Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy character designer Tetsuya Nomura recently judged a fanart contest at deviantART, which featured the Final Fantasy XIII series' recurring protagonist and costume aficionado, Lightning. After looking through literally thousands of submissions, he picked three. Here they are.
The press release announcing the winners also had comments from Nomura for each of the three submissions. You can find them below their respective images.
First up is KarmaLizzard's "Wilhelmina":
With one look I was hooked. The costume itself is sophisticated, and it's also very well done as an illustration. The background that reminded me of the Japanese flag (Hinomaru) matched well with the piece and was beautiful. As an artist, when I look at different works of art, I think to myself "If it were up to me, I would do it differently," but that thought didn't cross my mind once when I saw this picture.
Followed by "Forbidden Gateway" from ArisT0te:
At first glance it looks like a CG, and it has a level of quality that makes it look like it was captured as a screenshot. While there were many heroic costumes for Lightning, I was drawn to the femininity of this costume and her hairstyle.
And finally, here's "Lightning - Mythril Scorpion Armour" by randis:
It's wonderful as an illustration, but in addition to that, the artist drew in both the front and back views, so I felt the artist's clear intent when they created this piece. The red and blue colour scheme was very beautiful, too.
In total, 4655 pieces of Lightning fanart were submitted between February 11 and February 20. If you want, you can take a look at them at the contest's official deviantART page. And you should — there's a lot of badass artwork in there.