With the 30th anniversary of Power Rangers approaching on August 28th, 2023 anticipation for what all Hasbro has in store for the celebration continues to grow with Power Rangers fans. With a release of new molds for the Lightning Collection starting with MMPR Blue Ranger (insert link here to re-do of Billy figure), the 30th anniversary special “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: Once & Always” set to stream in early spring, and the 30th season Power Rangers Cosmic Fury to air it’s ten-episode run later in the fall, fans have gotten a glimpse of what Hasbro has in store for the brand.
But it was the new key art celebrating Mighty Morpin’ Power Rangers revealed during Hasbro’s Fan Stream held January 17th on YouTube that stole the show. At least until it was revealed that Power Rangers Cosmic Fury was once again making history with Hunter Deno’s character “Amelia Jones” becoming the first season-long female Red Ranger of the franchise.
As we continue on with commemorating 30 years of Power Rangers, fans will see this beautiful, colorful artwork across the brand illustrated by vector artist, Orlando Arocena.
Arocena is not new to illustrating for the world of Power Rangers as he took part in iam8bit’s 2017 “May the Power Protect You: A Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Art Show.” At the event, he and 30+ artists showcased art across a wide spectrum of characters from the television series, with Arocena providing art work for Lord Zedd.
He even shared in a reddit AMA four months ago that he was working on the key art for Power Rangers’ 30th season.
A graduate of Pratt Institute in New York, Arocena (also known as Mexifunk) is a Mexican-Cuban-American artist who has had the privilege of watching the world of art and graphic design change before his eye as technology grew, and styles fell in and out of popularity. Finding a niche and interest in digital commercial communications, Arocena is known as “The Mexican who changed the look of vector” as he proudly states in his social media bios. This compliment was given to him by Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen (2022 Interview, Illustration West 61) after Arocena was given the opportunity to design the start-up page for Adobe Illustrator in 2014 (ten years after his graduating from Pratt).
Arocena has established himself as one who can find creative solutions for brands he’s commissioned from, and as a “non-conventional vector illustrator who explores cultural iconography, pop culture, and speculative narratives.” His work and experience traveling the world has resulted in becoming a Global Brand Ambassador for the Z by hp computers.
Represented by Mendola Artists, Orlando worked with Hasbro, and Allen Pan-Long (a senior graphic designer at Hasbro) to create key art that would “represent the Rangers in a classic way that fans know and love, while still implementing his signature flares, gradients and starbursts.”
Mendola Artists represents over 100 of the world’s most accomplished illustrators from a vast array of mediums including chalk, ink, mixed media, vector, watercolor, and acrylics. With the artists, Mendola Artists has built relationships with numerous brands to match an artist with ad agencies, package design firms, toy companies, book publishers, and more across the country.
Hasbro isn’t the only big-name brand that Arocena has worked with. If you’re a fan of the Pokemon series, you may have seen his artwork as one of the official posters for the May 2019 smash hit “Detective Pikachu.” Or, if you’re a Marvel fan, you can get Orlando’s exclusive art of Namor from “Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever’s” Talokan Limited Edition steelcase release and most recently as the artist for “Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’s” art for merchandise. In addition, as far as Hasbro goes, Arocena also provided the art for the G.I. Joe brand with the package art on the release of the Classified Series’ Crimson Guard Action Figure.
As for how Arocena got into vector art, he explained in a 2012 interview that he was:
[…]very much a big fan of Manga, and wanted to emulate the 3-tier tone technique used on their hand-painted production cels. After teaching myself more about the program [illustrator] and becoming more comfortable with it, I found it to be very fulfilling. The overall look and the instant gratification allowed me see my ideas take shape quickly.
I’m still experimenting with it, finding new ways to achieve airbrush-like fades with simple gradients, that in itself is one on my favorite attributes of illustrator – the ability to adjust opacities within the gradient color bar! Adjusting transparencies is another beneficial feature that I use sparingly and try not to abuse. Overall, I enjoy being a bit traditional with vector, plotting and drawing rather than relying on filters.” (2012, Interview with tutsplus)
Arocena used to reach out to companies to show them what work he could possibly do for them, and now has companies reaching out to work with him through Medola Art or as part of the Poster Posse. Like Medola Artists, The Poster Posse is “is a collective of international artists who amass their significant talents into online tribute projects for some of pop culture’s biggest properties.”
If you want to get an idea on Arocena’s work with the digital medium, check out this interview below with Sideshow Collectibles where he simultaneously draws a new piece of art and is interviewed by. You may see a few more pieces of art from brands you know and love.
A different version of the poster we almost got; one without the Green Ranger at the time of the pictured work-in-progress. It also has the “30th logo” in a different spot compared to the final version.
Work in progress – Arocena, Mendola Artists
Cohesive Key Art
Think of your favorite movie, television series, or video game and think of the one iconic image that caught your attention to give the product some of your time. It was the key art that drew your attention to it and is one of the most important pieces of marketing for a brand.
Per Wikipedia, “Key art, also known as key visual is the artwork which is repeated across media such as posters, print, television and digital advertisements, streaming or download thumbnails, and game or film DVD/Blu-Ray box covers.”
We’ve seen a few images of what Arocena has done for the brand, and there’s bound to be more versions and completed images that we may not see. Maybe we’ll get a glimpse of them as the 30th messaging is presented throughout 2023, so fans can keep an eye out for Arocena’s work with future announcements across the brand, but the importance here is consistency with this new look for the 30th season and it looks like illustration may be how it’s being accomplished this year.
Power Rangers Cosmic Fury will of course have its own branding and key art pieces as the 30th season of the franchise is set to air, but that, so far, has shifted away from the usual professional photo shoots of the Ranger suits to another iteration of illustration. This time done by Leanne Hannah (@stratosmacca on Twitter) – except for the Blue Ranger art. As news about Power Rangers Cosmic Fury was released, we got the reveal of the 100% American made suit designs bit by bit until Hasbro’s Fan Stream where we got our first look at the team together for the first time since it was announced that the Dino Fury cast would be staying on the television series for a third season.
In 2014, Netflix conducted a research project “that indicated artwork was not only the biggest influencer to a member’s decision to watch content, but it also constituted over 82% of their focus while browsing Netflix. We also saw that users spent an average of 1.8 seconds considering each title they were presented with while on Netflix.”
It’s all these elements combined together that makes the new key art for the series stand out from what we have been given in the past with Power Rangers – stills from a photo shoot photoshopped together to create a visual poster to show just how “powerful” (and “super” for a time) the new season of the long running franchise would be. It’s this quick visual that will help viewers determine whether they want to take a chance with the product or not.
Just as comparison, check out a couple of pages from the style guide for Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers when the show was in production:
The Hollywood Reporter even started the Key Art Awards to recognize some of the best posters in the media that brands have used to promote their products since 1972. The Hollywood Reporter Key Art Awards (known as the Clio Entertainment Awards since 2014) is the only awards program to recognize marketing and advertising in motion pictures. Over 15,000 entries representing art directors, trailer producers and editors, website designers, studio executives and more have been submitted to the awards program. Arocena has even won the prestigious Gold Clio Entertinment Award for his 20th Century Fox / MGM Studios DVD series where he illustrated 19 pieces of pop culture movie posters in a Dias De Los Muertos style.
You can view the list of some of the most recent winners of the Key Art Awards here: Hollywood Reporter Key Art Awards
If you want to see more of Arocena’s vector art, you can find him on Instragram, Twitter, Facebook, Website, and Linkedin. Don’t forget to head on over to his behance webpage and MendolaArt.com to see some of the other projects Arocena contributed to.
You can also see more of Leanne Hannah’s art at Instragram, Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.
In 2023, the Power Rangers franchise celebrates 30 years since its premiere episode “Day of the Dumpster” aired August 28, 1993.Coming to Netflix April 19th 2023, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: Once and Always a 55-minute special anniversary episode will stream globally on Netflix reuniting cast members (David Yost / Blue Ranger / MMR S1 – Zeo; Walter Jones / Black Ranger / MMPR S1; Johnny Yong Bosch / Black Ranger / MMPR S2; Karan Ashley / Yellow Ranger / MMPR S2; Catherine Sutherland / Pink Ranger / MMPR S2 – Turbo) and voice actors (Barbara Goodson / Rita Repulsa and Richard Horvitz / Alpha 5) from across three seasons of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers for the first time.
The run time, while not officially confirmed through Hasbro, the run time has been confirmed by T1mer / @PowerRangersFR via Netflix.
Also in the fall of 2023, the 30th season of the franchise, Power Rangers Cosmic Fury will stream globally on Netflix and introduce the first female Red Ranger as former Pink Ranger Amelia Jones (played by Hunter Deno) will take over the iconic color, and the newly created Zenith Ranger as Zayto (played by Russel Curry) will start a new character arc after his character’s end in Power Rangers Dino Fury. Kai Moya, Tessa Rao, Jordon Fite, and Chance Perez are also returning to reprise their roles (and colors) in the new season.
So will we see this same kind of work used for Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: Once & Always or Power Rangers Cosmic Fury when they hit Netflix? They key art is different for every user, but it will more than likely be a still from the anniversary special itself (perhaps focusing on David Yost and Walter Jones as two of the OG Rangers of the franchise?), but the pops of color used in Arocena’s and Hannah’s art is sure to grab any viewer’s attention should it be used.
Stay with The Power Scoop for all your behind the scenes, and production news for Power Rangers, Dino Fury, Cosmic Fury and more – follow The Power Scoop on Twitter and Instagram.