Pokémon Art Appreciation, Day 5: Bulbasaur 046

This post is part of a series for WeblogPoMo 2024. Each day in May, I’m sharing my appreciation for my favorite Pokémon card art. View all of the posts in this series.

Today’s card is Bulbasaur from the Scarlet & Violet Black Star Promos series. It’s card 046, released in 2023, and illustrated by OKACHEKE. It was included in the 151 Poster Collection. Here’s the card:

The Bulbasaur 046 Pokémon card from Scarlet & Violet Promos

OKACHEKE has been illustrating Pokémon cards since 2021, and he’s contributed over 40 artworks to date. His style tends to be on the softer side, at times even somewhat impressionistic in nature. I love so many of his drawings, but this Bulbasaur might be my favorite.

Bulbasaur is one of the first of the original 151 Kanto (1st generation) Pokémon, and—along with Squirtle, Charmander, and Pikachu—is one of the most recognizable Pokémon. The first printed Bulbasaur card depicted the grass-type Pokémon facing left and hunched low, as if poised to leap forward. OKACHEKE’s art nods to the original by using the same angle and position, but delightfully shows Bulbasaur mid-leap. There isn’t a single sharp line anywhere in the art, and Bulbasaur is rendered in soft, gentle strokes.

While Bulbasaur himself is adorable in this art, the scene itself is downright magical. We see a moss-covered path, possibly in a forest or other dense thicket. The vegetation is simple, with various leafy blobs, grass-like shapes, and the occasional pink flower. There’s some growth in the lower-right corner, blurred from the focus being placed on the main subject. The deeper blue hues of the background vegetation hint at the overall density of growth the area, and the spot where Bulbasaur is bounding forward is beautifully lit through filtered light streaming in from above and to the right. In those streaks of light, we see many tiny white specks that add to the magical nature of the scene. I’m not sure what those specks are, but I also don’t want to think too hard about it lest I ruin the magic.

Taken in as a single image, there’s so much that makes this art a delight: the beautiful light, the whimsical color, and Bulbasaur’s playful smile. He seems to be looking off to the right, presumably at something beyond or outside of the scene. I almost feel like I can hear this scene—the hum of forest critters and chirping birds, maybe dotted by the occasional ribbit of a frog.

This is a fun, playful, and thoroughly enjoyable piece of art. It may not be the kind of expensive ultra-rare full-art card that are prized amongst many collectors, but it’s exactly the kind of card that I love to collect and enjoy looking at.

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