If you visit an art gallery or examine collections of personal artwork, you will eventually find a picture of the sea.  The ocean is undeniably beautiful, and it begs to be immortalized in both print and portrait. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker captures this spirit using cel-shading graphics that yield a cartoon-esque and joyful image, and fan artists have taken images from the game and given them brand new life through different mediums, creating gorgeous pieces that rival some of the best ocean scapes I’ve ever seen.

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.

Matt Rockefeller, an illustrator in Oakland, captures one of the best moments in Wind Waker in this gorgeous and slightly haunting portrait of Link adrift in his anthropomorphic boat, surrounded by on all sides by a tranquil sea, and staring up at the colossal sight of the Tower of the Gods.  I’ll never forget this moment in the game, when the three pearls had been placed in the hands of three statues, and when activated, their magic broke the calm of the sea apart and revealed the secrets it had kept hidden for over an age.

This moment in the game evokes several emotions, and the painting seems to capture it.  Link and the King of Red Lions are tiny compared to the structure and the surrounding sea, highlighting the size of the journey and quest Link is facing.  The colors are soft; the atmosphere is peaceful with delicate lanterns around the tower’s base, their light reflected in the water below. The waves are present but delicate; this is not a stormy sea nor one that just birthed a monolithic structure. It’s serene and reverent, but there’s a slight sense of foreboding when you examine the picture for a while.

Perhaps it’s that this structure has appeared from nowhere and to understand why, we must venture in.  We must move from the calming and peaceful seas inside this tower to see what it could hold; press onward and closer to the truth of what this world really is and the destiny it holds for us.   

Wind Waker Link, much like his other incarnations, has spent his entire life thinking he’d seen most, if not all, the world he lived in had to offer.  This emergence of the Tower of the Gods structure shatters that and moves the focus of the game from a quest to rescue Link’s sister to a journey where Link will discover the truth about the world he lives in.  

Adventure and mystery are the heart of this game, and this painting does a brilliant job of capturing that in a simple, yet detailed, portrait of a boy on his boat, staring up at the tower before him.  It’s a calm painting, one I find soothing to look at, but the atmosphere is also one that suggests the boy in the boat has a long journey ahead of him, and this tower is just the beginning.