Stranger Things Day! My artwork for Topps Stranger Things Season 1 Trading Cards!

I find that I often forget to post the artwork I’ve done for trading card projects to my website. Then, months or even years later, something will pop up to remind me about a project I worked on that I never posted about! Today is one of those days as it is Stranger Things day and with it, the trailer for season four was released!

The new trailer for season four of Stranger Things was release today and although I have yet to draw any of the characters or events from season 4 or 3, I was invited to contribute artwork to the first and second season’s trading card sets from Topps. A couple of years after working on these trading card sets I also had a large Stranger Things illustration published in an artbook from Printed in Blood, which I posted about before on my website. From that artbook project I made licensed prints (see left), of which I still have limited copies still available.

The Stranger Things sketch cards I made are a few years old now and although I’m highly critical of my work, and in particular my older work, I’m still quite happy with how a number of these turned out, like those below!

Pack inserted artwork

The artwork I made for this set was quite varied. Some of the cards had coloured backgrounds but the figures were black and white inked sketches. Some of the other cards were coloured with copic markers and pencil crayons and others were painted with poster paints that I was trying out at the time.

Some of the drawings were a mix of ink, copic, and pencil crayons. I quite liked this approach as it brought out the blacks quite nicely. The upside down Will (above) is one of my favourites for this set and I think it still holds up pretty well.

I also made a few puzzle sketch cards for this project. I don’t tend to do a lot of puzzle cards because they aren’t packed together. That leaves collectors on what can be an endless search for the other half of the puzzle, but I do try to make each part of the puzzle stand on it’s own so if you only find one half it still looks pretty cool. One of my puzzles is shown above, where Jonathan and Nancy are laying in bed together; not sure if anyone ever found those in a pack.

artist proofs

All but one of my artist proofs sold for this set. The one remaining artist proof I have is of Barb. If you’d like to add this to your collection or to commission a custom illustration, please use the form below!

Topps 2021 Museum Collection Artist Proof Sketch Cards

I painted four artist proofs for the Topps 2021 Museum Collection set that I will be putting up for sale. These are original paintings, done in traditional gouache and oil based pencil crayons. On the backside of the cards, I’ve signed it, hand-written the player’s name and “Artist Proof”. This type of sketch card can ONLY be obtained direct from an artist like myself who worked on these projects!

I also have copies of my reprinted artwork that was included in this year’s Museum Collection set. Please check out my previous post that features the Canvas Collection cards of bob Gibson, Juan Soto, and Anthony Rizzo!

Contact me

I have more blank artist proof sketch cards from this project that I will be using for other portraits soon. Contact me to find out what I’ll be doing for my next Artist Proof and how you can pick-up one of the above, already finished, Artist Proofs!

Artwork for Mandalorian Season 2 Trading Cards

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.

 

Topps 2020 Star Wars Holocron Trading Card Artwork

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!

Different Characters

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!

Mandalorian Content

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!

Artist Proofs

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!

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

2020 Upper Deck Goodwin Aesop Fables Artwork

2020 Upper Deck Goodwin is a highly popular all sports and entertainment trading card set produced by Upper-Deck cards. The set is a callback to the historic Goodwin Champions cards that first appeared in 1888. This is similar to the Topps Allen & Ginter trading cards that are made today and are a revival of the 1887 trading cards of the same name. Both of these original cards were found in packs of cigarettes!

Allen & Ginter 1887 trading card.

Sketch cards are not a common item to find in packs of Goodwin. Instead, these are found once per case (8 boxes in a case) or sometimes even more rare. The sketch cards also differ from other projects I’ve worked on in that the cards are on thick, 100pt paper and are booklets. The front of the book has a printed image and the name of the Aesop Fable the card is about. The entire set of sketch cards for this project were all based of Aesop Fables, and the inside of the book has a short synopsis of the story with the opposite inside page having the original sketch. The backs of the cards are signed by the artists.

1888 Goodwin Champions trading card. of captain bogardus
1888 Goodwin Champions trading card.

This is the second trading card set I worked on for Upper-Deck in 2020. The other set was for the Runaways TV show, which I posted about previously. I have another set, Chasing Amy, that should be coming out soon from Upper-Deck. That set is a follow-up to the 2017 UD Clerks set that I also previously posted about.

Pack Inserted sketch cards

Below are a few examples of the sketch cards I created for this project. I scanned the images plus the accompanying Aesop Fable. On some of the cards I used acrylic paints, some gouache paints, and some copics & pen.

Artist proofs

I have a very limited supply of artist proofs from this project. The AP sketch cards have a foil stamp on the front with the letters “AP” and unlike the pack inserted cards these are not booklets. Instead, the APs are single sketch cards that are roughly 40pt in thickness.

Please fill out the contact form below to grab one of these APs! Pricing starts at just $90, including shipping!