Pokémon Art Appreciation, Day 9: Steelix 208/182

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 Steelix from Paradox Rift (the same set featuring the Garbodor card from Day 1 in this series). It’s card 208/182, illustrated by nisimono. And this is what it looks like:

The Steelix 208/182 Pokémon card from Paradox Rift

nisimono has illustrated eight cards so far, starting with the recent Scarlet & Violet: 151 expansion set released a few months ago. Their style is well-suited to Pokémon illustration, with the perfect blend of fantasy and cute cartooniness.

This is another glorious full-art Illustration Rare card. Steelix is the prominent subject, taking up nearly the entirety of the vertical space and roughly half of the horizontal space. We see the exposed beams of an active construction project immediately behind him. Steelix appears to be serving as an elevator, transporting the construction workers from the ground to the top of the building. The tall structures of a dense city are visible in the background. The scene includes everything you might expect at a construction site: a crane, workers with high-vis vests and hard-hats, and, since we’re in the world of Pokémon, a Timburr and a Gurdurr (who is effortlessly hauling an I-beam).

There is so much that I love about this card, and as usual, it’s all about the details. Unlike all of the other Steelix cards that show the Pokémon in isolation, nisimono presents a scene with an immediately obvious reference for Steelix’s height: a three storey structure. Steelix’s canonical height is 9.2 meters, which is roughly 30 feet—the typical height for a three storey building. The placement of Steelix beside the structure does a wonderful job of showing just how massive the Pokémon is.

As I’ve mentioned before, I really love the idea of people and Pokémon being together, and this card is a lovely demonstration of what that might look like. Steelix wears a determined look, clearly taking his job very seriously. The worker on the platform resting on Steelix’s head appears to be smiling—and of course we have no idea why, but I like to think it’s because he just enjoyed a ride on a Steelix, which I think might be the kind of thing to bring a smile to anyone’s face. The Timburr and Gurdurr on the ground level are both doing their thing, with other workers performing various tasks. It’s clear from the snapshot that this is a world where people and Pokémon work in harmony.

Tomorrow we’ll look at one more card in the “people and Pokémon” genre. See you then!

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