The Last of Us’ Joel and Ellie Recreated in Stunning Ukiyo-e Style Art

Ellie and Joel from The Last of Us are reimaged into a beautiful Ukiyo-e Style painting.

By Rachael Fiddis

August 25, 2020

Since the release of The Last of Us Part 2, DualShockers has been inundated with incredible fan art pieces ranging from a fierce Abby mural, the evolution of Ellie, and a gorgeous poster highlighting the game’s characters – to name a few. You only have to click through the site to witness the amazing talent that comes from The Last of Us fandom and the lengths they go to create unique and captivating works of art. While some artworks are retweeted by the likes of Naughty Dog or Neil Druckmann, some diamonds still lay in waiting for the perfect moment to come to life, which brings me onto this striking The Last of Us print of Joel and Ellie recreated in a distinctive ukiyo-e style craftmanship.

Jed Henry, an illustrator, lifelong gamer, Japanophile, and all-around self-confessed nerd, has put together this beautiful painting of the iconic duo from The Last of Us due to his love for these characters and could think of nothing more than creating a celebration of the adventures he had with these two unforgettable people. Jed works full time on Japanese prints, and on his upcoming video game ‘Edo Superstar‘. Teaming up with Dave Bull, a successful traditional woodblock printmaking for over 25 years, Jed and Dave created Ukiyo-e heroes, a Kickstarter crowd-funding project where they recreate modern videogame scenes in old-style woodblock prints.

Jed states that “Modern costuming has been traded for the medieval, but the essence of each character remains, proving that you can’t take the Ukiyo out of these modern pop icons.” Talking about the work they both do and how it’s a vital part of Japanese and gaming culture, Jed says “Not only are we making fun, meaningful art, we’re also working to save the Japanese woodblock community in a very real way. Through print sales, Dave has been able to pay a workshop full of apprentices, and even employ seasoned masters in the craft! Our goal is to pump vitality back into this art form, by giving it modern appeal, while maintaining its ancient traditions. And it’s working!”

Sieving through Jed and Dave’s website, you’ll notice pieces that depict other iconic gaming characters like The Witcher’s Geralt, Jin from Ghost of Tsushima, and other non-gaming related art like The Lord of the Rings. For those who don’t know, Ukiyo-e is a genre of Japanese art that became prominent from the 17th through to the 19th centuries. Artists produced woodblock prints and paintings of images that include women, kabuki actors, and sumo wrestlers. Scenes from history and folk tales were also drawn as well as flora, fauna, and erotica. The word Ukiyo-e translates simply into a “picture of the floating world” in Japanese.

Jed also partakes in Giclée prints which is originally applied to fine art prints created on a modified Iris printer in a process invented in the late 1980s and rarer to hear these days. You can catch Dave steaming on Twitch where he takes viewers through the process of woodblock printmaker which highlights the production of prints in the Ukiyoe Heroes series. You can head over to Ukiyoe Heroes YouTube channel for some mesmerizing videos to watch on your own time or catch Dave live on Twitch right here. If you happen to be in the Tokyo area and would like to visit the studio, you can visit this link to plan your journey and have a go at making your very own woodblock prints that would be the perfect souvenir for showing off to friends at home.

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For more Ellie news, check out this The Last of Us Part 2 fan art poster showcasing Ellie’s evolution, Ashley Johnson mimicking Joel, or this amazing mural of Abby from The Last of Us Part 2 appropriately painted beside a gym. If you happened to think you were imagining hearing director/writer Neil Druckmann and co-writer Halley Gross chatting over the radio as two WLF members towards the end of the game with Abby, you weren’t wrong. Apparently Druckmann and Gross lent their voices for this particular scene and for someone who thought they knew all the in’s and out’s of Part 2, I completely missed this!

The Last of Us Part 2 is available now exclusively on PS4 (and soon to be PS5). The game was one of DualShockers’ favorites of 2020; make sure to check out the official DualShockers (generally spoiler-free) review. Also, feel free to grab the game physically on Amazon to help support the site.

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Rachael Fiddis

Rachael, who is Deputy Editor & Head of Stakeholder Relations, has been gaming for many years. Some of her favourite video games include The Witcher 3 and The Last of Us but also loves a good indie title. Gaming Culture is where her heart lies and spends many hours sieving through gaming fan art and cosplay displays. Other than gaming, Rachael is a book nerd and music lover.

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