Thursday, December 24, 2009
Interview with Tim Proctor
How did you get involved in sketch cards?
I have been doing personal sketch cards for quite a while and also building up a sketch card portfolio to take with me to conventions for portfolio reviews. I recently attended San Diego Comicon and showed my work to various artists and art directors. One thing led to another and shortly after I landed my first official set which was Topps Clone Wars Season 1 Widevision.
Do you have an educational background in art?
Yes I graduated from the Memphis College of Art and earned my BFA degree in Illustration.
How do you feel about sketch cards now that you have your first card set behind you?
Actually once I finished my first set, I hated to see it end. I was already eagerly awaiting another set and shortly after was invited to work on Star Wars Galaxy 5.
Is there anything you'll do differently for your next set?
Yes, on the first set I did 106 full color cards. On the next set I’m thinking of doing half of my cards color and the other half black and white. Without saying how many I will be doing, I can tell you it is more than the last set. I’m still experimenting with my style and by doing this; it gives me an opportunity to try new things.
How do you feel about working on such a small surface?
I’m pretty comfortable with the small surface. At times it can prove to be a challenge but I’m always up for that.
How do you feel about the entire process?
I have only worked for one company so far and the experience has been very good. I’m sure most would like longer deadlines but for me, I tend to work better under pressure. Meeting deadlines with quality work is top priority for me. If it means working late into the night to complete a project on time then that’s what I do. I take my work very seriously.
Do you prefer to work with a specific media?
I’m always trying new things but I find that I keep going back to marker, ink, and colored pencil. I still have a few things that I would like to try such as watercolor. Experimenting with different media is important when you are defining your individual style.
Do you have a lot of contact with collectors regarding your cards?
Yes. I have been very active on several message boards and have been commissioned by quite a few members. A lot of my clients become repeat clients.
One thing I strive for is to make sure that the collector is 100% satisfied. That’s very important to me. I’m open to suggestions and feedback.
How do you feel about some collectors wanting more detailed cards versus what sketch card artists are paid to work on the cards?
Well I understand the desire that collectors have to obtain full color sketch cards. Honestly artists may not have the time to do all of their cards in full color. I think it’s easy to forget how much time full color cards can take. With a mix of sketches and full color cards out there, it's a nice bonus to get a full color card. However, I have seen a LOT of sketches that I would prefer over a full color card. I'm somewhat of a collector myself. Everyone likes something different. It is a gamble when you buy a box. If you do not want to take the risk, and you only want a full color card, it may be best to head over to eBay and bid on a card you wish to have. However, you may just pull a top notch sketch that could just become your new favorite card. For artists just starting out, sketch cards are in my opinion a great opportunity to work on an official set and the exposure may prove to be very beneficial.
Have you had any bad experiences with collectors?
I can honestly say that I have not. Most collectors and fans of my work have been great to deal with. I keep the communication open and have enjoyed the experiences. On a side note, if you see me in artist alley and want a critique, always feel free to stop by. I will always give feedback and offer advice to artist looking to get into the industry.
Has your career as an artist benefitted from doing sketch card work?
Well it's early in the game but I can say that the exposure I have received from the first set has generated more interest in my work and that’s always a good thing. This is another reason why sketch cards are good. It gets your artwork in front of more people. Whether it be a sketch card collector or a young fan pulling your card from a random pack purchased at a retail store. There is something in it for everyone.
Are there any cards that you are particularly proud of?
I was proud of most of my cards from the Clone Wars Widevision set. My return cards I am most proud of though. I found that I had a lot of fun drawing Yoda in particular. I would say that my top two favorites are Yoda cards. I have quite a few favorite personal sketch cards as well though. Some cards may be a favorite because it proved to be a challenge and I pulled it off, while others may be favorites because either I like the character or thought the execution was nice.
Some companies provide return cards for working on sketch card sets. What do you do with yours?
With each set, I plan to keep at least one card. When I get the return cards back and select the card I want to keep, I will frame it. The framed piece will include the return card along with part of the packaging from the box and a name plate. Picture if you will a framed album and record by a recording artist. It's something I want to do to commemorate each set. The rest of the return cards will be sold.
Do you see yourself continuing with sketch card sets?
Absolutely! I enjoy doing the cards and as long as there is the invite to work on a new set, consider me in. You never know what the future holds but I will always try and make time to do sketch cards.
Is there any advice you would like to give to people wanting to break into the sketch card ‘biz’?
The best advice I can give is to never give up. Spend some time building a nice portfolio of solid work. Research the industry, the artists, everything. Get your work out there. Attend conventions, network, and show your work to as many artists and art directors as possible. If I have learned one thing it's that persistence pays off. Have confidence and take pride in your work. Just tell yourself that it's only a matter of time and don't give up. When you get the job, all that hard work pays off and the feeling is far greater than you will probably expect.
Can you tell us what future sketch card sets you'll be working on?
Right now I’m getting ready to work on Star Wars Galaxy 5 but hope more sets are waiting just around the corner.
What are you currently working on (does not have to be card related)?
Right now I'm working a few more sketch cards for 2009. I also have about four commissioned paintings lined up. In between those, I plan to work on a few promotional pieces for the upcoming Megacon convention in Orlando in March.
Where can people see more of your work?
They can view more of my work at www.timproctorart.com I plan to give the site a makeover in the near future and add updates and possibly a new look. That’s another thing I need to add to my "to do" list. The site has not been updated in a while due to time limitations. But definitely stay tuned for updates.
Thank you for your time and insights, Tim!