Wizards of the Coast Illustration Contests

Much like the Japanese illustration contest held in 1998, Wizards of the Coast also held its own art contests through its Pokemon Leagues. Unlike the Japanese contests that had multiple winners (who each won the coveted Pokemon Illustrator card), only one winner of the Wizards “Create Your Own Card” contests ever had their card printed.

“Create a Baby Pokemon” Contest

Starting in the first season of Year 2’s Pokemon Leagues (January 2001), players who earned the first badge (Zephyr badge) were allowed to participate in a league activity to design and create a new Baby Pokemon card. Each player was only allowed to submit one card, and league organizers were not allowed to photocopy the entry form. All entrants received a Birthday Pikachu promo card.

Create you own Pokemon card Activity sheet.
Letter to recipients

There were no “winners” for the first contest, but Wizards did pick their favorites and posted 16 of them on their site in March 2001. Each of these selected favorites also received 10 copies of a stamped 1st edition promo “Ivy” Pikachu.

This same card is often thought of as a “misprint” that was mistakenly distributed in some 1st edition Jungle boosters. While mistaken Jungle distribution actually did happen, the illustration contests were a the only known “official” distribution method for this card.

Wayne’s chosen ‘Sniffle’ entry

“It was a contest held through League when Neo first released. […] I really liked Sneasel so I created a baby I called Sniffle.

I gave 9 of the [1st edition Ivy Pikachu] prizes to kids in my League. My son recently sold his collection but I think he held onto the one Pikachu I kept.”

Wayne E., one of the chosen entries (interviewed March 2021)
An image from Wizard’s site in April 2001 of them judging entries

The entries were separated into 3 age categories (10 & under, 11-14, and 15 & up). Afterwards, judges would pick favorites for the best art, best game mechanics, and best “family” entry. Some of the judges and Master Trainers would also pick personal favorites. The judges were:

  • Jenifer Hunter, Pokemon TCG League Developer
  • Miranda Horner, Online Media Managing Producer for Pokemon,
  • Master Trainer Mike
  • Dark Master Trainer Mike
  • Jayne Ulander, Art Director for the Pokemon TCG
  • Teeuwynn Woodruff, Game Developer for Wizards R&D

Below are the 16 chosen entries (click on them for larger detail):

Best Art (10 and under)
Cameron M.
Best Overall (10 and under)
Samantha R.
Best Game Mechanic (10 and under)
Kevin R.
Best Art (11 – 14)
Eddie R.
Best Overall (11 – 14)
Alexandra G.
Best Game Mechanic (11 – 14)
Justin V.
Best Art (15 and over)
Jan B.
Best Overall (15 and over)
Sue J.
Best Game Mechanic (15 and over)
Dark Master Train Mike’s Favorite
Wayne E.
Best Family Entries
Sharon S.
Best Family Entries
Devin S.
League Developer Jenifer Hunter’s Favorite
Claudia D.
Master Train Mike’s Favorite
Michael F.
Master Trainer Pat’s Favorite
Cesar D.
Dark Apprentice Steve’s Favorite
Terri S.

“Create Your Own Pokemon Card” Contest

In summer 2001, Wizards ran a second illustration contest. In contrast to the first contest, entrants had to draw an existing Pokemon instead of creating a new one.

Craig Turvey from Greeley, Colorado illustrated a Snorlax that Wizards would later distribute through Pokemon Leagues. He received back his original artwork and the resulting promo card in a special matte board and frame, as well as extra copies of the card. It is unknown if the cards that Craig received differ at all from the ones that would be later mass distributed.

A snapshot of Pokemon TCG’s website in February 2002 announcing Turvey’s win

Super Trainer Showdown & Pokemon TCG Tour Activities

While not truly contests, Wizards also held similar “Create Your Own Card” activities at the West Coast Super Trainer Shown in Long Beach, California on July 22, 2000. This was limited to kids under 14 years of age.

They held similar activities at the Pokémon TCG East Coast Tours in:

  • Detroit, Michigan
  • New York, New York
  • Baltimore, Maryland
  • Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Chicago, Illinois.

Children were given activity sheets, but unlike the mail-in illustration contests, they also had access to energy symbol stickers to put onto their card creations. It is unknown what prizes were given to those selected.

No images exist online of the Ohio and Illinois winners

Super Trainer Showdown – Long Beach “Winners”

Best Art #1
Veronika L.
Best Game Mechanic #2
Phillippe V.
Best Overall #3
Ashley R.
Best Art #2
Cassie L.
Best Game Mechanic #3
Edna G.
Best Art #3
James S.
Best Overall #1
Jessica N.
Best Game Mechanic #1
Rafael G.
Best Overall #2
Loretta M.

Super Trainer Showdown – Long Beach Honorable Mentions

Star A.
Yoshi T.
Justin D.
Armando G.
Ryan R.
Stephanie B.
Michael B.
Ana P.
Eric G.
Erik G.
Dax S.
Brian G.
Lindsey K.
Marina C.
Jesse C
Shna J.
Alex G.
Lariza A.
Abiam R.
Nathan M.
Brian D.
Jason C.
Kenny L.
Danilo R.
Lariza A.
Adrian F.
Grisel J.
Chris B.
Oscar N.
Jonathan P.
Jonathan P.
Danielle R.
Nicole M.

Pokémon TCG East Coast Tour – Detroit, Michigan

Best Overall
Christopher C.

Best Game Mechanic
Best Art
Tori V.
Honorable Mention
Kristine W.
Honorable Mention
Kevin P.

Pokémon TCG East Coast Tour – New York City, New York

Best Overall
“Large Piece of Cheese”
Marvin V.

Best Game Mechanic
Chris L.
Best Art
Jessi Lynn E.
Honorable Mention
Anthony L.
Honorable Mention
Benjamin M.

Pokémon TCG East Coast Tour – Baltimore, Maryland

Best Overall
Laura S.

Best Game Mechanic
“Dark Gengar”
Rocky R.
Best Art
Jake C.
Honorable Mention
Jonathan R.
Honorable Mention
Marilyn W.

Special thanks to Wayne E. for agreeing to be interviewed, and providing additional details about the Pikachu promo issued to the winners.