Ken Sugimori

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Ken Sugimori in 2018

Ken Sugimori (Japanese: 杉森建 Sugimori Ken; born January 27, 1966) is a friend of Satoshi Tajiri and illustrator of the original artwork for Pokémon games. He also has developed conceptual artwork for the movies, and illustrates TCG cards and merchandising. The original artwork for all 151 Generation I Pokémon was done by Sugimori.[1]

Sugimori's change of style over the years has been noticeable. Initially, he used a stiff, lightly shaded style using watercolors that was very reminiscent of Akira Toriyama's visual style, particularly that from 1989 onward. However, his now digitally-produced drawings of people and creatures have gradually gained more muscle definition, significantly rounder corners, heavier shading, and more natural and fluid poses.


The following is a list of Pokémon designed by Ken Sugimori.

Additionally, Sugimori came up with the idea for Klink's evolutionary line,[19] although the designs themselves were done by Keiko Moritsugu.[17]

Cards illustrated

There are 968 cards illustrated by Ken Sugimori, look: Illus. by Ken Sugimori.



TCG illustration

For a list of cards illustrated by Ken Sugimori, go here.



  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Explorer's Guide (Original Manga by Sugimori included with Guide)
  • Jerry Girl (Original Manga by Sugimori)
  • Mendel Palace - Artwork


  • The character in the Pokémon anime, Kenji, or Tracey Sketchit in the English dub, may be a homage to him, especially as both enjoy creating art. This is similar to the way Satoshi, known as Ash Ketchum in the English dub, is named after Satoshi Tajiri.
  • Sugimori's favorite Pokémon is Gengar due to its simple design.[20]
    • Another of Sugimori's favorite Pokémon is Venusaur, but he has also said its complexity makes it his least favorite to draw.[20]
    • In a Nintendo Power interview in July 2000, he gave Hoothoot as his answer, citing a childhood pet bird that stood on one leg.[8]
    • His favorite Pokémon from Pokémon Black and White is Zekrom.[21]
  • Sugimori has designed more Pokémon cards than any other artist.


  1. Gifford, Kevin (April 7, 2008). "COLUMN: 'Game Mag Weaseling': Just Checking In" (archive). GameSetWatch.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 (2001). ゲーム・マエストロ〈VOL.4〉デザイナー/イラストレーター編 (English translation by Shmuplations)
  3. Interview with Yomiuri about Pikachu's creation (page 5)
  4. Creator Profile: The Creators of Pikachu - (archived)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 (July 2000). 『ポケットモンスター』開発スタッフインタビュー (ページb)Nintendo Online Magazine (N.O.M). No.23.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "What It Takes to Create a Pokémon." Interview with Ken Sugimori in Pokémon Ultra Sun & Pokémon Ultra Moon Edition: The Official National Pokédex, p. xiii-xxi
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Interview with Yomiuri about Pikachu's creation (page 1)
  8. 8.0 8.1 Nintendo Power Vol. 134, July 2000, p.78-79 (excerpt)
  9. Harris, Craig (February 24, 2009). "Pokemon Creators on Platinum [sic]." IGN.
  10. (July 2000). 『ポケットモンスター』開発スタッフインタビュー (ページf)Nintendo Online Magazine (N.O.M). No.23.
  11. Nintendo Dream Volume 84, February/March 2003 (English translation written by Jacob Newcomb and commissioned by Dr. Lava)
  12. 12.0 12.1 - Pokémon Creators, Artists at the World Championships
  14. 14.0 14.1 Nintendo Dream Vol. 201, January 2011 (Translation by Dr. Lava)
  15. 15.0 15.1 Nintendo Dream Vol. 205, May 2011 (Shellspider's blog (Japanese), Translation by Dr. Lava)
  16. 16.0 16.1 How Pokemon Get Made, (Archive)
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Archive of deleted tweet by Keiko Moritsugu, explaining which Generation V Pokémon she had designed
  18. 18.0 18.1 Ken Sugimori got 'artist's block' during Pokemon X and Y development. Official Nintendo Magazine (published on October 24, 2013) (archived)
  19. Nintendo Dream Vol. 204, April 2011 (Shellspider's blog (Japanese), Translation by Dr. Lava)
  20. 20.0 20.1 What is your favourite Pokémon? - Pokémon Black and White interview (archived)
  21. What is Ken Sugimori's favourite Pokémon? (archived)

External links

Pokémon designers

Hitoshi ArigaHiroki FuchinoMotofumi FujiwaraMisaki Hashimoto
Mana IbeTomohiro KitakazeYusuke KozakiKazuyuki Kurashima
Lee HyunJungMegumi MizutaniShigeki MorimotoKeiko Moritsugu
Kensaku NabanaAtsuko NishidaYusuke OhmuraTomohiko Ōkubo
Muneo SaitōKen SugimoriReiko TanoueKenkichi ToyamaSaya Tsuruta
James TurnerTakao UnnoEmi YoshidaHironobu Yoshida