We thought we’d seen that Charizard somewhere before…

Since the trailer for the new Detective Pikachu movie came out, Pokémon fans across the globe are in hot debate once again. Whether it be the quantity of Pikachu’s fluff, the strange dodge-ball seams in Mr. Mime’s shoulder orbs or the amniotic sheen to Psyduck’s head, people couldn’t quite decide whether they loved or hated the movie’s quasi-realism.

But anyone who has been a long-time Pokémon fan can tell you that this debate is almost as old as Pokémon fanart itself. The cute and cuddly nature of the collectible critters just isn’t enough for some artists; they want to see how these Pocket Monsters would fit into our actual ecosystem, with all the grit and grime and gills detailed in high definition. One such artist is RJ Palmer, a concept artist at Ubisoft who is known across the web as the “realistic Pokémon guy”.

▼ Palmer has drawn countless interpretations of the monsters

Palmer also works tirelessly as a dinosaur illustrator, and has a position as a concept artist in the Artist’s Guild. Earlier this year one of his tweets took off for featuring the world’s most up-to-date depiction of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, complete with selectable layers for skin, muscle and bone structure.

With that strong foundation in anatomy and texture, it’s unsurprising that his fanart of Pokémon look like something straight out of a nature documentary rather than a video game.

Palmer isn’t the first artist to attempt drawing Pokémon as though they’re part of the natural landscape, but when he first started drawing the critters in 2012 he attracted heaps of attention for his thoughtful approach to their skin, claws and other features that might help them survive in the world – or prevail in combat.

▼ This incredible lineup showcases everybody from mighty Legendary beasts to the humble Tentacool

Palmer has talked openly on social media about how his Pokémon pieces have often lead directly to company employment, and credits them for a lot of his current success. He’s even been asked to consult on films like the Alien franchise. And one film in particular recently employed him as a concept artist…

That’s right. No wonder the designs in the trailer felt so strangely familiar; we’ve been seeing some iterations of them floating across the Internet for over half a decade!

It’ll be exciting to see even more of these vivid takes on our Pokémon pals make onscreen debuts. Whether drawing fanart or original work, RJ Palmer has a rarely seen level of skill and detail with his artwork that’s definitely worth keeping an eye on! Wonder if he’ll ever do a nightmarish take on these unfortunate tie-in donuts?

Source: Twitter/@arvalis, Automaton Media via My Game News Flash
Featured image: Twitter/@arvalis
Related: RJ Palmer – Realistic Pokémon