13 years later and an ocean away from where he grew up, this illustrator proves the seed of greatness was always present in his artwork.

A passion for illustration isn’t usually something that only develops later in life. Artists are often simply kids who never stopped drawing, eventually acquiring the aesthetic sense and fine muscle movement capabilities to progress from notebook doodles to professional-grade artwork.

Take, for example, Japanese-born Kouji Tajima (on Twitter),who is now a concept artist living in Vancouver. Over the years, he’s acquired some impressive feathers to stick in his professional cap, such as being featured in the official concept art book for the film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

But before his artwork was being included in such enviable collections, it could only be found in much humbler locations. When he was 12 years old, Tajima sketched, on lined notebook paper, a character he dubbed the “Fighting Magicer,” a wizard with an intense stare, mane of wild hair, and formidable magical powers. While it was a very nice effort for a preteen artist, though, it obviously didn’t quite match up to the dramatic image Tajima had in his mind’s eye.

Fast forward 13 years to the present, and the now 25-year-old Tajima decided to try his hand at drawing the Fighting Magicer again, and the result, shown in a side-by-side comparison with the original, finally lets the rest of us see the character as Tajima imagined him.

The 13-years-in-the-making update had other Twitter users saying:

“Even the version you drew at 12 years old looks good, so the new one really feels like the result of 25 full years of experience.”

“It’s like the first picture is a Level 5 Fighting Magicer, and the second one is a Level 98 Fighting Magicer.”

“Or maybe the first is a 12-year-old Fighting Magicer, and the second is when he’s 25?”

“Looking forward to the version Tajima draws when he’s 38.”

So let this be a lesson to you kids who are aspiring artists: don’t throw out your old sketchbooks, because sometimes even the roughest of character designs can be the beginning of some truly amazing art.

Source: Twitter/@Kouji_Tajima via Jin
Featured image: Twitter/@Kouji_Tajima

Follow Casey on Twitter, where his drawing skills haven’t progressed at all since he was 12.