Designers of things that are going to be made in the real world are constrained, because they have to be makeable, and the designer is going to have to know, or at least have some idea, how to make it. Video game designers don’t have that problem; but that usually leads them to design impossible outfits that look cheesy and ridiculous. Kaneko Kazuma, who designs characters and monsters and things for the video game company Atlus, seems to me to have escaped both problems.
Among fans of his work he is famous for two things: first, the incredible amount of research he does on the mythological entities which inspire most of his designs; and second, his truly bizarre, unique imagination. I really admire the inspired madness of some of his more out-there ideas, but I’m especially impressed by his designs of regular, contemporary Japanese people—impeccably stylish but absolutely convincing. He has a real attention for detail and obviously pays enough attention to clothes to have some idea of how they’re made–it’s rare to find a design of his without each seam and dart delineated.
In this entry, I’ve linked (not included inline because his fans on the Internet seem to favor extremely huge scans) to more “costume-like” designs, but a lot of his stuff is monsters and animals and demons too. I’m always inspired by Kaneko’s genuinely weird vision, wide-ranging research, quirky cool, and his meticulous line work, but especially his boldness. He really goes for it, on proportion, color, graphic contrast. I try to keep him in mind when I’m feeling unconfident or wishy-washy in my art.