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!

Topps 2020 Star Wars Holocron Trading Card Artwork

The final Star Wars trading card set for the year released this week and it wouldn’t be 2020 if there wasn’t at least one little mishap! In this case there are two. The first is that the set was delayed a number of times and it’s now a little crazy for me to look at my artwork again after so many months!

The second mishap is that my scanner was glitchy. It created a green line that ran through the middle of a lot of my scans as you can see with the Ahsoka above. I’ve since patched the problem but the scanner is definitely on its last legs. So if you like my artwork and want to pick up some of my artist returns or commission an original, then you now know what that money will be going to! 🙂

Pack Inserted Artwork

I created 40 regular, pack inserted sketches for this project. I used some different mediums on these cards including, gouache, acrylics, and marker & inks. In addition to the regular sketch cards is one 4 card puzzle. This puzzle card is numbered on the back and I was told that all four of the cards will be packaged in the same pack. So no worries to collectors wanting to scour the internet for years trying to complete a puzzle sketch card!

While the subject matter was pretty much anything from the Star Wars universe, to make things easier on myself I went after just a few topics /movies. I drew heavily from the final season of Star Wars: Clone Wars the Animated series as the final episodes had been just released prior to me working on this project. I also drew a number of different scenes and characters from Empire Strikes Back as it’s the 30th anniversary of the movie. On top of those particular movies /series I drew some of my favourite characters and gave a little love to characters from the prequels. Overall it’s a pretty good spread of scenes and characters from the prequels, animated series, original trilogy, and the Mandalorian. Very little if anything from Solo, Rogue One, or the new trilogy though. However, if you’re following me online or here on my website you’ll now I drew a lot of Solo stuff for Masterwork!

Artist Proof Sketch Cards

I have five artist proofs from Holocron that I have already finished off. They’re all approved and ready to go to a new home! The Leia below has already found a new home, thanks to a terrific long time supporter of my art. The two sketch cards of the Child are also on hold for another terrific collector but they might become available if he decides to pick up one of my other sketch cards instead. If that happens, please let me know if you’re interested in one or both of the Child sketch cards and I’ll message you later to let you know if they become available or are sold.

My Bo Katan and Bo Katan with Ahsoka sketch card artist proofs are available and are $175US each, including tracked shipping from Canada. Please send me a message about adding either of these to your collection! You can also pay 50% upfront and 50% when it’s done, or 100% upfront.

Also, funnily I had NO idea Bo Katan and Ahsoka would be in the second season of the Mandalorian! I’m just a huge Rebels fan and figured other people are as well! 🙂

Contact me about artist proofs & commissions

Topps 2020 Star Wars Masterwork Trading Card Artwork

Topps 2020 Star Wars Masterwork is a premium trading card set that includes sketch cards, some of which I drew! As this is a premium set, the sketch cards are on quality paper stock that have a great texture to draw on. The cards are also stiffer and thicker than other, regular sketch cards.

This isn’t the first time I’ve contributed artwork to the Masterwork product too! I’ve previously worked on the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Masterwork sets! The 2016 set was the inaugural edition of the set and is considered by many collectors to be the finest Star Wars trading card set Topps has ever produced.

For this project, again as it’s a premium product, I also worked on a limited amount of booklet sketch cards. These cards are the size of two sketch cards (2.5×3.5″) that are connected and fold together to form a book. One of the booklets was on the thicker premium paper stock and the others were on thinner paper. Not sure why there was a difference.

star destroyers book sketch card topps 2020 master work illustrated by matt stewart
Regular booklet sketch card

Pack inserted artwork

All of the artwork I did for this set was painted with gouache or acrylic. I’ve been greatly enjoying using gouache and I think this is some of my strongest work yet with the medium.

Artist Proofs

For this set I have left all of my artist proofs blank. This way, you can commission me to draw whatever character you’d like on the card!

Use the form below to contact me about commissioning one of these artist proofs. I only have a few left!

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!

Star Wars The Mandalorian Trading Card Artwork

Star Wars the Mandalorian trading cards were just released by Topps this week. Some of my original artwork can be found in packs of these cards, sold at hobby shops and retailers!

This trading card series focuses exclusively on season one of the Mandalorian, and explores all of the characters and settings from this season. While this is the first trading card set to focus on the Mandalorian, it wasn’t the first time I could draw characters from this series. In the Women of Star Wars set that released in the spring of 2020 I was able to draw the female characters from the Mandalorian such as Cara Dune. Two other sets I’ve worked on also allowed me to draw characters from this show but these sets won’t release for another month or two (Masterwork and Holocron).

Samples of my Mandalorian artwork

I created 35 full colour sketch cards for this set. I jumped between a few different styles and mediums, which if you’ve read my previous posts you’ll see that’s common for most of the sets I work on. The sketch card below of the Mandalorian as a child was painted with designer gouache and the ice cream maker was painted with acrylic. The other three cards were coloured with Copics and pencil crayons overtop. Some of the cards for this set were done with Copic markers and inks.

Let me know if there are any characters that you loved from the show in the comments below!

Artist Proofs

Unlike many of my other projects, I don’t have any completed artists proofs for sale. Instead, my APs are blank and can be used for commissions of any character or scene from the show! Contact me below to find out more!

Mini Pop Culture Paintings

I’ve been creating acrylic paintings on 2×2″ canvases for a little while now. Often I create these when I have some leftover paint from a project or just some time between projects. They’re a great way to practice painting, and because they’re roughly 1/2″ deep with a wooden frame, I can attach a magnet to the backside so they can hang from the refrigerator door.

I make these to sell but also for fun, so the subject matter is usually just fun stuff that I like. I’ve been slowly working my way through iconic looking comicbook, cartoon and Star Wars characters. It’s only the face of the characters, so I try to choose only iconic looking characters like Wolverine or Batman, but I have done a few stylized portraits like that of Stan Lee.

Contact Me

If you’re interested in buying one of these they’re $65 each or $100 for two, including shipping.