AKB48 is a female idol group that has achieved enormous popularity in Japan, to the point of being characterized as a social phenomenon. Produced by Yasushi Akimoto, it is one of the highest-earning musical acts in the world, with 2011 record sales of over $200 million in Japan alone.
Based out of the Akihabara district of Tokyo, AKB48 currently consists of 64 members. But the organization itself encapsulates several other groups namely SKE48, NMB48 and HKT48 based out of various cities in Japan. As well a JKT48 based out of Jakarta, Indonesia. Also the now discontinued SDN48. Any member of these "sister" groups can be called up to join the main AKB group. Also there are groups of kenkyūsei or members in training. So in truth it could be said AKB48 has well over 250 members.
As a result, individual members do their best to distinguish themselves. Members boost their own personalities or adopt roles in the group such as leaders or divas or as jesters to create easily identifiable characters. Also members star in television shows, movies, musicals and commercials also establishing more eccentric but just as memorable characters.
In this illustration I wanted to portray a few of the more recognizable members and characters as a "superhero" team. There are 21 members shown, each with a unique costume and persona. This is the most individuals I have ever done in one illustration with such attention to individual attributes. It was very challenging, researching characters, posing and composing so many individuals and although not to the level of portraits having to capture a resemblance to so many real life people. Although not as polished a work I am very pleased how this illustration turned out. A very satisfying endeavor.
Other AKB48 portraits:
Strathmore 11 x 17 300 Series Bristol Smooth
0.5 Pentel Side FX Mechanical Pencil