BEREA, Kentucky (WDKY)-- An artist with a huge following works out of an apartment in Berea, turning out 10 to 15 paintings a week in a spare bedroom without easels or drop cloths. It's not your typical studio, but the work done there is shipped around the world.
Micah Yates sells most of her paintings as soon as the paint dries.
The Berea College graduate knew all the stories about starving artists who had trouble making a living doing what they love and decided she needed to find her niche.
"I admire people who just want to paint mountains. I love it," she said. "They're beautiful, but if you really want to sell your craft and your art, you have to appeal to people on the Internet, with something nerdy or interesting or popular and kind of get people into it and hope it works."
Her idea that really works is to alter Pokemon cards.
"Actually my tag on Instagram is 'I like to ruin Pokemon cards," she said.
But her fans don't think she's ruining them. She has nearly 160,000 followers on Instagram using the social media handle "Lunumbra" and her YouTube tutorials have been viewed millions of times.
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Alolan Vulpix alter . What a funny little card 😆 I was starting to run out of snowy cards for the winter months, so I had to pull this one out of the stack. I did want to paint it, it just wasnt the style I was used to working on 😌 I think it was good practice though. And I got to paint a snowman! . Time: About an hour Materials: Acrylic paints and rounds ❄ Not for sale - Prints for sale in the print shop link in my bio ❄
Micah uses the original image on a Pokemon card and extends it, covering the text on the bottom half with a landscape or natural feature to make a complete picture.
She says when she picks up a card, it speaks to her.
"Some cards definitely yell and some definitely whisper."
She uses maybe 20 layers of thin acrylics to cover a card before it's complete, a process that takes about two hours.
"I want to do it justice. I want to make it look like the original artist had that idea in their head and the card company cropped it."
When Micah started this four years ago, she didn't know anyone else who was doing it. She discovered people who were extending cards for "Magic: The Gathering," but couldn't find anyone who altered Pokemon cards. Now,she's a mentor to others.
"I love that other people are doing it and seeing my stuff and getting inspired. That's awesome."
She now has a closet full of thousands of Pokemon cards, all of them paintable for a price. She sells them online through auctions, with prices usually starting around $90. It's her full-time job and she couldn't love it more.
She says he's always been into drawing backgrounds and would love to do it for an animation company someday.
"No one ever wakes up and says 'I'm going to paint Pokemon cards and make a living out of that,'" Micah said. "But here I am. It's just getting bigger and bigger."