Yoshitaka Amano is an incredibly accomplished artist whose career spans seven decades, beginning with his work on the anime adaptation of Speed Racer in the late 60s. He went on to work on numerous films and theatre productions as a designer, as well as several popular anime series such as Tekkaman: The Space Knight, and more recently, Vampire Hunter D. It is his creative art style and imagination that prompted Square Enix to commission him as a concept artist on the majority of their Final Fantasy video game titles, as well as a number of FF TCG cards. A lot of the art used in the FF TCG is repurposed from concept and promotional material that Amano completed for other Final Fantasy projects.
Amano’s work on the Final Fantasy video games consists of character design, logo design and other graphics. In fact, he has drawn most of the FF main characters during his career, including many of the enemies. Having such a pivotal role in shaping the games we all love, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that the esteemed artist is responsible for some of the best art in the FF TCG.
Yoshitaka Amano’s chosen art style in FF TCG: Opus I was his iconic loose sketches that are reminiscent of the 1930s Art-Deco style. The artwork of the cards look like concept drawings, with overlapping messy lines. While elements are filled with watercolour paints, the backgrounds are left completely blank.
In the second Opus, Yoshitaka Amano’s style sharpened slightly, with the lines becoming bolder and tighter. While the Opus I art was quite uniform, the individual cards in Opus II are slightly different from one another. This can be seen in the character framing, poses and scale compared to the background.
Opus III & IV
Opus III saw some of Yoshitaka Amano’s designs become more simplified, with an emphasis on missing or reduced features around the face, eyes or hands. Opus IV bought a combination of detailed concept looking illustrations and simplified cards. In this Opus, Amano began adding simple yet colourful background elements to his cards.
Opus V & VI
The cards illustrated by Amano in Opus V look almost like caricatures of the characters. They look very similar to the work of artist Quentin Blake, who illustrated the Roald Dahl books. It was Opus VI where Amano really changed up his contribution to the FF TCG, by drawing detailed pencil sketches with fully painted characters and elements that covered the entire card.
Opus VII, VIII & IX
Yoshitaka Amano returned to his portrait sketch style for Opus VII, while Opus VIII and Opus IX bought some stunning contrasting artwork that was far more detailed than his early work while still keeping his iconic style.
Opus X & XI
Opus X and Opus XI saw a combination of the different art styles seen throughout the past Opuses, with some illustrations having the simplistic style and overlapping lines, while others looked more detailed and colourful.
Opus 12 & 13
Opus XII and the most recent set, Opus XIII: Crystal Radiance, continued this pattern of showcasing his different art styles while including some incredible full art illustrations like ‘Syldra’, ‘The Emperor’ and ‘Selphie’.
The sheer range of art styles Yoshitaka Amano has produced for the FF TCG is astonishing and proves that he is, without a doubt, an incredible asset to the entire Final Fantasy franchise.
If you would like to learn more about the artists behind the FF TCG, check out our article on Toshitaka Matsuda. To keep up to date with all future TCG news, make sure you follow Ludkins Media on Instagram and Facebook.
Mathew Parkes – Ludkins Media
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