Topps Star Wars Empire Strikes Back Black and White Sketch Cards is a new Star Wars trading card set released this week from Topps that has some of my artwork in it! I’ve fallen well behind on posting about the trading card projects I’ve had the fortune to work on and wanted to get back into the swing of things with this one! In all I created 35 sketch cards, all of which were in black & white or grey tones. The trading cards for this set were also in black and white and follows in line with last year’s Star Wars: A New Hope Black & White set that I also contributed artwork to. However, unlike last time, these sketch cards were all in black and white or grey tones.
I didn’t do anything too fancy on these cards. For the most part I drew all of the big characters and a few smaller characters from the film. I was limited to only drawing scenes or characters from Empire Strikes Back, which honestly isn’t that many as all the other Star Wars films are loaded with background characters and aliens. Nonetheless, Empire is one of my favourite films and the Cloud City & Hoth battle scenes are ripe with great imagery.
Support an artist!
Below are my artist proofs, which are $115 each if you purchase them here. Just send me a message with which one(s) you would like and I can send you a PayPal invoice. That price also includes your shipping & a free art print of one of my drawings! If you would like more than one, then I will drop the price to $100 each as well.
More samples of my artwork
The images below are the cards that I created which were randomly inserted into packs. In addition to the regular 2.5×3.5″ sketch cards are shaped sketch cards and panel (double and triple) sketch cards.
It’s been awhile since I’ve had the opportunity to post anything on my website! Last year I was incredibly busy with numerous trading card projects, along with a book cover and a few other projects that will hopefully be released later this year!
Every so often between the licensed card sets I also create sketch cards for charity raffles or for artist exchanges. More and more lately I’ve begun steering away from non-licensed sketch card commissions as I feel I spend enough time as it is drawing on these tiny pieces of paper for the trading card sets, so when a commission pops up I opt to draw on bigger pieces of paper. However, there have been a few charity raffles where I offered a custom sketch card created on plain paper. There are also a number of artists who like to exchange sketch card artwork; these sketch cards are drawn on plain paper that is the size of a sketch card, 2.5×3.5″.
The Princess Leia sketch card shown here was from a charity raffle last year, the Princess Leia in her Boushh disguise from Return of the Jedi was from a sketch card exchange, and the TMNT, Walter White & Bruce Lee sketch cards were all from a raffle I was invited to on Blowout Cards Forum. That last set of raffle sketch cards was held by a few collectors who commissioned sketch cards from a few artists and then they held a raffle for them.
Topps 2018 Star Wars: A New Hope Black and White Sketch Cards is a new trading card set that features imagery strictly from the first Star Wars movie (read more about the set here). For my part, I created 35 unique sketch cards but chose to do them all in colour. I somewhat wish I had decided to create them in black and white but perhaps if Topps decides to do another set like this I’ll go with black and white.
This set is my fifteenth Star Wars set that I’ve had the pleasure of working on for Topps; check out the full list of my projects here! Even though I’ve previously drawn all of the major and many of the minor characters in these projects, I still find new scenes, new characters, and new ways of depicting Star Wars imagery. It really is a blast and easily one of my favourite properties to work on in sketch cards.
Puzzle Sketch Cards
For the first time I tried puzzle cards for a Topps Star Wars set. Puzzle cards are when multiple sketch cards connect to create one larger image. For Topps, these puzzle cards are packed separately so a collector would have to track down the other cards of the puzzle. This is unlike Upper-Deck who packs all of the puzzle cards together into a single pack of cards. Because Topps packs the puzzle cards separately, I made sure that each piece of the puzzle would stand on their own. Each card has the full image of a character or ship on it, but the background is what connects the cards together. I also did this for two of my artist returns, which I think worked out well for depicting the Cantina scene where Luke, Obi, Chewie and Han all meet for the first time.
Different from other Star Wars sets was the inclusion of die-cut sketch cards in the shape of Vader and a Stormtrooper’s helmet. Previously, Topps had recently released bb-8 and bb-9e shaped cards. I loved the idea of vader and trooper shaped cards and while I was sticking with simple portraits I wanted to create something that was interesting to have inside these shapes. For the Vader shaped cards I drew Luke and Leia and for the Stormtrooper helmets I drew a sandtrooper and Tarkin.
Currently my puzzle artist proofs have already sold, but please check my ebay postings for the others. If they’re not listed, contact me about them or a commission!
Topps Star Wars Masterwork 2017 trading cards were released this past week. It is the third time this set has been released (in 2015, 2016, and now 2017) and is the second time I have contributed sketch cards to this line of Star Wars cards -first time was in 2016.
For this set, I was provided wood sketch cards, a booklet sketch card, and some regular sketch cards that had black borders and some that had blue borders. All of the sketch cards were much thicker than a regular sketch card, with a 100pt thickness to them.
The wood sketch cards were tricky to work on. The wood surface would readily absorb the copic markers that I frequently use on sketch cards and I found my pencil crayons didn’t work as I was used to them. I also wanted the wood grains to show through the artwork as I felt that this was one of the main attractive elements to this type of sketch card. My solution was to use inks on these cards with the copics but to over saturate the cards with the marker colours. I then applied a thin layer of matte gel across the cards and used pencil crayons over this in only certain areas. I think some of them came out OK.
For my sole booklet card I wanted to draw an iconic scene from one of the Star Wars movies that would work in an expanded, horizontal format. I chose the scene where Han and Chewie discover the probe droid on Hoth from Empire Strikes Back as it is one of my favourite scenes in the Star Wars movies -actually the entire Hoth sequence is my favourite scene in Star Wars. I reinterpreted the scene to allow for all three figures, droid, Han and Chewie, to be visible on the card. I ended up inking it in a comic book style and used copics and pencil crayons for my colours. I think it turned out OK.
For the rest of the sketch cards I drew on this set I used my usual styles and approaches. It was a mixed bag of comic styles and a softer, more realistic style with copics, pencil crayons and acrylics. I wanted to draw some characters that I hadn’t previously drawn before so I worked in a Jar Jar and a lot of the background characters from Jabba’s Palace in Return of the Jedi. The black border cards was a little different from the Blue borders in that I solely went after evil or bounty hunter characters.
Examples of my Sketch Cards
I created 100 unique sketch cards for the 2017 Masterwork set. These are a sampling of some of my favourites from this project!
Artist Return Sketch Cards
I have 13 artist return sketch cards for sale from this project. They will be listed for sale on Ebay from time to time but if you don’t see them there then please contact me here to purchase /see if it is still available. I also include a free print as a thank you for each purchase!
Recently I was contacted by a Star Wars card collector about a sketch card they pulled from a box of Topps Star Wars 40th Anniversary. They had a feeling it may have been drawn by me but there was no signature on the back. If you recall from an earlier blog post I wrote, the 2015 High Tek sketch cards did not have the artist sticker autos attached to their backs. Thankfully, I signed my initials to the front of the sketch card. The collector saw the initials and thought it was done by me, and sure enough it was!
It’s pretty odd that I now know of at least two of my 2015 High Tek sketch cards were inserted into the 40th Anniversary set! I wonder if this will be the last one I see or if more will pop up in the near future?
Do you own one of my sketch cards?
Let me know if you own one of my sketch cards! I love hearing from collectors that have one of my sketch cards in their collections. One of the cool things about working on these projects is that my little drawings end up in the hands of people all across the globe!
Topps 2017 Star Wars: 40th Anniversary Trading Cards
The day before May the 4th, as in May the 4th be with you, comes the latest Topps Star Wars trading card product, the 40th Anniversary. This product highlights favourite moments throughout the Star Wars 40 year legacy with imagery from all of the movies, animated TV shows, and more. There are multiple chase sets in this product including commemorative medallions. There are also rare ‘buy back’ cards that are the original Star Wars cards from 1977 that Topps has sought out from collectors and stamped with a commemorative 40th anniversary logo and randomly included in packs. Likely the two biggest draws for this product are the autographs from original cast members like Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher, and the sketch cards! For more information on this trading card product, please visit the Topps website.
My Contribution to the Set
For this product I created 100 original illustrated sketch cards. All of the cards are in colour. I employed two different styles when creating these cards. One was a comic style where I used a Japanese brush pen to ink the cards and then they were coloured with Copic markers and lightly with polychromous pencil crayons. The second style was new to me as I solely used the Copic markers and polychromous pencil crayons. I have seen a few fellow artists use this method of markers & pencil crayons and liked how they achieved a softer, more realistic effect with it. This is a style I have continued to use after this set and I think I’m continuing to get better with it too!
All of the sketch cards I drew for this series feature scenes and characters from A New Hope, the first Star Wars movie. Attached here are my 13 artist return cards that are for sale. If interested in these please contact me here, otherwise they will be auctioned off on Ebay beginning this Saturday.
I will also be posting the other sketch cards I created for this set slowly over the next month or so on my Twitter and Instagram feeds, and eventually they will also be uploaded to my Tumblr page.