Topps 2021 Star Wars Galaxy Chrome trading cards was released this week and it’s the first SW set to hit shelves in several months! This set is highlighted by the reissuing of artwork previously used in the Galaxy line of trading card sets from Topps but this time given a “chrome” treatment. As for my contribution to this set, I created 35 full colour sketch cards that were randomly inserted into packs and I have two artist proofs available for sale!
Pack inserted sketch cards
The sketch cards I painted for this project were all based off imagery from the first series of Star Wars trading cards from Topps that were released in 1977. These cards feature scenes and characters from SW: A New Hope and had blue borders with a star pattern on them. I redrew the first 35 cards from this set but changed it up by deleting the backgrounds and only drawing the figures. For the backgrounds I made them the starry blue pattern that was used on the original card’s borders.
I have two artist proofs available from this project. Both of these are characters from the Mandalorian (Ahsoka and Baby Yoda), but to keep with the theme of the pack inserted cards I gave them a design similar to the original set’s sticker cards. Those cards had a colourful border that wrapped around the character that was featured on the card.
Both of these artist proofs were painted with designer gouache, the same as the pack inserted cards. They are $175US each or $300 for the pair, and that includes tracked shipping within North America. To purchase one or both of these please use the form below.
The Mandalorian Season 2 trading card set from Topps releases today! I contributed 35 full-colour sketch cards to this project, including a few that were in the shape of Mando’s helmet! In addition to these 35 sketch cards, that were inserted into the packs, I have one artist proof for sale (check it out at the bottom of this post).
Last year I worked on the Mandalorian Season 1 set and throughout the rest of the year there will be a few more Star Wars sets coming out with my artwork in them. If you’d like to inquire about picking up an artist proof from one of these or my past sets, please use the contact form below.
Pack inserted sketch cards
The majority of the sketch cards I contributed to this project were painted with traditional gouache paints, much like what I did for last year’s Masterwork set (the four below are all in traditional gouache). In addition to the gouache, I also painted a small handful of cards in acrylic and oils. This was the first time working in oils, and although I greatly enjoyed it I found it too time consuming to use for a lot of the cards.
Below is one of the cards I painted with oils.
Below is one of the cards I painted with acrylics.
Below is one of the cards I painted with acryla gouache.
One of the big surprises for me in the Mandalorian Season 2 was the appearance of actor Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, who is one of the stars of Kim’s Convenience. I’m a HUGE fan of that show and after seeing him on the Mandalorian I knew I had to draw him for this set!
More art for mandalorian season 2
I loved the Mandalorian show so much that I’ve previously painted one of the Mandalorian characters that appeared in the second season. This painting included an official autograph from the actor that portrayed him. I quite liked how this turned out and time permitting, I’ll be doing a few more and will make them available for sale!
artist proof sketch card
I only have this one remaining Artist Proof for sale. This one, of Ahsoka Tano, was painted with traditional gouache. The white background is textured and painted with gesso. I am asking $175US delivered for the AP.
I was invited to contribute artwork to the 2020 Star Wars Holocron trading card set from Topps last year. The set came out right around Christmas of last year but I’ve been so busy I haven’t had a chance to post the artwork I did for the set!
The majority of the illustrations I did for this set were painted either in acrylic or designer gouache. I stuck mainly to just drawing characters and scenes from the prequels, Empire Strikes Back (as it was the anniversary of the movie), and from the final season of the Clone Wars animated series, as that had just been released on Disney+ when I was working on this project. This is the strategy I usually use when working on a trading card set too; I focus on a theme or a couple of movies /TV shows. For Star Wars it’s pretty easy to do as there is so much material out there. From the number of movies and TV shows to the deep cast of characters! There’s always something new to draw from the Star Wars universe!
There’s always something new to draw from the Star Wars universe. Like the paintings above that I created, there’s fan favourite droids and aliens like Gronk and Yak Face. Plus, even the names are super fun!
There’s also different styles of the same characters I can draw from. There’s the differences in age or the actors that portrayed them, like with Obi-Wan Kenobi. There’s also differences when the characters pop up in the animated series, like my Yoda painting shown above that features the character from the Clone Wars animated series!
Holocron was the second trading card set where I was allowed to draw characters from Season 1 of the Mandalorian (the first was Women of Star Wars). Although the Mandalorian Season 1 trading card set was released before Holocron, I actually did the art for Holocron before the Mando Season 1 cards.
Since I knew that there was going to be a Mando Season 1 set coming up soon, I didn’t draw too much from the show for Holocron. The Mando set would be limited to only drawing characters from that show, so I didn’t want to burn through drawing my favourite scenes or drawing the same character too many times in Holocron before starting the Mando Season 1 set. Instead, I focused on drawing a few cards of the Mandalorian and a few of baby yoda, with most of those being reserved as artist proofs. The two painted baby yoda’s (in the cockpit and with the bowl) were both artist proofs that have already sold.
BIG sketch card
For the first time on a Star Wars trading card set that I worked on, I was asked to draw an image across four sketch cards. I’ve done puzzle sketch cards before, but never specifically asked to do one for a set! Since I was feeling inspired by the Mandalorian, I chose this iconic scene where Mando first meets the Child. This was painted in acrylic and as far as I know, it has yet to be found in the packs!
All but one of my artist proofs from this project have already sold (Ahsoka & Bo Katan shown here). The remaining AP sketch card is $150US including shipping, but if you’re looking for a particular character or scene from Star Wars I do have blank AP sketch cards from other sets I can use for commissions. I can also create a larger illustration of your favourite character! Please use the form below to contact me about purchasing this AP or to ask about a commission:
A few more sketch cards I painted
Make sure to follow me on Twitter or Instagram to see the rest of the sketch cards I did for this set! Comment here or on one of my posts to let me know which is your favourite and what you’d like to see me draw next!
I had an idea of incorporating an autographed trading card into one of my paintings. I’ve seen collectors do something similar before, where they removed a sticker autograph from one trading card and placed it on a card they printed which features a different character that actor portrayed. I’ve also seen collectors use larger photos of a character, let’s say Obi-Wan Kenobi, but used an autograph from the actor who passed away, like Alec Guinness, and placed the full size autograph underneath the new photo and have a small window cut out in the new photo to show the autograph. I loved this idea as it elevates an autographed trading card, allows for someone to have an autographed image that otherwise would not be available, and it creates something very unique for someone’s collection!
My idea, riffing off what I had previously seen, was to create an original painting of someone who doesn’t currently or rarely has a licensed autograph of a particular character they’ve portrayed. As a big fan of the Mandalorian TV show, I realized that the actor who played Axe Woves doesn’t have an official Star Wars autograph but has previously signed James Bond trading cards as he was in Quantum of Solace.
The painting is 4×6″ and I used Copic markers, polychromous pencil crayons, acryla gouache, and designer gouache. The main portrait and the smaller figure in the top two-thirds of the image were painted with designer gouache and the background with the portion of Woves’ Mandalorian helmet was done in acryla gouache. I chose acryla for that background because it has deeper and darker colours that helped set it apart from the portrait painting. I also used the acryla on the Mandalorian logo, again because the paint’s blacks are darker than anything else I could achieve with the other mediums. The painting was then coated in a gouache varnish that prevents it from scratching or fading.
I cut out a small window to show the autograph but was careful so as only the autograph from the card would be showing. I hand wrote the actor’s name and character’s name below the window, which I think looks pretty good but will likely do it differently in future paintings.
I attached my COA sticker, which I signed, on the back of the painting. The autographed card is in a penny sleeve to give it some protection, but also as a means to attach it to the painting without damaging the trading card as I placed my COA sticker on top of it, securing the autograph to the painting and making sure it won’t move around. It’s not shown in the photo but I also used some masking tape to further secure the trading card.
Add it to your star wars collection!
The painting and signed card all fit nicely into a 4×6″ plastic top loader, making it look a little bit like an oversized trading card. As is, this painting can sit nicely on any display shelf or be taken out and framed. If you’d like to add this to your collection ($200US) please contact me through the form below to see if it is still available or to ask about commissioning something similar!
I was recently asked if I could draw a portrait of a guy’s friend, but not just any portrait. Instead, he wanted me to draw his friend in a Star Wars scene. One of the portraits had his friend’s face replacing Luke Skywalker’s, with the Rebel pilot helmet and jumpsuit on. The second drawing was to have his friend drawn as one of the Mandalorian’s captives, being dragged behind the bounty hunter.
Both of these drawings were 6×9″ and I used a mixed media of gouache, pencil crayons, and copic markers. I think they turned out pretty good and he really loved them! In fact, a few other people loved the idea so much I’m working on another portrait like this for someone else right now!
Get Your Own Unique Commission
If you’d like a similar drawing like what I did here, fill out the form below and I’ll let you know how much it would be and roughly when I can have it done by!
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
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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”.
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.
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!
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!