Monday, October 12, 2009

Interview with artist Mark McHaley

What exactly are incentive cards?
Cards to entice people to purchase a certain number of cases to attain the incentive card.

Do you feel any added pressure working on incentive cards?
I do. I want the dealer/collector to be happy with a card that was purchased for the minimum # of cases required.

Do you have a lot of contact with collectors regarding your cards?
Yup. I'm accessible.

Do you feel that your cards are consistently collectible or does it depend on what set you do?
My cards suck...
I really have no idea. I feel that a few cards that really stand out will always remain collectible.

Has your career as an artist benefited from doing sketch card work?
It didn't hurt after I first got into it. Though, I think it can only take you so far.

What was the most difficult sketch card set you have worked on to date?
I would have to say Wolverine Origins. Just because of everything that was going on around me at the time.

Are there any cards that you are particularly proud of?
There are a few cards that worked out the way I'd really hoped. Curiously enough, some of the cards that I'm not to fond of are other people's favorites. I had a great time and felt very inspired for Indiana Jones Heritage (Topps) and had blast working on the upcoming Clone Wars Widevision set.

Some companies provide return cards for working on sketch card sets. Do you keep any of the cards returned to you?

How do you feel about some collectors wanting more detailed cards versus what sketch card artists are paid to work on the cards?
I don't think the (more detailed) cards should be expected. For me, I do what I can right up to the deadline. Honestly, there are usually more cards I wanted to paint but just didn't have the time.

Have you had any bad experiences with collectors?
Everyone has been pretty spectacular. Especially in regards to their patience in waiting on commissions.

Bad experiences with companies?
I think you're bound to come across a negative working relationship every once in a while. I'll leave it at that

Do you see yourself continuing with sketch card sets?
Yes. But in lesser quantity. I was working on sets, back to back and overlapping for a 2 year period and it was too much. There's just too many other things I'd like to do.

How long does it usually take you to paint a card?
It varies. The pencil drawing part can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 2-3 hours. When I'm working on a set, I assemble-line paint so I don't have to change out my water and clean my brushes every 10 minutes. I'd say I get 5-6 cards fully painted a day (after the pencil), but I've done 8-12 in a crunch. But I'd rather not do that many as I feel rushed when that happens.

Your paintwork is laid down so beautifully. Is there a lot of prep work before you actually put paint down?
Yes. Lot's of pacing around the room, pulling of the hair (someone else's if available) and staring at the card before laying down the 1st color. There is a multitude of color schemes and methods and (if I could) I'd like to do 100 repeat images so I can try most of them and come up with the 1 I'm really satisfied with....but like that's gonna happen.

Is there any advice you would like to give to people wanting to break into the sketch card ‘biz’?
Don't do it. Just say 'No.' Stranger Danger.

Where can people see more of your work? and also on DV:
I can also be stalked on twitter:

Thank you, Mark!

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