Aspiring Pokémon Artists Could Get Fan Art Made Into Official, Rare Cards

The Pokémon Art Academy Competition, co-sponsored by The Pokémon Company International and Nintendo of America, begins February 18, 2015 and invites aspiring Pokémon artists of all ages living the United States, Canada and Mexico to craft fan art illustrations worthy of an official Pokémon Trading Card. Six winners will receive 100 special edition Pokémon Trading Cards featuring their individual designs.

Entrants not only have a shot at earning a place in Pokémon history and seeing their artwork printed on an official card, but it’s likely the winners could sell their prize cards individually on eBay or other marketplaces for a pretty penny. According to the official rules, “each prize has an approximate retail value of $40.00” but collectors may be keen to snatch these cards up due to the limited print run. In a statement to the press, Nintendo notes the winning Pokémon cards will only be distributed to the contest winners and will not be made available to the general public.

The winners’ cards will not be made available for sale in regular Pokémon TCG products nor will they be eligible to take part in Play! Pokémon officially sanctioned organized play events.

Although the winning Pokémon cards cannot be used in official tournaments that fact does not seem to bother the second-hand market when it comes to unique, rare Pokémon cards. Although tournament rules may vary by country, the only cards that are tournament legal in the United States are designated in a sanctioned list of the most recent sets (and older cards that have been re-printed in those sets) and promo cards. Despite the lack of playability, older cards, like the first edition Charizard from the Base Set, often sell for hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars on sites like eBay, as noted by Yahoo! Games.

Pokemon Art Academy Teaches Aspiring Artists How To Draw Pikachu

The primary caveat of the contest is that it requires artists to create their illustrations entirely within the “Free Paint” mode of the Pokémon Art Academy game for the Nintendo 3DS. No Photoshop or Illustrator allowed here. The official game site notes the in-game drawing tools available include a pencil, pastel crayon, paint brush, marker, spray paint and outline marker; but, some artists may feel limited by the medium nonetheless.

Artists may enter two pieces of artwork into the competition, one per category. The competition categories are “Your Favorite Pokémon” and “Dress-Up Pikachu”. The former can be of any existing Pokémon, while the latter must show Pikachu dressed in costume. Although it might sound like it, the “Dress-Up Pikachu” entries do not have to be limited to renditions à la Cosplay Pikachu from Pokémon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby. Artists can use their imaginations to come up with all kinds of original, new costumes for Pikachu, so long as they comply with the Miiverse Code of Conduct.

The rules also state the judging criteria consists of four key elements.

The Sponsor Panel will select fifty (50) entries for each Artwork Category… based on… Skill (how well the Artwork demonstrates the entrant’s artistic skill), Artistic Expression (how well the Artwork conveys the entrant’s artistic expression to fit within the Artwork Category, Originality (how distinctive and original the Artwork is, as compared with other entries), and Creativity (how well the Artwork demonstrates the entrant’s creativity).

Then, a judging panel from The Pokémon Company will select three winners for each category from the 50 finalists. As a protip to all who enter, do not delete the high-resolution files of your artwork on the 3DS’ SD Card. Per the contest website, winners have to submit this file at the end of the competition to claim their prize and have their cards made.

Entries must be posted to the competition via Miiverse, and standard rules apply. All art must be completely drawn by the contest entrant, entries featuring logos or other third-party copyrighted symbols will be disqualified, and only the first entry per Nintendo ID will be accepted. Winners will be announced in April 2015 and the cards will be mailed “no later than November 30, 2015.” Pokémon collectors, mark your calendars.

[Photo: Business Wire.]