[Yuga’s Art Gallery is a series in which we highlight our favourite artwork and crafts from the Zelda community, as well as some official artwork from the franchise from time to time. Zelda is a series that is constantly changing its style, and after over 30 years of evolving and shifting its visuals, it continues to inspire endless ways for artists to interpret their favourite characters and moments.]

I adore the sailing in The Wind Waker. It fills you with a unique sense of exploration that few games ever achieve. Crossing the vast ocean in your tiny boat feels adventurous, yet relaxing, and I think “Navigating” by hadece (Katrin Liedsee) portrays this perfectly.

Hadece’s choice of medium struck me first because it complements the piece so well. Created with ink, the well-defined lines and washed colors generate a sense of watery movement, and resembles a Chinese ink wash painting — which often depict picturesque, tranquil natural landscapes that you would journey to in a heartbeat if you could. By using the ink wash style, “Navigating” captures the same qualities effortlessly.

Meanwhile, the pale colours of aqua blue, sea green, peach, and beige bathe everything with a gentle warmth that seems to come from a sunset on the horizon, with shadows cast on the boxes and barrels in the boat. The apparent sunset signals the day’s end and further generates a sense of relaxation and tranquillity.

well-defined lines and washed colours generate a sense of watery movement, and resembles a Chinese ink wash painting

It’s also a rare piece of Wind Waker fan art that shows supplies in the boat. I love such attention to detail (as well as the pot behind the box, which Link must plan to smash soon).  In a video game, I can suspend my disbelief over little details such as supplies, but it’s a welcome addition to a piece of art. It truly helps create the feeling that Link and the King of Red Lions are sailing the wide ocean on an adventure.

The body language and facial expressions of the characters also communicate the relaxing nature of their journey. Leaning casually over the boat, Link watches the approaching fish with a serene expression and calm, folded hands. The King of Red Lions’ expression also appears composed, especially compared to his usual stern look. Both his eyes and mouth seem to smile, as pleased as Link is that the Fishman has arrived to paint new islands on their chart — to reveal new places to explore.

And let’s not overlook cute little Makar perched on the boom of the boat, gleefully watching the seagull overhead. His innocent fascination reminds me of how I feel sailing the Great Sea. Everything captures my attention — even simply watching the ocean rise and fall and seagulls fly behind me.

navigating by hadence