Thursday, May 12, 2022

Gina Carano

Although I didn't have any cards made up of Gina Carano, I wanted to add her to me autographed custom card collection if given half a chance.  That chance came via a private signing with SWAU a couple of months back. This is the first time I've used their service and I have only good things to say.  They're very professional and their site allows you to keep up-to-date on the status of the signer you're waiting for.

The majority of cards I get signed are through the mail.  It's a bit of a gamble.  You never know what you'll get back, and I guess that's part of the fun.  But, occasionally I'll send into private signings.  With a private signing it's the opposite.  You now you're going to get a return every time, well, almost every time.  With a private signing you assume the role of paying customer so you pretty much get to have what you want, how you want it.  Whereas the other way you never really know if it'll be signed where you want it, if it'll be damaged or lost in the mail, if the signature will be smudged, etc.  Lots of variables.  I also like to not have my autographs personalized.  They're generally just for my private collection, I just don't like my name written on the card and you can specify that with a private signing whereas some celebs will automatically personalize to cut down on people selling their autographs.

So, when I saw the Gina signing being advertised I got to work on making a card.  I chose to go with a 1991-92 Skybox design which is a template I LOVE for autographing, but haven't had much success getting cards autographed when I've used it.  I actually collect official '91-'92 Skybox autographed basketball cards.  They cards have a helluva cool and clean aesthetic that lends so well to autographs because of all the white space.

The picture I chose came from Gina's 2009 ESPN Magazine "Body Issue" that was actually used for the magazine's cover. It's a pretty iconic picture for both Gina and the magazine.  

For the back of the card I used a weigh-in picture of Gina from her last professional MMA fight in 2009 vs. Cris Cyborg.  That fight is probably the single most important fight for pushing the envelope for women mixed martial artists.  I think that also made it obvious to everyone that Gina was a big-time box office draw and afforded her the opportunity to pivot into a big screen career pretty easily.

In looking for the right image for the Skybox-style card I came across other images that pained me to just leave on the cutting room floor, so I said "what the hell" and just made a second custom Gina Carano card for the signing.  

The design of the second is an original design of mine.  In my files I label this design as "horizontal split", pretty to the point.  I've done a number of cards with this template but, before this card, have had zero success on a return.  I usually use this design when I just cannot decide between two images so I just use them both.

I really dig that SWAU uses a holo-sticker with a QR code to easily verify autographs from their signings.  I like it for both the obvious reasons and also that it adds an 'official' look to my cards.  Hopefully they partner with 


Wednesday, April 27, 2022

New Dream Girl Trio

My card making production is a far cry from what it was during the Covid era of 2020-21.  Being back to in-person work has had a negative effect on my pace, but I still find time here and there to have some rectangular creative cardboard fun.

In this time I've fielded a number of inquiries about the Dream Girl series I'd been cultivating.  I guess I'm to assume it has a little bit of a following.  I can see the appeal.  Beautiful woman X a very memorable early '90s baseball card subset.  It's got the freshest ingredients.  

So, since it's been a hot minute I've decided to add not one, but THREE new additions to this ongoing set.  Halle Berry, Brooklyn Deck and Charlotte McKinney.  The latter two are carry overs of a boxing themed TKO! series I  had started that was kind of a predecessor to the Dream Girl set, and the Halle was a cutting room floor commission.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

2022 Astronomicon Wrap Up

This past Sunday I took in the Astronomicon to get a few of my custom cards signed.  This was the 5th annual version of this particular convention, but my first one.  I just recently found out about it and was pretty impressed with the lineup, so I decided to check it out seeing as I have custom cards of a few of the celebrity guests that I wanted to add to my autograph collection.

First off, I thought the convention was well laid out and well organized.  I guess I expected a smaller scale than what I encountered.  It was first class all the way.

The three signers I keyed in on were Nick Castle from Halloween, Peter Dante from The Waterboy and Kevin Nash.  If you're new to my cards or this blog, this is where my genesis for making custom cards really came from, to be able to create cards of things that didn't exist that I wanted signed cards of - in a nutshell.

So, I took to the convention armed with special edition versions of the above three cards.


No complaints about the signers.  My interactions are typically brief because I really don't know what to say to these people.  I'm truly awkward and introverted, in a textbook sense and not in a 'I'm just so introverted' trendy meme sense.  I assume they know I'm a big fan since I'm waiting in a line in order to pay them money to write their name on something for me.  I get the autograph and get the hell out of there.  I leave the the schmoozing for the people in line behind me who actually understand how small talk works.

The only time I break from my signer protocol is if I'm asked about my cards.  Typically the signers really dig them.  I usually get a "I've never seen one of these, where did you get it?" type of responses, and that gives me an in where I don't have to feel like a weird tongue-tied fanboy.  Unfortunately that didn't happen this go 'round.  The only pop I got was from MI native Kevin Nash.  "Big Daddy Cool" remarked "whoa, blast from the past" when presented with my custom college basketball card of him.

I got a photo signed by Danielle Harris for my buddy that was under the weather and couldn't come with.  I've gotten her auto before via private send-in, I just mention this as a lead-in to an observation.  This was the first time I ever saw Danielle Harris in person and she's is definitely a small breed.  I'm thinking if I had brought a backpack I could've snuck her out in it.  Other than that she was very sweet to me and everyone else I saw her interact with.

Then there was Peter Dante...  Even though he didn't mark out to my Gee Grenouille card, the dude was definitely in the zone.  He had earlier purchased quite a few boxes of girl scout cookies from the scouts that had gotten a vendor table right across from where he was signing.  He was then passing them out to any and all in the vicinity.  He offered me a samoa cookie and my first inclination was to go with the "nah, I'm good" but then I thought this *is* El PresiDante giving me a cookie, plus he wasn't really wasn't taking no for an answer anyways.  I handed him the card to sign.  He got through "Pete" before stopping and legitimately trying to get to know me as a person.  Where I'm from, what I do for a living; the whole nine.  I gave him the info he wanted and we chatted for a moment about me and my state of professional affairs.  He then went ahead and added "Dante #12" and I thanked him.  But, even as I was walking away he continued to call out to me by name and hype me up like we were old buddies.  If the convention was a party, Peter Dante was easily the life of it.  I'll 100% get an autograph at all future conventions I attend that he's signing at.


Saturday, April 23, 2022

Nita Strauss Autograph Bummer

I sent this custom autograph card to VShout (whom I've gone through many times with great results, check them out) back in April of 2021 in anticipation of an autograph from a private signing that had scheduled with Nita Strauss.  

If you're unfamiliar with Nita, she's a guitar playing force of nature.  She's got a lot on her rock 'n' resume, but is probably best known for touring with Alice Cooper and absolutely killin' it.


I had the idea to make an autograph card that looked like an old cassette tape sleeve.  I felt like that would make for a really rad autograph card concept.  I even went as far to make a barcode, that when scanned, would read "Phantom Cardboard" - although, thinking about it now the autograph would have most likely obscured that.

This was taking forever, but I was REALLY excited about getting this card auto'd, so I was willing to be patient and wait.  Well, after a year of waiting I got the unfortunate news that Nita -probably due to a scheduling/touring conflict- had to cancel the private signing.  Needless to say I was pretty bummed out.  But, I got the card back and will hold onto it in hopes of another shot.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Ariana Grande

I recently came across a picture of Ariana Grande in a Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson jersey from 2014 when she sung the National Anthem for the NFL's season opener and I thought it would make for a good card.

A few years back I was making a bunch of fantasy sports cards of celebs. in team gear throwing out ceremonial first pitches before baseball games.  This card pretty much fits that mold. 

This card is done in the style of the 1991 Upper Deck football base card.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

R.I.P. Taylor Hawkins

This is a shocking and incredibly sad loss.  I think Taylor, aside from being the beloved frenetic drummer he was, was universally lauded for being a 'good dude'.  He left behind a wife, 3 kids and a legion of fans.

The above card was part of a 5 card mini-set that was suggested by a follower of this page and based on an ad the Foo Fighters did ahead of Super Bowl LIII.  I'm still in awe that that same person was able to not only get all 5 cards signed for me, but also gave a set to each member of FF, for which I'm told each member got a kick out of them.  None of the 5 cards will ever leave my personal collection.  I am, like most are, bummed about Taylor so this card is really bitter sweet now.


Thursday, March 24, 2022

Emma Watson, Just For Fun

I came upon a the above picture of Emma Watson in a bright red (my favorite color) floral lace dress and it gave me an idea for a the card you see above.  This is an original autograph card design of mine.  I title the files I've done in this style as "slim autograph cards".  Typically they're clean with a little stylizing and plenty of white space to make an autograph pop.  This one turned out the way I pictured it in my head so I was pretty pleased with the end result.

To the best of my knowledge Emma Watson doesn't do much signing, but if she ever does do a private signing or something and it isn't a budget breaker I'll have a card ready to go.