Ken Sugimori

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Ken Sugimori in September, 2010

Ken Sugimori (Japanese: 杉森建, born January 27, 1966) is a friend of Satoshi Tajiri and illustrator of the original artwork for Pokémon games. He also has developed conceptual artwork for the movies, and illustrates TCG cards and merchandising.

Sugimori's change of style over the years has been noticeable. Initially, he used a stiff, lightly shaded style using watercolors that was very reminiscent of Akira Toriyama's visual style, particularly that from 1989-onwards. However, his now digitally-produced drawings of people and creatures have gradually gained more muscle definition, significantly rounder corners, heavier shading, and more natural and fluid poses.

The character in the Pokémon anime, Kenji (called Tracey Sketchit in the dub), may be a homage to him, especially as both enjoy creating art. This is similar to the way Satoshi (called Ash Ketchum in the dub) is named after Satoshi Tajiri.



TCG illustration

For a list of cards illustrated by Ken Sugimori, go here.



  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Explorer's Guide (Original Manga by Sugimori included with Guide)
  • Jerry Girl (Original Manga by Sugimori)
  • Mendel Palace - Artwork


  • Sugimori's favorite Pokémon is Gengar due to its simple design.[1]
    • Another of Sugimori's favorite Pokémon is Venusaur, but he has also said its complexity makes it his least favorite to draw.[1]
    • In a Nintendo Power interview in July 2000, he gave Hoothoot as his answer, citing a childhood pet bird that stood on one leg.[2]
  • His favorite Pokémon from Pokémon Black and White is Zekrom.[3]
  • Sugimori has designed more Pokémon cards than any other artist.
  • Sugimori has a Nintendo 3DS LL with a Dreamcast logo engraved on the top.

External links