Firefly Illustration in the New Printed in Blood Artbook

For the third time I’ve had one of my illustrations included in a Printed in Blood artbook. The first two were the Stranger Things artbook and the Ghostbusters artbook, plus I have two more artbooks coming up that will have my artwork in them. The next book, coming out early this fall, will be an Aliens artbook!

For the Firefly illustration, Printed in Blood printed it on a full page, with an opposite page featuring a quote from the show and a segment of the illustration printed in black and white. I’m super happy with how my illustration received a full page spread, plus I love the quote they used!

Process of the design

The origin illustration is 11×14″ and is mixed media. I used acrylic paint on the background and a mix of Copic markers, gouache, and polychromous pencil crayons on the center, main image. The background uses the common colours of the show, a reddish brown and yellow. I included the Kanji (Chinese characters) that are part of the show’s logo but didn’t want to have the characters look like they were just slapped on. So I decided to have the characters flip to a negative shape when they crossed the circle. I think that made them look a little more dynamic and well integrated into the overall design.

Did you know the Chinese characters on the Firefly logo mean “Serenity”?

I wanted to include a portrait of each of the ship’s crew along with an iconic item for each of them, but the drawing became too busy so I only included iconic objects for a few of the crew. For Jayne I drew grenades and for Wash it was leaves, and I had the two items falling in a similar way to add a bit of symmetry.  The ship itself is a character on the show, so I thought it would be cool to use the outline of the ship as a frame for all of the characters. Overall I’m pretty happy with how this turned out!

Commission artwork

Please use the form below to commission artwork from me or to inquire about purchasing the original Firefly painting.

 

Ultraman Trading Cards from RRParks!

RRParks cards has produced a multitude of different trading card sets, from the niche and strange to the far more mainstream that the average collector is familiar with. That range of subject material is one of the reasons why as an artist it’s so much fun to work on their projects!

Previously, I’ve worked on Old Man Like Ron, Zorro, Sharknado, and more! Each of these projects involved me making ten sketch cards that were randomly inserted into the packs.

Who is ultraman?

Ultraman is a Japanese character that first appeared on TV in 1966. He is an alien who fought alongside his human host, Shin Hayata. The original series ran for one year, with 39 episodes airing. It is this original series that I focused on for my sketch cards.

Ultraman has continued on with numerous subsequent TV shows, movies, toys, and comics. Just last year Marvel comics published their first Ultraman mini-series! Even though the show is over 50 years old, it has remained just as popular as the day it first aired and has become a pop culture hero across the world!

If you’re unfamiliar with Ultraman, check out the first episode of the original series below!

Ultraman Sketch Cards

I created ten original sketch cards for the Ultraman set. Some of these were inked in the style of a comic book and others were coloured more softly, giving them a more realistic appearance.

The below three were done a little bit different than the above six. These three had painted backgrounds that are reminiscent of the graphics used in the opening credits to the TV show. The far right image of Ide has also been reproduced for one of the promo cards! This card will be given out through the Kickstarter campaign, at comic-cons, and I’ll have some copies to give away /sell at a later date!

Buy Ultraman trading cards

Now that you’ve seen some of the artwork I created for this series, go visit the RRPArks Kickstarter Campaign to score a box of these cards! There are tons of awesome perks in the campaign and actors from the original series have signed some of the cards!

 

Getting to Know a Fellow Trading Card Artist, Jim Dickson

Last month I posted a conversation I had with trading card collector Chris Mixer and today I am posting one with fellow trading card artist, Jim Dickson. Both Jim and myself hail from Canada and met on social media channels through our mutual line of work. We’ve both actively shared one another’s work on Twitter and Instagram, but I wanted to take it a step further by doing up a blog post on my website about his fantastic artwork, what he enjoys about the sketch card medium, and how being a Canadian influences his artwork.

A Conversation with a Canadian Trading Card Artist

  1. How would you describe yourself and your artwork?

    I’m an easy going eastern Canadian who says “sorry”, “thank-you” and “please”. For my artwork,  I do my best work (realistic) when I have a reference to work from because I mainly do “fanart”.

  2. How long have you been creating art? As in, constantly creating artwork where every week or month you would draw something? Or, perhaps, are you not that type of artist and instead draw only when asked to do so?

    I have been creating art my whole life but creating consistently, and frequently, since 2016 when I started drawing on McDonalds napkins on my lunch break at work.

  3. What was the first and most recent sketch card set you’ve worked on? Do you notice any differences in the projects and the artwork that you create for these projects?

    First set was either Walking Dead – Road to Alexandria or Star Wars – a New Hope: Black and White, but I started official sets in 2017. Currently I am working on Topps Star Wars – Chrome Galaxy, Topps Baseball 2021 Series 2, Upper-Deck 2020 Marvel Premiere and a couple more on the way. Differences are really just based on cardstock quality and the ease of reference.

  4. What mediums do you prefer to use in your art? Any medium or styles that you are currently experimenting with or want to work on?

    I primarily use alcohol markers and colour pencil. What I’d like to use is my airbrush, which is here at my desk and is never used. lol.

  5. Where do you see your art going in the future? A particular trading card license or set you would like to work on, or is there something different you want to work on like a comic book or perhaps a gallery showing?

    As far as the future is concerned I’d like to develop my skills and find myself doing official work on licensed prints/posters or even comic book covers. I’m enjoying the baseball, Star Wars and Marvel licenses, to be honest.

  6. Is there anything you would like to see changed in trading card art? Perhaps different types of projects or materials provided to artists?

    There isn’t much I would change… maybe use a base pay/card a tad higher than the current average between companies. Plus, maybe a more consistent stock quality. As a collector myself, I’d also like to see cheaper retail prices… hey a guy can dream. 🙂

  7. When you create your artwork, is there something or someone that inspires you?

    I listen to music while creating art or the Sorting Tray podcast, Star Wars Card Collectors FB group plug intended. Artists who inspire me would be my fellow Topps artists and the usual suspects like Drew Struzan, Boris Valejo, Frank Frazetta and the great comic artists like Jim Lee, Whilce Portacio, Travis Charest and Marc Silvestri.

  8. when I’m drawing I always have something playing in the background. It might be a tv show I’m binging, a movie, music, or a podcast. What do you have going on in the background when your drawing? Any recommendations for background noise?

    I build my own playlists on Spotify. I’m a blues/rock  guy and lately been listening to “super groups” like The Dead Daisies, Black Country Communion and Chickenfoot. Above all, my usual “go to’s” are The Black Keys or Alice in Chains.

  9. Do you feel that there is something in your artwork that makes it uniquely Canadian? Could you describe, even if you don’t see it in your own artwork, something unique about Canadian art?

    I can’t honestly think of anything about my work that would suggest it was done by a Canadian. I mean my art is pulled from pop culture references, but in general I guess we have a large cultural pool to draw from. Indigenous art being a main influence I suppose.

  10. How can people reach you for projects or to follow you to see new artwork you are creating?

    People can follow me on Instagram at /lunchdoodlejames or on Facebook at /lunchdoodlejamesart

  11. Bonus question: What’s a question you want to ask the person reading this?

    Hello reader!! I’d like to know about what YOU like about sketch cards? How many do you have? 🙂

Contact & Follow Jim Dickson for more of his artwork!

To contact Jim and see more of his artwork, follow him on  Twitter and Instagram

Getting to Know… Me?

On a Facebook Star Wars fan page, I was recently asked to contribute to their ongoing “getting to know Star Wars sketch card artists” posts. These go up roughly once a week, and it is spearheaded by Ashley Marsh who is a fabulous artist herself. As the questions she posed me and the responses I gave are going to be posted on a private Facebook page, I thought perhaps I would share it on my website as well. I only have a small blurb on my about page that tells you about who I am, and otherwise I really only post about whatever new art project I worked on. So I thought this might be a little different reading material on my website!

Getting to know… me?

The below is written by Ashley Marsh, based off information I had previously sent her.

Today’s artist spotlight is on Matthew Stewart! Matthew has always been drawn to comics, science fiction, and fantasy based genres so seeing star wars on tv as a kid naturally sparked a love for this galaxy far, far away. As an adult, he has become quite the collector, with a current collection of over 9,000 comic books and an extensive library of archaeology books! His star wars collection has a focus more on Sabine, Ahsoka, and fett. He also collects the trading cards, picking up a box from the local shop or base sets from fellow group members when he can. When he has the chance, he tries to grab autos too and even met Carrie Fisher a few years back at the Expo and has a signed photo from her with the quote “Matt, you’re my only hope”.

Anakin Skywalker star wars sketch card

Matthew’s first Topps entertainment set was 2015 Revenge of the Sith Wide Vision (above) and he’s now about to work on his 35th Star Wars set! He has also worked on other licensed sets for Topps, including GPK, Stranger Things, and Walking Dead. In 2018, Matthew was invited into the sports products for Topps, both UFC and MLB lines, with some of his work being produced as base cards.

He doesn’t have a favorite character to draw, but given the choice would definitely lean more to the mandalorians, especially fett and Sabine.

Matthew can work in many mediums, including traditional gouache, copics, pencil crayons, and acrylics. He is able to switch between them all depending on the subject to capture the style and feeling he is trying to convey. For comic book style he usually uses copics or a set of Japanese poster paints that are super vibrant. For portraits, copics with pencil, crayons, or gouache. If he’s doing scenery and wants a more painterly feel, acrylics. Looking through his portfolio to prep for this spotlight, it’s very obvious he has a talent for constructing unique compositions and works seamlessly through his different mediums. I also admire that even in his realistic portrait work, he still brings in bold colors that really gives them warmth, life, and another dimension.

Colby Cave in Bruins uniform Illustration Commission hand drawn by matt stewart

Outside of the topps world, Matthew has other projects, like a comicbook for Tongue In Cheek Comics called “Noble Bull” in addition to two of his own stories. He also working on his own trading card set that is scheduled to be finished this summer so be on the lookout for that announcement and kickstarter!

Next time:

A big thank you goes out to Ashley Marsh for organizing this and including me! Please check her art out on Instagram, @ashleymarsh_0188

Next week I will be posting a similar interview that I had with fellow trading card artist Jim Dickson. I hope you click follow on my website so you can check it out!

Interview with Chris Mixer About Collecting Sketch Cards

Recently, one of the biggest collectors of sketch cards I know and easily the most knowledgable person of the artform I know, Chris Mixer, asked me a few questions about being a sketch card artist. He posted that interview on his website and today I’m excited to share my interview with him here!

A Conversation with a Sketch Card Collector

What is it about sketch cards that made you want to collect them and eventually create a website about them?
I collected ComicBooks growing up. In 1998 when I graduated college and had my first full-time job, I had more disposable income so I joined eBay to look for comic books. I quickly discovered that some of my favorite comic book creators had affordable original art in the form of sketch cards (Marvel Creator’s Collection by Fleer/Skybox). I used to scan and upload every sketch card I collected online, but Microsoft Frontpage and PhotoBucket both became dated over time and I lost that work, so now I mainly blog about them. One day I hope to re-build a proper large-scale website.
What was the first sketch card you added to your collection? Was it something you found when opening a pack of cards or did you see it online /in a store and buy it or did you buy it direct from the artist?
It was 1998, so Marvel Creator’s Collection was the easiest to find on the secondary market. I don’t remember the exact card that was my first purchase, but I still own 90% of what I collected back then, so whatever it was is probably still in my possession. I only opened 1 box of Marvel Creator’s Collection back then (because I learned I could buy 3-5 sketch cards off eBay for the price of 1 box). It was a Human Torch by Mariano Nicieza.
Have you tried creating sketch cards yourself? Were you inspired by what you collect? Let’s see a photo!
LOL. No, but I have a funny story. When Upper Deck started making Marvel Masterpieces 2007, I wanted to learn and blog about the process of “trying out” to help potential artists. The only way to learn the process was to actually submit something to Upper Deck. The good news is that they graciously turned me down. I had promised myself that if I was hired, I would personally buy back every last one of my sketch cards to relieve the world and put money back in the hands of the poor people that pulled my cards.
 Do you have a favourite trading card set that included sketch cards and /or a favourite particular sketch card?
I have definitely had favorite sets, but eventually when the cards dried up on the second market, and I could no longer continue to grow my collection easily, I moved on to a new set. Actively collecting, trading, and organizing is what made them my favorite. The ones I collected most aggressively were MCC98, Complete Avengers 2006, and 2005 Topps Gallery Baseball.
How do you store and display your sketch card collection?
Very poorly, LOL. I used to scan every card, but now they sadly sit in two row shoeboxes stacked on top of each other like a Jenga tower. I hope to build a website and scan them all again someday, but I have too many to actually display on my walls or shelves.
Is there a property you wish would receive a trading card set /sketch cards? Is there a property that hasn’t had new trading cards /sketch cards in a long time that you wish would come back? Personally I’d love to see a new Simpsons set!
I have a boatload of ideas, but I don’t know if they’re all good. For example, if Topps is going to make another Star Wars set, why don’t they differentiate it by making it vehicles and weapons only? And why isn’t there a DC Comics Evolution set, where every sketch card is part of a 2-card puzzle … 1950s Batman on the left, 2020 Batman on the right? I am also surprised that Creator Owned Comics haven’t pooled their resources, and created a set based on 10 or 20 different independent comics. Sure, Rob Guillory’s CHEW can’t carry a set on its own, but it could be one property in a larger Image Comics set.
Is there something in the art-form that you would like to see done in sketch cards that hasn’t been done yet or rarely done? Can be style of art, medium used, or something else.
I am at the point that even a photo-realistic headshot seems a little too common even if beautifully rendered. I would much rather collect an architectural detail shot, a vehicle, or a card with word balloons. Any card the differentiates itself from the rest demands a premium from me. — I also think manufacturers need to do whatever it takes to enlist some artists with name appeal and a large following. Pay Adam Hughes or J. Scott Campbell whatever they want to get them drawing sketch cards again.
As a collector, where do you see original artwork in trading card projects heading? Do you see it slowing down, staying the same, becoming more popular, or something else?
There’s no way that Topps can continue to put out Star Wars sets at their current pace. It’s sometimes hard to tell one set from another. It looks like collectors are turning to small press, limited run, and premium packs to get something “fresh.” Those Perna sets (like Hallowe’en) seem to sell out within minutes.
Why should other collectors add sketch cards to their collections?
I hope they don’t; that’s just more competition. (Just kidding). I think there are still sports card collectors and pop-culture collectors that don’t even know sketch cards exist. For example, I remember going to a large baseball card convention couple years ago, and half the dealers didn’t even know what I was asking about. I think there are comic book collectors that don’t know their favorite artist (like Neal Adams) has drawn sketch cards in the past. There is still a lot of knowledge to be shared.

Check Out Chris’s Website!

Thanks again to Chris for joining me for this interview!
To read more sketch card and trading card articles by Chris, please visit his website Original Art that fits in your pocket & give him a follow on twitter!

Newly Commissioned Artwork

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

Colby Cave in Bruins uniform Illustration Commission hand drawn by matt stewart

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.

Eminem portrait

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!

Mystery Packs of Artwork

Mystery packs of my artwork are available and there’s only TEN available! Each pack will include one original one-of-one personal sketch card, one signed official trading card that features one of my published drawings, one signed mini print, and one of my business cards with a drawing on it! There will also be some packages with an official artist proof sketch card instead of the personal sketch card!

Below are some samples of what you might find in your pack!

 

 

Purchase a mystery pack today

Shipping is only available to the Continental US and Canada but please contact me if you’d like one but live outside of this area. Regular mail shipping will take 2-3 weeks and tracked shipping will take 1-2 weeks. Your tracking number, if you choose that option, will be emailed to you.


Shipping Options (Canada & US ONLY)