Today, I’m going to walk you through my process of creating a convincing and appealing fake Pokémon design. This will serve as a tutorial for anybody who wishes to follow this process for themselves.
Since I want to elaborate as much as I can on every step of the process, I’ll break this up into 2 parts: the first, where I devise an idea and sketch some basic designs, and the second, where I make the sprite and elaborate on finer details like movesets, stats, etc.
Step 1: The Idea
The first and most important part of designing a good fakemon is, of course, coming up with an idea. And it’s entirely possible you’re stumped: you may think that all the good ideas for Pokémon have been used up already. You may be afraid that even if you do have an idea that hasn’t been used in canon, some other fakemon creator has done it already. To which I say: don’t trouble yourself with what other fans have done. As long as your design isn’t a deliberate copy of someone else’s, it’s all right to base a design on the same general idea (for example, an ice moth or a fire tiger).
But there is a trick to coming up with cool, original designs, and here I will let you in on a secret: my favorite Wikipedia article ever, List of Legendary Creatures. Click on it, and it will bring you to an index of mythical monsters from A to Z. Not only is this article fascinating, since it spans many cultures from multiple time periods, it’s fertile ground for fakemon ideas. There are vastly more than anyone could possibly make into fakemon, so literally all you’ve gotta do is randomly pick one that interests you.
Here’s why mythical creatures are so great: they were Pokemon before Pokemon existed. People have been making up monsters since the dawn of time. Many of them, like the Bunyip or the Pyrausta, come with an elemental affiliation that fits nicely into the Pokemon type categories. So half your work is already done for you!
For this exercise, I’ve picked a creature that strikes me as interesting: the Cat Sidhe.
Cat Sidhe … is a fairy creature from Celtic mythology, said to resemble a large black cat with a white spot on its breast. Legend has it that the spectral cat haunts the Scottish Highlands. The legends surrounding this creature are more common in Scottish folklore, but a few occur in Irish. Some common folklore suggested that the Cat Sìth was not a fairy, but a witch that could transform into a cat nine times.
Apparently, it can steal people’s souls if it passes over their graves, but will bless you if you leave it a saucer of milk. It’s a trickster, an intelligent shapeshifter, and an all-around interesting creature. Sounds like there’s a lot to go from!
For type, I think Fairy-type is somewhat of a shoo-in since it’s described as a “fairy cat” from the start of the article. Most Fairy-types in canon are cute and pink, but I’m personally interested in fairies as mysterious and powerful beings that can do harm as well as good. This is somewhat of a liberal interpretation of canon, but I’m ok with that. As for its type2, that’s pretty much up to me to decide, but I’ve elected to go with Psychic to represent the idea that it’s a witch, as well as to open up some interesting movepool and ability options.
In terms of evolutions, I’m going to keep it a single stage in order to save time, though I could easily design additional stages if I so choose.
So now we have our idea: a Fairy/Psychic single-stage fakemon based on Cat Sidhe. Time to do some sketches.
2. The Design
I spent a couple hours sketching and here’s the design I decided on. I wanted it to be primarily bipedal, since it’s an intelligent (and somewhat person-like) creature, but able to go on all fours as well. I wanted it to be cute so I gave it a big head & big eyes, plus a big tail which I sort of take artistic freedom re: how long I want it to be. For colors, I picked ones that went nicely together, I think the dark purple and blue give off a sort of magical feel.
As a sort of happy coincidence, this character fits into a sort of halloween theme too, being a black cat that’s associated with witches, so I drew it riding around on a broomstick.
In the future, I’ll see if I want to design any sort of evolution for this cat, as well as give him a name and go more in-depth on abilities and such. But it’s pretty late now, so I think I’ll call it quits for tonight and pick this up again soon.
This concludes part 1 of the tutorial! Thanks for reading, part 2 should be up in just a few days’ time.