Posted Dec 08, 2023 by Callista Gonzalez

Artist Showcase: The Art of so-bin

We at Yen Press are excited that our light novel catalog is growing quickly thanks to the acquisition of new titles ranging from fun reads geared toward young adults to thought-provoking literary masterpieces. With the increasing popularity of light novels in the publishing industry, we come across many wonderful illustrators, each with their own dash of creativity. so-bin is one such artist, with his work being found in the popular isekai icon Overlord and the new dark-fantasy novel Blade & Bastard. We’re honored to publish these works featuring so-bin’s art in elegant hardcover formats.

With a distinct style that looks like it’s straight from a painting, so-bin’s vibrant visuals truly bring these fantasy titles to life. The detailed designs give each character their own unique feel, as seen through Overlord’s protagonist, Ainz Ooal Gown, with his commanding presence and regal aura that rises from the pages. He may be a skeleton, but you don’t want to mess with this intimidating overlord! Even with the more simply designed characters like Sebas Tian, you can tell he’s hiding an inhuman strength behind his elderly yet capable butler facade, along with a stoic and obedient personality. Is it his immaculate appearance or the sharp way he’s drawn? Only so-bin could give form to Kugane Maruyama’s creation! 


The characters in Blade & Bastard are no different. Whether it’s the mysterious air that comes from the amnesiac adventurer Iarumas, the unrestrained appearance of the swordswoman Garbage, or the weathered design of rookie thief Raraja, the foreboding atmosphere surrounding all of the characters leaves readers hungry for more adventure, thanks to so-bin's aesthetic. The cover alone is enough to lure readers deep into the dungeons with Iarumas and Garbage covered in blood.

It can be said that so-bin’s gorgeous style immortalizes the action taking place in one illustration, as if creating an archive of the history of these imaginary worlds. Readers can find themselves so immersed in the stories that they recount events as if they were age-old legends documented by a renowned painter. With lovely color mixing, dynamic angles, and clever lighting, so-bin’s beautifully captivating art is a small canvas for your bookshelf.

so-bin is able to evoke the darkness of war as well as the comfort of camaraderie. His art style can adapt to portray the comedy of drooling drunks and prideful boasts when drawing more playful scenes, and he can illustrate overwhelming forces and scheming enemies when composing more ominous events. If not framed in a museum, so-bin’s art looks like it's from a game—perfect for Blade & Bastard, which is set in the world of the classic RPG, "Wizardry,” as well as for the medieval MMORPG setting of Overlord. Readers can truly appreciate these dark fantasy stories, especially due to so-bin’s illustrations and character designs.

With chilling scenes and extraordinary creatures, so-bin doesn’t miss! We can’t praise his art style enough, and we’re proud to publish his creations through Overlord and Blade & Bastard. The Overlord light novels currently have sixteen volumes released in print and digital, while his character designs can be found in the manga adaptation, which has seventeen volumes available now. Blade & Bastard, Vol. 1 will release on December 12th, so be sure to pick it up and add it to your collection!