How to find Smeargle to complete Pokémon Go’s Johto Collection Challenge

The Painter Pokémon can be difficult to encounter.

Image via Niantic

The Johto Collection Challenge is the final stop before Pokémon Go’s premium Kanto Tour event on Feb. 20. Like the past Collection Challenges, this requires you to catch nine Pokémon that were first discovered in that particular region, with increased spawns for almost all of them, as well as others not included in the challenge. But there’s one Pokémon that’s needed to complete this Johto journey that players might miss: the Painter Pokémon, Smeargle.

Smeargle was introduced to Pokémon Go last year alongside the changes to the in-game camera function. The only way to encounter this Normal-type Pokémon is through this feature, but even there it’s not guaranteed to be found.

To get the opportunity to catch Smeargle, you must use the in-game camera that can be accessed via the bag or by clicking the camera button when viewing the summary of any Pokémon. From there, the game will prompt you to enter AR mode and scan a flat, open area to place the Pokémon for a photo. If you don’t have a large area like this available to you, the Pokémon will be unable to be sent out of its Pokéball and therefore unable to have a picture taken.

Once the Pokémon has been placed, you can then take the picture. When skimming through the pictures that you took in that session after exiting the feature, you may see that Smeargle has photobombed one of the pictures. If so, it will then spawn on the overworld map and be available to capture for one hour. But be careful. Like any other wild Pokémon, Smeargle can flee, which would mean you’d have to repeat the entire process to find it again.

In Pokémon Go, Smeargle copies the moveset of the Pokémon that it photobombed when it’s captured. This serves as a substitute for the mainline games, where Smeargle is known to do something similar with the move Sketch. It’s unable to learn any other fast or charged moves once captured.

Getting Smeargle to photobomb your pictures isn’t guaranteed either and doesn’t have an increased probability of appearing during this event. If your photo session doesn’t start with a Smeargle photobomb, try taking pictures of another Pokémon to reset the process.

The Johto Collection Challenge ends on Jan. 31 alongside the Johto Celebration Event that features increased spawns of Johto Pokémon, new raid battles, and new field research that rewards the legendary Pokémon, Ho-oh.