Over the years, the Pokémon Trading Card Game has seen a huge number of artists come and go. Approximately 175 different people have contributed art to the cards, some only ever designing one, others contributing hundreds. Heck, Ken Sugimori has created 966 of them, beginning with the very first set of Pokémon cards, 1999’s Base Set. But standing out among them for me, with 188 cards to her name, is Yuka Morii, and her unique style of photographing tiny clay model Pokémon out in nature.
Since as early as 2000’s Neo Discovery set, Yuka Morii has been sculpting adorable clay Pokémon, then taking photographs of them in the perfect setting. Her Caterpie from that Neo Discovery set is a classic shot, joined by Omanyte, Kabuto and Corsola, establishing a style that has been a core part of the TCG ever since.
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As a very late arrival to the Pokémon TCG, these are the cards I was immediately drawn to. While my son stuffs his binder with VMAXes and Rainbow Rares, my own sole binder is an ever-growing collection of Morri’s work, providing me with the ludicrous goal of attempting to one day collect all 188 of them.
On her website, Morii perfectly explains, “My job is to appreciate and make small things.” Our job today is to appreciate them right back. Here are 20 of my favorite Yuka Morii designs.