This is brilliant – video game characters drawn in traditional Japanese style

“Rickshaw Cart”, by Jed Henry


Ukiyo-e Heroes, an art series by Jed Henry, takes a simple concept (how would the heroes of classic video games look if they were drawn in traditional Japanese woodblock style?) and executes on it brilliantly.  I love, for instance, the above riff on Mario Kart. Mario is clearly recognisable, but his garb, expression, body language, and of course, his vehicle have all been reimagined to fit the theme; the dimunitive Toad has become a rather scrawny rickshaw driver; and to cap things off, Mario and Bowser are pelting each other with period versions of, respectively, a red shell and Blooper the ink-filled squid.


You can view the other images in the series — Metroid, Sonic, Mega Man, Zelda, and more — at Jed’s site or at the series store. Unfortunately, at this point, it seems the only downloadable product at the store is a black-and-white colouring book ($10), while hardcopies are significantly more expensive (prints start at $40; and woodblock prints produced by Jed’s collaborator Dave Bull are $135). I’ve contacted Jed to ask if he plans to make a high-quality digital artbook available for purchase. Until then, enjoy the images on the site!


EDIT: Jed informs me via email that he “[thinks] a book will be coming in the next year or so”, so stay tuned!

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