Artist RJ Palmer designed Pokémon based on our real-life understanding of evolution. The three new creatures are based on an artistic prompt of speculative evolution. These so-called Fakémon are descendants of current Pokémon, adapted over the years into new forms and abilities.
Palmer was as a concept artist on the delightful Detective Pikachu movie. He is also a paleoartist, bringing prehistoric animals to life though illustration. He even published a book of his drawings of realistic Pokémon.
When given the opportunity to do a spec evo Pokemon, I was absolutely going to do my favorite Pokemon. I thought it would be fun to play on the common misconception that chickens are descended directly from T. rex. Additionally I wanted to use dong tao chickens in a design. pic.twitter.com/Wvvbdxvkma— RJ Palmer (@arvalis) May 15, 2022
The inspiration for each new creature is clear in each design. No matter how much he changed, Palmer kept the eyes and basic color scheme the same. Palmer’s Emperooster is a descendant of Tyrantrum, the way birds descended from dinosaurs. In his viral Twitter thread, the artist also shares the real-life animals he mixed in with his Pokémon inspiration. In this case, the hefty Dong Tao chicken.
Next up is Cetaceon, a descendant of Vaporeon. On Earth, land mammals evolved into whales, growing larger in their ocean environment. The fox/dolphin-like Vapereron is a perfect candidate to become this future Pokémon orca.
Palmer’s third design is Garbooster, a descendant of Garchomp. He notes many dragon Pokemon already look very plane-like. This is the inevitable result of those adaptations. We saw these amazing illustrations thanks to ComicBook.
A lot of dragon Pokemon keep convergently evolving into plane-like forms. That seemed to be starting to develop in Garchomp so I pushed it to the logical conclusion. I also wanted to mix in a nod to Macross because Pokemon loves sneaking in Japanese pop culture references. pic.twitter.com/PmYTHkcoxV— RJ Palmer (@arvalis) May 15, 2022
In the video below from Truegreen7, Palmer shares his design process. Three other artists also created new Pokémon based on the same evolutionary prompt.
Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. She also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth.