Josh Dunlop Brings the Pokemon to Life

Elodie Cure Elodie Cure
October 13th, 2017

French aspiring writer and interviewer. TV shows and films connoisseur. Overpowered by curiosity.

Josh Dunlop Brings the Pokemon to Life

Since a few months, the concept arts of Joshua Dunlop has brightened the web and the social networks. Tablet in his hands, the British artist gives to the Pokemon an appreciable graphic style in reimagining them in a realistic way. An approach that would rejoice the lambda fans. Between two creations, the master in taxonomy has accepted to answer some of my questions.

Elodie : First of all, what does your logo depict?

Joshua : When working with my logo designer Chris Matthews, I wanted a logo that encompasses everything about Pokemon in one image. The feeling of exploration, battling, capturing and training. So we came up with an idea of making it feel like one of those old-school explorer club logos from the 40's, back when the world was still mainly unexplored and that there were still amazing adventures to find out there. We incorporated a compass theme in it with a Pokeball at the center. I wanted my fans to feel like they were part of an exclusive club, so I was really happy with how the logo came out in the end.

Elodie : Where does this idea of giving life to the Pokemon originated from? Why did you specifically choose the Pokemon?

Joshua : Well I've always loved Pokemon ever since I got my first Gameboy game. I think it has been a dream of all Pokemon fans to see them come to life and many artists before me, have done fantastic jobs at doing that. Over the years I've played around with realistic Pokemon but it wasn't until last year that my work really shifted. It was in November-December that some good artist friends pushed me to learn 3D programs such as Zbrush and 3D-Coat. So after a few weeks of training, I wanted to put my new skills to use and thought that Pokemon would be a really fun idea. Pokemon Go was still big at the time and it inspired me to get creative. I made the first 3 starters and put them online and the next day it went crazy viral. Since then I've just kept going getting bigger and bigger and I've have gained some amazing fans in the process.

Credits : Joshua Dunlop

Elodie : For each new character you design, what are your inspirations? 

Joshua : I pull mainly from nature. I look into what that Pokemon is originally based on, or its closest real-life counterpart and draw inspiration from them. I tend to build huge mood boards, full of interesting images, animals, and textures and start from there. I play around sketching some ideas out and once I'm happy I'll move into 3D.

Elodie : Can you tell us the process that each Pokemon undergo to become realistic under your care? What is the average amount of time you spend on a piece of work?

Joshua : Each image varies, but it averages between 3-7 days from beginning to end. In Zbrush I tend to block out shapes first, making sure I get a strong silhouette. I then go in and start sculpting in the general detail and the main features of the creature. Next, I'll do all the finer details using a mixture of freehand and alphas (texture stamps) which can speed up the process. Once I'm happy I'll paint it all in the 3D program and finally export it into Keyshot. Keyshot is a rendering program that allows you to play with the materials of a model and also the lighting etc. I'll do a variety of passes (shadow, rim lights etc) and then take it all into Photoshop where I combine the images and use a mixture of digital painting and photo-bashing to finish it up. It’s a little more complex than that but you get the idea.

Elodie : Is there any character you particularly enjoyed working on?

Joshua : I enjoy a lot of them, but if I had to pick one, it would be Bulbasaur, the very first one I ever made. Seeing that come to life was such a magical experience (a very very long one) but still amazing.

Elodie : Once you will be over with the first generation of Pokemon, will you carry on with the second one? Or do you have any other project in mind? 

Joshua : I think that's a real wait and see, situation. I'd really like to develop my own IP at some point and there are a hell of a lot of Pokemon now, I might be working my whole life trying to finish them. But never say never, I might finish and be like, what’s another 100?. My next plan is to build a website around my Pokemon universe looking at the science behind them and possibly do an art book.

Elodie : I’ve been following you for a while and had a look on you previous published pieces on the Internet. So far, I’ve seen you have been focused on only animals and non-humans. Have you ever considered working on some human being such as Mario (as you lately worked on the Mushroom Kingdom)? 

Joshua : If I'm honest, I probably will eventually get around to doing humans, but my passion is Creature design, that's what I love. I'll happily do them for professional work if it's required, and I'm always looking to push myself, but I kinda feel like humans are something everyone draws (it's not a bad thing), but I love the creativity that goes into figuring out creatures and why they are the way they are.

Credits : Joshua Dunlop

Elodie : Where can we follow your news?

Joshua :You can keep up to date with my work by following me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and sign up to my email list here for updates on when I’m selling prints etc. You can also buy prints on my Easy store here.


Joshua, we surely will follow you ! Thanks again for your time and keep up the amazing work !

Elodie Cure is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow her on Twitter @Elodie_Cure.


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