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his feet and art
Thanks to Mick McGinty for spending so much time answering the many questions and raking around in his huge collection of illustrations to find some of the most famous as well as forgotten official Street Fighter artwork for us.


Mick McGinty has been an illustrator for many years designing covers for famous movies and video games including cover art for the Western versions of Capcom's Street Fighter. You showed much interest, a lot of questions were submitted and he answered all of them. The interview was done by email going several months, due to the amount of questions and both of us being very busy. He even took pictures of some of the cover designs, so for the first time they are shown without all the text of the game covers (following the interview).

aerialgroove of


Q stands for question
M stands for Mick McGinty
[text in brackets] are comments by me

A lot of questions are about specific designs, so I made a talbe (new window) showing small versions of each picture given a letter and number. Some questions were similar so I threw them together.



You probably heard this a lot but you are a great artist and, almost everybody of my generation knows your art. I saw the SFII (Street Fighter II) art on video game packages, T-shirts, magazines, cars, even on a German rollercoaster. I remember when I was about 10 and after school, kids from my school and me would sit together and try to draw Street Fighter art. Everyone had some copy of yours.
Would you have thought that it would go all around the world like that?

At the time I thought it was great to be part of the video game industry but this particular genre wasn't my favorite at all. When I first saw the screen shots of the game itself, (photographs of the different scenes as they appeared in the game), I was even less impressed. My job as an illustrator was to add the detail, realism, or fantasy, that these projects needed, not to mention the american look or attitude. Up until they were exported to the US, these games were big hit in Japan first. For that reason, I wasn't too sure they were going to be very popular here. Maybe that was because I wasn't a fan of the the fighting type games, but in the begining I remember thinking they weren't going to be that popular. It wasn't until 6 to 9 months later that my own kids were telling how they were seeing it everywhere.

About said image, as you can see it's often used mirrored (1C, 1F). Which one is the original way?
This was actually my first project for a design firm called. Moore and Price Design out of Palo Alto California, near Stanford. I lived in Southern California, (near Burbank), and it was the start of a great association with that firm. I had just started freelancing after working for 3 years as an in house illustrator at a Hollywood design firm called Willardson and White. This first cover went the smoothest of any that I can remember. Maybe because Denny (Moore) asked me to jsut go to town on it. I think worked up just one sketch based on just a few screen shots that he had sent me. This was all pre-digital times, so he sent me polaroid photos from a machine that could take decent shots of the game once you pause it oin a scene. The original was painted with the girl on the right, and Blayka (sp) coming from the left.
Was the SFII cover the first thing you did for Capcom?
Yes, The original airbrushed painting was later bought by Denny because it landed them the account pretty solidly. I can't remember what he paid for it, but I'm assuming he equalled the commision price of $2500.000
Q4) (by GekigangerV)
With your first work for Capcom, who contacted you? Were you referred to them? Did you go there, did they send someone or was it all done on the phone?
This was the first time I had ever met Denny. He had seen some airbrushed pieces of mine somewhere, maybe Paper Moon or thru the studio that I had been working for the previous three years. They ran ads in advertising workbooks, and Denny called me on the phone. I didn't ever meet Denny until 2004, after doing 40 or more projects for him over the last 20 years. He talked to the people at Capcom and related all comments to me. I have never to this day talked to anyone from Capcom. They were the design studio of record, and to this day they probably think I worked in thier studio, but I was a freelancer 400 miles south, and would send skecthes and origiunals to his studio in Palo Alto.

Q5) (by exodus, Kain Maxi)
Did you do other video game art before (other companies)? Have you enjoyed your work in the gaming industry so far?

I've done tons for video games. I have done work for every company and for everu platform. Alot for Microsoft and nintendo..all of them I guess.
Q6) (by sano)
In case you haven't answered these questions in your previous answers already, how was working with them (Capcom)? Any funny stories?
We always had fun doing them and I'm sure there were little thing like painting in some inside jokes, but I can't remember anything right now. We would put our own likenesses in, or dres people in our own favoite football teams jersey. There was always the question of anatomy being too overdrawn ...or under drawn..if you know what I mean. This was a kids market, so that was always a consideration.
Did they know exactly what they wanted (Capcom is known to confuse people they work with, which lead to funny things in the past)?

There have been some tough jobs to get through. Like I was saying...t he first one was definately the easiest. After a while they start to stretch the limits of what you can do, and keep asking for something better, or new or different.

Q8) (by sano)
Did you speak or deal with anyone of Capcom of Japan and perhaps can you go into as much detail as possible?
I've never talked to anyone other than Denny, or one of Denny's art directors at thier studio, and they were the ones that spoke to Capcom
Q9) (by exodus)
Did you have access to the japanese original covers?
No. In the begining, I didn't like many of them. Today, I know I just didn't appreciate what they were doing back then. They were so much more sophisticated designers than I was. Thier body proportioning and the way they rendered figures was way better than I gave them credit for. I would have laoved to see an original.
Your art looks so detailed, especially the SFII Turbo art (3A). Did you take a lot of time to get to know the characters and the stage of SFII Turbo?
That's the major difference between the Japanese illustrators and me. I was coming from a different place artistically. I appreciate thier work today, but I was just doing what I thought was better painting back then. To me, I was just adding an american approach to thier figures and designs, which happend to be a more modeled look with more detail.
Q11) (by exodus, Evenor, sano)
Were you a fan of the series? Who is your favorite Street Fighter? Who is your least favorite SF2 character and why? What's your favorite Street Fighter game?
You know, I never played any of the games myself, but I watched my kids play them. I was into race games and flying games, and was addicted to your Centipeads and asteroids. I'm trying to remember...was Street Fighter II around 1983..'84? Hard for me to remember.
I guess it would have to be Blayka. Is that how you spell it? I painted him the most. I see you have a rough sketch I did for a large standee I did of him. How did you find that? I liked him because of his colors, and my least favorite would be Chun U (the girl) Never could figure out the ear muffs, and because muscular women are hard to make look pretty.
Q12) (by GekigangerV, ZamIAm)
Are you a gamer? What other games do you like? What other fighting game series do you know?

I nevver did get into the fighting games.Matter of fact, they never sent me a game to play to see what some of the scenes were like. They sent me copies (Xerox's ) of art that was produced in Japan, and said to Americanize the look of this scene.
I liked flying and shooting games or race games. Sometimes the most elaboate games aren't the best. I can get totally addicted to very simpe race or shooting games as long as they are designed to be an excersise in gaining the touch or feel to beat it. The tougher they make the game to just barely be out of reach, the better.

Did Capcom tell you precisely how to do it or was it rather free?

I actually worked for the design firm of Moore and Price in Palo Alto California. They sat thru all the strategy meetings if there were some, or they just coonvinced them that they or the illustrators were going to come up with a compelling scene that would depict what's happening in the game for American audiences. Together with the art director at Moore and Price, I would do sketches and then do adjustments to the sketch until we were both happy with the layout, and then they would send it off to the client for thier opinions. After any changes they had, we would continue to the finished illustratioons that may have some corrections also. In all, it might take 3 weeks from start to finsih to complete a cover.

Q14) (by Shin mech gouki)
Why did you use Chun Li, Ryu and Blanka for the box art of SFII (1A)?
I think we were looking for the 2 most colorful and powerful of the group. Or that they just looked strange. It may have been thier attack specialties too. Blanka with the way he would wind up into a ball and throw himself at his opponents seemed very visually compelling. The blue outfit of Chun Li and Blanka's orange hair made a nice complimentary color sceme too.
Q15) (by exodus)
Did you choose the 2D ingame look for SFII Turbo yourself (3A)? Was the aim to emulate the in-game characters, or their portraits or concept art?
I remember Denny saying exactly which characters they wanted to showcase, and it was mostly because of the the punch move that the Sumo character had. The bathouse scene as a background was one of many to choose from, and we liked the idea that it looked like the Far East where these guys were supposed to exist. It was always important to try to make the character to look like the ones developed in Japan, but we had the go ahead to make them look like what we thought they should look like too.

Q16) (by Mr.NiK)
Can you describe the attitudes that Capcom USA had toward the original Japanese art of the game? What where their instructions for the 'Americanizing' of these characters, and what material were you given to work from?

I wasn't aware of any concerns that they had at the time. I had a bunch of samples of my work that were run past the people at Capcom, and they basically chose my look over others that they were considering at the time. They basically wanted an airbrusher and didn't really want the new art to look like the Japanese renditions at all. I was given conceptual sketches from japanese illustrators, but I wasn't sure what they were used for earlier except they had spent alot of time trying to create all the different characters.

Q17) (by ChunLi17 and Wishwarriorx)
Why did you decide to draw for the Street Fighter games. What were your sources for the cover art you drew for sf?

I was always interested in doing figurative action scenes, of the fantasy nature. I hated doing realistic or photo real renditions, but these stylized characters were right up my alley. The look, or description of what they looked like was already established, so all I had to do was to make that character do what they wanted them to be doing. That's a pretty easy job.. I was eventually given dozens of different pieces of art from many different Japanese artists that had created work for the game when it was produced for the Japanese market only.
Did you do this one, too (2A)?
yes that was mine too. I don't remember if it was my second project or not. We did some individual characters too.

Now this one I've spend a lot of time thinking about as a kid: Who is the hovering guy on the wall (3C)? Was it your idea? In the game it's an animation that looks like a commercial (3D) saying something like "Victory is had". Could it be the Indian yoga master Dhalsim? [Doing his winning pose/Yoga Teleport move]

That could be true. I think I was given some reference to follow that they provided and just put what they wanted in there. I think it kinda looks like him, and that may have been the plan, but it's been too long for me to remember.
I have this poster of your SFII art (1B). Around the border are all the characters except for those who already appear in your art. They are from a series that was also used for the US GIJoe toys. Did you do those, too? If not, how do you feel about your art being used together with others' art (also 1C,1D,1E)?

Those were the individual characters I did inbetween doing the covers for those first two games. I was ask to create original poses based on screen shots from the game. They were all done by me.

Q21) (by GekigangerV)
In case you haven't answered this question in previous answers,
Did you do any other art for Capcom? Other Street Fighter or Final Fight art that is not listed? Do you have any unreleased SF art that we haven't seen yet, in your portfolio?
I did alot of art back then that I don't have copies of. Nowadays I do digital versions of everything, so I aways have a copy. Some art was returned to me, and some of the pieces they kept, and paid extra for keeping it. I have copies of other game cover art, but I can't remember if they were Capcom games. I'm sure they may have been for at least some of them.

Q22) (by Mr.NiK)
What art medium did you use to create these Images?

Back then I did everything in acrylic. I shot alot of the paint through an airbrush, but used a regular brush to paint details and add texture. The airbrush was a quick way to lay in color and smooth gradations, but I wanted a look that didn't have an all airbrush feel to it, and at the same time, I wanted to hide all brushstrokes.

How large are they? How long did it take to do them? Did you use real models to pose and mimic? (All Qs for 1A, 2A, 3A, 4A, in case you did them).
If the box was 10 inches wide, the original was at least 20 inches wide. I always tried to work at least twice up, or 200% of what the print size was.
I remember spending a minimum of 3 to 4 days working out the sketch or design in pencil, and once it was approved, which may take a week, I would get 2 weeks to finish the color. I only needed a week to paint it, but I had other work that I always had to work in and out of, so the 2 weeks were necessary.
Using models would have been great, but I didn't know any muscle bound people, so I used fitness magazines and some snapshots of friends now and then for a pose, but not for the exaggerated muscle structure. Body building magazine and wrestling magazines were always around too,and made great reference sources.
Do you still have the originals? Why is the SFII art not on your website, only the SFII Turbo art? I think it's great to see them without text and stuff all around them.

I have found a few of the projects still laying around or in storage but quite a few were never returned and even fewer were sold. I do remember selling the original first illustration to Denny Moore, the owner of Moore Design who commissioned me to do the first one. I wished I hadn't because I liked the painting alot. I think it was the best one I did.

I don't have much of them on my website only because they are so old. Art directors want to see how you work today because most illustrators evolve and change mediums, which I think I did both. I now work on a Mac with a Wacom tablet, and haven't airbrushed in 7 years or so.

Q25) (by GekigangerV, Ishmael)
How old were you when you did them? Did you get royalties?
I can't remember what year I did them. Didn't we figure that out once already? I was born in '52 so if I started them in '82, I would have just turned 30. I'm 54 now, so it's been quite a while. My memory isn't that good anymore I guess. I didn't get royalties. I think the total buy out fee was around $3500.00 That meant I didn't own rights to the image, and they had the right to print the image in any form for as long as they wanted. Pretty sweet deal for them. I did own the original and when it was sent back I was always surprised. Like I said, I didn't get alot of them back.

Did everything work out on the first try or did you have to start all over again because you messed something up? How was it with your other art, did you often have to start again?

The way we did things, I akways had to do a pretty tightly worked out sketch in pencil and would zerox it and fax it to Moore Design. The art director there, (I think there were up to 3 different people that I worked with), would then sketch over it if they thought they had to, and then submit it to the client. The Client had to sign off on it tiotally befor I stated painting, and if they didn't like it, they would have tom pay for it anyway. I never had this happen, but then it would be up to them to start all over again.
Here are some more pieces of US SF art, nobody knows where it's from. Did you do any of those (3E, 4A, 4B, 5A, 5B, 6A)?

I remember seeing 3E in magazines that they gave me to base my work on. I didn't do it, but it was a sample they sent me to kinda follow.

4A and 4B are both mine. 4B was painted rather large from what I remember, and it may have been a piece that was painted to attach to the illustration for 4A. We glued them both onto a larger board.

The figures in 5A look like mine, and I did alot of individual paintings that they were going to use where they neded them, but I'm not sure. I know I didn't paint the whole layout.
[These were also used for the GIJoe toys. I think I got all of them, will upload them sometime in the future]

5B is mine. This is an example of one of the figures I painted, and then they used it where they wanted in a layout someone else put together.

6A isn't mine, (I don't think). The image on your site is too small to tell for sure, but I did do some layouts that were similar to this. They had quite a few gaming magazines back then that kids subscribed to, and this looks like one of thier 2 page ads that they would put together

I forgot to ask about 5C and 5D, did you do them, too?

No, I didn't do them, but they definately look Western/American
Now this one is a littly tricky as I don't have a picture of it, but I remember when I was a little kid, there were these stand ups of the green guy, named Blanka in Video Game shops (at least in Europe). They appeared in different colors and if I remember right were also airbrushed. He is holding a sign that says something, probably a game title. I made a little sktetch (6B). Did you do that one?
Yes I did do that one, but I didn't do any of the color alterations on it. Matter of fact, I never got out to video game stores back then, or just regular toy stores to see how they used my art. I don't remember seeing any of the cut-out printed pieces at all. I do have this guy somewhere in my stacks of old illustrations. I have 4 different storage places where pieces are piled away, and if I can locate it, I'll send a jpeg. It was large. On a 30 x40 piece of illustration board at least.
Now this interview is all about you, but do you happen to know any other Western World artists who did Street Fighter or Final Fight art?

I never knew any of them. Matter of fact, I thought I was the only American/Western painter that was working with them.

By the way here is a scan of the popular Japanese Street Fighter art book "Eternal Challenge", showing the cover of EGM magazine (picture 1F). The book has hundreds of drawings and paintings and lists the artists who did them. For this one there is no name though, probably because they didn't know it themselves. They seem to treat it as if it was done by EGM.
Some Japanese Capcom artists are well known today thanks to the many Japanese art books. There are as good as no art books with US art though. Finding out your name isn't as easy as theirs [thanks to Mr.NiK by the way]. How do you feel about that (considering HOW famous your work is)?
As an illustrator you get used to the idea that your name isn't as important as the image. Only a few illustrators that I know could demand that they get to sign thier pieces and the client would let them. Most clients want you to focus on creating an image that they could use to sell thier product, and weren't intersted in promoting your name. I'm a Fine Arts painter now and I sign everything, but as an Illustrator, I didn't really care. I wanted to make the painting be as good as it could be, and the promotion of my career second. I advertised in an Illustration Workbook every year and I put my best work in my ad for that year. I eventually got credit for what I wanted credit for. There were alot of jobs I was hoping people didn't know I did. They were either stupid looking layouts, or subject matter that was silly. You can have pride in everything you do, but do you really want to paint more of it? (the silly stuff). There is always something new and different to do, and as an illustrator I was always glad there was a variety. I loved doing these fantasy action scenes, but always thought there were better illustrators out there doing them. There were illustrators that specialized in them and did them very well. My next action scene may have been nine months away while I did an illustration of a feather breaking a bathroom scale, or an egg riding a horse. Just a couple examples of how diverse my projects were.
This is a link to the work I'm trying to get into now. I sign all of these. They are small and quick but I plan on larger and larger pieces soon.
Would you work for Capcom again?

Certainly. I'm digital now, in my illustration work, and my stuff for them back in the '80's was airbrush on illustration board, but I don't think that matters to them. I wouldn't be willing to do airbrush illustration again though.

Now for some non Capcom questions regarding you as an artist.

Q32) (by Wishwarriorx)
Who inspired you as an artist?

First and formost wa Norman Rockwell. He inspired me as an illustrator, and as a fine artists I always looked to Rembrandt. I didn't know much back then (1960's), but there were alot more artists out there but these guys were the most visible.
When you work, do you also do some pieces together with others or do you rather work allone, so nobody can blunder your art?
I've worked on a couple of projects with other illustrators, but that was mostly in my early years when we worked in a studio together. I worked with Chris Hopkins, and Rick Brown from '79 to '83 in downtown Hollywood. I even did a few after I left the studion of Willardson and White in '83, but after I moved out of the LA area in '93, I pretty much worked by myself.
Q34) (by ZamIAm)
Have you ever felt like revisiting/updating past works?

Only with the Fine Art, oil paintings that I do now. I work on them all the time. They only get better the more you paint out and overpaint certain areas. Your ideas of color and contrast change over the months and you can go back and change the complete mood of a piece. With the illustratiions, I think they need to stay the way they were printed, and to change them afterwards would ruin the idea of what they were ment for.

Have you written any books about how to paint (oldschool or digital)? Do/did you teach stuff? If not, would you like to?

I've never written any books, but I have taught a few classes here in the Midwest just to get to know other artisits in the area. I was offered a chance to do a tutorial of how to paint horses for the Walter Foster company. I didn't do it because I didn't think I was qualified. I thought an artist needed to know the muscle structure of horses to be able to do that, and I didn't so I declined.

I saw that you're doing digital art. The amazing Bass art shows that you have completely mastered the task of digitizing your workflow.
What are the advantages of digital art compared to real airbrush or paintings except for the "undo" function? What are the disadvantages?

There are tons of advantages. Unendless supply of paint and canvas or paper, and also the size of your brushes. I can produce a 100 foot by 100 foot painting this afternoon if I wanted. It's all relative to the file you set up. With traditional ways of working, that would take me a week to set that projuct up. The biggest advantage tho is time needed to finish a piece. I can clone and adjust colors and textures so easily, that I can get through a job in half the time, and the final file is even adjustable for the art director.

The disadvantages are that it is a total mechanical enviornment to work within. Gravity and drying times no longer can be taken advantage of, and the actual touch of a loaded brush in your hands can never be duplicated, or for that matter, an airbrush with it's splatters and overspray. From a distance the images can look similar, but upon closer inspection, they are totally different. The worst of all drawbacks is that I don't own an original. The copyy I send out is just as good as the one I keep. I could go on and on about the good and bad. I would say it's about 50/50 when you add them all up.

Do you use Adobe Photoshop or Corel Painter? Something else?
I use photoshop exclusively. I bought a version of Corel, Freehand, and Painter, but they were all too slow and cumbersome to work with. The brush tools and interface were just uncomfortable to me. Photoshop is the industry standard for illustrators, unless you are a designer working with flat shapes, then you would find Illustrator the best tool.
Do you still do (real) airbrush?

I would have done some here an there in the past, but my silent air compressor broke and I never did get it fixed. I have other ways to supply me with air, but it was always a hassle, so I just stuck with doing things digital. The differernce in the time it would take to do someting traditionally would aleays make me want to do them digitally anyway.

How come most airbrush artists do kitchy stuff (and you don't)?
If you mean Kitschy, as in poor taste of risque...nudes and pin-ups or whatever, I just never had the chance. If anyone ever offered me the chance to paint one,I would have.
Do you use a graphic tablet (7A)? Are you using that digital airbrush by Wacom (7B)? In case you do, how is the feeling different from a real one? Do you recommend it? In case you haven't tried it, do you plan to?

I've used a wacom tablet for the whole time that I've been digital. I've been through 3 tablets now. My first one was a huge 12"x12" inch drawing surface, but hte tablet was actually about 18 inches square and very heavy and awkward to draw with. I switched afet a couple of years to a smaller 6x8 inch tablet. I wore that one out after about 5 years, and jsut got the lastest version of the 6x8 last year. I don't thinkit's possible to be a digital artist in the truest sense without one.

I didn't even know there was a special airbrush pen. It makes sense to have something like that though. I would like to try it actually. The pressure sensetive pen that I use wears a rough patch into my tablets surface. I need to replace that covering about once a year.
I never use the tilt aspect or some of the other settings like spattering and even the erasor side of the pen. I just click on the erasor tool for that. I do a very simplified setup. I only use about 10% of what photoshop can do too. I'm not a techie at all. As long as I can paint and draw with it, that's all I want.

I saw you sell your oil paintings on Ebay. They are more the tradtitional type, do you still do characters (of any kind)? Would you still do character related art ie for comic book covers etc?
With my oil , Fine Art, I try to do traditional art that I like to do. I will be doing figurative pieces at some point, but they will have to be on larger formats than what I'm working on now. You have to have room to work on figures that I have in mind, and I just can't do them on 8x10's. I will get to one eventually.
Q42) (by Dark Gouki)
What would you recommend for getting into this type of a job and field? Like, is there a specific type of subject i should study? I mean, this is kinda video game design, so what should i study to try and get into that field?
I would think that alot of figurative drawing classes, and just art classes in general. Constantly painting and drawing and especially watching and seeing what is selling. There is a spot for every style out there. Some render very realistically, and some more cartoony like me. Some have very flat designed figures that to me are amazing, but I just don't think or draw like that. Take for instance the Wii figures that are new to video games. They are just plain cute, and done with a 3-d drawing program which is another option for anyone to learn how to use. Just being creative and finding a company that lets you enter thier program as a trainee, willing to work hard and move up.
Q43) (by RyuFan)
Of all you ever did, which piece art do you like the most or are most proud of? Do you have a link to it?

I don't have a link to it, or even a good jpeg to send along, but I did the first ever pster for MTV. Its a Fender Guitar exploding through a TV screen with the shards of glass from the screen still holding images of the famous musicians at the time...Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Charlie Daniels, Blondie, Cheap Trick, and also big fat cartoon music notes floating out. I have the original here, and hope to sell it to some big time musician or MTV executive some day.

[If any of you readers can deliver a snap shot of this poster send it to me]

Q44) (by Kain Maxi)
You have an official website, your twice a week blog and you sell art on ebay. Do you have any other projects going on at the moment? Any projects involving future games?

I'm still as active as I can be as an illustrator, but trying to be a Fine Arts painter is my main goal right now. I do illustration work so that I can afford to be a painter. As soon as I can make a living equal to an illustrator, I'll quit the illsyration business. I'm kinda waiting for a big opportunity with a gallery, or just have a larger following with my oils on the web in order to make some definate plans, but for now, my only plans are to keep painting in oils as much as possible, and take on whatever is offered commercially, wether it's a video project or other adverstising pieces.

Thanks for being interested in my work,


To view more of his art, visit his website ( There you can join his Email List with weekly updates about his latest work (mostly oil paintings but he might also post news about his recent illustrations).

Here are some more of his illustrations: Portfolio


And finally, the classics he sent:

Blanka Standee   Blanka Close Up   Street Fighter II Turbo cover (E. Honda, Sagat, Dhalsim)   Street Fighter II Champion Edition Cover (Guile, Vega/M. Bison)   Super Street Fighter II cover art (Dee Jay, Cammy, T. Hawk and Feilong)