Illustrator and cartoonist Katsuya Terada’s pre-Zelda artwork looks like Link meets He-Man. These drawings suggest that he originally imagined Link to have a more muscular, masculine appearance, which was a popular animation style in the 80’s.
As you can see, Link’s outfit hasn’t changed much. The hat, boots, tunic and even sword are all very similar to the Link we have today.
This piece appears to be an early rendering of the Great Fairy. It’s interesting to note that while Terada drew this piece in the early to mid 80’s, we didn’t see this design come to life until 1998 with the release of Ocarina of Time.
Terada published many of his sketches in a book entitled Rakugaking, but unfortunately it is currently out of print. However, scans of the book are available for your viewing pleasure on History of Hyrule’s Flickr page.
Do you like the idea of a rougher Link, or do you prefer the softer version of the character that we all know?