Nao Ikeda is a great inspiration to me, she is an amazing concept artist and character designer who worked for a games company called square Enix and done the pre-production artwork mainly for the final fantasy franchise.
In final fantasy X111 Ikeda done all of the character design and concept art for the non-playable characters in the game which included the characters above starting from the left Jihl Nabaat, Lebreau and the palum polum girl.
Nao Ikeda also done the artwork for other final fantasy games in the series and games full stop but I am covering final fantasy 13 because the artwork really stands out to me, and the children of mana for a look at some different artwork she has done.
Her drawing skills are awe inspiring, along with the intricate details, textures and impressive costume designs she really pays attention to all the small details that make each character an individual.
Ikeda has also done artwork for a game called the children of mana, in which she drew the characters and monsters that appeared in the game.
The children of mana has a lot of gorgeous artwork in it with some lovely cut scenes and environments with gloriously bright colours and cool character designs which look much cuter than Ikeda’s artwork style that you see she did for final fantasy 13, especially with the monsters that are a bit Pokémon like (not implied in a bad way because it suited the game very well). The colours that were used for the characters were also very bright, which is very different from the pastel colours that Ikeda would normally use.
After the release of final fantasy 13 Nao Ikeda left square Enix to become a freelance artist, unfortunately I can’t find out an official answer to why she left Square Enix, whether it was because of Tetsuya Nomura who became the new main concept and character design artist for the final fantasy 13 game, he got to do the main character design and concept art while Ikeda done the concept art and character design for the non-playable characters in the game, or if Nao Ikeda just wanted to go freelance to have more choice in where she worked, or to try some different work with new opportunities. All of this is just guess and speculation made based on Tetsuya Nomura’s rise in job roles in Square Enix (which I will mention in my next blog post) and at the abrupt time that Ikeda left the company.
I am really interested as to why Nao Ikeda left Square Enix, especially as I want to follow the same line of work as her, I want to investigate more into if it is better to be a freelance artist rather than to work for a major company, the project and the research I have been doing (with my partner Elliesha) has made me consider both aspects more in depth, as I don’t want to be stuck doing the same style/genre of work all the time but on other hand if I did work for a company it would mean guaranteed regular work.