attracted me to his work, not to mention was something that wasn't present in many other fighting games works. Many of these were either as 3D computer renders or had 2D Anime-like faces.

It's funny really; when I first saw his work as a teenager, and noticed this theme running through it, I hated it.

Before, it irked me when I saw the faces because they were all so similar. But once I got over that issue and saw more and more of his work, I was taken by his unique style. His style today is a little different, but it is a lot better. Alas, I can tell from his Tatsunoko vs Capcom & Marvel vs Capcom 3 works he has evolved as an artist. He has a lot more range in his technique, whereas before back when he worked at SNK, it was like, it looks the same. But nowadays, it's more than that. It's much more colourful, refined and that he has gone further to add extra details to his characters.

My favourite Shinkiro piece is probably the one with Kyo for King of Fighters 95' (8th from bottom of this post). I just love how amazing it looks and how he captured that pose. Just wonderful.

I can understand why many do not like this guy's work; some have said Shinkiro has got artistic skills, but believe he is one- dimensional because he draws/paints in that one style & chooses not to go for the realistic approach. Yet what he does bring, is that photo realistic/psuedo realistic take with 2D fighting game characters. As an artist myself, I am in awe with some of his work -despite of what some detractors have said, & Shinkiro has produced a few amazing pieces.

However, I wouldn't go as far as saying I would replicate his style and draw people with the same faces. I wouldn't enjoy doing that myself. I'd much prefer drawing people with different facial features, as opposed to giving them the same look.

When I draw celebrities and people, I draw them as I see them - not give them the same noses, mouths etc.

But Shinkiro is very unique - he has left a positive mark on video game art & for the exception of say Hiroaki - whose style is reminiscent of Shinkiro's in more ways than one, there is no one quite like him today.

Tatsunoko vs Capcom

Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3

King of Fighters 

Fatal Fury

Streetfighter comic cover

Spider Man

Rebecca from Resident Evil 

Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3

Streetfighter 25 exclusive art

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