After Pokémon dropped in '98 nothing was the same. All of the young gamers that I knew were instantly obsessed with collecting and trading the various creatures. One of the main draws in Pokémon is how different all 151 are in Red and Blue version.
We all wonder what Pokémon would look like if they were real or if someone else were to draw our favorite characters. BonnyJohn is an artist that undertook a project to draw a Pokémon a day until he did all of the original 151.
His work is nothing short of astonishing. Here are his versions of Ash's original Pokémon and what he had to say about creating each one.
Ash's first pokemon was a Caterpie, whom we saw withstand the difficult phase of being a Metapod and then emerging as a beautiful Butterfree. I was really upset as a kid when he let him go and do his thang, but Butterfree had himself a a PYT so what else is a Butterfree supposed to but holla? - BonnyJohn
This one was a particular tough loss for me so I have made my best effort to come up with a cool rendition of the creature. Maybe if Ash saw this art he'd go back and retrieve him. - BonnyJohn
I mean seriously, every shot and depiction of Lapras usually features it transporting people on its back. So long as it doesn’t mind, I suppose! But who cares, let’s get to the art - You simply accept that side to the creature and one of the most familiar visual callbacks to the Pokemon in the anime and even the opening to Crystal is this profile view of the creature swimming gently across waves. - BonnyJohn
Today’s piece is drawn and stylized after the cave paintings seen at Lascaux - sweeping, arching lines, overlapping creatures, variations in markings and of course the figures sitting against a rocky surface. I did my best to add in the Tauros details, like the metal bumps down its forehead, the rings around the base of the horns, the manes, and the three tails. I tried to create a sense of controlled chaos based on theories of the paintings themselves. - BonnyJohn
I decided to make this Snorlax a powerful guardian of the forest. This was also inspired by the fact that one of the super early ideas I had for a Snorlax piece was to do a Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli mash up. However, that would be too expected and too easy, not to mention already done by many people when looked up via a google search.
Thus, Snorlax as a gentle giant would be surrounded by creatures who felt comfortable and safe in his care and space. - BonnyJohn
The only reason I like Muk is because Ash had one and it was both a decent fighter and overall friendly character that was lovable despite its appearance. - BonnyJohn
Today we start with Bulbasaur, one of my personal favorites from the series! He was my first starter those years back in fifth grade when my cousin gave me Pokemon Blue out of nowhere. - BonnyJohn
Kingler is a favorite of mine solely because of the TV show. He was clutch and always reliable to Ash, winning key battles and also…winning my heart. - BonnyJohn
Squirtle is beloved by many as he is the baby form of the big bad bruiser Blastoise, the mascot of Pokemon Blue. On top of that, in the anime he brought sexy back with those sunglasses. Dem sunglasses were fiyah son. I was this close to including them in the illustration but passed it up to focus on the soft direction I took with this one. - BonnyJohn
I'm sure the concept of expanding Charizard's design into such territory has been explored before, but it hasn't by me and that's all that matters for this project. Before going this medieval, European attempt, I tried out a more mythical, oriental, serpentine version. - BonnyJohn
My attempt at Pikachu began as a building point from the original Pikachu. My Pikachu is rotund, chubby, and packed in. As the electric mouse Pokemon, Pikachu always felt more rabbit-like to me than mouse, although there is a rodent out there called a Pika…but it looks nothing like Pikachu. The body of this Pikachu is a fusion of both a mouse and rabbit, but each animal has equal footing in representation, all while having the general shape of a Pikachu. - BonnyJohn
If you crave some more of BonnyJohn's work you can visit his blog for more illustrations.
Which one of Ash's original Pokémon is your favorite?