Though I still haven’t beaten it, the classic Legend of Zelda always holds a near and dear spot in my heart. It’s not because I grew up with it or think of it as my favorite Zelda game (though it is up there on my list), but because the style of the game intrigued me so much. Not the pixelated graphics that everyone identifies this game by, but the artwork that was drawn for it as seen in its manuals.
It’s such a nice, simple art style, reminiscent of the old cartoons. It always caught my attention and even drew me in not only to play the older games but draw and cosplay the original Link, and to this day it seems others feel the same way, keeping the spirit of the original designs alive through fan projects such as Noe-Leyva’s “Link’s Adventure Begins”!
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.
This piece was created for the 25th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda a few years back, reminiscing that feeling of stepping out into the world of Hyrule for the first time. As Link climbs up a hill, the castle can be seen behind him as well as a few other vague details, giving us a scale of just how grand this world really is. The beautiful, warm colors make it feel as though Link is triumphantly ascending into glory, ready to claim the Triforce of Wisdom and save all of Hyrule. It’s like you can almost hear the “Overworld” theme in a brilliant choir celebrating this victory.
The thing I love most about this piece is that while it has a more gritty art style, it still retains the original design of Link. It’s like the artist took the original sketches and added so much depth and movement to them. There are extra details brilliantly placed long his tunic and sword, but there’s no denying which incarnation of Link this is supposed to be. The face, in particular, stands out to me. Link’s wild hair and distinct facial features are wonderfully drawn, creating a tone for the scene about to take place.
Though the graphics of the original Legend of Zelda don’t portray this quality of imagery, this is precisely what I imagine while playing these games. While most people would say that Breath of the Wild is basically an updated version of The Legend of Zelda, I personally would still like to see a revamped version of this classic with an art style as gorgeous as Noe-Leyva’s piece here and relive the adventure like never before!