The Pokemon card artist ‘taking the border off the artwork’


A Pokemon card of Pikachu, beside a painting on the same card. The name of the Pokemon, and other similar information, has been painted over to extend the landscape to feature grass, trees and a flowing river with a waterfall..
@Lunumbra/The Pokemon Company


Pikachu has been synonymous with Pokemon since the TV show began in 1997

“It’s become my everything.”

Micah Yates is a 25-year-old art graduate living in Berea, Kentucky. She graduated from college in 2016 and set up shop at home.

All of her paintings can be found in an online gallery where she is known as Instagram artist Lunumbra.

And with her paintings sometimes selling for upwards of $300 (£230) a piece, you might be surprised to hear that she found her success painting Pokemon cards.

A Pokemon card of Vulpix, beside a painting on the same card. The name of the Pokemon and other similar information has been painted over to extend the landscape, creating a snowy scene with a frozen river and tall trees..
Lunumbra/The Pokemon Company


Micah takes Pokemon cards and paints over them, using the card itself as the canvas to extend the original artwork.

“I started in 2014 when I was going to school for art,” Micah explained. “I had just gotten into a card game called Magic: The Gathering.

“The painted card community with Magic was thriving. I was also into Pokemon, so I tried to find the same thing but with Pokemon cards.

A cubone Pokemon card. This features lush flowers in a garden theme..
@Lunumbra/The Pokemon Company


“Most of the cards are donated to me. It’s nice to use a card someone has already loved.”

“I couldn’t find it, so I decided to do it myself. I painted 10 cards to play around with and posted them on Reddit.

“It went viral overnight. People were asking me to paint cards for them and paying me, and it hasn’t stopped.

On the left of the picture is a Pikachu card painted roughly. It has basic colours and is clearly very rough and textured. On the right, it has been painted in great detail, with more vibrant colours and appears completely smooth to the touch..
@Lunumbra/The Pokemon Company


Left: One of the first 10 cards Micah painted in 2014. Right: the same card, painted again in 2018.

“I sell two or three a week.

“They usually go for between $70 and $90, but my Snorlax card went for $300. I don’t know why – I think people just like Snorlax!

“The other big ones were the Umbreon and Espeon pair.

“They combine into one artwork and sold at $400 for both. I really like that pair – it’s hard to make the cards match up like that because the artworks are different.”

The Umbreon and Espeon cards repainted. The artwork now extends to cover the entire cards, creating a scenic day and night painting with a forest and lake..
@Lunumbra/The Pokemon Company


Micah’s reimagining of the cards, bringing together two separate artworks into one combined picture

“The artwork on Pokemon cards is unbelievable,” she added.

“I always wondered what was behind the square on the Pokemon card. This is an opportunity to take the border off the artwork and see what’s behind it.

A Dragonair. The original water artwork has been dramatically extended to show crashing waves around the Pokemon..
@Lunumbra/The Pokemon Company


“I like to make it interesting but I never want to take away from the original artwork.”

“It takes maybe 10 coats of paint that I’ve thinned down.

“I want them to not have texture. I want them to look like they were that way forever.

A Dialga. The Pokemon card is quite different to the others, with a space theme caused by a shiny card. The artwork has been extended, with the entire card now shiny..
@Lunumbra/The Pokemon Company


Micah revealed that “shiny” Pokemon cards are completely holographic underneath the text

“I was not a painter when I started this, I actually hated painting.

“I went to school to be an illustrator. I wanted to be an animator. But this took off, and I’m very thankful.”

An Eevee Pokemon card. The original forest artwork has been extended to show a waterfall..
@Lunumbra/The Pokemon Company


“When I started painting water I hated it… but now it’s one of my favourite things to paint.”

If you’re interested in how she does it, Micah helpfully shares videos of her method online, with one such video being viewed more than 500,000 times.

“I’m very lucky to have so many supporters that are interested in what I do,” she said.

White space

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