2024 Pokémon TCG Illustrator Contest Disqualifies 6 ‘AI’ Entries!

The Pokemon Absol. Entry was allowed in the top 300 following disqualification. Image is done by Hityoa Sumi
Credit: Pokémon Company, Image by Hitoya Sumi

The Pokemon Absol. Entry was allowed in the top 300 following disqualification. Image is done by Hityoa Sumi
Credit: Pokémon Company, Image by Hitoya Sumi

For aspiring artists, especially artists who are Pokemon fans, the Pokemon TCG illustrator contest is a big deal. This yearly event invites artists to submit artwork that could be featured on a Pokemon card!

For better or worse, artists can't submit anything they want to, as The Pokemon Company provides artists with a prompt.

For the latest illustrator contest, The Pokemon Company wanted entrants to capture a Pokemon in a magical moment. This could be anything from just enjoying its day, to showing off somehow. To further restrict entries, artworks could only feature the following Pokemon: Charizard, Pikachu, Eevee, Feraligatr, Flygon, Absol, Bidoof, Melmetal, Amped Form Toxtricity, or Koraidon.

On top of the winning artist getting their work featured on a Pokemon card, there's also a substantial cash prize. With $5000 up for grabs, it's safe to say that competition is fierce. Sadly, this alluring prize also brought some unscrupulous characters out of the woodwork.

Sadly, anyone in the artist space knows how problematic AI has become recently. Able to generate impressive images in seconds with the click of a button, AI art has trampled its way into the scene. This threatens to undermine the hours of work and years of training that artists spend perfecting their craft.. For that reason, there have been major incentives to fight AI art appearing on TCG cards for various different games.

Today, the Pokemon Company has announced that six entries will be removed from the remaining nominations under suspicion of using AI, alongside breaking other contest rules.

Six Entries Removed

Images removed from the top 300 in the Pokemon TCG Illustrator Contest
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Credit: Pokémon Company, V.K.
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The six different entries above have now been officially removed from the 2024 Pokemon TCG Illustrator Contest. While these images don't prominently feature the telltale signs of AI art the allegations made are nonetheless damning.

On social media, eagle-eyed fans were quick to point out issues with the art, and third-party reports claiming AI was used. Despite these allegations, The Pokemon Company didn't explicitly state entries were removed due to AI use.

Instead, the statement from The Pokemon Company only stated that "select entrants [...] have violated the official content rules." While utilizing AI to create art would count for this, it may not be the only problem. It appears that many of the offending entries may be from the same artist.

All of these entries are from an artist with the same initials. Additionally, the first and last names between these entries all have a lot of similarities. Vigo, or Viga K, or whoever this artist’s name may truly be, has had six images removed from the contest.

For reference, artists are only allowed to submit a certain number of entries, two per name. V.K. seems to have tried to get around this by submitting multiple pieces of artwork under multiple names.

After removing V.K. from the top 300 entries, six new artists were selected to have their artwork become part of the top echelon of submissions. You can check out the top 300 submissions for the 2024 Pokemon TCG Illustrator Contest here.

If you’re interested in seeing what pieces end up being selected to appear on Pokemon cards, the conclusion of this contest occurs this September. Entry for the contest ended at the end of January of this year.


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