Sheik has always been one of my favorite characters in Ocarina of Time. Aside from the fact of his true identity, the mystery and charm that surrounded this character always had me intrigued. It often made me wonder of how long Zelda assumed this alter ego and how “in character” she became. I like to imagine that she fully took on this persona and engaged in all of the Sheikah rituals, guided by Impa, and truly became worthy of the identity Sheik. 

Ocarina of Time was first released in Japan on November 21, 1998. This month, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of one of the most beloved games of all time. Two decades on, Ocarina of Time is still widely regarded as not only the pinnacle of The Legend of Zelda series but as one of the greatest achievements in video game history. Throughout Ocarina Month, we’re going to be looking back on the game that shaped childhoods, defined the action-adventure genre, and introduced a generation to how magical exploring a 3D world could be.

Yuga’s Art Gallery is a series in which we highlight our favorite artwork from The Legend of 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 favorite characters and moments.

I mention this all because of the stunning artwork created by sephiroh-Ignis. It really got me thinking about this as in the portrait Sheik marks his eye with that of the Sheikah insignia. Would this have been part of some ceremonial act? Or perhaps one of battle? Is he marked with warpaint or perhaps even blood? So many questions come from this amazing display which only furthers Sheik’s mysterious semblance.

Then there’s just the artistry of this piece that must be praised! The brush strokes are so well finessed, I never would have noticed that it was made using round-tipped digital brushes until I took a closer look. The highlights and shadows of this piece are also used to their fullest potential, setting the tone of the artwork. I also just adore how the eyes as a whole were illustrated, they have such a realistic feel to them, making the scene powerful and intense. 

There was a seven-year gap of Link’s absence from Hyrule, leading to many questions about the happenings during this period. The existence of Sheik is one of these puzzles that I would love to get some answers on, though that may sadly never happen. While my curiosity still burns, I am grateful that fan artists like sephiroh-Ignis have created pieces like this that help bridge the gap piece by piece.