Game Artist Feature: Matt Frank - Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid Phase 2

Comic artist Matt Frank created a lot of the art in Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid Phase 2 (which is now on Kickstarter), and we chatted with him about his process and love of Power Rangers. 

We first talked a little bit about his fandom for Power Rangers. As he put it: “While Godzilla and dinosaurs were always my first loves, those elements coalesced when I saw the first commercial for Power Rangers back in 1993. A dinosaur-themed superhero team set my tiny child brain on fire. I was there at ground zero, and followed the Rangers pretty much all the way to today.”

We asked Matt about his process for creating art for the game, and some of the research he did before he started sketching. “When I got the email about working on the game I immediately dove in to studying both Power Rangers Zeo AND the Japanese counterpart, Ohranger. While Zeo was a major part of my childhood, it was a fascinating experience watching Ohranger; the series really starts out as a visceral, harrowing, and surprisingly mature war story more akin to Gundam than previous Power Rangers seasons.”

He noted some of the remarkable design elements of the series: “Watching the Sentai also gives you an appreciation for the really specific design elements that Tsuyoshi Nonaka and the rest of the Japanese artists worked into the character and Mecha designs, like how Pink and Yellow’s zords are actually based on a Moa statue from Easter Island and a Dogu sculpture from ancient Japan, respectively.”

Matt using some references to draw some for the ZeoZords

As a fan of sentai and Power Rangers, he of course collected a number of toys from the shows that ended up paying off when making art for the game. “Luckily enough I had also recently acquired a bunch of classic Zeo toys at various Power Ranger themed events so I had plenty of references there too, like this killer Pyramidas!”

Matt using Pyramidas toy for reference as he sketches.

The game features a lot of Matt’s art, and even pulled in some help. “I worked on the project for just over a month solid...I even worked on the artwork, laying out pencils and then going over them with inks, while on my first vacation to Las Vegas! Josh Perez also came in to help with that tight deadline, providing some excellent colors for a good number of Ranger cards. Josh is a huge Sentai/Power Rangers fan in his own right so he was thrilled to be included!”

Josh contributed to much to Zeo Gold’s art, including these two pieces.

We asked Matt which of the pieces was his favorite to work on: “The zords are probably one of my favorite aspects, getting to play with all of their physical elements, showing off their powers and weapons, really trying to capture that ‘Zeo Majesty’ that the theme song conveyed.

A ZeoZord sketched by Matt Frank

But a few of the Ranger cards really stuck out to me. I loved drawing Tommy punching the Cog’s entire face off. Basically anything where the Rangers got to really abuse the Cogs!”

Tommy Oliver as Zeo Red punching a cog in black and white sketch and in color

When we asked Matt about what color of Power Ranger he’d be, and what his zord would be, he had the answer on lock: “My friends and I have come up with a couple of Ranger teams for fun or in various RPG’s, so that’s provided some inspiration. I would probably be a Green or Black Ranger, because I just like those colors and they tend to be either the edgy or dangerous Rangers (although greens also tend to be goofballs and THAT’S ME!). I would HAVE to be some kind of dinosaur, or something to that tune. A big carnivore, so my zord could TEAR INTO a monster! A T. Rex is a little overplayed, so maybe something like a Spinosaurus or Dimetrodon (not a dinosaur, I know, but roll with me here). Or maybe something weird and obscure like Therizinosaurus!”

You can find art from Matt Frank (and Josh Perez) in Phase 2 of Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid. You can also catch more work from Matt at Mattfrankart.net, on Instagram @mattzilla85, on Twitter @spankzilla85, and on DeviantArt as kaijusamurai!