Growing up, I loved reading dinosaur books—you know, those books with colorful dinosaur illustrations that rattled off each creature's vital statistics.
And goodness, the results are spectacular.
There have been lots of "realistic" Pocket Monster illustrations, but the 22 year-old art student's take seems different.
By grounding them in dinosaur book style illustrations (even using Pokémon Trainers for scale), Palmer is able to draw fresh connections between the original characters and dinosaurs.
What's also great about Palmer's work is how he genuinely seems to love both dinosaurs, reptiles, and Pokémon.
Just listen to him talk:
"It really bothers me whenever I see a more realistic take on the Bulbasaur line as frogs," wrote Palmer on DeviantArt. "I dont care for frogs, and I really like Bulbasaur, so therefore he isn't a frog. Not to mention he has "saur" in his name, which means lizard. I really ran with the lizard idea and he ended up like a cross between a Horny Toad and a Scutosaurus... Bulbasaur is the best."
According to Palmer, "I've had the idea to do an amphibian Dragonite for weeks without the the means to execute it. Upon research I've discovered that Dratini looks suspiciously like a salamander tadpole, everything just fits into place. Pretty much the only time in nature a vaguely serpentine creature transforms into a reptilian looking critter."
"Nidoking was always a pretty cool looking Pokémon, though I never used him in a game until I played FireRed last year," wrote Palmer. "This Nidoking here is grumpy because he has been left with the kids. There is also a mischievous Pikachu that has taken advantage of the Nidoking's colorblindness and snuck its way into the family."
"I thought it would be cool to portray Reshiram as an ancient giant proto-bird," wrote Palmer. "Maybe as like an ancestor to Ho-oh is what I was thinking. He has been adorned with silver bangles which he was worshipped by. He is considerably less mammalian than you may be accustomed to, but I thought it would look strange if I threw a goat head on a dinosaur bird body. Alternative title for the paleo art aficionados could be Macroraptor."
"Though Bulbasaur has always been my favorite Pokemon, Charizard has always been my favorite fully evolved starter," Palmer wrote on Deviant Art. "I even had a Charizard Pokemon card back when that was a big deal. I wanted to make sure he looked reptilian not saurischian, so I pulled design elements exclusively from reptiles."
Below, you can learn more about Palmer and his work, as well as check out hi-res versions of these images.
arvalis [LiveStream/Sometimes NSFW]
Art Blog of RJ Palmer [Tumblr]