Friday, March 28, 2014

Making Cards: Part 3 - Lord Of The Rings

I guess you could call it an anniversary, but to me its more than that. One of the first sketch card sets I worked on for TOPPS was the LORD OF THE RINGS. To this day, I get requests from as far as Asia to Australia to draw the characters, creatures and artistry of this story. And I love it.
I have had the privilege to be commissioned by some of the finest super collectors of this franchise. Many of these collectors have amassed artists rendered scenes from the movie trilogy at a great expense. I'm honored to be among their archives.
Here are my latest sketch cards:
The Great Hall of ROHAN

HAMA, the Captain of the Rohan Guard

GOLLUM's Peril

SARUMAN - Battle of the Wizards

There are almost infinite aspects of this saga to bring to life. I can't wait to start another installment. I hope you enjoy.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Making Cards - Part 2 : Legendary Lovecraft

Monsters, whether you believe n them or not, exist.  Because of writers like Edgar Allen Poe, Stephen King and H.P. Lovecraft.
H.P. Lovecraft is one of the recent trends of horror writers that are getting a revival through their stories and their interpretations of artists. I am pleased to be one of the selected ones to depict Lovecraft's monster mind through the MONSTER WAX card company. The company also houses one of the finest collections of monster trading cards found here -

I wish I had more time to do these cards but I was in the middle of a deadline and got to do only a handful for the set. However, I was given some extra blank cards and will be putting some of those up for sale when the set is released.

If you have a favorite Lovecraft story or creature, and you want a nice investment in cards, shoot me an email and your request. A closer look at sketch cards and their rising values, you can check out  or or ebay for current pricing.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Making Cards - Part 1 : Mardi Gras (adult content warning)

I get this about once a year - when the blogging comes to a near complete dead stop. But I usually have a better reason for this than just being lazy. While my A.D.D. mentality is not in full pursuit of collecting cards, it slowly oozes out some art work for other card sets.
I've been toiling away at 3 different sketch card sets, 2 of which will be issued this spring.
ISLAND DREAMS will be releasing "Let The Good Times Roll" in April featuring the theme of MARDI GRAS in New Orleans.
I selected a few samples to show here.  The adult theme warning in the title of this blog is so that the all-so sensitive, censorship crazy prudes don't have a cause to bitch about the drawing of a pair of breasts. (if this bothers you - read no further)
A chance to slip in a sports card with the NFL's New Orleans Saints.

The chance to slip in some slippage. I love drawing women.

I never pass up a chance for Spooky costumes and skulls. 

Who's the leader of the band ? Flaunting feathers.

Voodoo dolls and dollies.

More smiles and beads.

This was one of the over sized 5 x 7 cards.
I've done a few sets for  ISLAND DREAMS including ones for charity. The packs are always interesting with many fine artist's work and surprise bonus cards that feature genuine old coins or artifacts. These "Let The Good Times Roll" packs will include actual free drink tickets among other things.
I hope you pardon my absents and posting. The MLS season has begun and the FIFA World Cup will be in less than 3 months. By then, you'll probably see more of my sketch cards on ebay and the official card web sites.
Next chance I get, I will feature a horror-monster set I am working on. As always, I am available for commissions to draw your requests.  You think it - I'll ink it.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Make Mine A Mini - Local Cards Show Haul - Part 2

Baseball has the greatest knack for evoking nostalgia. Beginning with the early cigarette cards, the chewing gum era was high lighted by past stars and Hall of Fame members. It is only recently that the non-gum era has begun to feature the tobacco makers from the early days.
Kimball Tobacco cards of the 1890's featured actors, athletes and famous personalities. So in the line of Allen and Ginter, Mayo Plug comes the Kimball style of cigarette size player cards.
Having already seen dozens of standard size reproductions of Ruth, Cobb, Mantle and DiMaggio, it was refreshing to find some of my favorites on the cigarette style repos.
I I found the legitimate All-Time Home Run King, Hank Aaron, on the 2011 Topps Kimball series along with baseball card icon, Honus Wagner.
2011 Kimball - HANK AARON

2011 Kimball - HONUS WAGNER
To me, the water color art work on these is spectacular and worth more than the so often re-used photos for standard Topps cards. These fit nicely into my tobacco collection.
I think everyone has a favorite set from their earliest collecting days that brings back great memories. For me, it was finding a rack pack of 1972 Topps baseball in the grocery store.
Topps retro / Heritage style cards prove that all that flash and glitter is not required to make good looking cards. A twist on the 1975 Topps test set minis, these fraction size cards have the feel of the 1970's with the inclusion of modern stars. If I have one qualm about them, its that all the 1972 Topps were wonderfully posed pictures - with action shots appearing on separate "In Action" cards.

I picked two cards from this mini set: As the 1972 Pirates of Clemente and Stargell were World Series Winners, I selected the best current Pittsburgh player of today - Andrew McCutchen.

Although not my favorite personality or player, the 1972 Topps Willie Mays was so iconic when I first saw it, it evokes spring time, Finding your heroes in the packs, chewing bubble gum and knowing you could complete your team before the autumn leaves fell.
I admit, I don't actively collect modern players, but if I did, it would have to include Derek Jeter. He has so many cards that it would be near impossible to collect anything else. But when I find a card for the right price and style, its an easy choice.
2007 Goudey Derek Jeter Red Back mini
I've avoided football cards for the most part as I sold off my collection to concentrate on soccer cards. But the retro style and the headline making antics of this player, prompted me to put it in the pile.

2013 Topps mini - Richard Sherman
As is the case when I go to these shows, most dealers do not bother to stock soccer cards. But as this is now a monthly show, they are getting used to seeing me and my asking for cardboard of the beautiful game.
Sometimes, it pays just to spend the 10 - 15 minutes digging through there 10 cent boxes. Here is where I found two minis of U.S. National Team players Jozy Altidore and Tim Howard.
Both, barring injury, should feature in this summer's FIFA World Cup in Brazil for the USA.


Jozy Altidore - American Goal Scorer

Tim Howard - USA # 1
All in all, I was pleased with my finds for the 90 minutes or so I spent at the show. Selecting the cigarette style smaller cards, to me, is a case of more quality for less money.
If anyone has similar soccer cards in cigarette style that you would trade for my baseball, NFL football or other cards, let me know.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

HOLY SMOKES ! Local Card Show Haul - Part 1

The bad thing about the glut of card sets in today's hobby is that its nearly impossible to collect everything. Another bad thing about today's modern cards is that many come in very expensive boxes far beyond the budget of the average wallet.

Well, the good thing about the above, is that often, the cup of wealth overflows and spills out to the waiting masses.

Going to this weekend's monthly local card show, I was gunning for the dealer tables that yielded past gems. In a moment of indecision, I had left a few desired cards in the bins and hoped they would be there.

I had planned to make a bee line to THAT dealer when I passed the table of a dealer that had some nice vintage last show. So I asked him to put aside the handful I pulled. He just nodded and gave me a straight price which was even better than the bargain price. I picked up a nice 1971 "Catfish" Hunter and a 1961 Washington Senators, Mickey Vernon card.

Vernon has his own sports museum in Pennsylvania and holds the record for career double play for a 1st baseman.

Hall of Famer - Jim Hunter
Mickey Vernon owner of 2,495 career hits
Although I probably had a card of each of these athletes, it was hard to pass up two of the more decorated Olympians of modern times. So, I added a 2013 mini Goodwin Carl Lewis and a 2012 Allen & Ginter mini Michael Phelps.
Carl Lewis - fastest man on land
Michael Phelps - fastest man in water
Going back to the table to take care of unfinished business, I found the cards just as I had left them. But the prices had gone up. Oh boy !
However, after discovering that these cards came in boxes with a suggested retail price of $89.99, I figured my only chance to get these would be on the secondary market.
I found a blue back mini (Y for Yale) football player, and 3 insert minis. I added 2 ships (Cutty Sark S-6 and Queen Mary S-7) and a horse (Tennesse Walker H-#3).
2008 Mayo Plug - Glenn Dorsey rookie
Cutty Sark insert # S-6
As luck would have it, I found this orange back (P for Princeton) President Grover Cleveland card. They are found 1 card per box ! I also like anyone who was the leader of the "Bourbon Democrats" - cheers !
Not a Brown's player, but still a big enough guy to be both the 22nd and 24th President
Although none of these were true tobacco cards, they are the same size as traditional cigarette issues. The Goodwin, Allen and Ginter and Mayo Plug were original brands that distributed cards with their smoking products. I like the smaller size collectables and the subject matter is easier to handle than massive sport issues from card companies.
Ideally, I would like to feature original cards of these tobacco subjects as well as their modern issue. I have several athletes and some other personalities.   
I had a plan for this show and I hit my target on these. I will feature the rest of my haul in the next installment.   

Friday, February 14, 2014

Prizes from The Dutch Card Guy

Don't ask me how, but I won a contest. Our overseas bogger "The Dutch Card Guy" ran a contest and I ended up winning an autographed rookie card of SONNY WEEMS. Weems was a top draft pick but played very few games in the NBA. He is currently playing in the Russian professional basketball league. If nothing esle, there is not a glut of his cards floating around. Its a numbered card 780/799
2009 Topps Signature Series
My new Dutch friend knows that I am a soccer collector and accordingly added some MLS soccer cards. These included US National Team players Connor Casey, Kyle Beckerman and the forgotten kid phenom, Freddy Adu, from the last Upper Deck set produced.

Oddly enough, my first base cards from the new Topps MLS set comes from overseas ! This bunch included the son of former Padre outfielder Marvell Wynn, MLS comeback player of the Year - Kevin Alston and Peru National Goalkeeper - Raul Fernandez.

There was also a bunch of rookie cards and draft picks ...

highlighting ugly college jerseys.

But the biggest surprise was the numbered autograph card of FC Dallas goal bomber - Kenny Cooper. Cooper's dad played goal in the old NASL for Dallas. Another great father-son sports story.

Thanks to the Dutch Guy. I recommend trading with this person as he always sends great stuff.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

1998 Jeff de Bruges - Team FRANCE

When your become a super collector (or a nut case, depending on who you ask) you can often loose track of your possessions. When you move, things disappear. They find their own hiding place just to avoid having you paw them, stare at them and truly admire what you have.
At least that's what nut cases like me believe. I was looking to find one of my favorite soccer sets and they went into hiding. You see, this week MLS Spring Training begins and the New York Red Bulls are coming to town with the legendary THIERRY HENRY.
Henry was a World Cup Champion with France in 1998 and a runner up in 2002. He was European Champion in 2000 and a Premier League record holder with Arsenal.
But I digress. I wanted to checklist this set - which are actually chocolate wrappers rather than cards. I couldn't remember if Henry was in the set. Well he's not.  But the set is fantastic anyway !
The great Zinedine Zidane imortalized
I was at a Paris airport when I found these - JEFF de  Bruges L'Equipe de FRANCE (Team France) Chocolates. I purchase as many as I could. They were available in a cardboard window box of 16 chocolates and a limited edition metal tin with 36 candies. I got both.
There were 4 flavors of chocolates which corresponded to the wrapper colors. Each wrapper had a reproduced painted portrait of a player, the Manager or the French Federation Crest. 

Among the many host countries that made collectables for the FIFA Tournament, the French payoff was one of the most talented teams in their history.

The side panels of the metal tin feature facsimile autographs of the players. These are repeated on each of the player wrappers as well.
1998 Jeff de Bruges - L'Equipe de France (set of 20)
- white -
Laurent Blanc
Marcel Desailly
Bernard Lama
Frank LeBoef
FFF crest
- carmel -
Didier Deschamps
Aime Jaquet - (Manager)
Bixente Lizarazu
Robert Pires
FFF crest
- dark -
Vincent Candela
Christophe Dugarry
Christian Karembeu
Patrick Viera
FFF crest
- hazelnut -
Fabien Barthez
Youri Djorkaeff
Zinedine Zidane
FFF crest