Listen. I am unashamedly in love with both One Piece and Fire Emblem. This project really started as a small idea that kept growing and growing until I couldn't stand it anymore and I just had to make it come to life. It really is an incredibly self indulgent project, but I hope people enjoy it!
I grew up playing Fire Emblem. It was actually helped to motivate me to learn how to draw. I used to print out official art that I could find online and practice drawing from them. A lot of the earlier games presented their art in a similar format, and I wanted to pay an homage to it with my own art.
I decided to draw all of the Straw Hat Pirates, because there is a variety of characters and they all have distinct personalities and themes. I had a lot of fun coming up with the classes for each character. Some were easier than others, like Zoro as a Swordsmaster and Usopp as a Sniper. Some were a little more tricky, like what to do about Chopper, Brook, and Jinbe, who all have very non-human designs. I really enjoyed putting the One Piece characters in Fire Emblem style outfits, but sneaking in details from their original character designs. The character that I dreaded the most but also looked forward to the most was Franky. He's completely covered in heavy plate metal, but still had to be recognizably himself. It was a welcome challenge!
Another challenge was that I wanted each character to reference their theme colors. Most of them were easy to do, but Sanji, Brook, and Jinbe were harder. Brook's colors are black and white, but his post time skip design is very bright and colorful (he's a rock star now!). I ended up using more of his pre-time skip colors. Sanji's colors are blue, but like Brook his post-time skip design doesn't use a lot of blue. It felt a bit like he was resisting wearing blue. Jinbe was an interesting one because his color is Ochre, but his skin!!! Is BLUE!!! I heavily referenced the colors of his Onigashima design.
I planned out most of the characters and classes before I even started and had a giant mood board to keep all of my references in. Here's how the final mood board looks
Because I had so many characters and designs to get through, I tried to streamline my process. It ended up being a quick sketch -> lines -> lights -> colors -> render. The speed of each character varied, but I averaged about 5 hours per design. Though I will say, I drew Luffy so fast and so differently that I don't even remember how I drew him.
This was an incredibly indulgent personal project for me and I enjoyed every second of it! And I'm not done yet, there are still a lot more characters that I want to draw!