Monday, November 2, 2009

Interview with Josh Howard

How did you get involved in sketch cards?
My first sketch card job was Lord of the Rings Masterpieces. I was introduced to the guys at Topps by Otis Frampton and Grant Gould.

How do you feel about working on such a small surface?
I think art thrives with constraints. So it's definitely a challenge, but a lot of fun, too.

How do you feel about the entire process?
It can be tough. I've got my regular comic and commission work which keeps me busy, so it's hard to find the time to really devote to it.

Do you have a lot of contact with collectors regarding your cards?
Some, but not much. I'm not really involved with the sketch card community like I would like to be. It just comes down to time.

How do you feel about some collectors wanting more detailed cards versus what sketch card artists are paid to work on the cards?
I completely understand what the collectors want, because that's what I would want, too! But the reality of what's being paid on top of the time constraints, it's just not always realistic. The problem is that you have to take on a lot of cards to get a paycheck worth anything. And by the time you get to card #100 it becomes a rather soulless exercise of cranking out mindless sketches, which isn't fair to anybody.

Have you had any bad experiences with collectors?
Nope, not so far!

Bad experiences with companies?
Not really. Nothing that I haven't experienced with half a dozen other non-card companies. Nature of the art business I suppose.

Has your career as an artist benefitted from doing sketch card work?It's hard to say. Like I said, I don't have a lot of time to really interact with fellow sketch artists and collectors as much as I would like. I know a lot of people have made the leap from doing Star Wars cards to actually working on official Star Wars comics and things, and none of those opportunities have really been presented to me for whatever reasons. But I don't do it for the exposure, I mainly do it so I can have my name on something that was a huge influence growing up.

What was the most difficult sketch card set you have worked on to date?
Probably the Indiana Jones set, because of the lack of iconic and easy to draw characters. And since they're all human (without masks, no robots) it takes extra time to nail the likenesses.

Are there any cards that you are particularly proud of?
I think some of my best cards are from the Star Wars Galaxies set. I did a group of Phantom Menace characters that I think turned out really well.

Some companies provide return cards for working on sketch card sets. Do you keep any of the cards returned to you? What are you planning to do with them?
I've sold all of my cards except for my Star Wars 30th Anniversary (1 of each of the major characters) and Star Wars Galaxies (the aforementioned Phantom Menace set). I'm keeping them to frame so that one day when I'm 80 I can look back say I did something with the official Star Wars logo on it.

Do you see yourself continuing with sketch card sets?
Just depends on my schedule and what the particular set is, but I don't have a lot of desire to got back and do more of the same (LOTR, Star Wars, Indy). But when someone decides to do a Star Trek, Harry Potter , or G1 Transformers sketch card series, I'll be first in line.

Is there any advice you would like to give to people wanting to break into the sketch card ‘biz’?
It's all who you know!

Can you tell us what future sketch card sets you'll be working on?
None at the moment.

What are you currently working on?
Currently working on the next Dead@17 series coming out early next year.

Where can people see more of your work?

Thank you, Josh!

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