Ken Sugimori

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ken Sugimori
杉森 建
Born (1966-01-27) January 27, 1966 (age 58)
Occupation(s)Video game artist, director, game designer, illustrator
Years active1989–present
EmployerGame Freak
Notable workPokémon
Drill Dozer

Ken Sugimori (Japanese: 杉森 建, Hepburn: Sugimori Ken, born January 27, 1966 in Fukuoka, Japan[1]) is a Japanese video game designer, illustrator, manga artist, and director.[2] He is best known as the primary character designer and art director for the Pokémon franchise. Sugimori is also credited with the art direction for other titles, including Pulseman.[3] Sugimori drew and finalized all of the original 151 Pokémon.[4] He has also worked on the various Pokémon films, trading cards, and other games like the Super Smash Bros. series.


From early 1981 until 1986, Sugimori illustrated a gaming fanzine called Game Freak, which had been started by Satoshi Tajiri.[4] Sugimori discovered the magazine in a dōjinshi shop, and decided to get involved.[5] Eventually, the two decided to pitch an arcade game design idea to Namco; they reworked Game Freak into a development company and produced Mendel Palace.[6] Sugimori is best known as the character designer and art director for the Pokémon franchise and designed a large majority of the first 151 Pokémon with Atsuko Nishida, Motofumi Fujiwara, Shigeki Morimoto, and Satoshi Ota. He has worked on the various Pokémon movies, trading cards, and other games.

For Pokémon Black and White, Sugimori directed a team of 17 people in designing new characters for the games, though he always drew the final designs. He drew much of his inspiration from observing animals in aquariums and zoos.[7] Sugimori has also written and illustrated original manga, including one which was distributed with pre-orders of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Explorers of Darkness.[8] When he begins a new character, his process normally involves making a rough sketch, then tracing it onto film paper while polishing it and making the illustration more professional looking. After that, he draws the character many times, changing its proportions until he is satisfied.[9] When designing a new Pokémon, Sugimori stated that "I do feel that I always want to show new Pokémon that people have never seen before. To do that, I think of ways that I can surprise the players."[10]


Video games[edit]

Year Game title Role
1989 Mendel Palace Character designer
1991 Smart Ball Game designer, character designer
Yoshi Graphic designer
1992 Magical Tarurūto-kun Director, game designer, graphic designer
1993 Mario & Wario Character designer
1994 Pulseman Director, game designer, graphic designer
1996 Pokémon Red, Green and Blue Character designer, Pokémon designer
Bazaar de Gosāru no Game de Gosāru Graphic designer
1997 Bushi Seiryūden: Futari no Yūsha
1998 Pokémon Yellow Character designer, Pokémon designer
1999 Click Medic Graphics support
Pokémon Gold and Silver Graphics director, Pokémon designer
2000 Pokémon Crystal
2002 Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire Art director, Pokémon designer, graphic designer
2004 Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen
Pokémon Emerald
Pokémon Dash Package illustration
2005 Drill Dozer Director, game designer
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red and Blue Rescue Team Package illustration
2006 Pokémon Diamond and Pearl Art director, Pokémon designer, graphic designer
2007 Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Darkness Package illustration
2008 My Pokémon Ranch Hayley character designer
Pokémon Platinum Art director, Pokémon designer, graphic designer
2009 Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky Package illustration
Pokémon Rumble Game design advisor
Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver Pokémon designer, graphic supervisor
2010 Pokémon Black and White 2D art director, Pokémon designer
2012 Pokémon Conquest Game design advisor
Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 Pokémon designer
HarmoKnight Advisor
2013 Pocket Card Jockey
Pokémon X and Y Character art director, Pokémon design director
2014 Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire
Sega 3D Reprint Archives Package illustration
2015 Tembo the Badass Elephant Advisor
Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon Package illustration
Sega 3D Classics Collection
2016 Pokémon Sun and Moon Pokémon designer, lead trainer graphic designer
2017 Giga Wrecker Advisor
Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon Pokémon designer, design art
2018 Pokémon Quest Supervisor
Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! Creative supervisor
2019 Little Town Hero Supervisor
Pokémon Sword and Shield
Sakura Wars Peanut character designer
2022 Pokémon Legends: Arceus Supervisor
Pokémon Scarlet and Violet

Card games[edit]




  1. ^ ゲームマエストロ VOL. 4 デザイナー/イラストレーター編 [Game Maestro Volume #4 Designer/Illustrator Edition]. 毎日コミュニケーションズ. ISBN 978-4839903879.
  2. ^ SATO (6 June 2014). "From Manga Artist To Game Designer: Ken Sugimori's Work Before Pokémon". Siliconera. Archived from the original on 6 July 2018. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  3. ^ Thomas, Lucas (23 July 2009). "Pulseman Review". IGN. News Corporation. Archived from the original on 12 August 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2010.
  4. ^ a b Gifford, Kevin (7 April 2008). "'Game Mag Weaseling': Just Checking In". GameSetWatch. Think Services. Archived from the original on 11 October 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2010.
  5. ^ Kohler, Chris (2004). Power-up: How Japanese Video Games Gave the World an Extra Life. BradyGames. p. 238. ISBN 0-7440-0424-1.
  6. ^ Barnholt, Ray (30 July 2008). "25 Sorta Significant Famicom Games: #19". UGO Networks. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2010.
  7. ^ Iwata, Satoru (2010). "DSで2作目の完全新作をつくること". Iwata Asks (in Japanese). Kyoto, Japan: Nintendo. p. 2. Archived from the original on 12 March 2018. Retrieved 23 September 2010.
  8. ^ Staff (13 March 2008). "Pokemon Pre-Order Offer". IGN. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2010.
  9. ^ Bishop, Stuart (30 May 2003). "Nintendo Interview: Game Freak on Pokemon!". Computer and Video Games. Archived from the original on 25 October 2012. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
  10. ^ Shepperd, Chris (May 2017). "Pearls of Wisdom". Nintendo Power. No. 215. Nintendo.

External links[edit]