Throughout the years, the Pokémon Trading Card Game has featured a variety of incredible art styles. Now that the hobby has been around for more than a quarter of a century, we have seen the artwork of Pokémon TCG cards elevated by daring new artist choices as well as illustrators who have been veteran contributors since the very first releases. Let’s take a journey through the eye-popping, mind-expanding history of Pokémon TCG artwork by exploring some of the hobby’s most interesting and unique artists. Today, we will spotlight Oswaldo KATO.
Oswaldo KATO is a relatively new arrival in the Pokémon TCG, contributing his first card in Sword & Shield – Chilling Reign. He started off with a big hit: Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX Alternate Art. This set also had four other cards by KATO, including a Venipede and three standard Trainer Stadiums: Path to the Peak, Old Cemetery, and Dyna Tree Hill. From this first set, KATO showed what we would soon see is his definitive trait: variety.
Look, for example, at the four cards above. Even the most trained artistic eye might think that these are cards by four separate artists. Ice Rider Calyrex looks like concept art from a video game. Golurk V from Sword & Shield – Evolving Skies looks like an intricately detailed drawing from an indie comic book. Shadow Rider Calyrex V Character Super Rare from Sword & Shield – Astral Radiance looks painterly, a mixture of watercolor techniques with Lisa Frank flare. Finally, the Hisuian Arcanine from Sword & Shield – Lost Origin looks like a 3D computer-generated image like we’d see from 5ban Graphics. That these are from the same artist is stunning.
Oswaldo KATO went on to contribute many memorable and iconic cards from the Sword & Shield era, including the Charizard V Special Art Rare from the Charizard Ultra-Premium Collection, Parasect Character Rare and Centiskorch VMAX Character Super Rare from Sword & Shield – Lost Origin, Palkia V Alternate Art from Sword & Shield – Astral Radiance, and more. We can already see a Beach Court card from KATO showing up in the forthcoming Scarlet & Violet base set, so we’re sure to see more stellar artwork to come.
Be sure to check Bleeding Cool every day to follow our in-depth Pokémon TCG coverage as we explore the hobby’s past, present, and even future with upcoming set reveals.