Yoshitaka Amano

November 16, 2009


Date of Birth:
Born in July 28, 1952 Shizuoka City, Japan

Early influences came from comic books, both American and Japanese
He was a fan of Neal Adams’ work with DC
In the 70’s he studied Art Nouveau
He also was fascinated with Ukiyo-e a form of woodblock printing

Yoshitaka Amano was hired very young at the age of 15 in 1967 by Tatsunoko Productions an animation studio
Tatsunoko Productions trained Amano for a year before putting him to work

Works of Note:

(known as G-force or Battle of the Planets in the US) was a cartoon which he did character designs for when he worked for Tatsunoko Productions and was one of his first jobs).

Vampire Hunter D
In 1983 Amano started doing illustrations for the Hideyuki Kikuchi Novels Vampire Hunter D. The novel was turned into a movie which he also did character design for.

Final Fantasy I-XIV
Amano is most known for his work with the Final Fantasy video game franchise. He has been a part of every Final Fantasy game produced since it’s first debut in 1987. He worked more on first six, but has continued to do all of the logo’s and character work.

Illustrator Miscellany:
The first Final Fantasy game was supposed to be Square’s (the games producer) last game for Nintendo, but due to its success this was certainly not the case. Amano’s spectacular illustrations and character designs certainly played a large part with the success of the game. Without Amano I dare say that Final Fantasy would not have continued.

Amano is known to be infinitely patient and has been known to draw when autographing books making rapid full-page illustrations in every book signed.

As a child Amano would draw on large rolls of paper that his brother brought home from the paper factory where he worked.

Examination of Materials:
Pen and Ink and Wash

Style Analysis

The heroic legend of Arslan I feel really represents traditional Amano style. This character spot demonstrates Amano’s design aesthetic, and usual sense of embellishment. The piece is done in the materials he uses all the time, pen and ink, acrylics and watercolor. The color palette is muted and analogous which he uses on quite a few pieces. His color palette is either muted or quite vivid and has overall a light background or quite dark. Despite all the differences he balances his pieces quite effectively. This piece I would say falls under the muted with light background palette which is a personal favorite. The line work is lovely and intricate with a delicate touch and a varied expressive weight. It is descriptive of patterns and textures as well as form and shape. The face is a reoccurring style Amano has with a long thin nose and thin petite lips and a wide triangular eye, almost unnaturally deeply set in the face. The hair is stringy and can be described many ways. At the forehead it is wispy like smoke, and between the hands and at the back of the head it flows like water, but over the shoulders it hangs like moss from a tree. I think his way of rendering hair is just saturated with emotion and style. The skin is pale with little rendering; the hands are skinny with pointed fingernails. You feel the Japanese influences here. The color is applied in washes thinly in this piece, although in others he can get thick and saturated. The subject is always fanciful and magical in nature. His compositions are Iconic, not realistic but overwhelmingly beautiful like portraits of gods. His pieces are expertly designed and you really feel the exorbitant amount of patience he has with all the detailing. My critiques of his pieces are that he gets stuck into rendering faces from the front or complete side profile. It works just fine in most his pieces but there are some when the character is in a more dynamic pose and the head placement and rendering can look wrong, but sometimes he gets it just right.

This piece I presume was an illustration for the Novel of the same title, a interior page or cover perhaps. Either way I think this is a great portrait of a character from the novel that really is effective at sucking you into the fantasy world that is created. The details are what capture the attention to me. The world of fantasy illustration is filled with cheese, but Amano definitely puts out genuine pieces of art. He is an expert with line in my opinion and is very skilled at his craft.  Described by Yumemakura Baku as “a master chaos” with Lines, colors and form that surpass reason. Amano creates his own intricately beautiful world, and his art is the only way we get to see it.

–Louis Richardson, Spring 2009



Amano, Yoshitaka, and Unno Hiroshi. Amano: The Complete Prints of Yoshitaka Amano. New York: Collins Design, 2003.

“Yoshitaka Amano – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoshitaka_Amano (accessed October 21, 2009).

“Yoshitaka Amano:  Biography.” God’s Cradle. http://goingreen.tripod.com/amano/amano.html (accessed October 22, 2009).


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