video Archipel Yoshitaka Amano Final Fantasy art relationship worldview art process philosophy character design

Yoshitaka Amano is a master artist with one of the most distinct and easily recognized styles around. To the world of gaming, he is best known for his iconic and mystifying contributions to the Final Fantasy series of RPGs from Square Enix. He designs the logo art for each entry, and he did character and world design for the first several entries. A new video from fascinating YouTube channel Archipel brings Yoshitaka Amano’s art style, philosophy, and relationship with Final Fantasy closer to his fans. If you have eight minutes (or four, if you watch videos at double time like I do), definitely give it a watch.

An inside look at how Yoshitaka Amano creates

In the video, Amano explains that his work is actually inspired by the West, and he enjoys drawing things like knights. And in general, he likes to create worlds that don’t exist. Thus, when Hironobu Sakaguchi offered him a job to create a world for his upcoming title, Final Fantasy, it was essentially a perfect fit.

“I was free to draw anything I could think of,” the artist says. “In the end, these universes feel somehow real to me; they are beyond plain fairy tales. It’s as if those mystic worlds could exist through video games.” Surprisingly, Amano says he thought he would have to draw “in the game’s pixel style” at first, but he was told he could work realistically.

He explains that he basically doesn’t have trouble meeting deadlines or creating characters; he just creates “without thinking.” However, these days he works primarily in fine art. Amano cites Gustave Moreau, Alphonse Mucha, and Leonardo da Vinci as influences, among many others, on his art. (A quick Google image search will reveal some clear similarities in style.)

Yoshitaka Amano concludes the Archipel video with, “Today, I still don’t know what my style is, nor what defines the ‘Amano’ touch, but I keep drawing what I like nevertheless. Perhaps this is what my style is.”

Anyone with a love of art or Final Fantasy should watch this video. In particular, at time stamp 3:24, you can see the original hand-drawn art for Golbez from Final Fantasy IV, and I actually swooned at the sight of it, in case you were wondering how much of a fanatic I am for this old stuff. And if you’re hungry for more classic art, check out our review of FF DOT: The Pixel Art of Final Fantasy.

John Friscia
Head Copy Editor for Enthusiast Gaming. I'm a writer who loves Super Nintendo and Japanese role-playing games to an impractical degree. I really miss living in South Korea.

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