Ghostbusters Artbook RELEASED!

A few months ago I posted about how an illustration I created would be included in a Ghostbusters Artbook from Printed in Blood. Now I can share with you the illustration I created for it as the book has just been released!

who you gonna call ghostbusters illustration by matt stewart
“Who You Gonna Call?” Illustration by Matt Stewart (2020)

 

The Design

The illustration was hand drawn and painted with some digital adjustments. I used mixed media of gouache paint, acrylic paint, oil pencil crayons, and copic markers on illustration board. For the digital edits I just cleaned up the white spaces and did some colour correction but otherwise it looks the same as the original.

My idea behind this was that I wanted to do something different from what I normally draw, and to use text in the design. The phrase “Who You Gonna Call” is synonymous with the Ghostbusters franchise, allowing the concept to not be specific to any of the movies or TV show. I also liked the idea of drawing the lettering the same as the font in the Ghostbusters logo, plus having it nice and bold so that it’s easily readable.

While I liked the idea of doing a text based design, just having the lettering wouldn’t be enough. So I went off designs I’ve seen before where characters or objects are drawn hanging off and on the letters. I thought it would be fun to do this here but with some of the more famous ghouls from the movie. Going a step further to tell a little bit of a story with the illustration I added the four Ghostbusters at the bottom shooting the letters with their proton packs. I debated removing the figures but ended up leaving them in place because it didn’t look quite finished without them.

Order Now

Pick up your copy of the book today at your local comic book, book store, or through the Amazon link below!

Order the art supplies i use

Curious about what art supplies I use? Follow the links below to purchase the same supplies I used in creating the Ghostbusters illustration!

Holbein Traditional Gouache Paints

Faber Castel Polychromous Pencil Crayons

 

PRevious Publications

Last year I was published in the Stranger Things: Visions from the Upside Down artbook. This book was also published by Printed in Blood. Check out my previous post to see what I contributed to that book!

stranger things illustration created by matt stewart for the printed in blood artbook, visions from the upside down

 

***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.

Black Friday Sale on Sketch Card Commissions

Sketch card commission only $40 from now until Sunday! Only 20 commission slots available & these will be in your hand BEFORE Christmas!

These sketch cards will be in colour and drawn on plain sketch card paper. Limit of one character per sketch card, or it can be a ship, object, or whatnot but only one per card. Backgrounds in colour too but are minimal. Shipping is extra; I live in Canada so domestic shipping is free and to the US is $5 without tracking (tracking is an additional $10).

 

 

The Mandalorian Episode 1 Comicstrip

Like almost everyone else in the world, I am absolutely loving The Mandalorian! While rewatching the first episode I began doodling and before I knew it, I had plotted out a quick comicstrip that boiled down the first episode into a few panels.

I pencilled and inked the comicstrip and then coloured it in Photoshop. I ran a few filters on the colours to get that old school, graining comic book colour effect. For about eight hours effort I’m pretty happy with how it turned out!

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a comic strip of the Mandalorian first episode drawn by matt stewart

Free download

Feel free to download the comic strip I drew! If you share it, please do credit me as the artist by listing my name (Matt Stewart) and tag me in the post (@archaeomatt on Twitter & @stewartillustrations on Instagram).

Download the comic 

Commission your own comic strip

If you like what I did here and would like me to create a comic strip for you, perhaps boiling down your favourite movie or TV show episode, please send me a message. I can create a black and white strip starting at $125!

Overwatch League on Upper-Deck Epack

Not only do I love drawing sketch cards for trading card sets, but I also love collecting cards. Upper-Deck makes some of my favourite sets of cards from sports I love like hockey & the CFL along with non-sports franchises like Marvel Comics, Aliens, and more recently a set for the James Bond movies. Recently, Upper-Deck has expanded into the esports genre with their new Overwatch League trading cards available on their epack program.

Follow this link to find out more about Overwatch League trading cards from Upper-Deck.

Esports is where people competitively play video games, with millions of people watching them compete. People in the thousands will go to the events in person or watch online and can now collect their favourite competitors in a trading card format. As Upper-Deck has said, this is the “first-ever official esports league trading card release as well as stickers, sticker books, prints, posters and memorabilia”. I love that trading cards continue to grow into new fields and with the rise in popularity of esports it only makes sense!

E-Pack

What also makes sense, is that since esports is principally a digital medium that their first trading cards also be offered in a digital medium through epack. Epack is an online collectible trading card website from Upper-Deck. On this website a user may purchase, collect, and trade their cards. Numerous different Upper-Deck trading card products are offered there including hockey, football, entertainment, and now esports. In addition to buying, collecting, and trading, people can also connect with other collectors on the epack website to talk about their hobbies!

If you also prefer having your cards in hand, epack also facilitates that! You can purchase your cards online and when you’re ready to add them to your physical collection at home you can select those cards in you epack account and have them shipped to you. The cards you get in your digital account are the same ones you get shipped to you! Very cool process.

Follow this link to create your own FREE epack account.

 

Ask a question!

Do you follow the Overwatch League and are excited about their new trading cards? Have questions about the trading cards or how to use epack? Ask away below!

Stranger Things Illustration in Printed in Blood Book!

Coming October 15th is a new artbook from Printed in Blood that showcases some amazing drawings inspired by the Netflix original show, Stranger Things. I’m incredibly excited to say that one of my illustrations will be included in this book but I can’t share it until the book comes out! However, I can share a small preview (below) of my illustration and say that once the book is released I will have a limited print run of my illustration for sale! Send me a message if you are interested in purchasing one of these posters and I’ll add you to my mailing list. Also, make sure to visit Printed in Blood to order your copy of the book today!

 

 

What are Sketch Cards?

I’ve been creating sketch cards for licensed trading card companies for over four years now. I’ve been creating sketch cards for fun and commissions for much longer than that. However, even though I’ve been drawing and collecting trading cards since I was a kid in the 80s, and despite sketch cards existing since sometime in the 90s and being picked up by trading card companies in the early 2000s, I only discovered them in the late 2000s.

Many people that I’ve met online or at conventions do not know what sketch cards are. That group of people, who are the collectors of art, comic, and everything else geeky, often really like sketch cards once they find out about them. I think the appeal is found in the wide range of subject matter, the oftentimes affordability, and that their unusually small size allows people to easily build a collection of them without sacrificing a room in your house to store them in.

What are Sketch Cards?

A sketch card is a surface that measures 2.5″x3.5”* and is used to create an original, one-of-a-kind piece of art upon.

I purposefully tried to make that definition as broad as possible as really the defining features of a sketch card is its size and its originality; however, size receives an Asterix as explained later. Some artists and collectors may disagree with me, but to me these are the defining characteristic and then you can have a multitude of sub categories after that. For instance, painted or penciled or licensed or personal sketch cards.

A generic, blank sketch card.
A generic, blank sketch card.

There are no restrictions on what medium or style can be used to create a sketch card, much like how there is also no restriction on what material the sketch card is made out of. One trading card company, Upper-Deck, has recently been making some of their sketch cards on sheets of chrome and acetate! I have seen artists use paper collages, spray paint stencils, oil paints, acrylics, and simple 2b graphite pencils to create sketch cards. These aspects of sketch cards seem limitless, like any other arena within the art world!

Origin of Sketch Cards

I may not be entirely correct, but it is my understanding that sketch cards began as ACEO’s, or Artist Cards, Editions and Originals. These were traded between fellow artists and given out to non-artists as a form of exposure. There was a strong emphasis on them not being sold, but rather an exercise in free art. ACEO’s are still common, and are still commonly freely traded, but ever since their inclusion in packs of trading cards, their

 

Sketch Cards and Trading Card Companies

‘Art De Bart’ Sketch Card from Skybox drawn by matt groening
‘Art De Bart’ Sketch Card from Skybox

In 1993 the first trading card product included sketch cards. These ‘Art De Bart’ cards were rare, chase cards with only 400 produced. These cards were all drawn by the show’s creator Matt Groening, but in subsequent trading card sets a variety of artists would be used. It was a mixed bag on who the artists were too. Some were experienced published professionals and some were people working on their first paid art project. This definitely produced cards of wildly differing levels of quality, but it also allowed for collectors to obtain artwork from rising stars and for said rising star artists to obtain a modicum of experience.

The highly talented Adam Hughes drew this sketch card for the 2008 Indiana Jones trading card set.
The highly talented Adam Hughes drew this sketch card for the 2008 Indiana Jones trading card set.

Throughout the 90s and exploding in the 2000s, sketch cards began appearing in numerous non-sports trading card sets. Sets based on movies and cartoons used the sketch cards as an incentive or chase in the product. Oftentimes the sketch card would be exceedingly rare even if there were tons created. What I mean by that is that thousands of sketch cards would be created but 10 or 100 times that many boxes of cards would be produced.

The sketch cards created right up to the late 2000’s were largely simple and quick sketches done on paper trading cards. In some cases, artists were tasked to draw 1000 or more sketch cards for one project. There was no way an artist can do more than simple pencil sketches when such quantities are so high! Sometime around 2010 this all changed and sketch cards gradually became more and more detailed. Some artists were using oils, some water colours, and some markers. Bottom line though, is that sketch cards were often being done in colour and to a higher degree of detail and quality.

Incredibly detailed sketch card by Julio Nar of the green goblin
Incredibly detailed sketch card by Julio Nar.

Trading card companies in the late 2000’s also started changing sketch cards by altering their sizes and materials. Some companies introduced Box Topper Sketch Cards that were 2, 3 or 4 times the size of a normal sketch card. Booklet sketch cards were also being introduced, where multiple regular sketch cards were attached in a way that they could be folded on top of one another to fit into a pack of cards. Different materials like plastics and metals were also introduced. The moral of the story is that not only have the artists continually changed in what they were producing but the companies also changed the types of sketch cards, ultimately enlarging the original definition of what a sketch card is.

What’s in it for the Sketch Card Artist?

Fame and glory is not something a sketch card artist receives. Every so often a sketch card artist might obtain an opportunity they wouldn’t otherwise have had. An example is of an artist I saw online who created sketch cards for a project was then invited by the company that owns the license to the property he was working on to then illustrate a poster for that company. That is absolutely the exception. More often, sketch card artists work on these projects for a little bit of exposure with people who may commission them for more work, to say they worked on a licensed product and to build up their portfolios.

Sketch card artists are paid for their work but it isn’t exactly life changing bags of cash. Instead, a small handful of sketch cards are provided back to the artist that they can resell. These are called either Artist Returns or Artist Proofs, frequently listed as just AR or AP’s. The images the artist draws on these cards are all licensed by that franchise like Star Wars or Marvel Comics. The artists receive only a small number of AP’s in comparison to the number of cards the produced for the project; often the ratio is 1:10.

topps 2017 the last jedi captain phasma sketch card by matt stewart
Artist Return sketch card of Captain Phasma from The Last Jedi, drawn by Matt Stewart.

Some companies create their artist returns differently. Topps (one of my artist returns is pictured above), does not make their artist returns look any different from the regular sketch cards. Sometimes an artist (like myself) will write AP or Artist Return on the back of the card, but otherwise it will be indistinguishable from what one can pull from a pack of cards. Some companies, like Upper-Deck will stamp their Artist Proofs with an AP on the front (see below) and other companies like Cryptozoic have stickers for the back of the cards that say AP.

jay and silent bob artist proof sketch card from clerks
Jay and Silent Bob Artist Proof sketch card by Matt Stewart.

Sometimes particular types of cards will not be offered as a return at all. This is common with the more unusual sketch cards such as booklets.

 

Check out some of the sketch card projects I’ve worked on:

Walking Dead from Topps

Star Wars 40th Anniversary from Topps

Terminator from Unstoppable

Clerks from Upper-Deck

Garbage Pail Kids from Topps

Start Making Your Own Sketch Cards!

Below are links to the materials I use!

 

***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.

Creating Solid Graphic Layouts through Practice

Yeah, not sure how much I buy into my own title here. That’s not to say I don’t like what I created. Just that I’m not sold on how ‘solid’ of a layout design it is.

In all I believe I spent about 1-2 hours making this design, with the majority of the time spent on looking for images to use in the final version. I started this little exercise  when I was exploring some different layout designs. There’s a nifty website called canva that I was exploring and they had a bunch of layout examples. Really loved some of what they were showing and was inspired to play around with some enlarged text to help frame images. Thought that this might work for redesigning the home page of this website. Currently I’m not too keen on the hero image as the only element on the home page. Thinking of redoing it to be one long scrolling page that has little snippets of what else is on my website.

Anyways, I took my inspiration from canva and then doodled a few ideas on a piece of scrap paper. I then created a few mock-ups in  Illustrator. I created six different designs that all riffed off the same idea and grew from one another. The final design I created here was the one I opted to go with, which it’s somewhat funny that either I find that the very first or last design I create when experimenting is the one I end up going with for the final design.

I imported the chosen design into Photoshop and then looked through some of the images I had already put up on my Facebook page. For some reason or another I decided to just use jpg’s I could save off my Facebook page instead of using higher quality images off my external hard drive. Oh well, this was all just for practice anyways.

After pulling enough images, which would cover-up the black squares in the design, I decided the image needed some texture. With that I opted for a logical texture of art paper, which was pulled off the net. I then started combining everything in Photoshop. With the images I decided I’d go for blown up sections of them, and I think if I did this again I would create even bigger blow-ups of the images so you can see my brush strokes or pencil marks more clearly. The idea is that this is to communicate to the viewer that these are hand-drawn hence traditional pieces of art that I have created, and to entice the viewer to seek out the full images of my artwork posted here.

Above is the final version of the design. Not sure if I’m sold on how light the background is (perhaps boost the texture), and not sure if how I broke up the word Traditional is working for me. Regardless though, it brought up some ideas and that’s what the point was. One should never stop practicing and sometimes one should post their less than perfect work. They, as in ‘they’, say one should only put their best foot forward on their portfolios. Well, this website is my portfolio and while I want good artwork to be showcased here, I also want to post my steps. I want to post my progress and sometimes things that don’t work out quite so well.

Let me know below what you think!