Reddit user Lunumbra caused a stir earlier this month with her hand-painted Pokémon cards.
The user, a college art student named Micah, started painting backgrounds and environments on the cards to add detail and life to the previous artwork. She currently has a tumblr where she sells her cards for $12 each, and accepts commission projects. We caught up with this Poké Artist to ask how she got started.
Polygon: Where did your inspiration come from?
Micah: I came up with the idea after seeing 3-D cards that a friend of mine had made using Magic: The Gathering. I thought they were cool, but my heart is with Pokémon cards, so I began searching for extended art Pokémon cards instead... and couldn't find anything.
How did you get started making them?
A few months after the initial search, I was home from college and remembered the extended art Pokémon cards. I tried to find them online again, and still no luck. So, I grabbed a few cards, some paint and started working on them. I enjoyed painting them, and thought they looked pretty cool, so I showed Reddit. They ate it up and we lived happily ever after.
How long does it take to make a card?
It takes me roughly 40 minutes to an hour for each card, depending on how complex the background is. For example, the base set cards I just finished took me about an hour each due to the art style and the shading because they were both difficult to match.
What do you use to paint the cards?
I only use very fine tipped paint brushes and acrylic paints. I only use black, white, brown, blue, red, yellow, green, and purple. I mix all the different tints and shades that I use on the card, and spray a layer of sealing coat when I'm finished so the paint isn't as tacky and glossy.
When did you start painting?
I am a Studio Art major at college, but my painting history is very broad. You wouldn't be able to tell, but I actually hate painting. I find it to be tedious and I'm a strong perfectionist, meaning it takes me forever to decide that one of my paintings is done. I like doing these cards, however, because I have a set subject and a set criteria. Once the card looks like the background matches, the card is done, no matter what I think. I also love Pokémon, and I get to talk to people who share my hobbies.
Do you have any advice for beginning painters?
Go slow at first. Try to match the original artist's style, learn how to match colors, and be imaginative. If a card looks bland, add a tree, but work with what you have also. Add shading to the trees that are already on the card to match what you added. Add clouds, rocks, anything to make the original world blend in with the new one.
So how is selling the cards going?
The business is going great! So many people are interested and I'm thankful that they're all so polite and patient. Also, I am a starving art major. We aren't very well known for making money, so this is a wonderful thing. I always hear, "you'll never get a job with that" or "haha you don't have to be smart to be an art major," but I believe the world revolves around art. Art is a beautiful thing, and I'm proud to be able to share it with people.