Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Custom Creations: Star Wars Sketch Cards

My nephew recently discovered Star Wars.

That made me a happy uncle.

I had hoped he would as those movies were everything to me as a kid. I knew Darth Vader was a bad guy.....but he was super cool in my books. And Boba Fett.....say no more.

I wanted the toys, the bed sheets, the drapes, the clothes, the Burger King drinking cups, and yes....even some of the trading cards. Although the cards didn't draw me in like hockey cards did at the time (who have thunk it).

As I grew older I still enjoyed the movies, bought some of the 'behind the scenes' books, biographies and so on.

When the new trilogy came out, I started geeking out like I did when I was a kid. It was awesome. I felt like I had the inside scoop anytime I would see the newest trailer for The Phantom Menace.

I enjoyed all the movies - right up to the last installment. I really enjoyed the in-depth documentaries released on the series as well. That's one thing George Lucas knows how to do to death. I love it!

Now, to see my nephew get into Star Wars really has renewed my interest in it. He is big into the Lego's. Holy cow are there like a billion different sets and a thousand different men or what. And they all hold their value on ebay.....yikes. It's going to be an expensive hobby for him.

Naturally, as my interest in trading cards has been ongoing for years, I decided to see what all was out there since the days of my Return of the Jedi sets in the mid-80's.

There are a ton of sets released. Lots of cool inserts and autographed cards. Some cool set building or side projects for sure. But I was really drawn in by one type of card - sketch cards.

Check out this web site and you will see what I mean.

Star Wars Sketch Cards

Talk about inspiring. These cards look awesome. And to know that the artists actually drew on those cards....to be inserted into packs and pulled by lucky collectors. Fantastic stuff.

Thing is, I didn't want to collect these cards.....I wanted to make my own.

I went to work figuring out how I could do this. I found some good card stock with a bit of texture to it so I could easily draw on it. I built a border template in Photoshop and printed out some 'blanks'. A sharpie and some pencil crayons and voila....

My first two custom Star Wars sketch cards are born. Yes, I know IG-88 isn't the most exciting character, but he's the easiest to draw for me.

I'm going to mildly refine things and maybe go out and pick up some better drawing utensils. Print out some more blanks and head on over to my nephew's place this weekend for an afternoon of fun.

I can't wait to see his Boba Fett card.

Hey cool......wait a minute!

Well, it seems as though some people have discovered my blog and like the work that I have done.

How cut autograph cards should be done - Los Angeles Trading Card

Part of me thought it was really cool to see this. Part of me was a little hesitant. This article made me realize just how easy it is to take some of my work and slap it on a website.

I also noticed a sportscard forum (that I am not a member of) decided to post a couple of my customs. The feedback was positive and I believe the original poster wasn't looking to do any ill-will, but again...a little hesitant on a positive reaction from me.

I'm now contemplating putting watermarks on my work. Just to protect it.

By the way, thanks for all the kind comments everyone. I'm looking forward to a top notch hockey season!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Custom Creations: Golf Legends Cut Autographs

A number of months ago, I was asked to do some custom cut autograph golf cards for a fellow collector. He had trekked down to Hawaii to a charity skins game and it had some of the biggest names in golf. Some of the signatures that he was able to pick up were impressive to say the least.

He mailed the program to me and I got started on a design. It was the first time I had attempted a 'set' of cut autograph cards and was really excited to give it a shot.

It also gave me an excuse to pick up a couple new tools for my custom card creations. And boy did the purchases ever pay off.

I don't want to toot my own horn, but these cards are the best ones I have done to date. I'm really happy with the way they turned out.

Here is a sample of the final product. The autographs are the real deal and the scans are of the actual cards.

Here's a breakdown of the set (both fronts and backs). In these, the front of the card is a mock up of the autograph and how it would look as opposed to an actual scan of the finished card. Enjoy.

Fred Couples

Ben Crenshaw

Jack Nicklaus

This one was the first one I assembled and my favorite card in the set. What a fantastic autograph and I love the way his signature sits in the card.

And what a legend of a name to boot.

Gary Player

Nick Price

Loren Roberts

Curtis Strange

This one was sort of an extra. He wasn't involved in the tournament but just happened to be there. His autograph looks more like a scribble than a scribe (as he is known to have a pretty slick looking signature). Still, it's authentic....so why not.

Fuzzy Zoeller

There you have it. A custom eight card set. They found their way back to their owner and he is, as he put it "over the moon" happy with the results.

One of the purchases I made for these cards was a new exacto knife. It's a 'swivel knife' which means that the blade had more of a pivoting head on it. It really helped me make smooth turns on my cuts and really made the cutouts less of a laborious task. Can be picked up at your local craft store for less than $10. Money well spent.

With hockey season around the corner I am planning on getting back into the customs a little more as I have some old ideas sitting on the back burner as well as some new sets on my mind.

Oh, and one last thing. These were a BLAST to do. So much fun designing the card, printing out and assembling. It didn't feel like work for a single moment.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

STASHED IN THE CLOSET - Vintage Goalie Mask Book

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. Summertime is nearing an end and so is the extreme hectic nature of my job. By the time hockey season starts, I should be back into the groove.

It's weird, blogging really makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something with my collections and projects. The lack of posts lately reflect my feeling of disorganization.

Soon to be rectified.

Anyways, here's another gem that's been sitting calmly in my closet for a couple years now. It's a book that I vivdly remember borrowing from the library when I was a kid......over and over and over. To the point where I was contemplating 'losing it' just so I didn't have to go through the hassle.

My good judgement got the better of me and I resisted the notion.

Hockey Masks and the
Great Goalies Who Wear Them

by: Michael Cutler (circa 1977)

The concept of the book is real simple. Basic drawings of some of the goalie masks in the NHL. And when I say basic....I mean basic. Check it out.

My favorite mask in the book - Gilles Gratton. What a great idea. I would spend hours tracing the masks on paper and then coloring them in. Beat some of the lame Bugs Bunny coloring books I was working on.

Chico Resch. Another great mask. There was enough detail in the pictures to capture my imagination, but they were simple enough to inspire a 7-year-old. Not a lot of words either. That was probably for the best as I was not interested at all in the words. Heck, I still skim over the paragraphs.

Ron Low....gorgeous. It just reeks of the 70's. Looking at these masks now, it's amazing to think that these things were high end back in the day. What a design.

Dan Bouchard. He actually painted his own mask. Nice job Dan. This was one of my favorites to sketch since I was a Flames fan at the time.

I had been looking for a copy of this book for years. It had been out of print for a while and ebay auctions were ballooned up over $80 (this is a 15-20 page book.... softcover!). No thanks.

I finally found an ebay auction I could live with. $25 delivered. I was loving it. Until I received it. It was a library discard and the front cover had protective flaps and tape all over it. Lame - real lame.

It wasn't until just a couple years ago I found another auction on ebay. I noticed the guy lived in the same city as me. I contacted him and asked that if I won the auction, could I pick up the item in person. He did one better. He offered to deliver it to me. Heck, he was only a few blocks away from where I worked. Unbelievable.

I paid slightly more than I planned, but knowing I wouldn't be charged shipping, I had no problem. He delivered it the next day.

Pristine and in a nice protective sleeve. The book looked new. I was thrilled. By the way, the discoloring of the cover is not on the book. It came up in the scan as I had to scan it in two sections and then match things up.

It's now one of the highlights in my goalie mask collection.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mailday: The Boys Of Summer

A bit of a switch here today. I've been waiting for this mailday for a while.

I was excited to see the initial blog post and was thrilled to see that a poster was being created. I ordered one immediately and couldn't wait to open it.

Sadly, the poster tube was dented and the result was a crimped poster in areas. And I was looking forward to framing it.

Here's what all of the fuss is about. You'll understand soon enough.

Casey at the Bat
adapted for cardboard by Ben Henry

Casey at the Bat is one of those iconic stories that to me has stood the test of time. It has been told and re-told so many times that I wasn't sure that a unique telling could be had anymore.

That was until I was visiting 'The Baseball Card Blog'. I saw these fantastic customs tell the story and was immediately a fan.

The designer, Ben Henry, had been looking for a way to capture the whole story in one medium. He chose the poster route. I was lucky enough to be one of the first in line as he was signing and numbering the first 50 copies.

I will be doing my best to get rid of the crimps and am looking forward to framing or plaque-mounting the item and proudly displaying it. My favorite card....that's a tough one. I do like the last one though. A good laugh (same with the McGuire).

And by the way........PPPPPFFFFFFTTTTTTTT on the postal service.

Monday, August 16, 2010

1 vs. 100 - A Pair In The Mail

Mailday today brought with it a couple of adds to my 1 vs. 100 project. A couple of nice cards to wipe off of my wantlist.

2005/06 UD Powerplay
#48 Mike Ribeiro Rainbow /71

The 05/06 Powerplay might come in handy down the road with these oddly numbered inserts. For those who can't tell, 71 is the jersey number of Ribeiro.

2005/06 SP Game Used STATscriptions
#ST-GM Glen Murray /44

Another insert from that same year. Different product...same weird numbering. This time it's because Murray scored 44 goals in 2002/03. Good thing.

That puts me almost at the halfway mark. And I STILL haven't really hit ebay up a whole lot. That might be a September task.

48 out of 100 (48%)

Thursday, August 12, 2010


A quick back and forth with another blogger got me thinking about something tonight.

Do you enjoy your collection?

What I mean by that is...do you admire the pieces you've picked up once they are in your possession? Do you display them for all to see or do you have them in shoeboxes in the closet? Do you get more enjoyment in searching out the item rather than owning it?

Once you have the card, jersey, puck, autograph...whatever...what is your enjoyment level of it?

What I love about these questions is that there are no right or wrong answers. That is one of the big things that I enjoy about this hobby. My collection is done by MY RULES!

I have the bulk of my collection in boxes in my closet. My Trevor Linden cards are in top loaders and in a couple 3000 count boxes. I bring out the boxes every couple months when I add a few cards to it and sift through the cards I have in my collection. I enjoy looking at them but I think I get more enjoyment out of seeing the collection as a whole (almost 1000 different Linden cards). It's been over a decade of collecting and I think it's a pretty cool accomplishment.

Finding a new card is a huge thrill and when it arrives in the mail I get that feeling like it's Christmas morning. Once it is in my collection, I am still proud of owning the item, but I've checked the item off the list. No more pursuing it. That's a bit of a downer.

When I see rare Linden cards pop up on ebay that I already have, I get a little sad that I don't need to go after it. And it's fewer and farther between finding Linden's that I do need.

I like that people have goals in there collecting. I like that people get enjoyment out of collecting. I like it even more that everyone is different in what gets people excited about their collections.

At the end of the day - as long as you are enjoying the hobby as a whole, then that is a good thing.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

1 vs 100 update

Well, it has been ages since I have made any mention of this project.

Summer....what can I say.

Since Thursday I have been on vacation and actually spent a little time making a couple trades to pick up a pair of cards to add to the collection.

They are currently on their way and I will be sure to update when I receive them.

I am currently on my way to BC for the week to do some golfing.

A busy summer of work makes this trip even more of an anticipated tour of some of my favorite courses in British Columbia.

90 might not happen there....but I could care less.

See you in a few days.