You can count me among the surprised regarding the reveal of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Following the amazing 2000 Space World tech demo of Ocarina Link dueling Ganondorf, I was really looking forward to the continuing adventures of the Hero of Time. The cat-eyed, flat colored, Toon Link really came out of left field. It was regarded a true scandal at the time.
In retrospect, his design has actually aged quite well and The Wind Waker is a gorgeous game to play. I’m fond of the official art for the game, which uses a sketchy, hand-drawn look and i wanted to capture that with my version, forgoing the full cartoon cel-style shading aesthetic. He may be small, but Toon Link has the courage of a true hero!
The Wire Frame
Because of his exaggerated body proportions, I didn't make a normal skeletal wire frame befitting of a normal human being. I chose to use simple shapes to layout the flow of his head, arms, and torso. It was a relatively simple and quick to draw.
Filling in the details was also very easy, when compared to my other pieces. The cartoon design of Toon Link makes him a great character to draw for beginners. I really like Clip Studio Paint's pen tools and the smoothing setting to that my strokes are straight and clean.
The Line Art
It would have been too simple to simply trace my sketch lines with a clean line art version. But I wanted to emulate the messy and raw line look from the official art. It was quite fun to make so many lines inside and outside the actual character lines.
The Flat Colors
I used some of the messy lineart for hard shadows. I don't normally do that as part of my style since I like to shade my illustrations with color. The flat colors for this were again, really simple to make. Pick a color, and click using the paint bucket tool. Clip Studio has really impressive settings so that the color extends, or doesn't depending on how you want it to interact with the lines.
The Finished Illustration
Originally, I didn't have an idea for what the background would be, but it's always safe to so with Hyrule field. I added a silhouette of the castle for good measure. Looking back, I should have given a water effect in the horizon to make it look like it was all under water to match the game's story.
I gave the entire image a texture using a photo overlay. This was designed to make it look old, especially since Hyrule was the lost kingdom of legend and the entire area was under the seal of the Golden Goddesses. If you like this piece, consider purchasing an art print for yourself or for someone you know who loved the Legend of Zelda as much as I do!