The Second Annual Pikkes- Awards to Celebrate Pokemon Card Art

by Pikkdogs ~ February 5th, 2012.

A big hello to all you OHKOers out there.  Last year I had an idea around awards-show time to give awards to the best card art in the format.  This year I decided to keep the tradition up, and name it after one of the best people I know, me.  Pikke (Pick-e) was my nickname in school, so I decided to call the awards the Pikkes.  No  matter what attractive chap the awards are named after, the Pikkes are all about greatness in card art.  And what a better time to have an award show, with the Oscars coming up around the corner.

A lot of Pokemon writers don’t mention card art, and only talk about playability.  But, card art is something that connects to the card collector and the serious player.  We all can appreciate a good piece of card art.  Not all of us can appreciate Mewtwo EX, but we all can appreciate how beautiful a Full Art card is.  I think its nice to take a step back from competitive play now and then and just appreciate something as simple as card art.   So let’s take a look at how we are going to give out the Pikkes.

I will choose most of the award winners in a variety of categories.  Cards that are eligible to win awards have been released since the last award show, that means Black and White and up.  Categories  include things like: Cutest Art, Scariest Art, Best Full Art, best Aerial Scene, best Nauctical scene, Best Supporting Actor in Card Art, and best Trainer.  There will be a new wrinkle in the way things are judge this year.  This is because there will be a best card art category.  In this category I will nominate 5 cards, and you guys can vote on the one you like the best.  All you have to do to vote is just put it in a comment, the winner will then be crowned in a later article.  It would be nice if you could also share some of your feelings on the card art that came out this year, and maybe we can work that into the next article.

So we have nothing else to do but start handing out the awards.  I must confess before I do this that I know nothing about art.  I didn’t take an art class in school, and don’t have any classical knowledge about art.  But, the nice thing about Pokemon is you don’t need any of that stuff.  You can just appreciate it the way you are, so that’s what I will try to do.

Cutest Art

One thing that Pokemon is being known for is for being cute.  Pikachu has always been a spokesman for the brand because he is cute.  Not every piece of Pokemon Art has to do with cuteness, but it is what Pokemon is probably best known for.  A lot of people call Pokemon a game for kids, whether it is or not is irrelevant, and the card art sure does lend itself to that assumption.  So, let us go and take a look at the best of Cuteness for this past year.

The Nominees for Cutest Art are:

  • Tropical Beach:  You gotta love the art of this Worlds Promo.  Most people talked about this card because it was good and had a high price tag, but the cuteness of this card was not all lost.  There is nothing that is not cute about this card; the Snivy sun bathing, Tepig caught in the lifesaver, Psyduck floating in the water, and Oshawott have a seizure, or whatever he is doing.
  • Gold Victory Cup:  The next nominee is another promo.  This card went to the winner of Battle Roads.  This art features the three starters jumping up and down in celebration among confetti, while Reshiram and Zekrom lurk in the background, and Victini is sitting in a loving cup.  It is a really cute card with a lot of nice flashy colors.
  • Darumaka Promo: What’s with the promo’s so far?  I guess the promotional cards are just the cutest cards of all.  This Darumaka card came with a mini binder.  This art shows Darumaka balancing on one foot with a platter full of fruit on his head.  There is some delicious looking grapes and pears falling off the platter, it all looks really cool and really tasty.

The winner is………………………………………


You can’t go wrong with Tropical Beach.  The other two cards are both very cute, but this is like 2 packages of cuteness packed into a one cute container.  There are so many Pokemon here that you can point at for being cute.   The colors here are very vibrant and you can almost feel the sun shining.  It all contributes to a bright, cool, and cute card.

Scariest Art

Unlike being cute, being scary is something you don’t normally associate with Pokemon.  But, there are a lot of different Pokemon out there.  Some are spooky ghosts, towering dragons, and others are creepy carnivores.  Most people out there find that being scared is a pleasant experience, just look at how much money slasher movies make.  Since Pokemon card art does include the scary variety, let’s take a look at the scariest art of this year.

  1. Hyrdreigon Nd-  If there is anything scarier than a three headed dragon, it is a three headed dragon that is colored green.  In this card art it seems that you have a mad three headed dragon coming after you.  It is very frightening, and not an experience that I would like to be in.  The card art is very cool with the green dragon and the colors popping out of space.  You just gotta love this art, it is beautiful……………and scary.
  2. Terrakion Full Art NV-  When I first made this article, I was sure that Terrakion was going to win, but now I’m not so sure.  It is not for the fault of Terrakion.  This Full Art has some very awesome artwork.  The art shows a close up picture of Terrakion, and he looks very mad.  I’m not sure how to describe his eyes, haunting maybe might work.  It is hard to put into words the deep fear that this card compels you to feel.  Terrakion is not a Pokemon you fool with, he seems very strong and ready to strike.
  3. Zoroark Promo #19-  I was about to give the last nomination away to the Zekrom that came with the Zekrom box, but another Promo caught my eye.  Proving that Nintendo sometimes saves the best art for the promo cards, Zoroark looks as ferocious as ever.  Zoroark looks very angry, he has his mouth open with his sharp teeth pointing out.  Then we gotta talk about the background, he seems to be standing in-front of some kind of vortex or black hole type thing.  It all contributes to a very cool looking card.

The winner of this very tough category is………………………………………………….


It was very hard not to give this award to Terrakion FA, it is a shame that it will not win this category.  But, when I saw this card I just knew that it had to win best scary art.  The colors and everything work so well together, and that green dragon is very scary.  Hydreigon is the giant killer, for a regular card to take down a full art it has to be really good, and that’s what this card is.

 Best Full Art

There is no doubt that this has been one of the best years for art, and that is because of the Full Arts.  The Full Art cards have all been amazingly good looking, the artists really have outdone themselves on these cards.  To crown a best Full Art is really a shame, they all are good enough to get a prize.  But, only one will win, and only 3 will even get nominated.  At this time, let us all look at the nominees.

  1. Terrakion NV-  Terrakion didn’t win scariest art, but its day is not over.  It is no doubt one of the best looking Full Arts in the set, and as scary as heck.  When I look at this card, all I can think about is fear.  Terrakkion looks like it is angry and is about to stick it to somebody.  It is just a really cool and scary card.
  2. Regigigas ND-  Regigigas is known as the Colossal Pokemon, but he could be known as the rainbow warrior.  This card art just pops with a lot of colors, it looks like a big wall of candy is moving towards you.  Gigas is also quite intimidating, you gotta be afraid this mammoth Pokemon walking towards you.  The card art really is intimidating, and is everything you could really want from card art.
  3. Mewtwo ND-  Everybody has been talking about this card for a while, but when I first saw it all I thought was, “awww that’s purrtty.”  If you like the color purple, not the Oprah movie, you will love this card.  So many shades of purple are popping out at you with this card.  Mewtwo seems to be conjuring some kind of psychic power, and all of this summoning is causing a beautiful blue and purple swirling background.  It is not really scary, but comes off as super saccharine and colorful.

And the Pikke goes to………………………………….


This was again a hard one to award.  It could have gone to either Terrakion or Mewtwo, but since Terrakion got shafted in the last category I thought I would give it the tie breaker.  It just is a really scary card and a beautiful one.  Big props to whoever drew this card.

Best Aerial Scene

Last year this category went to Latios, we will now see who dominates the skies this year.  Man has always dreamed of flying, so there is no doubt that we need a category for Pokemon that capture the dream every day.  While I can’t fly, I can still take pleasure in seeing Zapdos fly over a power plant.  What is critical about a flying scene is the background.  I am looking for a great background that shows off the beautiful sky and a downward look of the world.  So, Let’s look at the best in aviation this year.

  1. Manibuzz BW– The Bone Vulture Pokemon is the first nominee for this award.  This card could have easily been in the “Scariest Card Art” category.  While not as scary as a three headed dragon, this vulture is pretty scary as it has its wings extended in flight.  The card easily shows off the impressive body of Mandibuzz.  It has some very sharp looking spikes around its waist, and it has a bone in its hair.  It is a beast that is not to be messed with.  In the background are the peaks of some mountain along with the clouds covering up a blue sky.  It feels as if the clouds are blocking some pretty strong rays of the sun.  The sun and cloud effects of this card art are very cool.
  2. Braviary-  Braviary itself is quite a cool Pokemon.  It has a lot of colors that seem to pop right out of the card.  Its who body is a beautiful dark blue, and it has red, yellow, and light blue on the feathers.  The feathers by its face seem to come together to make a star.  The talons of this Pokemon are spread out in a fearful gesture.  The background of this art is just as good as that of the bird.  The background depicts a sea of trees that a cloudy blue sky.  Light is not used quite as well as it is on the other card, but the view of the earth sure is breathtaking.
  3. Moltres ND– Moltres, one of the first legendary Pokemon, is back in the Black and White era, and has come with some cool art.  This card art shows Moltres at flight, and the fire in this art is treated very well.  You gotta admire how his body seems to be engulfed in the fire, and the body seems to be the fire.  It is also cool how the fire seems to waft off of him as he fly’s by. The background is not that great in this card, but for the depiction of Moltres himself, you gotta put this card as one of the best of the year.

And the winner is………………………..

We did not have a lot of good aerial card this year, but that doesn’t take anything away from the winner.  The effect of contrasting colors is done early well in this card, and it works well with the aerial scenery.

Best Nautical scene

Golduck won this category last year, but there is no Golduck card left to win the title, so there will be a new winner this year.  Nautical and Aquatic scenes are very cool things to depict in art.  A good aquatic scene has a lot of bubbles and waves, while showing the sun and light from the sky.  There are many ferocious sea creatures in the Pokemon world, so let’s see who wins this year.

  1. Jellicent NV– I could have easily chosen Jillicent ND for this spot, but I thought I would go for card art that goes deep underwater.  This card art depicts two Jellicent swimming at the bottom of the ocean.  In the background there are marine plants, cool bubbles and waves, and the depiction of the sun.  It is cool to look at the sun through that view, because most of us don’t get that far under the water too often.  The Jellicent also look cool in this card, one is right near the picture and seems to be staring at you.  Just a really cool aquatic scene.
  2. Beartic ND-  I don’t really think of Beartic as a water Pokemon, although he is one in the TCG, in the VG he is more of an Ice Pokemon.  This card depicts him as going fully underwater.  He seems to be on the hunt, or maybe taking a bath.  The paws and claws of Beartic are up close in this art, and it is kind of a scary feeling.  It is cool to see the waves and bubbles in the water.  But, the best thing about this card is the fur.  The fur on Beartic is depicted as being long and it just looks very wet.  That may seem like a weird thing to say, but if you look at the art, you will see that the artist does an amazing job of drawing the fur in the water.
  3. Lapras ND #25– Lapras has always been one of my favorite Pokemon, and he has some great card art in ND.  In this art, Lapras is swimming under a bridge.  He seems to be smiling at people as he moves along the body of water.  The water is drawn really well here.  I love the waves, and there seems to be a mist coming off the water.  I also love the sun shining through the clouds.  It seems like a very happy scene, and it is a cool card.

The Pikke for Best Nautical Art goes to…………………………………


I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to draw this card.  It is very hard to draw a Pokemon in the water, but it is harder to draw the water when a bear is moving through it.  The  artist really outdid himself on this one.  You can see every movement, and not to mention how the hair looks.

Best Supporting Actor in Card Art

This category rewards people or Pokemon that have snuck onto a card.  For example, Piplup had  a great cameo on the art for Super Scoop Up in Majestic Dawn.  The winner of this category should have a Pokemon or Person that doesn’t really belong in the art, but seems to steal away all the attention from the thing that should have been the center of the card.  Let’s look at the nominees.

  1. Psyduck in Tropical Beach– Tropical Beach has already won 1 Pikke tonight and it just might take home one or two more.  In this category we are looking at Psyduck.  The art depicts the three Unova starters on the beach, but the scene is stolen by Psyduck floating by on a life saver.  It looks like Psyduck is waving to us and the three starters on the beach.  It all makes for a really cool and cute scene.  Psyduck is a real scene stealer in this one.
  2. Victini in the Silver Victory Cup– It seems like the Unova starters can’t get a break.  They are again in a card art together, this time they are hovering around a 2nd place trophy.  But, Victini steals the scene again.  This time Victini seems to have fallen in the trophy and is waving at you with one hand, while it hangs on by the other.  The card art is cool in itself with a spotlight shining and confetti flying in the air.
  3. The Red Stripped Basculin in Basculin ND– This is supposed to be a card about the Blue Striped Basculin, everybody’s favorite “Super Bass”, but a school of Red Stripped Basculin have came into the shot.  It looks like the Red ones might gang up on the blue one.  Maybe both colors of Basculin are out doing some hunting, who knows, but the red ones are sure looking hungry.  Overall, the card art is really cool.  With a lot of cool water and wave effects, and the light that shines through the water is drawn very well.

And the winner is……………………………………………..

For my buddies in Team Victini in Ann Arbor, the winner is Victini in 2nd place Victory Cup.  I love how he seems to be falling into the cup, and how he awkwardly waves.  Just a really cool card to be given out as a prize for a BR, I think that it was a great idea to give out a card like Victory Cup to the winner.  I know that a lot of people didn’t like this decision, but I thought it was pretty cool.

Best Trainer

The last category that I will award is the Best Trainer.  As a whole, trainer cards have sucked art work wise in Black and White.  What has happened to the cool artwork in the Super Scoop Ups, Poketurns, and Bubble Coats of the past sets?  The modern art works are really simple and don’t have a lot of flavor to them.  That being said, there are still some cool art out there, just not as cool as the past.  What I usually look for in a trainer card art is a good profile of whatever the trainer is, and then a cool and funny scene in the background.  Pokemon acting a fool is always fun to see in art like this.  So, let’s look at what modern trainer artwork is like.

  1. Cilan– This is one of my favorite pieces of art on a trainer this year.  Cilan seems to be standing in front of some hotel or something, and it has big gold Pokeball Statues next to it.  The hotel thing really works with Cilan, since he always seems to dress like a waiter.  The card art is nothing special, but I do like the architecture in the Hotel building.
  2. N – This is a really cool picture of the man they call Natural Harmonia Gropius.  He is standing against a forest backdrop, and he seems to have his arms wide open like he is about to hug somebody.  His jewelry and accessories are highlighted, as are his hat and his long flowing green hair.  All this contributes to some great card art, however, the thing that steals the show is the Ferris Wheel in the background.  The seats seem to be made to resemble Pokeballs.  The forest and the Ferris Wheel come together to make a very cool backdrop, and really cool card art.  Certainly it is nothing you are used to seeing about the bad guy of the video games.
  3. Full Art N-  It has been a while since a trainer has gotten the Ultra Rare treatment, but it happened again this year.  Full Arts have really been awesome for Pokemon artwork, and this card is no different.  Just the fact that this is a full art makes it award worthy.  This Full Art was one of the most coveted card in the NV set.  Just to be the guy who has a full art trainer makes you pretty cool.  The art itself is a lot different than the regular N.  This is a closeup of Natural and he seems to be Tebowing or something like that.

And the Pikke goes to ………………………………………………………..

Even though the Full Art N is cooler than the regular N, the regular N has better art.  The art on the full art N is cool, but it seems to be kind of messed up.  The regular N has one of the coolest backgrounds, and Natural Harmonia Gropius seems to be happy.  I think N is a very cool character, and it is nice to see this side of N.  N seems to be a character that has more than just 1 side, and is certainly not the cookie cutter characters that Team Rocket are.  This card art shows off a different side of N, and when a card adds to a character’s personality, well that is just awesome.

So that is all the Pikkes that I am going to give away, however there is one more left.

Best Overall Art

This category is all up to you guys.  So while you guys comment and tell me how I got all the other awards wrong, and please do so, don’t forget to leave a comment and vote for the best overall art of the year.  All you have to do is type the name of a nominee you want to vote for (or vote for a write-in candidate) in the comment box.  I will nominate 5 cards, but you can vote for any card that came out in the last year, just indicate that it is a write-in choice. Here are the nominees.  When you vote, don’t forget to tell us why you like the card.  Also, make sure to give your opinions on the other award winners, its always nice to talk about this stuff.  Here are the nominees.

So long and thanks for all the fish!

Category: Opinion | Tags: , , ,