Monday, November 30, 2009

Interview with Denise Vasquez

How did you get involved in sketch cards?
I was introduced to the sketch card scene by my boyfriend, Artist Randy Martinez. He invited me to collaborate on some sketch cards with him, which eventually led to Topps Trading Cards contacting me to work on my first sketch card set. They invited me to illustrate 116 sketch cards for the “Indiana Jones Masterpieces set”.

How do you feel about working on such a small surface?
Size doesn’t matter~ Ha ha! Seriously, I don’t really have a problem working on a small surface. I LOVE working on all surfaces. The size of the surface is a part of my creative process! Different sized surfaces inspire different ideas, so I actually like creating on a small surface. It forces me to create in another way!

How do you feel about the entire process?
I LOVE working on sketch cards, it’s fun for me! I have a great relationship with all of the companies I’ve worked for to date! I feel blessed every time I have the opportunity to get paid to do what I love, and I am grateful to Topps for giving me a chance! Having short deadlines sometimes can be a little challenging, but I love a great challenge! The reality is, it’s not only in the industry, where we never seem to have enough time, it’s a part of life! Having a deadline is just an ending point for me to see what I can get done with the amount of time that I have!

Do you prefer to work with a specific media?
I LOVE working with a variety of mixed mediums...pencil, pen, marker, ink, acrylic, sparkles, beads...different mediums tend to spark and inspire a different flow of ideas for me whenever I’m creating...

Do you have a lot of contact with collectors regarding your cards?
Yes, I do have collectors contacting me about my official cards as well as commissions.

How do you feel about some collectors wanting more detailed cards versus what sketch card artists are paid to work on the cards?
As an artist I am under contract to create “SKETCH cards”. Some people have misconceptions of what a “SKETCH” is! I can’t go too deep into this because of the book we’re writing, but I will say this, I had a wonderful conversation about this very topic with an Art Director who Hires sketch card artists to work on sets...basically he said this is what they EXPECT from the artists: They contract us, the artists to do “SKETCH” cards. If artists chose to do more than that, that’s great but it’s NOT expected of them! I notice that some collectors, not all, SOME complain because they have made a business of making money off of the work we do! SOME collectors want more detailed work because as the industry becomes more popular, they’ve now come to rely on the money they’ve been making off of the artists work. Just browse around’ll see. Many collectors, I actually met a great one the other day, love collecting every piece of art created by their favorite artist whether it’s a pencil sketch or full color...they have no problem with simple sketches because they understand & embrace that a simple sketch is part of the artists process, and if they want more, they’re happy to commission the artist & pay the artist the $ they deserve for a more elaborate detailed piece of art!

Has your career as an artist benefitted from doing sketch card work?
Doing sketch cards is a way for me to share another creative love of mine (drawing & painting) to a fanbase I already have established thru music, writing and acting. It’s also been a great introduction to a new genre of fans that I establish with each set that I work on. For me it’s been a wonderful new medium to allow my creative juices to flow! I see it for what it is, an opportunity to do what I love! My career as an artist benefits from everything I am & do, and all of the hard work I put into it!

What was the most difficult sketch card set you have worked on to date?
The most challenging, and at the same time the most fun sketch card set I’ve worked on to date was the Topps Star Wars Galaxy “RED” Target Exclusive set! I had a VERY limited amount of time to create 50 sketch cards...They all had to be red...and this was my first STAR WARS sketch card set!!! I wanted to do something really special because I’m a HUGE Star Wars fan! I made the decision to do each sketch card as a ONE OF A KIND, no repeats on this set, and me being an activist & the founder of WO+MEN 4 A CAUSE, I wanted to represent the Female Characters in the Star Wars Universe. Finding good references was REALLY challenging given the amount of time I had, but I did exactly what I wanted for this set!

Are there any cards that you are particularly proud of?
Honestly, ALL of them! Every sketch card that I’ve illustrated is a representation of where I was as an artist in that moment!

Some companies provide return cards for working on sketch card sets. What do you do with yours?
I sell my returns to fans that contact me about them, and once in a while I’ll put them on ebay.

Do you see yourself continuing with sketch card sets?
Absolutely! I LOVE doing sketch cards! Although I must add that my schedule will determine what sets I’ll be able to participate on & how many I can do.

Is there any advice you would like to give to people wanting to break into the sketch card ‘biz’?
You’ll have to buy the book “Sketch Card Mania” that I’m co-authoring with Randy Martinez for Impact Books...lots of GREAT information for YOU! But I will say this BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!

Can you tell us what future sketch card sets you'll be working on?
I just finished illustrating 208 sketch cards for Topps “Star Wars Clone Wars Widevision Season I set, I’m finishing up 5FINITY “Zombies vs Cheerleaders”, Topps Star Wars Galaxy 5 sketch cards, and I’ll be doing special sketch cards for “WarSport”.

What are you currently working on?
I’m currently co-authoring “Sketch Card Mania” for Impact Books with Randy Martinez; finishing up my “Zombies vs Cheerleaders” sketch cards, rehearsing & preparing to perform my songs at The NAMM Show in January 2010, sketching out ideas for the 501st TK Helmet I will be customizing, working on commissions, writing, writing, writing, Working on my 4th musical project/album & lots more!

Where can people see more of your work?
The best place to see more of my work is on my Official Website







Thank you so much for your time, Denise!


  1. Thank you for a GREAT interview Jessica!
    PeAcE LoVe ArT & SoUl
    Denise Vasquez