As you are probably aware, we're pretty big fans of Splatoon here at Nintendo Life. Then Breath of the Wild came in to our lives, and - even though it was only one year ago - we really don't know how we coped without it.
Imagine our shock and delight, then, as we stumbled upon illustrator theskywaker and her superb concepts for characters from BOTW as various inkling species, as well as the series regulars Ganondorf, Zelda, and (of course) Link.
We couldn't resist getting in touch for a quick chat about the project.
Nintendo Life: Could you introduce yourself?
theskywaker: I go by theskywaker on social media. I'm an illustrator with a primary focus on digital mediums. I've worked on many types of art including portraits, landscape paintings, pixel art, shirt designs, character concepts, and more. I started going by the name theskywaker in 2014, but I have well over 10 years of experience. I am mostly self taught, but I took classes for most of the time I was in school.
Where did the idea for this particular mash-up come from?
The idea came from my disappointment that there wasn't more gear to be obtained from scanning amiibos in Splatoon 2. I waited for it to happen for a long time on the Wii U, and I was greatly disappointed that it was not happening in Splatoon 2, either. However, I understand and respect that modelling tons of costumes is time consuming and takes a lot of work. Even just sketching the ones that I was commissioned to do recently took quite a bit of time. It was still fun to imagine what it would be like though, so that's why I made these. Other people seemed to really love the concept as well, so I made a lot more of them than I had originally anticipated.
Did the designs change over time?
Not really. It was fairly easy to apply a character design to the proportions and characteristics of an Inkling. Some of them, like the Guardian and Bokoblin, obviously required a bit more of a creative approach. You may find some aspects of those designs to deviate more from the original than ones, like Link or Zelda. At the time, it was intended to just be a quick and fun side project, but I suppose it turned into a much larger project.
Was there a particular character that you enjoyed experimenting with, or found difficult to complete?
I always love drawing the girls as Inklings, but I think my best designs are Mipha, Guardian, and Bokoblin. I think one of the more difficult parts is interpreting hair styles as Inkling hair styles. You have to simplify the shapes while still keeping it recognizable. While it may be difficult sometimes, it's still a lot of fun.
Is it fair to say that you're a fan of both franchises?
Yes, of course I am! I've been a long time fan of The Legend of Zelda series. I'm enough of a fan that I run a Zelda themed blog on Tumblr. It's mostly just gifs that I made, and other artist's fan art that I reblog. Sometimes I share news relating to the series when it happens as well. I've recently gotten much more into Splatoon, too. The release of Splatoon 2 definitely got me excited about the series again. I would say The Legend of Zelda and Splatoon are my two favourite video game franchises.
Are there any more crossovers you'd like to work on?
Right now I'm not sure about that. I just got done working on a ton of them that I was commissioned to do, and I really needed a break from it. There's also so many other things I'd like to work on as well. Perhaps it's not that unlikely that it'll make a return in the future though, considering how unexpectedly popular the idea got.
We'd like to thank theskywaker for her time. You can find more of her work here.
That is really good, very impressive. theskywaker, you've just given Nintendo a new idea.
You misspelled Linkling. You're welcome.
This looks cool but I'd like the splatoon art style to stay separated from the classic Nintendo franchises.
Would be Nice if Nintendo makes Mascot costumes for Splatoon 2.
Just like the Mii costumes for MK8D
This looks great.
That Guardian costume would be inkcredible if it were real!! This is fantastic!
I too am disappointed by lack of amiibo functionality. As someone with a collection of 130+ amiibo, I want more functionality (Chibi-Robo Inkling, anyone??)
Oh, it's just fanart.
I thought it was official merchandise or something.
@Obitokamui64 I see where you're coming from, but I have to disagree.
Seeing crossovers in Splatoon could mean seeing old favorites reinterpreted (like they are above) into something new and fresh, breathing new life into classic designs. Nintendo's been really good about experimentation lately (Splatoon, ARMS, Labo), and seeing them incorporate old designs into Splatoon's signature aesthetic would work out, excuse the pun, swimmingly. They would figure out a way to make it work brilliantly.
But I can see where you're coming from. It's probably for the best Splatoon stays by itself.
This is dope!... But unfortunately Nintendo will never be THIS cool. ☹️
AHhh Zelda is so fierce! Love it.
@GeminiSaint What's the difference when it's this good? I guess if you were looking for some official Nintendo support for a mash up or something, but it's art and it's fun and it's well done. For me at least, there's not much room for disappointment here.
I think we need those hairstyles for Splatoon! Give me mah beard!
I had to double check if this was buzzfeed...
Im in love!
They made the Switch.
What are you talking about.
Why is Link a girl?
Would love this as DLC!!
Let's get splatoon characters into smash first! Then we'll talk about crossovers. lol
@10-zx That's just Link's hairstyle.
@Obitokamui64 Yes indeed!! I'm legitimately going to be disappointed if Splatoon (and ARMS) aren't represented with fighters. If Duck Hunt, Bayonetta, and Corrin are deemed worthy, Inklings and Spring Man (Springtron skin swap please) are no-brainers.
He's got eyelashes.
@Eigotaku I'm lowkey disappointed that the headline reads "Incredible" rather than "Inkcredible". Just a nitpick, not a typo, I know, just figured it'd fit the Splatoon theme. 😊
Good article, nonetheless!
The fact that I can further think about how each of those weapons could be made into some form of paint weapon moveset really makes me think of the infinite possibilities Splatoon has.
Lovely art. But I am curious, there is a lot of fantastic fan-art out there. Why specifically feature this?
Hate to nitpick but Squid-Rivali’s thumb is upside down :S
I love these! They look awesome especially Rito
But I kinds wish they changed the weapons to be part of the splatoon universe.
Yeah. It will be interesting to see what they will come up with for smash move sets for the inklings/arms character.
@MH4 It has been pun to death... It was tempting to call him a Linkling as well, but it just isn't punny any more...!
Looks amazing, I wish I could draw half as good as that.
The Guardian one kinda looks like Joy from Bayonetta to me, though that could only be because Bayonetta came out on Switch like less than two weeks ago.
@Heavyarms55 For a few reasons. There aren’t enough hours in the day to find every great artist out there (I wish there were!) second, I felt there were enough pieces to warrant a feature and third, it was an interesting idea I hadn’t seen done as well as this before. As far as I'm aware, our Facebook page recently called out for artists/ artwork to be shared. I personally try my best to find interesting stuff, and I will continue to do so.
@Eigotaku Please don't misunderstand, it is not as though I expect you to find every great artist or anything like that. It is just that stories like this, sharing lovely fan art, are far and few between on this site, and just seem to pop up at random. I wonder if perhaps some kind of system could be used for who and what gets featured.
I once had a dream that I was playing BotW as a Splatoon character, inking everywhere I went. (Clearly played too much of both of these games).
I woke up thinking an open world Splatoon adventure game would be quite awesome.
Think these are great, wish I had such a talent.
Not a fan of the Splatoon characters persee, but the mashup artwork is nice!
@Heavyarms55 there isn't one in place as far as I'm aware, but as a budding artist myself, I'll try to find and share the best stuff!
Cool, my two favourite franchises combined into one!
I'd totally dig LoZ-themed gear/characters in Splatoon 2. Or even Amiibos.
I've always been on the edge of purchasing Splatoon but I've never done it. If this was released as DLC I would buy the game for sure.
...kidding. Very nice work. Don't wanna see a game or anything, but very well done.
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