Topps 2020 Series 2 Baseball is the third year I’ve had the pleasure of creating artwork for this set. This is one of the ‘flagship’ products for Topps, and something that I personally have collected since I was a kid.
For this project, I created mainly portraits of current baseball players. I didn’t draw too many rookies but instead opted for the stars of MLB. Also, I tried to draw a player from as many teams as I could. I created 35 sketch cards for this set that were inserted into the packs, and there were a few teams that I drew more than one player from, like the Dodgers, Yankees, and Cardinals.
Pack inserted sketch cards
Many of the cards I did for this project were painted with gouache and then oil pencils used overtop. This is quickly becoming one of my favourite mediums as it works well across almost any paper type and has a nice rich look to it. The tradeoff is that it takes twice as long to use the paints than it does to use markers and ink pens!
Commission a sketch card
I have a limited amount of artist proof sketch cards from this project that I can use for commissions. These start at $125US each, including shipping within North America. The above two sketch cards are two artist proofs I’ve previously made! Fill out the form below to add one to your collection!
Who Should I Draw next?
If there’s an active player you’d like to see me draw for an upcoming Topps baseball set, let me know in the comments below! I’m already working on 2021 sets, so it might just appear in one of them!
I wanted to share a few commissions I completed for people over the past few months. It’s a mix of sports and pop culture, and all of it was bigger than the artwork I do for trading card projects!
Colby Cave Commission
This was a 9×12″ mixed media commission of the late hockey player Colby Cave. Colby passed away this summer and he was a very promising hockey player who played for the Boston Bruins & Edmonton Oilers.
The image above is a scan of the original but the lettering at the bottom is digital. I hand drew the lettering on the actual commission but I wanted it to look even more crisp in the digital version so I superimposed digital lettering overtop.
Son’s Hockey Portrait
For this 6×8″ commission, a father asked if I could draw his son playing hockey from a photo he had. I gave it a few small design elements and added the “Young Guns” and his jersey number at the bottom similar to what you would find on an Upper-Deck hockey card.
I think this is the first time I’ve been asked to draw a portrait of a musician. Personally, I love Eminem and especially his latest album, which was playing on repeat while drawing!
I was provided a specific reference to work from and was asked if I could have “Slim Shady” written somewhere on it. I thought it would be cool to have the words in a funky script and have the background somewhat come through the lettering so it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb. For the background I wanted to attempt a graffiti like design. I have the phrase “12 Mile” in that background and extended the tops of the “M” to act as horns behind Eminem’s head. He really liked how it turned out and it’s easily one of my favourite drawings from this year!
Mickey Redmond Commission
This was a fun but challenging one! A huge hockey fan asked me to draw Mickey Redmond, who was one of his favourite hockey players when he was growing up. The challenge was that the one reference image he wanted me to work off of was very blurry. There aren’t a lot of great photos of him playing hockey to start with, so on things like his hair I had to make it up.
The design of the drawing is based off a Topps baseball card from the 80’s. He loved those baseball cards and thought it would look really neat if Redmond had a card similar to those baseball cards. The lettering was tricky and honestly I’m not the best at drawing it, but I think it still turned out pretty cool! He definitely loved it at least!
Luke & Vader Commission
Hand’s down the largest and possibly most time consuming commission I did this year. The original concept was of showing half of Luke & half of Vader’s face. I then went a little overboard by adding elements of ships and whatnot from The Empire Strikes Back and the Star Wars title at the bottom. It was pretty much a process of me doodling on the paper, filling it in with this or that.
It measures 11×17″ and is a mix of gouache, copic, pencil crayon, and acrylic paint. Overall I think it turned out pretty well and I might make a few prints from it once Cons come back!
Commission your own
Thanks for reading about some of the commissions I worked on this year. If you would like to add one of my drawings to your collection, please contact me through the form below and let me know what you would like!
Last year I had the opportunity to contribute illustrations to the Topps 2019 Gallery Baseball set. This artwork was used for the insert set called Impressionists and there were 30 cards in all. As per most insert sets, the cards were not found in every pack but instead 1 in every 88 or so packs had one of these cards in them. It was a great project to work on but I had been hoping that my artwork would be found a bit more easily.
For Gallery 2020 trading cards, I contributed 26 illustrations that were used for the base cards. These are the common cards that tally up to 100 different cards that make up the “base set”. Every pack has several different base cards in it, so my cards are much easier to find in the packs this year!
The original illustrations I created for these cards measured roughly 4×6″ and then were scanned down to fit the cards when printing. The originals were used by Topps as incentives in the trading card set, with being inserted into jumbo packs they placed inside the larger boxes of cards. For the cards, they are sold in individual packs, small boxes, and what are called Mega boxes which have the jumbo packs included in them. These cards are also only sold at retail locations like Walmart.
Above are just a few examples of the artwork I created for this year’s Gallery base cards. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, I’ll be sharing the rest of the cards I illustrated!
I used mixed media in illustrated the portraits. Images were provided to my by Topps and then I pencilled out the portrait. I then used markers to create a base colour and painted a thin layer of designer (or traditional) gouache overtop. I then used oil pencil crayons to create defined lines and shapes overtop the painting.
Curious about what art supplies I use? Follow the links below to purchase the same supplies I use!
Holbein Traditional Gouache Paints
Faber Castel Polychromous Pencil Crayons
Commission Your Own
I don’t have any of the original illustrations to sell as these were inserted into the Mega boxes, but you can commission a drawing of your favourite baseball player in the same style and size that I did these Gallery illustrations in! If you have a copy of one of my Gallery cards I’d also be more than happy to sign it for you (just need you to cover the return shipping though).
***Mattstewartillustrations.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
Recently I created three Mickey Mantle sketch cards for a big baseball fan. These three drawings were based off iconic Mantle Topps trading cards from 1952, 1953, and 1956.
These three sketch cards were drawn on plain, high quality paper stock that has the same dimensions as a trading card (2.5×3.5″). I used Copic markers, polychromous pencil crayons, and acrylic paint to create them. After the drawings were complete I sealed them with a matte finish spray that prevents them from smudging and gives them some UV protection.
I’ve recently begun placing a sticker of authenticity to the backsides of all of my drawings. These stickers fit perfectly to the backs of my sketch cards. On the stickers it states that these are “1 of 1” drawings, “certified” as original drawings, and I sign the open space in the middle. Let me know what you think of my stickers down below in the comments!
Commission a drawing
If you’d like a drawing similar to one of these for yourself or to gift to someone else, please contact me today! Prices start at $65US and estimated turnaround is 2-4 weeks.
Topps 2020 Baseball Series 1 was released last week and my artwork was included in it for the third year in a row. As a big baseball fan myself, I love the fact that I have the opportunity to create licensed MLB artwork of some of the best players in the game!
For many collectors, one of the appealing aspects of the first baseball set of the season is the opportunity to add the latest rookie cards to their collections. This year the main rookies are Gavin Lux, Bo Bichette, Yordan Alvarez, and Aristides Aquino. I made sure to draw all of these rookies plus the big stars of the game like Mike Trout, Aaron Judge, Yadier Molina, and more!
For this project, I decided to paint the majority of the sketch cards with gouache. I’m really loving this medium as I can use it on a multitude of different paper surfaces. The paint has an opaque characteristic that allows for great blending of colours and can be reactivated with water. It’s also great to use pencil crayons overtop to bring out details.
Except for a few of the gouache paintings, I added acrylic backgrounds of different colour patterns. I think it really helped everything pop and give the artwork a unique characteristic to it.
Samples of my Artwork
These sketch cards were all included in the packs. Let me know if you found any yourself!
Artist Return Sketch Cards
I’ve pre-drawn on a few of my artist return sketch cards but also left a couple blank for commissions. Contact me if you’re interested in picking up one of my blank sketch cards for commission or ask about larger illustrations that I can create for you!
I will have a table at the Summit Card Show, with prints, sketch cards, larger illustrations, and featuring some of my artwork that has been reproduced for trading card sets like Topps MLB Museum Collection & others to be announced! Come say hi, buy a sketch card & print, & bring some of your cards that I’ll happily sign for you!
The card show is in Calgary Oct. 26-27th at the Delta Calgary South (Bonavista Ballroom), 135 Southland Dr. SE.
If you would like to commission a drawing from me that you can pick up at the card show, please fill out the contact form below! This is perfect if you are travelling to the show and don’t live in Calgary.
Back-to-back weeks of baseball goodness! This week Topps 2019 Baseball Museum Collection trading cards were released! These are a high-end, prestige format trading card set that is offered at card and collectible stores.
I have nine artist returns available from this project and three of my drawings were reproduced in this set for the Canvas Collection series. These three drawings are of Nolan Ryan, Cal Ripken jr., & Ozzie Smith. Additionally, I created regular sketch cards and sketch cards done on shaped cards that were inserted into the packs! Check out my social media channels for examples of the cards I drew that wound up in the packs!
Artist Return Sketch Cards
Each one of the below artist return sketch cards are an original, one-of-one, hand drawn art card. I use a mix of copics, pencil crayons, acrylic, & gouache paints to create these, and each one is signed on the back.
These three cards are reprints of three sketch cards I drew for the set. I know that someone found the original Nolan Ryan sketch card but the other two are still out there! What I love about the three players they chose from what I drew to be reprinted, besides the fact that my art was reprinted, was that they chose three of my favourite players from when I was a kid. I grew up in and around St. Louis and saw quite a few Cardinals games in the 80s. Ozzie Smith, like so many other kids in the 80s, was my favourite player. His great smile, backflips in outfield, and amazing play was something that made him stand out and become my all-time favourite baseball player!
If you would like to purchase these directly from me and have them signed, please click the paypal button below, or if you have a copy yourself that you would like me to sign, please contact me!