Ken Sugimori is a Japanese manga artist, video game illustrator, and designer, who is best known for designing 151 characters in the Pokemon franchise.
He was born on January 27, 1966, in Tokyo, Japan.
From 1981 until 1986, Ken worked as an illustrator on Game Freak, a Japanese video game developer.
On April 26, 1989, Junichi Masuda, Ken, and Tajiri started a video game development company with the same name.
Later, the company developed the Mendel Palace, an action/puzzle arcade game, that was published in North America in 1990 and in Japan in 1989. An estimated 60,000 copies of the game were sold in the United States.
Pokémon is a game series that debuted in Japan in February 1996. The world of Pokemon is filled with so many unique and interesting lore and creatures.
Since Pokémon’s 1998 North American launch, it has sold more than 280 million units and racked over 900 monsters.
Sugimori has been working on the Pokémon series since the very beginning.
During an interview, he talked about the start of the project:
”Initially, we talked about a game where you made kaijuu fight each other. Alright, I said – I’ll try drawing some kaijuu then, but I realized I had never drawn monsters like that before.”
Ken went on to say:
”I was honestly pretty lost, but I managed to create about 20 or 30 different designs: some were cute, some were cool, some were slithering, and some, you couldn’t really tell what they were.”
He directed a team of 17 people in designing new characters for Pokémon Black and White. role-playing video games that sold more than 16 million copies.
Sugimori told Nintendosoup:
”The technique I often use when finishing up designs for Pokémon is to “keep the balance.” I might try adding something uncool to a Pokémon that is too cool, or I might add something cheerful to a Pokémon that is too serious.”
The game designer later added:
”I spoke about making friendly designs earlier, but what I actually do is take something cool and make it less cool.”
There is no information regarding Ken’s romantic relationships.
“There’s just something nice about talking to people about Pikachu and how easily they understand.” (source)
”Compared to other Pokémon, its appearance rate was extremely low. So Nishino’s mysterious possessive nature worked out.”
”We created a Ghost-type that lives in historic ruins.”
”I just love the design of that console [The Mega Drive]. Even when I see it today, I think it’s so cool.”
”I often tell members in charge of design to “take away from designs that are too cool.”
”If I were to continue drawing for Pokémon, I’m sure it’d bring a sense of peace and security, but I also wonder what would happen if I were to do something completely different.”
”In the game, you choose one of Squirtle, Charmander, and Bulbasaur, but if Satoshi chose one of those three as his partner it would’ve created a gap with the kids who didn’t pick that Pokémon.”
”It [Haxorus] was designed when we were still working on Pokemon Platinum, and the development of Black & White had barely even started yet.”
”Our designer was struggling with this one for a while.”
Sugimori explained his process of designing a new Pokémon character:
“I do feel that I always want to show new Pokemon that people have never seen before.”
Ken also said:
“To do that, I think of ways that I can surprise the players.”
Note – Sugimori usually draws a Pokémon’s character many times, until he is satisfied. His drawing process also involves making a rough sketch, then tracing it onto film paper.
The character in the Pokémon anime, Kenji, is a homage to Sugimori.
During a recent interview, Ken said about the process of designing Pokémon’s characters:
“We always divide the roles for the three starter Pokémon, by which I mean we assign each of them a distinct personality.”
Ken also stated:
“When we agreed on the concepts for Tepig and Snivy, we decided Tepig would be the funny one, and Snivy would be the cool one.”
He has illustrated and written original manga, including Pokémon Mystery Dungeon.
Ken Sugimori – Net Worth
Sugimori earned most of his wealth from being part of the team that designed characters in the Pokemon franchise as well as being part of the gaming company Game Freak. In addition, he illustrated mangas. Therefore, Ken Sugimori has an estimated net worth of $0.6 million.