A thank you to Overload for an amazing 2023 season! Autographs, pics, stories inside

I wanted to create a thread to appreciate everything that went into organizing the Overload events for the amazing season that was 2023 and to remember some of my experiences with both E4 and non-E4 folks. The rise of the Pokemon autograph mania of the 2022-23 season was one full a mix of emotions - shock, excitement, happiness to name a few. Having attended 4 out of the 5 artist events I felt to be in a good position to write back on them.

Baltimore - Kouki Saitou - While I did not attend this event, it was the first artist signing I heard about in the 2022-23 season and it piqued my curiosity in Pokemon autographs. Kouki Saitou is one of my favorite artists and his sketches on them looked amazing to me. Seeing E4 folks share the autos and the good/bad experience with the organization of the event itself made me want to attend one.

And while I did not obtain any 2021 Saitou autos, I did end up procuring one off ebay that had a cute Pikachu sketch.

Toronto - Mitsuhiro Arita - Officially my first artist event, I arrived at Toronto Pokemon Regionals not knowing what to expect. By this time Overload had changed it’s queuing system into a rollover style in which you would enter your name into a system and the artist would meet with fans in order of sign-up. Knowing this, I woke up around 4am in the morning to get in line and to my surprise check-in had been going already. This is where I met the warm @pfm and other friends who would make my weekend a fun one.

From this event I got to enjoy both the city of Toronto and meet the talented Mitsuhiro Arita and get both my Charizard and Stamp Pikachu signed.

Orlando - Midori Harada - Having now gotten a taste of what it was like attending an artist event I wanted to attend more to relive that feeling, so Orlando was the next Overload event. The hosted artist was none other than Midori Harada who I had the pleasure of attending the panel to see her live drawing session and to learn of her fuwa fuwa polar bear work.

Additionally, getting to spend time with more E4 folks at Orlando was a blast! At this point I began making some real connections with the recurring E4 attendees and share our interests in Pokemon collecting. I knew I was addicted at this point.

Charlotte - Kagemaru Himeno - Words can hardly describe how mixed this event was for me. Kagemaru Himeno is an incredibly popular artist and that culminated in a very packed event that I found myself camping overnight in line for a chance to meet her. This was the first of such an experience for me but it was not all bad as I got to form some bonds with E4 folks in lin.

The time I got to spend with fellow collectors in Charlotte far eclipsed any bad happenings for me and made the event worth attending.

And I was also delighted to get the chance to meet Himeno and briefly talk about how much joy her work brought my childhood self. Here are some cards I got signed.

Hartford - Hitoshi Ariga - By now, you can probably tell I was bound to keep attending events as long as the opportunity arose to meet the artist and E4 folks both. I had won panel for this event and was overjoyed to be able to see Mr. Ariga display his body of work with TPC. Here are the some highlights from this weekend:

After-panel meet & greet with Hitoshi Ariga

Day 1 Hartford E4 city sightseeing

In summary, I wanted to thank @alecpokemon for spearheading the Overload artist events and all the rest of the staffers who played a role in making sure the artists had a good time and to keep the connection between fans and artists alive and well in the North America region. Special thanks to @pfm @swolepoke @gengarbrigade @thundermoo @Dizzle for being volunteer staff too!

I’m very blessed to make new friendships and memories of another aspect of the Pokemon hobby.

Some E4 autograph highlights:


For everyone else who attended any of the Overload signing events for the 2023 season please feel free to share your experiences and pics too!


Thanks for such a wholesome post. Very happy to read through your experiences and it put a smile on my face. Going from not knowing much about the signed event to then attending them while making some great connections and friendships seems like a very fulfilling way to participate in this hobby.

Thanks for sharing and cheers!

P.S. Ariga-san gives a buddy vibe and seems so chilled out, like you could easily hang out with him at an afterparty and play some drinking games.


enviable collection, and even better memories :sparkling_heart:


Ariga has been the most relatable of all the artists I met. He started as a Pokemon fan and loves playing the games as much as we do! I really hope to meet him again someday.


Overall I couldn’t be happier with this years event. Some of my favorite PC autos came out of this year and I’m so grateful. My favorite part is always meeting the artist and experiencing the panel process. Special thanks to Alec, Ken and the rest of the staff for making it all possible.


It was great to meet you, along with many others in toronto! Reading through this really made me want to attend more events :sweat_smile: thank you to overload, alec and everyone else who helped make these events happen! Looking forward to more in the future :slight_smile:


Baltimore Kouki Saitou

I remember laying in bed at 3am convincing myself that I needed to get up and get on my flight. It was the first signing after Covid, and I didn’t know what to expect. I remember getting there and the feeling of excitement. @pfm recognizes me at the luggage carousel, and called me a clown because I was too close to the conveyor belt haha.

We checked into our hotel and immediately went to the convention center. And who was there sitting at the table waiting for us:


Everyone else was in line as the Friday signing was about to end. It was a feeling I couldn’t convey, one that you don’t feel very often, seeing all of your friends you speak with on a daily basis all coming together.

What I remember most was members of e4 getting an auto done for those that weren’t able to get one. You take the risk when you come to these types of events, but this one at the time was allowed. Thank you to PFM for convincing me to stay in line after not feeling well.

Kouki Saitou was an incredibly kind man, funny and very honorable.

Toronto: Mitsuhiro Arita

I was not able to attend this event, but I am forever THANKFUL to @pfm @lookaclara for their kindness and compassion on getting me a signed Dark Jolteon from the Team Rocket expansion. What is beautiful about is I opened it on my birthday. It was and is until this day, one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. I hope to one day repay what they did for me.

Orlando Midori Harada

I had the opportunity to help out in this event, and see another side of Pokémon that I was not accustomed to seeing. I come from a deep background in event running, enriched in the Dallas art scene where I put on my own art galleries and musical performances, and most importantly; running thing with my team in Dallas at my production studio. The opportunity to be able to jump in and see behind the scenes was one that I’ll never forget, and always be thankful to @alecpokemon and the entire staffing team to assist.

Midori Harada was VERY kind. I remember getting an auto done, and when I told her my name, she immediately said:

“Oh, are you from the Middle East?”

I replied “Yes, I am! I’m from Jordan!”

“I have been there, it is a beautiful country”

And proceeded to draw me a beautiful Jolteon, Gengar and the others
that I’ll never forget. Mrs Harada is very kind, respectful, honorable and super friendly. I appreciate the conversations I had with her

Charlotte Kagemaru Himeno

Mrs. Himeno was always an artist that I thought maybe one day she would come, but I never believed it. She has always been my favorite artist of all time, in all genres of life. I remember going to sleep early that evening, and the explosion around 11:00pm of the announcement. I had to grab my inhaler, and I stayed up that morning until 4:00am haha.

I had the opportunity again to assist with this event, I remember bringing two inhalers with me and huffing and puffing through the weekend.

They say you never want to meet someone that inspires you that you’ve never met before because it can ruin the illusion and view of the individual if they’re not who we thought they were IRL.

I can say without a shadow of a doubt she was everything I hoped she would be and more. I don’t have my autos back yet, but when I do, I’ll surely update. Thank you for reading!


Pfm is quite the poser


It has been an amazing experience getting to attend a couple of these events this year. Was able to make it to Orlando to meet Ms. Harada and Charlotte to meet Ms. Himeno. Was planning on attending Hartford to meet Mr. Ariga but unfortunately wasn’t able to last minute.

If you have an opportunity, attend these events. Meeting people and strengthening your sense of community is a great thing. Thank you to all organizers and especially Alec for all the hard work in making these events possible.

Here are some photos from Orlando

And from Charlotte


Glad you included the pic of the cockroach found at Rosen Inn at Orlando :joy: I will never stay there again but what a humorous memory looking back on it.


Be iconic or die boring


This was an absolutely amazing year of events. It was like having worlds every 3 months! I was able to attend Baltimore, Toronto, and Charlotte and thankfully I was able to get cards signed at all events. Meeting each artist was such an amazing experience. I really got hooked on signed cards and my signed cards are definitely some of the most treasured cards in my collection.

More importantly though I got to see old friends and meet new ones! I don’t have many pictures, but here are a few:

There are too many awesome people I met to list. It was especially fun to see E4 members like @lasbrisas who flew over from the UK for Charlotte, @gengarbrigade and @dack who I had talked to for years on discord but never met until Baltimore, and people I had met in the past but had not seen in years like @gemmintpokemon, @swolepoke, and @pokemontrader. Not to mention @zards_r_us and I spending 14 hours in line overnight together in Charlotte just to miss general queue by like 15 people. The real signed cards are the friends you made along the way!!

Thank you so much to Alec, Ken, the artists, and all the volunteer staff members who made these events possible!


This thread is VIBING with energy, I love it.

@gengarbrigade I think that Jolteon by Arita is my favorite Auto sketch I’ve seen. Super clean.


Thx man! Definitely a fav


The access we were given to artists this past year has been insane. I don’t think it has fully sunk in how rare this set of opportunities was.

I have a special perspective of seeing the experience as a guest and also assisting the event as staff. It was really tough since the level of demand for some of the artists guaranteed some people would leave unhappy. Most importantly though, the artists never did. They all had a really good time. The experience was optimized for their needs and 100% of the autograph costs went straight to them.

You can thank Alec, Ken, Overload Events and TPCI for creating these opportunities. Especially Alec since he basically ran these events as a passion project despite dealing with all the negativity online that comes with the job.

Anyway, after spending thousands and thousands on travel and accommodation, here’s the result

Ariga autographs are currently not yet in my possession. I highly suggest that if your never have been to an artist event that you try it out one day (and introduce yourself!)


Theres so many good things I can say about all the events I attended,= to where I dont even know where to begin. Like others, I might as well just go down the list and detail my experience for each.

Baltimore - Kouki Saitou - So this was the most difficult for me, yet at the same time the most exciting. During the pre signing event period I was eavily battling some very strange medical issues of vertigo without any knowledge as to where it was coming from, making my every day life and travels quite hard. I didnt feel like myself at all, but i pushed every single day to attempt to continue my passions and daily life as normal. That being said, I ended up taking a medical leave from work leaving me quite distraught right before attending this event. In preperation, I brought all the cool things I could but I had no idea how intense every day there would be. I was lucky enough to gain a lot of signatures for myself due to my panel passes, but looking back at it all I very much think to myself that I might have been selfish in how much I got as opposed to others. I of course did this all the right way, but in the end I just felt guitly and grimey with how chaotic it turned out to be with waiting in line and constnalty being on edge for the ques. That being said though, the staff invovled throughout it all was impecible. It was my ver first time meeting Alec in person, and also the first time meeting Ken as well. We clicked instantly and it felt as if we all knew each other for years, and overall that aspect combined with being with all my friends really boosted everything up. I knew that this was just the start, so I held hope that as time went on things could only get better.

Toronto - Mitsuhiro Arita and Orlando - Midori Harada - Sadly these I was unable to attend, but in regard to the staff I heard only amazing things in how they were organized and ran. They took note on Baltimore and upped the game immensely, and since things seemed to have been rolling with far less complications. Im glad to have heard they went so well for many people!

Charlotte - Kagemaru Himeno - Holy crap, I cant begin to even express how this event made me feel. Honestly, this is where everything came full circle for me. Starting with a lot of guidance from @pfm ages ago when I entered this collecting sphere, I very quickly realized Himeno was by far my favorite artist and someone who meant the world to me both in my childhood and adulthood. I remember weeks prior to the announcement of her coming Ken and I were chatting at the smaller Harada event in NYC when he asked if id be attending Charlotte. I said no since it was too far for me and out of the cards, and a friend of mine with me and nearby asked “what if its Himeno?” I replied with “1. it wont be and 2. if it were, Id already be in Charlotte waiting”. Low and behold, the announcement came and I booked my flight immediately while disregarding all real life obligations. Turns out, that was the best move possible.

I luckily won panel for this event and felt it was honestly the universes way of telling me to calm down and relax. I was so stressed about the line prior to it all and knew that I already was battling those medical issues, so when I saw I won I literally screamed and woke up my girlfriend that morning as we were both off. I took a deep breath, knew I was VERY lucky, and prepped for the event as a whole and man, I honestly felt it was so empowering and life changing.

The line was nuts, and even with my panel I still waited in line even though I didnt get anything from it since I got in too late. However honestly that wait was my favorite part. I got to meet so many new people I never met before and also got to meet many others ive only spoke to online, so my adreniline was seriously keeping me going. Even after I signed up at 10am, I only got maybe 4 hours of sleep before getting right back up with so much energy to see all my friends. Not having to rush a line every single day was so much better than prior, and it really allowed me to connect with so many people way more than Baltimore. It honestly was incredible and opened my eyes to see that most of my passion really is within this sphere of meeting other people who love the same thing you do and connecting as one. By the end of it all, I was on my flight back tearing up wishing I could just pause the clocks for another month to stay with all my friends. As someone who comes from a hard life, broken family, abondonment issues, and addiction struggles its so refreshing to see that family can really rest beyond blood and thats something that this event specifally drilled into me hard. The signatures that came from this ended up just feeling like a bonus, because the real prize was the connection and flow of emotion experienced with those I love most.

Hartford - Hitoshi Ariga - This one might be my overall favorite of them all for so many different reasons. Going into it, I knew Hartford was super close to me so I already had this planned for months regardless of who was attending. Since the Himeno event truly opened my eyes to so much, this time around my head literally just wanted to go for my friends and thats it. With that in mind, I was dead set on bringing that to the table when attending, but I also wanted to find a way to give back in any way that I could for all these great things weve been blessed to experience. I didnt know how at all that would play out, but I just figured hey, Ill go and just be there and see what happens.

As soon as it began because of the new rule of everything being lottery, it felt incredible. The latest rules IMO were some of the best put in place ever, and the whole entire weekend seemed to run smooth as butter. On that Friday, I hung out near the signing area with everyone and made my rounds, chatting it up with people and just connecting with anyone I could. During this period, a lot of things came up that staff needed help with. I kept voulenteering since I was just there, and eventually Overload sent a message out asking if anyone wanted to help voulenteer the event. Since i wanted so badly to give back I instantly signed up, and when I got a text to go to the booth where Id get verified one of the other staff memebers working the signing area followed me in. They at first wanted me to work the inside area (which i was happy to do) but the other memeber who came with me said they really needed me to run things at the signing area since I was already very familliar with the process. They accepted me in and I jumped in as happy as I could be to give back.

The days were long and man, its work but in the end I was so super grateful to have had such an oppertunity like that. I joked that I was the Intern of the group since I was the runner of many things like coffee and food (while @pfm joked that I was “Monkey Services” since my name in Kanji translates to Monkey lol) but I had a blast doing it. That being said, I couldnt have asked for any more than exactly that. All i wanted was to give back for all ive been given so selfishly and I got my shot and did all I could to serve, make others happy, and give words of hope and encoruagement to all that attended and even those were who unable to meet Mr Ariga. I think I did a pretty good job myself, and it was one of the first times in my life I felt important. Not for the reason that I was helping, but moreso because I saw my help and my words were actually considered and taken to heart by many and in my everyday life, thats the furtherst thing from what I actually go through. I left Sunday night since my friend was with me and couldnt get off that Monday, but man driving home was the most depressing ride ever. I felt so much joy but I knew that when I got back home id only be wanting to go right back to day one. So bittersweet.

That being said, I think this sums up everything. To say “thanks” to everyone invoved in this years worth of events cant even come close to the heavy emotions and gratitiude I hold currently for everything that happened. I never dreamed this would be my life now or that I would have such amazing things in it, but man I honestly cannot begin to say how happy I am that this is the reality. But not just that, im happy that Alec, Ken, and everyone involved with Overload pushed for this to happen for all of us. Without them wed have nothing, and the selfless work they put in to make this possible is truly incredible. Regardless of the hardships, regardless of anything negative that may have been said or felt, in the end everyone did their best and we can all feel like were closer together in this realm of collecting due to their amazing actions as people.

Im so glad to be a part of this and truly hope to be a part of more things down the road. Pokemon means the world to me, but those who love Pokemon mean even more. With our passion, anything is possible.

Thanks for reading <3

Side note: I have very few photos since im very camera shy and anxious so most of the pics of me were already posted here lol. That being said, please feel free to break me out of my shell and ask me for a pic next time you see me!


The Overload Regional Championships events this season have been so amazing - kudos to the organizers and staff for working tirelessly to create such an amazing opportunity! :star_struck: I’ll always cherish the experiences I had, and the memories and friends I made. I was able to attend Toronto, Charlotte and Hartford and I’m so happy I did!

I’ve been to Toronto Regionals in the past, but it was never like this :slightly_smiling_face: This time at Toronto Regionals, I met up with some local friends, and also made new friends - both local and from abroad! I arrived at 5am on a Friday in December to kick-start a great weekend. Thankfully it wasn’t too cold (from a local Canadian’s perspective haha) but I do remember it was windy when we went to Liberty Village for pizza on Saturday! I was fortunate to have Sunday panel to watch Mr. Arita’s demonstration with the war tortoise, and took lots of detailed notes, which you might have read before. It was my first (and only) panel experience! :blush:

After putting aside vacation days for Worlds 2023 in Japan, I decided I could only attend one more Regionals this season - at first, more of our friends said they’d attend Hartford, so that’s what I planned for… And then, Ms. Himeno was announced for Charlotte :') So, my plans changed accordingly!

The event in Charlotte took place around the same time as the E4 signature exchange. I had so much fun doodling and signing 40 Marill/Azumarill cards for the exchange. So I decided to make 25 (ish) more to hand out in Charlotte to friends, new and old alike, if they hadn’t already signed up for the E4 exchange.

In Charlotte, I met up with an old Neopets friend for brunch, I saw people I hadn’t seen since Worlds 2022 in London - or even Worlds 2019 in D.C.! - and I met lots of new people too! I explored the historic 4th Ward with some E4 friends, I started to collect some E4 signatures, and I brought my Azumarill and Shaymin sitting cuties with me. I didn’t bring my sole collection binder with me to the venue (I left it in the hotel room) but had already started to reorganize my collection so I could share it at upcoming events. We watched Mykel make it to Top 8 in the TCG which was so cool! Oh, and let’s not forget the first night after deciding to step out of the general line, I had an unfortunate run-in with our “new friend” Alvin Harvey :cockroach:… Who was basically harmless in real life, but who then visited me in my dreams - I’m not one for nightmares that wake me up in a cold sweat, but there’s a first time for everything, isn’t there? D:

Through the kindness of others, I had two autographs signed for me (one each from Ms. Harada and Ms. Himeno)!

Getting to Hartford was a trip in and of itself, but thankfully we made it! It was another fun adventure. I met so many new people here, too, and basically hung out with a completely different group than Charlotte! There were some fun jokes at dinner, we stopped by the cutest little bee-themed cafe for lunch, we opened some packs, I shared my garden binder, and we explored the Dinosaur State Park (contrary to the best laid plans, we did not visit the Science Center :joy:). Also as a gift in exchange for an earlier favour, I received a Bellossom sitting cutie :face_holding_back_tears: On Sunday morning I was in Group 12 of the lottery general queue and fortunately received two autographs!

I also decided to doodle/sign 25 (ish) cards of my favourite full-fledged mean girl bully popstar, and her child, so I could hand those out to friends, in honour of Mr. Ariga who designed Hisuian Sneasel/Sneasler. Will this become a common trend? Event-exclusive “Clara” signed cards? Who’s to say? (Me. It’s me. :sweat_smile:)

All this to say, these events felt like mini-Worlds as FourthStar mentioned above (and some others said this at the events, too!). This season was one-of-a-kind and hanging out with so many great, like-minded people will be one of the highlights of my year. The opportunities to meet the illustrators were really special - and it really is impressive and encouraging to see how the organizers and staff were constantly looking for ways to improve the system with regards to the overall experience of the illustrator and attendees. Thanks again to everyone who made this an amazing season!

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again soon! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:


I can’t thank Overload events enough for what they brought to the community this year. I was lucky enough to attend Baltimore, Orlando, and Charlotte but would have gone to all of them if I could have. Each event I attended was a unique, exciting and at times stressful yet incredibly rewarding experience.

The amount of anticipation and excitement that I had preceding these events cannot be understated. They gave me and many others something positive and real we could all look forward to together. Without these events I likely would have never visited some of the places I traveled to, met the people I did, or competed in an official Pokémon tournament.

The opportunity to meet Pokemon artist and talk to them, ask questions, and receive signed cards was an amazing experience I didn’t think would ever be possible for me. I’m so thankful to everyone that made these events possible, to the staff, volunteers, the artists, and all the people who attended, THANK YOU!