May 16, 2018

Shining a Light on New Card Art

Take a closer look at some of the amazing cards in the Pokémon TCG: Sun & Moon—Forbidden Light expansion.

A new Pokémon Trading Card Game expansion is here, and with it comes an opportunity to pause and take an appreciative look at some of the beautiful artwork that adorns these cards. As exciting and strategic as the Pokémon TCG is, the game wouldn't be nearly as much fun without the stunning interpretations of the Pokémon that bring the game to life.

So, let's scope out some of the cards in the Sun & Moon—Forbidden Light expansion and see just what the talented illustrators have cooked up for us this time.



Tower Tour

Many Pokémon Trading Card Game expansions focus on a particular location or region within the Pokémon world. In Sun & Moon—Forbidden Light, that setting is the Kalos region. This is made exceptionally clear by the frequent appearance of Prism Tower in the background of multiple cards. This impressive structure, the Kalos region's most recognizable landmark, is also the home of the Lumiose City Gym. Gym Leader Clemont's younger sister, Bonnie, likes to hang out there as well, so the landmark appears prominently on her card.

It's not just people who live in Lumiose City, though. The tower shows up in the background of multiple Pokémon cards as well. Hawlucha flies past the tower, while Clauncher and Flabébé give us a street-level perspective of the impressive building.


Art by sowsow

Every now and again, we like to highlight a particular artist when looking at the latest Pokémon TCG expansion. Whether it's an unconventional artistic medium, a recurring choice of perspective, or some other visual hook, there are times when an artist's unique take on their Pokémon subjects makes their work stand out among the rest. In the case of Sun & Moon—Forbidden Light, we found ourselves constantly drawn to the work of the illustrator known as sowsow.

When looking at sowsow's pieces, we were quick to notice the drawing style, which tends to have a looser, sketchier feel than other artists' work. The medium also brings to mind chalk pastels or colored pencils, giving the illustrations a warmer, more intimate look. This is accentuated by the soft lighting of the scenes, making all sorts of places, from the chilly ice cave where Avalugg lives to the city streets patrolled by Inkay, look inviting. Of course, sowsow also uses warmer tones to great effect. Just look at Cubone, whose bright setting contradicts the little Pokémon's emotions as it forlornly looks skyward at a cloud resembling its lost mother.


Snack Time

Pokémon need to eat just like people do, and that fact is certainly celebrated in the Sun & Moon—Forbidden Light expansion. Just look at that huge smile on Hoopa's face as it sits down at a table overflowing with donuts! It almost looks as though it will burst into tears over how delighted it is. One thing's for sure—those pastries don't stand a chance! Likewise, little Dedenne isn't holding back when it comes to berries. Although we can only see the one it's holding, we can assume that its cheeks are stuffed with the delicious treats. Are they being stored for later, or will Dedenne chow down all at once? Only its Trainer knows for sure.

Having a Metal Frying Pan on hand is certainly beneficial when you're cooking up a tasty meal. In the Pokémon TCG, it's a useful tool for protecting your Metal-type Pokémon during battle. And it has an added benefit: according to Pewter City Gym Leader Brock, it can also be used to protect its owner from the rain, effectively turning the cooking implement into a sort of “drying pan.”


In-Your-Face Pokémon

One of the nice things about being a Pokémon Trainer is that you're never on the receiving end of a Pokémon attack. But what if that wasn't the case? What if you had a wild Pokémon coming straight for you? How would it look? How would it make you feel? (We're gonna go with “yikes!”)

Just check out Tyrantrum. Standing an imposing 8'02" tall, this massive Pokémon looks especially ferocious as it leans in, exposing its tooth-filled maw. And let's all hope that the only close-up view we ever get of Barbaracle's pointy claws is in this card's artwork.

Speaking of claws, Noivern certainly isn't lacking in that department. This winged Pokémon looks frightening enough from a distance, much less when it's swooping right toward you! But perhaps the most yikes-inducing card in the Sun & Moon—Forbidden Light expansion is Pangoro. Just look at how angry this Pokémon is! And since it tops off at 6'11" and weighs in just shy of 300 pounds, we'd rather not imagine being on the receiving end of that Double Stomp…


Cute or Creepy?

Lots of Pokémon are adorable, but there's no denying that sometimes, there's something about them that feels a little…off. Even the cutest of Pokémon can be a bit creepy sometimes. Just take a look at Exeggcute. Cute on the surface, sure, even if it's wearing some frowny faces…except for that one in the middle. That nefarious grin gives us the willies. The exposed head on the cracked one isn't helping things either.

Fennekin is undoubtedly precious, but we're a bit put off by the fiery abyss where it's hanging out. That sweet face surrounded by endless burning has us backing away slowly. Tyrunt gives us a similar reaction. It may look innocent enough, with its sleepy head perched on that rock, but there's something suspicious about that glint in its eye as it stares off at the smoking volcano in the distance. It seems to be thinking, “Yes, I welcome this impending destruction.” (Maybe it's just us.)

We're equally unnerved by Espurr's vacant expression. It may look snuggly soft, with a pose that invites you to rub its fluffy tummy…but something seems to be lurking right below the surface. This is especially troublesome when reading the card's flavor text that describes how the little Pokémon can't control its immense psychic power. And then there's Rockruff. Poor Rockruff. Although the Pokémon is nothing but precious, that foreboding house made up of harsh, irregular angles behind it creeps us right out. We're not sure what Rockruff has seen in there, and based on that expression, we're not sure we want to…



Now that we've looked at some of our favorite cards from the Sun & Moon—Forbidden Light expansion, it's your turn. Dig through your collection and take a closer look at the lovely art on those cards, and be sure to pick out your favorites as well!

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