Thursday, October 29, 2009

Interview with Katie Cook

How did you get involved in sketch cards?
My first sketch card job was the first Lord of the Rings Masterpieces set for TOPPS.
...I had NO idea what I was doing. I think I owe collectors everywhere an apology form my many, many repeater sketches!

How do you feel about working on such a small surface?
I don't mind it so much. I have a tendency to draw small anyway, so the transition to cards wasn't too hard. A comic panel really isn't that much bigger!

How do you feel about the entire process?
Deadlines are a necessary evil in any industry. They keep you motivated and keep you from flitting your day away on facebook. Some companies are more loose than others, deadline wise, and you can have some wiggle room (which is nice when you need it).

Have you been asked or would you like to work on the larger incentive cards?
I would, but I doubt I'd ever be asked to do them!

Do you have a lot of contact with collectors regarding your cards?
I do. I love hearing from and talking to collectors. Tt's the best way to learn what they want! I accept their facebook requests, update them on twitter and really encourage them to follow and comment on my blog. I want to keep them up to date on what I'm doing and I want their feedback on it.

Do you feel that your cards are consistently collectible or does it depend on what set you do?
I'm a bad judge of what collectible as far as cards go. I like to draw things that I think are fun and that seems to make them collectible. Star Wars, for the most part, is what I'm known for so I'd say that that's much more collectible than something like Heroes Season 2.

Has your career as an artist benefitted from doing sketch card work?
I think so. You can get a lot more people to pay attention to you when you have a certain license in your credits list.

What was the most difficult sketch card set you have worked on to date?
I think that would be "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull". No one had seen the movie yet and we all had NO IDEA what to draw except a few pictures we were given as reference. That's no fun. I like doing cards with scenes and quotes. I can't do that when all I have is a dozen pictures and a rough idea of the plot.

Are there any cards that you are particularly proud of?
Lately, I've been proud of a lot of my cards. I love the cards I did for TOPPS' Star Wars Galaxy 4 and the Clone Wars Widevision. When I'm allowed to take on less cards, I can concentrate on making the cards I DO do very fun and special.

Some companies provide return cards for working on sketch card sets. Do you keep any of the cards returned to you?
Nope. They are released into the wilds of the collecting world.

Do you see yourself continuing with sketch card sets?
This is a touchy question. I can see myself doing any Star Wars set that comes up, as well as the occasional comic themed set... but I want to focus on comics and children's books. I want to think that there's more for me out there in this world than sketch cards, no matter how much I like drawing them.

Is there any advice you would like to give to people wanting to break into the sketch card ‘biz’?
-Draw lots and lots of samples. Post them online. Art directors will find you.
-Don't copy other people's styles. Be unique.
-Don't copy a card or style and declare that you expect to be known as the second coming of that artist and start charging that artist's prices for cards saying "well, since she's busy with other things and isn't up for commissions, hire me instead!"... you'll just make people mad (can you tell I've had to deal with this?)

Where can people see more of your work?
my sketchblog and site is
There are also links there for my twitter, facebook, deviantart and livejournal!

Thank you, Katie!

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