Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Video game heroes get Japanese woodblock makeover

Illustrator Jed Henry's ukiyo-e series depicts his favorite video game heroes in the style of classic Japanese woodblock prints, such as the one at left. I haven't a clue about Nintendo, etc., but I sure like what he's done! Click here for screen paintings, art from the Imperial Collections, and much more gorgeous Japanese art.
Below: Rough Waves, Edo period (1615–1868), ca. 1704–9; Autumn Grasses in Moonlight, Meiji period (1868–1912), ca. 1872–91. Both screens are from the Metropolitan Museum in New York.


  1. I *love* the Mario Kart and Pokemon prints from Henry's website. I couldn't recognize most of the characters, though - can anyone else ID some of them?

    1. Mario Kart!! Couldn't get that one. The final, three-paneled one is from "Street Fighter II." I wasted many an hour on that game as a kid:)

  2. Edo would be proud! Confused, perhaps, but honored:) Thought I'd be better at recognizing these. Alas, I left my video game knowledge in the 90's. Everyone should know Donkey Kong, though!!

    1. Of course - well now I feel silly. On second glance I also recognize Link from Zelda. These remind me of realistic portraits of Disney Princesses I remember seeing online some time ago; the familiar, but in a different style. Love it.

  3. I only recognized a few, donkey kong, street fighter, and Zelda. Having trouble figuring out the rest. I've never been much of a video game player, the last system I had was a sega way back in 92.

  4. I'm recognizing Mario Kart, Link, Picachu, Donkey Kong, and maybe Kirby from Kirby's Dreamland? That pink blobby thing with the mouth full of teeth?

  5. from top left to bottom:

    - mario kart
    - castlevania
    - legend of zelda
    - starfox
    - kirby's dreamland (kirby and king dedede)
    - pokemon (pikachu, meowth, squirtle, charmander)
    - legend of zelda (again) ((link & gannon))
    - donkey kong
    - mega man (with rush)
    - metroid
    - metroid (again) ((battling mother brain))
    - street fighter ii

    all from my brain. a worthless talent! ;-)