His uniqueness in his designs are such that he does not design images directly for animation or comics. Amano's art revolves around the medium of printmaking. Printmaking involves processes such as carving wood and/or scoring copper plates, running ink, and transferring ink to paper. Aside from woodcut and copper plate prints, Amano also uses the method of lithography. He typically uses acrylics to color his prints, using an effect resembling watercolor, and many of his works are influenced by ukiyo-e aesthetics.
His prints contrast to many modern Japanese designers in that his prints are made with smoother, flowing lines, especially when drawing hair, a characteristic that defies the stereotype of pointy, spiky hair used by other designers, which is also one of the reasons for the critique of the newer designers for Square Enix. To this day Amano has drawn and designed most of the main characters and prominent points in the iconic games of the series.
Before beginning his career as a fantasy illustrator, having grown up reading Western super hero comics, Amano worked for Tatsunoko Production as a character designer for several of their early super hero anime, including Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, Tekkaman the Space Knight, and Neo-Human Casshern. Beginning in the '80s, he left the anime industry to illustrate novels, including several Japanese versions of Western heroic fantasy series, as well as early volumes of Guin Saga and the ongoing Vampire Hunter D series, which he still illustrates.
More recently, he has illustrated Neil Gaiman's The Sandman: The Dream Hunters, Greg Rucka's Elektra and Wolverine: The Redeemer, mink's Shinjuku, and his own Hero series. He has occasionally returned to working on anime, such as the surreal Angel's Egg, as well as experimental works such as Fantascope: Tylostoma, and the more mainstream NY Salad: Vegetable Fairies. In addition to the Final Fantasy series, he has also worked as character designer for the Front Mission game series, and "Kartia". He has also appeared as the character Hiroshi in the live action movie New Rose Hotel.
Works within the seriesEdit
Amano was the lead character designer for many games in the series. He designed the characters and most of the enemies for Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy II, Final Fantasy III, Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy V, and Final Fantasy VI. He was also one of several designers for Final Fantasy IX. In Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII, and Final Fantasy X, he also drew several pieces of art of the characters, for which he is credited as an Image Illustrator.
His artworks for Final Fantasy XII can also be found in the International Zodiac Job System Ultimania. Amano also made the logos for all the main games in the series, as well as many of the spin-offs and sequels.
Amano considers his work for the Final Fantasy series as the thing that made him famous, and when he thinks about what's important to him as an artist, the pieces that he has worked on for Final Fantasy come back to him. He has described an "interesting book that puts together the modern art history of Japan" that had one of his personal art pieces with several familiar Final Fantasy characters and illustrations spread across the piece, as Final Fantasy is very important to his career, not just in name, but also in terms of the visual pieces and art expression.
The games are in development when the logo requests are sent to Amano without much documentation to go by. Amano then interprets the information available and tries to incorporate it and create an illustration out of it. As the logo art is based around a central concept, not much of the important aspects would drift or change significantly even if the logo is created early in production. Because the title logo is monochrome to a certain degree, Amano illustrates the logo as a standalone piece of art. Rather than receiving visuals, he creates the character illustrations from text-based information, like the age and the role they play. As he is not a character designer, but an illustrator, there are more instances where he has worked off text received from the development team. He has said that anything written in text builds and expands imagination, whereas visual assets to review or look at, would be "the end of it."
After Amano has drawn the logo art the actual logo is designed around it by the design team that chooses the color for the logo, among other aspects. Square Enix likes to reflect colors from the logo art within the key art. For example: The green and blue of the Final Fantasy VII Meteor logo, are also reflected in the Mako energy and Lifestream that play crucial roles in the game, and the tone of the key art.
|Game Name||Amano's Role(s)|
|Final Fantasy||Character Designer, Title Logo Designer, and Graphic Designer|
|Final Fantasy II||Character Designer, Title Logo Designer, and Graphic Designer|
|Final Fantasy III||Character Designer and Title Logo Designer|
|Final Fantasy IV||Character Designer, Image Designer, and Title Logo Designer|
|Final Fantasy IV: The After Years||Image Designer, and Title Logo Designer|
|Final Fantasy V||Character Designer, Image Designer, and Title Logo Designer|
|Final Fantasy VI||Character Designer, Image Designer, and Title Logo Designer|
|Final Fantasy VII||Promotional Artwork, Image Illustrator, Title Logo Designer, and Character Artwork|
|Final Fantasy VIII||Promotional Artwork, Image Illustrator, Title Logo Designer, and Character Artwork|
|Final Fantasy IX||Character Illustrations and Original Character Designer|
|Final Fantasy X||Promotional Artwork, Image Illustrations, Title Logo Designer, and Character Artwork|
|Final Fantasy X-2||Promotional Artwork, Title Logo Designer, and Image Illustrator|
|Final Fantasy XI||Promotional Artwork, Title Logo Designer, and Image Illustrator|
|Final Fantasy XII||Promotional Artwork, Title Logo Designer, and Image Illustrator|
|Final Fantasy XII: International Zodiac Job System||Promotional Artwork, Title Logo Designer, and Image Illustrator|
|Final Fantasy XIII||Promotional Artwork, Title Logo Designer, and Image Illustrator|
|Final Fantasy XIII-2||Image Illustrator and Title Logo Designer|
|Final Fantasy XIV||Promotional Artwork, Title Logo Designer, and Image Illustrator|
|Final Fantasy XV||Promotional Artwork, Title Logo Designer, and Image Illustrator|
|Final Fantasy Type-0||Promotional Artwork, Title Logo Designer, and Image Illustrator|
|Dissidia Final Fantasy||Title Logo Designer and Image Illustrator|
|Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy||Title Logo Designer and Image Illustrator|
|Final Fantasy Dimensions||Image Designer, and Title Logo Designer|