Sunday, August 8, 2010
Interview with sketch card artist Randy Siplon
How did you get involved in sketch cards/What was your first sketch card job?
I saw a bunch of artists posting them on deviantART and asked around about how I could get involved. I ended up emailing Topps and within a few weeks was working on LOTR Masterpieces II.
Do you have an education in the art field?
I am an extremely proud art school dropout.
How do you feel about working on such a small surface?
I actually like the fact that I can complete an entire piece of art within a few hours as opposed to working on larger pieces which take a long time for me because my work is pretty laborious. My eyes would probably say otherwise, though.
How do you feel about the entire process?
I am slower than molasses, so the whole deadline thing is always a problem with me. What really pains me is that the card companies expect you to do these outrageous amounts of cards within a pretty tight deadline. It gets pretty stressful.
Do you have a lot of contact with collectors regarding your cards?
Definitely, and it has been a pretty positive experience for me so far.
How do you feel about some collectors wanting more detailed cards versus what sketch card artists are paid to work on the cards?
I don't blame collectors one bit for wanting the best possible work, but it is no longer feasible for me to do it for what we get paid. I would be fine with doing my best possible work on every card if we were paid more per card, or if I could just do less cards. I make enough off of the return cards to make this work, but again the companies seem to not want to bend at all for me like they do for other artists.
Have you had any bad experiences with collectors?
Collectors have been great to me. I have a small but dedicated fan base, and hope that it continues to grow over time. I have had some collectors angry with me over the time it takes for commissions, but I have gotten a lot better with that and it was my own damn fault. My turn around for commissions is a lot faster now because of it.
Bad experiences with companies?
Let's just say I am doing less official sets now, and leave it at that. I would love to do more sets, especially likeness work because that is what I love to do, but I'm not sure some of the people in charge appreciate my work as much as some of the fans do. Topps, if you are reading this please let me do some Avatar cards, I hear there's a set coming out! lol
Would you say your career as an artist has benefited from doing sketch card work?
I really had no career before sketch cards, so yes! I was a struggling wannabe comic book artist/bartender, and now I am just a struggling sketch card artist who still wants to do comic books someday. I developed my current illustration style because of sketch cards, so I am definitely happy I started working on them. They have also given me a lot of exposure with collectors.
What was the most difficult sketch card set you have worked on to date?
Indiana Jones KOTCS for sure. There wasn't a lot of reference available, so I apologize to any collectors who got one of my cards from that set. lol
Are there any cards that you are particularly proud of?
I am most proud of my cards for Star Wars Galaxy 4. It was my first official Star Wars set, and that pretty much says it all.
Some companies provide return cards or artist proof cards for working on sketch card sets. What do you do with yours? Do you still have any?
I sell them because the companies pay so little per card that it is the only way to make doing them worthwhile monetarily speaking.
Do you see yourself continuing with sketch card sets?
I am doing less official sets these days because of the deadlines, but will always keep my options open. I would love to do more sets if I were allowed to do less than 100 cards, but for some reason I get no love from companies in that regard. They always want the maximum out of me, and I just can't do it anymore.
Is there any advice you would like to give to people wanting to break into the sketch card ‘biz’?
It is a great way to get your name out there and people seeing your artwork, but unless you are the second coming of (insert awesome artist's name here) you will not be able to make a living doing them, trust me I've tried.
Where can people see more of your work?
Are you open for anyone interested in commission work?
Are you on any recent/current sketch card sets?
I did some for Iron Man 2, but that's about it lately.
What are you currently working on?
Aside from commissions and eBay auctions, I am working on sketch cards for Axebone's 'Treasure Chests & Booty' set which is coming out in a few months I believe. I am always looking for illustration work, so if anyone reading this likes my work, hit me up!
Thank you for your time, Randy!!!