matt stewart illustrations logo


photo of matt and michelle stewart in the mountains outside of calgary, alberta, canada

As a kid I loved history, science, and all things pop culture. These interests continued into my post-secondary studies where I studied archaeology, graphic design /illustration, web development, and marketing. After, and even while in school, I used what I was taught; from aiding a curator in re-designing a museum,  creating logos for companies and events, organizing, implementing, and advertising for small to large scale events, and to holding archaeological permits and conducting surveys in Western Canada. I even worked on a palaeontological dig with the Royal Tyrrell Museum for two field seasons where it was also filmed for National Geographic!

I have worked on a wide range of projects in archaeology, marketing, and illustration /design. When it comes to illustration I am principally a traditional artist with a focus on portraits and comic art with applications on trading cards, character designs, film storyboards, music album covers, t-shirts and team jerseys, and book covers.  I’ve also worked for corporations creating professional looking brochures, posters, magazines, websites, social media graphics, video edits, and more. Each and every project is different and there’s not one project I didn’t love!

For archaeology, I have over fifteen years experience working in western Canada and the arctic. I went to UNBC for my undergraduate degree and completed a Masters at the UofS (you can read my thesis here which it includes many of my own scientific illustrations).  Lately I’ve spent most of my professional time working in marketing departments doing graphic design, web development, and marketing tasks, which is a switch I made when archaeological consulting work became scarce in Alberta, where I live, during the mid 2010s.

non sport update magazine cover with brady bunch
Q&A with Matt Stewart

From time to time I’m interviewed about the artwork I create, specifically about the artwork I create for trading card companies. Th Non-Sport Update Magazine shown here features a two-page interview with me about my trading card artwork and below are a few common questions I’m asked when a podcaster or another website has asked me to be a guest.

Please contact me if you’d like me to be a guest on your upcoming podcast or contributor to your website!

How did you get into doing sketch cards in the first place? Were you already doing sports art or was this your first venture?
How did you connect up with Topps? Was there a call for artists that you answered or did you reach out on a whim?

I’ve been drawing and collecting cards since I was a kid but hadn’t combined the two until years later. I had mainly just collected hockey and baseball cards, and then in 2014 I looked up a bunch of different companies online and sent them samples. Monsterwax and Leaf were the first two companies to hire me, working on the Monsters and Maniacs and Celebrity Masterworks sets. After that I quickly started working for a bunch of other companies (Upper Deck, Topps, Cryptozoic, Rittenhouse, and others). All of these projects were entertainment based, creating artwork for properties like Star Wars, Firefly, Marvel, and more. 

I had done some large sports drawings and a series of personal sketch cards of NHL goalie masks, but all of that was either for fun or were commissions. In 2018 Topps saw the sports artwork I had been doing and invited me to work on a few UFC and MLB sets. Ever since then I’ve continued to contribute artwork to MLB sets and a few of those sets like Gallery have reproduced my artwork for base and subset cards. It’s a blast working on these projects as I’m a big baseball fan myself!

If you google ‘apply to be a sketch card artist with Topps’ you’ll find information on how to submit. For sketch card projects, you want to draw a few sample sketch cards and have them preferably of the subject matter they create and then send those off to the email they have listed online. They don’t always post it as they’re not always looking for artists and in my case I got on board with them at a time when the art director had asked some artists to recommend artists to work on upcoming projects.

yadier molina base card illustration i created for topps gallery baseball 2020

Which do you enjoy sketching more – sports cards or entertainment pieces? Why?
Have you ever pulled either an original of your artwork or a replica from a pack? What was the excitement of seeing it if so?

I enjoy them both equally. If I’ve been working on one property a lot for a long period of time then it might get a little stale but for MLB and Star Wars, the properties I work on probably the most, there’s so much content to work with it’s difficult for it to get stale.

I have and it came from a complimentary box from Topps! Years back they sent out a complimentary box of Star Wars cards to all the artists and sure enough in that box I pulled one of my own sketch cards. I was a little conflicted about it though as I wish it was either an autograph or a sketch card from another artist.  I don’t collect my own work so it was a bit of a whomp-whomp moment pulling my own sketch card but it was also worth a good laugh when considering what the odds were of me finding my own sketch card.

The excitement I get from my artwork comes from the action of me creating the work and then others enjoying it. I don’t hang my own artwork up on the walls partially because I’ll just sit there and nit pick how I could’ve done it better and I enjoy someone else’s work far more than my own; that extends to sketch cards. While I have kept copies of my artwork that’s been reproduced, I use them more as portfolio pieces than anything else.

The amount of sketches produced for some of these sets also make the odds of me pulling my own work exceedingly long. I collect cards too, so the odds of me having found one of my own sketch cards in that box Topps sent me are so high that I really should’ve bough a lotto ticket that day!

Topps 2023 Star Wars Andor Artwork
Topps 2024 Series 1 Baseball Trading Cards Artwork
New Personal Sketch Cards for Sale
How Much are Sketch Cards Worth?
2023 Upper-Deck Cosmic Sketch Cards

Topps 2023 Star Wars Masterwork included original, hand drawn and painted sketch cards by artists including myself, much like in previous years. Topps Star Wars trading cards requires artwork to

March 23, 2024

Topps 2024 Baseball trading cards, Series 1 cards includes original, hand drawn and painted sketch cards by artists including myself, much like in previous years. These sketch cards are randomly

February 16, 2024

Over the past few weeks I've been spending some time working on painting personal sketch cards. All of these are on fan art cards with printed designs on the front

January 19, 2024

How Much Are Sketch Cards Worth?I've worked on sketch cards for a long time and a common thing I see asked is "how much should I sell my artist proof

January 10, 2024

Upper Deck Sketch CardsI've created Upper-Deck Sketch Cards on a few different types of projects. I've worked on various Marvel Comics sets, sets based off movies like Aliens or TV

December 31, 2023