Monday, March 8, 2010

Interview with Arie Monroe

Do you have an educational background in art?
Yes I started studying art at a fine arts high school. I attended a 4 year college but the school didn't fill all my needs so I went to the Joe Kubert school to study animation and comics.

How did you get involved in sketch cards/What was your first sketch card job?
I first encountered sketch card at a comic convention. One of my friends was doing them and he gave me one and I framed it and hung it on my wall I loved it so much. A few years later one of my school mates was telling me how she wanted to start selling sketch cards online. I drew one with a caricature of Paris Hilton on it and people really liked it so I started doing personal sketch cards. About a year after that I submitted some samples and was hired to work on the Marvel Masterpieces 3 card set. It was really exciting because it was one of my first professional jobs. I finished about 50 cards for that set and it was a lot of fun.

How do you feel about working on such a small surface?
Actually I really like it. I can experiment with different drawing and painting techniques on the cards and honestly my work has improved a great deal from doing sketch cards.

How do you feel about the entire process?
The great thing about working as a sketch card artist starting out is it gives you a chance to peek into what it means to work for a client. I have learned that when doing a large amount of cards that it is best to space your cards out to do a little every day and try to have them have similar look or theme so you can finish them quickly. I have missed a deadline on cards by about a day or so but it was because I didn't properly prepare myself so I could do a large volume of cards. I have done sketch cards for Upperdeck, Ritten House, and 5Finity. Every company is different and is looking for a certain quality in what they will accept on a set. Some places prefer you do all color where others think a simple sketch is all that is necessary. So it really just depends on the company. They are all different.

Do you prefer to work with a specific media?
I enjoy all medias. I honestly prefer doing watercolor and acrylic because I think it looks more vibrant than markers and I feel I can experiment more freely. At the same time Markers are faster and less messy. I see all media though as a chance to experiment and learn new techniques.

Do you have a lot of contact with collectors regarding your cards?
I use to get a lot of contact from collectors but I found myself getting to caught up in trying to please buyers rather than having fun and being creative on a set or commission so I actually prefer to just draw them and put them out there for people to enjoy than to see who is collecting what and where it is going.

Will you be at conventions and/or accepting commissions?
I love going to conventions. I am not sure though which cons I will attend this year out side local ones. I am not accepting commissions at the moment cause I am working on a book for someone but once it ends I will be available.

Has your career as an artist benefited from doing sketch card work?
Yes, my art has improved, I have learned to have a better relationship with clients, and I have been able to use it to make connections in other areas of the art field.

What was the most difficult sketch card set you have worked on to date? What made it difficult?
The Xmen Archives was the most frustrating set for me. I had taken on another full time job at the time and the company had me working really long hours and sometimes with no days off and I was trying to meet my deadline for that set at the same time. I wanted to do a good job and was taking the cards and my paints with me to work and trying to get them done. In the end I had a lot of problems and was not able to finish the full set of cards even though I got the ones I did in sent in on time. It taught me a big lesson about working as an artist. I think sometimes it can be an all or nothing occupation cause it takes a lot of time to finish a piece sometimes and when you have other things competing with that it makes it very difficult to meet deadlines. After I left that job I decided I wanted to do art full time so I wouldn't have to many competing priorities.

Are there any cards that you are particularly proud of?
I was pretty happy with the cards I did for the Mandy sketch card set. I thought they were fun and I really felt like I was in a groove while working on them.

Some companies provide return cards or Artist Proof cards for working on sketch card sets. What do you do with yours?
LOL! I actually lost one somewhere in my house! I need to look for that. I have some sitting around I like to even keep a few for myself. Other than that I will sell then on ebay.

Do you see yourself continuing with sketch card sets?
If people continue to ask me to work on sets I will continue to do them.

Is there any advice you would like to give to people wanting to break into the sketch card ‘biz’?
Honestly I think sketch cards can be a very easy "biz" to break into. And a great way to start out if you want to be a commercial aritst. As I said before it gives you a great opportunity to improve your skills and it can lead to other opportunities down the road. I would suggest starting out by doing some personal sketch cards and if you feel comfortable try submitting your work to some companies and see what happens. Some places might say no but I have found that you will also get a lot of yes's 'cause the demand for artists is sometimes very high.

Can you tell us what future sketch card sets you'll be working on?
I recently finished work on Dead @ 17. There is another set based around the work of Dean Yeagle I will be working on and I might be working on another X men themed set for Ritten House but I need to wait for them to get back to me.

What are you currently working on?
I am finishing up a comic called Stayout for an Austrailian company, and I have been doing daily sketches for my personal blog.

Where can people see more of your work?
I have a few places I lurk. You can see my daily sketchs on my blog @:

I also have a site with my more professional work:

And I have a great home on Deviantart!

Thank you for your time, Arie!!

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