The winter season is the perfect backdrop for the Pokemon TCG, as the illustrators get a chance to show Pokemon in this enchanting environment. Ice and non-Ice-type Pokemon alike are depicted having fun in the snow, whether that be making sculptures out of the snow or taking a quiet moment to admire the scenery.
These Pokemon cards highlight what’s so great about winter, showing how each of these Pokemon would interact with the cold weather in their own unique way. These artists each offer one-of-a-kind snapshots into the lives of these Pokemon, using their stylistic interpretations and use of color to capture these special moments.
10/10 Wish Upon A Star: Vanillite (Darkness Ablaze #045)
Sanosuke Sakuma’s vibrant art style helps to brighten up the wintery scene depicted in this card. In this illustration, Vanillite flies among the snow-covered trees, taking a moment to gaze upon the north star.
Sakuma’s use of color is the stand-out part of this card, as even the pink glow from the star is reflected on Vanillite’s face, lighting up its awestruck expression. Despite the detailed background, Vanillite stays the main draw, as the black line art paired with the white outline around its body immediately attracts your eyes to this Pokemon.
9/10 Dashing Through The Snow: Alolan Sandshrew (Guardians Rising #19a)
This card by Hideki Ishikawa uses motion effects to show the movements of Alolan Sandshrew as it makes its way through the snow. As an Ice-type variant of Kantonian Sandshrew, this version thrives in wintery environments, and this card shows its affinity for this.
Ishikawa’s art style brings Alolan Sandshrew’s natural icy habitat to life – there are mountains and a lake visible in the background, as well as snow-covered pine trees, creating a grand vista that you’d see on a postcard. Alolan Sandshrew is at home in this illustration, as it shares a similar blue color scheme to the environment, and the light reflecting off its icy hide shines as bright as the snow.
8/10 Something’s Afoot: Snover (Rebel Clash #012)
On their website, Shibuzoh says that this Snover card was inspired by a scene from a “picture book”, which is immediately apparent, as their art style helps to create a whimsical atmosphere. In the card, Snover happens upon a lone footprint in the snow, which is sparkling to show Snover’s interest in it.
Shibuzoh’s use of colors and fascinating interpretations of Pokemon never ceases to disappoint, and this card is a great example of this. Rather than going for a traditional color scheme for the background, Shibuzo introduced other colors to the mix. The snow has a pink tint, and the blue and pink patterned trees look as though they’re adorned with Christmas decorations.
7/10 Sharp As Icicles: Weavile (Cosmic Eclipse #44)
This card adheres to the distinctive art style of Mahou, as it uses bold outlines to depict Weavile atop an icy tree, using its sharp claws to grasp the branches. Rather than going for a super detailed approach with the background, Mahou uses simplistic trees, with the leafless trees and shadows evoking a similar sharpness to Weavile’s claws.
The star-shaped snowflakes add more of a traditional wintery atmosphere to the scene, and they wouldn’t be amiss on a Christmas card. Weavile’s red and blue color scheme stands out against the frozen backdrop, immediately drawing your eye to Mahou’s stylized interpretation of it.
6/10 Got The Shivers: Snorunt (Cosmic Eclipse #47)
This card, illustrated by Sowsow, shows the Snow Hat Pokemon Snorunt on a cold wintery night, standing in front of wooden steps gathering snow. Sowsow always pays close attention to detail when it comes to their artwork, and the same can be said about this card. It captures the biting cold as snow particles blow through the air, landing on Snorunt. You can almost imagine Snorunt shivering from the icy chill.
Speaking of details, one of the snowballs is shaped like Pikachu, giving more life to this little scene – perhaps someone sculpted their favorite Pokemon out of the snow.
5/10 Do You Want To Build A Snowman?: Piplup (Brilliant Stars #035)
Atsushi Furusawa’s Piplup card shows Piplup in front of the Snowpoint Temple in the Sinnoh region, making a figure out of the snow. Piplup certainly looks like it’s enjoying itself on this winter’s day as it looks up at the falling snow with an expression of wonder – clearly, Pokemon love playing in the snow just as much as people.
It’s also fun to see a location in the Pokemon games directly referenced in the artwork, as it helps you to imagine what it’s like at these places outside of gameplay.
4/10 Winter Wonder: Alolan Vulpix (Lost Thunder #53)
This adorable illustration of Alolan Vulpix is by Naoyo Kimura, and shows Vulpix having fun jumping in the snow. This mirrors the actions of real-life foxes, who often leap into the snow to hunt for food. Kimura’s decision to use real foxes as inspiration gives more depth to Vulpix’s behavior, by choosing to harken back to its roots.
Kimura’s use of white in this card helps to depict the wintery environment of the scene, as even the clouds blend into the snow-covered ground. In the wintery landscape, you can almost feel the chill as the entire card is blanketed with snow. The blue accents on Vulpix help to make it stand out among the sea of white, ensuring that its playful attitude is the focal point of the card.
3/10 Having Snow Much Fun: Rockruff (Chilling Reign #086)
For their interpretation of the winter season, Yuu Nishida decided to highlight the fun that Pokemon can have, as the Rockruff in this card is having a blast. It wades through the snow, leaving a trail in its wake. It doesn’t even seem to mind that the snow is falling onto it, as it has a beaming smile on its face, alongside pieces of snow.
Pokemon cards can be used to showcase a Pokemon’s personality, and this card’s artwork emphasizes Rockruff’s puppy-like qualities. Nishida did a great job of capturing Rockruff’s happy-go-lucky attitude, as their colorful art style is the perfect fit for this adorable Pokemon.
2/10 One Sawsbuck Open Sleigh: Sawsbuck (Chilling Reign #012)
Known as the Season Pokemon, Sawsbuck changes forms with the seasons, altering its appearance accordingly. For this wintery scene by Sekio, Sawsbuck has adapted to the cold months, with its white antlers and fur complementing the snow-laden environment.
Sekio’s watercolor art style is perfect for Sawsbuck – it captures the majesty of this Pokemon as it looks proud prancing across the winter forest. It evokes the feeling of a festive animated movie, with Sawsbuck looking right at home within the icy landscape. The artwork certainly does this Pokemon justice.
1/10 Simple Winter Days: Glaceon V (Evolving Skies #175)
Illustrated by Narumi Sato, this card depicts the Fresh Snow Pokemon Glaceon laying on a bench admiring yellow flowers that are growing among the snow, despite the rest of the forest looking bare. The snow falling from Glaceon’s paws suggests that it brushed the snow off the flowers to see them completely.
Sato’s gentle watercolor style adds to the idyllic atmosphere of the card, as it shows Glaceon relaxing on a quiet winter day. In an interview for the 2022 Pokemon TCG Illustration Contest, Sato discussed her Glaceon card, saying that she “tried to think of what Glaceon’s daily life looks like.” Sato certainly succeeded in capturing this sense of everyday living in the wintertime, showing what Glaceon gets up to outside of battles.
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