Rare Tetsuya Nomura Art Sketches From Final Fantasy VI Era Unearthed

By Eugene . October 28, 2013 . 12:36pm


Those who have been following scenario writer Aki Takashi’s Twitter were met with a pleasant surprise when he dug up some of Tetsuya Nomura’s sketches dating back to the Final Fantasy V, VI and Front Mission era.


Cleaning his room, he found the sketches given to him a long time ago and jokes that he remembers Nomura had told him “These will be worth a lot in the future…” He was right. You can check them out below, courtesy of FF Reunion.


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  • Anime10121

    Damn Nomura, WHY YO ART SO GUD :D

    • AndyLC

      Nomura was hired by Squaresoft in the 90’s to be a debugger. His artistic ability was noted so he was given the job of doing monster sprites. As he proved his skill, he was given character design and scenario writing for FF6, and the lead designer of FF7.

      Tetsuya Nomura worked his way up from the bottom with dedication, that’s why he’s so good :) !

  • michel

    I loved the superfamicom game boxes whe they featured his art.

    • Pyrotek85

      That’s why I like collecting the old boxes, manuals, and player’s guides. They always had a lot of good artwork to browse through. Some of it is a pain to find in good condition though.

    • That would be Amano’s art on the boxes.

  • Arcana Wiz

    I like this Bart more……
    And really great art ^.^ it really has the 90s feels….. damn now i wanna a game made by Nomura with art from the 90s……..

    • roydgriffin

      Try FFVII… ;)

  • Much better than Amano’s art.

    • Shane Guidaboni

      I have to highly disagree on this one. This art has a more…straight-forward style, though you can tell it’s a sort of 90’s anime style, which I do like. However, Amano has a very unique style that fit FFVI better.

      • Alos88

        I know it’s not a popular opinion, but I’ve never really “got” Amano’s style. It looks cool in the logos, but there have been times I’ve been unable to tell exactly what he’s drawn, it’s a challenging style I guess is what I’m trying to say.

        • Shane Guidaboni

          His style is very loose and free and has a dream-like quality to it, which is way I said Nomura’s old style is more straight-forward compared to Amano. I would say he’s more of a painter than an illustrator, though.

        • anarchy_panty

          You should really check out some of the stuff he’s done outside of Final Fantasy if you really want to see Amano at his best. Something like “Sandman: The Dream Hunters” (which is truly fantastic, btw) or any of his artbooks.

          • Shane Guidaboni

            Worlds of Amano is an excellent book!

        • NimbusStev

          I can see where you’re coming from. I really enjoy Amano’s work from a strictly artistic point of view, but his painterly, almost abstract, style doesn’t really seem like it would lend itself well to practical concept work. I could imagine the 3D modelers and sprite artists looking at his concept art and going “so uh… what exactly is supposed to be going on over here?”

    • anarchy_panty

      Couldn’t disagree more. Amano is an incredible artist, imo.

    • Stuart Nisbet

      amano’s art is far more purposed towards illustrations, i prefer that. it is a massive mistake to throw him onto character design as if the two equate. it just wouldn’t have been possible to translate an amano design into a ps1 model well.

    • Sydney Losstarot

      different style. not better or worse

    • My word. People love their artists. I guess I can understand that. *dons hoity-toity art collector glasses* I find Amano’s style to be a bit over-the-top in terms of design, yet I find the actual images underwhelming. If that makes sense. When I see a sketch of his, I see too much androgyny. For example, with his artwork in Kartia for the PS, I couldn’t tell if some of the characters were male or female. I think in some cases that’s neat, but in others it just seems out of place. Amano’s style is like that most of the time. I was never a fan of his color choices, either. Terra’s outfit really clashed. Now, Nomura’s artwork has a more straightforward, anime appeal. I like this style, but again, there are a few things about his works I don’t like.

  • Pinkemon

    Ah, I see. This was before he developed that zipper fetish, I guess.

    • Max

      Zippers and belts!

    • Namuro

      Zippers are cool, though…

      • MrSirFeatherFang

        Stinky Fingers!

    • Guest

      Your profile picture is Disgaea, which prominently features belts in many designs.

      Nomura’s a solid artist, it’s unfortunate that you choose to just hurr durr a tired meme.

      • Max

        Who me? Mine is from Rerouni Kenshin.

        • AndyLC

          Whoops! meant to reply to another dude, hahah

    • Guest

      Your profile picture is Disgaea, which prominently features belts in many designs.

      Nomura’s a solid artist, it’s unfortunate that you choose to just hurr durr a tired meme.

    • Guest

      Yet your profile picture is Disgaea, which prominently features belts in many designs.

      Nomura’s a solid artist, it’s unfortunate that you choose to just hurr durr a tired meme.

    • AndyLC

      Yet your profile picture is Disgaea, which prominently features belts in many designs

      Nomura’s a solid artist, it’s unfortunate that you choose to just hurr durr a tired meme.

      • What are you talking about Prominently features belts?

        Only 4-6 of the 40+ character designs wear belts and the one you choose happens to be the only one that’s over garnished with belts.

        And holy crap, multi-post much?

      • Pinkemon

        Its unfortunate that you chose to spampost over a harmless joke.

  • JuhRo

    Squall is… Locke? O_O
    And Zell is… whoever that guy on the top right corner of that first pic is.. Hahah. :D

  • Bunzi

    Sabin looks good in that old anime style. I see that Nomura’s art is very contemporary: he draws however the popular way of drawing is at the time.

    • SMT

      I think that was the case up until about FFVII (Which were fairly simplistic designs, definitely things you’d find in popular anime at the time), but after that he got confident and pretty much defined his own style, so instead of his drawings being based on popular stuff, it’s now the other way around and what he draws is popular.

      But I personally find these better, without the hundreds of belts and zippers. Sometimes simple is just better, but maybe these designs just invoke nostalgia in me so I’m biased…

      • Stuart Nisbet

        find me overuse of belts in his contemporary works (the ff13 designs), make sure the number of belts used are not comparable to use of belts by other artists (itahana’s ff9 blank).

  • Nomura sure was a better artist in the 90s. His belt-n’-zipper fetish became his undoing.

    • FitzpatrickPhillips

      He’s still a fantastic artist, even now. Character design =/= Character art.

    • Stuart Nisbet

      find me something designed by nomura where belts /aren’t/ the focal point or purpose of the outfit, but belts are overused to a far greater extent than floaty beads and layers of fabric on amano’s designs.

    • ShinStar

      “His belt-n’-zipper fetish became his undoing.”

      I see what you did there….

    • Guest

      Man, that retarded meme is all you can spout? Just f off.

      • At least I have the gumption to say “fuck” when I’m summarily dismissing someone.

  • Ironically Bartz looks more manly here lol.

    • Faris too especially when plenty of sprites, including her freelancer sprite, have her dressed feminine. I do prefer this designers to his later ones myself.

  • Endy Operin

    Hm, “This image has been removed in response to a report from the copyright holder”. That’s… funny, to say the least.

  • Stuart Nisbet

    really annoying that people just repeat things they hear ‘NOMURA LIKES BELTS XDDDD’ when really it’s a jrpg thing in general, purely because final fantasy is the most popular franchise and nomura’s are the most popular casts. final fantasy x was at the height of the visual kei boom, nomura sort of follows gothic subculture and street fashion, it’s why for XV we have these really dramatic, silhouette looks.

    even if he was to use belts to a ridiculous extent (and he doesn’t, not anymore) it wouldn’t make him a bad character designer or artist. amano throws fabric on everyone until you can barely make out what they look like, and it’s still beautiful. both artists are capable of beautiful art and designs.

    i don’t see why people complain about lulu when the entire point of her outfit is to have belts, they’re not cluttering, they’re not a useless detail. the belts /are/ the outfit. it seems pointless to complain about her and not blank from ffix.

    (this problem of people not looking and thinking for themselves even extends to the games in general, we have people who believe cloud is angsty and whiny through ff7 – it’s just not true! advent children and crisis core retconned a lot of character development and chose to use aspects of the characters that were more dramatic and ‘anime’. aerith lost all of her sass and resembled someone with learning difficulties, all in the name of projecting a childlike innocence onto her.)

    • equalequation


      Sometimes I wonder if those people who said ‘ick, I played FF7 and can’t stand it, too angsty/whiny/Aerith was too much of a useless damsel/Tifa is a slut’ actually played the game, as opposed to just parrotting what’s popular on the internet.

      I replayed it again a few years earlier, in Japanese, and it surprises me how FUNNY and full of heart the first half of the game actually was. Cloud was sarcastic and snarky but with a good heart that you can see, not that different from modern popular movie heroes, and there’s not a shred of angst in the first half. Aeris was the queen of sass. Tifa was demure, sure, but she has a quiet strength of a believable rebel. The dialogues between party members is entertaining and it’s believable that this people would enjoy each other’s company. Squaresoft themselves have forgotten that, it seems, judging from what they emphasized in their new games.
      But it’s cool to hate FF7 these days to prove your gamer cred, so…

  • new_tradition

    Hngh… Hello there, Sabin *_*

  • Aoshi00

    I especially like the first 2 pcs of FF6 art, always interesting to see the earlier style of any artist / illustrator before they solidify their signature style.. Nomura’s art seems more realistic from FF8 onwards, w/ detailed contoured faces, while Kingdom Hearts design is more cartoony..

    Most manga artists go thru huge changes in the art style over the course of their career, it’s hard not to when you have drawn for decades.. If you compare Toriyama’s Dr. Slump to DB or early Inoue’s Slam Dunk to Vagabond.. it’s entirely different, even Fujisaki Ryu’s early sci-fi shorts to Houshin Engi and later.. or Takada Akemi’s Creamy Mami/Orange Road to Patlabor later..

    People used to make the same joke saying my old art from high school or college would be worth a lot later on, but I gave up drawing and never became a manga artist lol..

    • MrSirFeatherFang

      D: Why not keep drawing for fun as a hobby?
      Someone’s art I love is Hirohiko Araki’s art (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure).
      Although sometimes I usually get too attached to people’s art, that when an anime adaptation comes out, the slightest change irks me a little… which I need to work on.

      • Aoshi00

        I still doodle a bit occasionally (not amounting to much), but just don’t have time to practice like when I was younger.. one really needs to keep drawing all the time to get better. used to post fanarts on my site way back, I would draw whatever I was most into at the time :) My dream was to draw a Chrono Trigger manga lol.. I would become an artist again if I won the lottery and don’t need to work :) I had drawn in Toriyama’s style at one time, then Clamp’s, Watsuki’s, or Kishimoto, my style was like a combination of my favorite artists..

        yeah, anime is an adaptation and depends on who they have as the anime character design.. like Saint Seiya anime looks very different w/ Araki Shingo/Himeno Michi’s art compared to Kurumada.. sometimes they just use an art style more faithful to the original design, like the new Hunter x Hunter anime now, compared to Goto Takayuki’s in the old anime, he was the character design of Please Save My Earth OVA and Baby and Me, he’s like the art director of Kuroko no Basuke now..

  • Heropon

    His art style from 90s was better than now .=))

  • komiko12

    I recognize most of the characters but who is the guy in the center beside Celes?

  • AndyLC

    Wow, FF6’s my favorite so I love finding anything new on it!

    Nomura’s really got an amazing life. He started off as a debugger, then a monster spriter, then a character designer. Now his name is at the forefront of Final Fantasy. It’s really great to see a creator be recognized as such an important part of the franchise.

  • Skeptika Crediblus

    I’m not seeing a lot of belts and zippers. Are we sure this Nomura?

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