Detective Pikachu Movie Hired ‘Realistic Pokémon’ Concept Artist

RJ Palmer, a concept artist at Ubisoft San Francisco, has been making “realistic” Pokémon art for over half a decade on his own time. His unique takes on realistic Pokémon led to him developing concepts for the new Detective Pikachu movie.

Palmer began drawing Pokémon in a realistic style in 2012, and went about posting them on his DeviantArt, and ArtStation pages. His work caught the attention of various publications over the years for its detail, and redeveloping Pokémon designs into more feasible creatures. Palmer was hired to do concept art on Detective Pikachu because the film’s production designer found him in a Google search. According to Palmer, he spent about seven months working on the movie from late 2016 to early 2017. He contributed to a number of Pokémon designs, leading to a much different feel than the Pokémon anime and games.

Palmer, now in his late 20s, has worked on various Ubisoft titles and is also a concept artist on dinosaur simulator Saurian. Yesterday, he tweeted, “Oh hey the trailer for the movie I did concept art for is out. Pretty neat to see some of my designs make it.” The trailer, of course, is for the new Pokémon Detective Pikachu movie starring Ryan Reynolds as the titular mouse-like Pokémon.

The new live-action movie is expected out May 10, 2019, and got its first trailer yesterday. Fans have been divided regarding its depiction of Pokémon and the movies tone has caused ire for some. Justice Smith is a relative newcomer to Hollywood, he was the lead character on Netflix’s The Get Down, and starred alongside Chris Pratt in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Rob Letterman (Shark Tale, Goosebumps [2015], and Monsters Vs. Aliens) is directing the first live-action Pokémon movie.

It’s unclear what Pokémon Palmer had a hand in designing, but it will be exciting to see how he and the production team reimagined the hundreds of Pocket Monsters for the movie.

Top image credit – RJ Palmer