We've looked at the work of artist RJ Palmer before, most recently when he created realistic-looking versions of the Generation 8 starters from the upcoming Pokémon Sword and Shield. His work on the Detective Pikachu movie helped shape its take on the classic Pocket Monsters for a live-action environment and, following a brief period of surprise at the realistic fur many of the Pokémon sport, the designs seem to have gone down very well with fans (certainly better than other efforts we could mention).
The artist has once again been on Twiiter, this time showing off original concepts and ideas for the project. They portray the Pokémon even more 'realistically', incorporating elements of real-world animals before the artists found the right balance between something photorealistic that also captures the original designs accurately. As you can see, his Venusaur concept was a real monster:
The artist shows another version in the original tweet:
Venusaur's eventual design in the film is much cuter and more in line with the evolved Pokémon that we know and love from the old days. Here's a still from the trailer:
The artist also recently tweeted early concepts for Charizard which look similarly 'naturalistic' (read: terrifying):
And finally, he posted some work on the titular detective that pushed 'a Danny Devito angle'. He also originally wanted Pikachu to have 'bald cheeks to conduct the lightning':
It's fascinating to get a glimpse of the process behind the finished products we see on screen, and it also highlights the ideas that need to be worked through to get there. It makes us wonder about design decisions behind the Sonic Movie that have prompted fans to rectify the situation themselves - perhaps in a year or so we'll get to look behind the scenes on that one, too.
Would you have liked to see a more 'realistic' approach to monster design in Detective Pikachu, or were the makers right to stick with each Pokémon's established proportions and silhouette? Let us know below.