Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Mikayla Demaiter II

Upon completing the Michael Scott 1990-91 ProSet hockey inspired card I immediately wanted an excuse to use the template again.  The wait was not a long one having scrolled upon the image of everyone's favorite goalie turned model, Mikayla Demaiter.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Lola Marandel

Maybe a month or so I was just looking through some of the cards I've made over the years, just sort of scrolling through the folder.  I came to the cards I've done utilizing the 1992-93 Upper Deck McDonald's basketball inspired design.  I noticed that the three cards I've done using this template have all been volleyball cards so that got me interested in trying out a different sport whenever the opportunity presented itself.

I recently started following French professional tennis up-and-comer Lola Marandel on Instagram.  While scrolling through her feed I found a couple of pictures I felt would work well for a custom card.  

To give this card a tennis theme I switched out the hardwood bottom border for that of a clay tennis court and of course traded in the volleyball for a tennis ball.  I think my favorite thing about this card is the combination of colors.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Michael Scott Hockey Card

The Office is one of those gifts that keep on giving as far as me making some really fun custom cards.  This card is based on a Season 2 episode entitled "Michael's Birthday".  Kevin is waiting to hear back as to whether or not he has skin cancer which draws concern from his co-workers, much to the chagrin of the attention Michael feels should be paid to his birthday.  To shift the spotlight back on himself errr distract everyone from Kevin's impending prognosis Michael takes his crew to an ice skating rink for a skate party.  It should go without saying -because it's an episode of The Office- but it's a hilarious episode.

What's evidenced in the ice rink scene is that Steve Carell, in full hockey gear, is a very adept ice skater.  Growing up Steve was goalie and had aspirations at one time of a career in hockey, he even has an Elite Prospects page.  In the end Steve shifted his love of hockey over to a hobby to focus on a different career path.

Growing up I was not a big hockey fan because I didn't play hockey.  I've actually only ice skated once in my life.  Hockey is an expensive sport to get into and my family was a $5 Hot 'n' Ready family.  But I did collect hockey cards because... well ... they were cards.  The Red Wings were not dominant until I was in high school but it was still exciting to pull a Bob Probert, Sergei Federov or Stevie Y from a pack.

This card is done in the style of the 1990-91 ProSet hockey cards.  I remember buying a good number of packs of these at my local party store.  These were the first hockey cards from ProSet I believe.  ProSet was fun to collect because they were on trend with what was the newer look in sports cards back then.  They offered an alternative to Topps' traditional look.   White stock instead of cardboard, brighter colors and photography, less framed in and more full-bleed shinier photography and full color card backs, plastic packs as opposed to wax ... all things that could probably be credited to Upper Deck's influence on trading card aesthetics coming out of the 1980s and moving into the '90s. 

This is the second time I've used this particular template.  The first time was 4 years ago with this Sea Bass card.  My cards have evolved a lot since then.  The biggest difference is that back in 2018 I was only doing card fronts.  My thinking was that's what really counts anyways, but I've come to realize how much better a complete card presents.  It takes twice the time to finish a card but it's so worth it in the end.  Obviously still a custom, but less of a custom, if that makes sense.

Friday, July 29, 2022

Grumpy Cat

Back when Grumpy Cat, né Tardar Sauce, was taking over the interwebs I was there for it.  I'm probably what you'd call a "cat person" and I thought the memes were pretty damn funny.  I think my favorite was captioned "That shit better be fancy feast".  Whomever was behind the Grumpy Cat marketing machine did an excellent job as she was everywhere -yes, Grumpy Cat was a female- I even had an official Grumpy Cat t-shirt that I proudly wore as the antisocial that I am.

In 2015 Grumpy Cat, and Arizona native, "threw" out the ceremonial first pitch before and Diamondbacks / Padres game.  I like using the '86 Topps baseball inspired design for celebrity pitches.  If Grumpy Cat was still with us I'd hope she'd absolutely hate this card.

Friday, July 15, 2022

Sig. Showcase: Christie Brinkley

I just got these two cards back via a send-in from a private signing that Official Pix did with Christie Brinkley.  It was pretty much a no-brainer to participate in this signing.  Autograph + 80's icon is an automatic custom card-on for me.   

I've made 3 cards featuring Christie, one as a part of the ongoing Dream Girl set, and two within the Vacation set.  I chose the two pictured above to send in.  It was a toss up between the two Vacation cards.  The other is the iconic shot of Christie in the Ferrari, but I chose the hotel swimming pool scene card with the idea that the upper left corner left a lot of space to really showcase an autograph.

The Dream Girl card is the first of the sixteen "official" DG cards that I've gotten signed.  There's a few rouge Dream Girl cards out there however that were done as commissions that have been inked. 

Another thing that really appealed to me about this private signing was discovering upon some research how clean Christie's autograph is.  I was confident the cards would turn out great.  For Official Pix's part these two cards were signed exactly as I requested them to be, plus they put a nice holographic COA sticker on the back.  I'd highly recommend their service if you're an autograph collector.


Friday, July 1, 2022

Spicoli's Independence Day

I've been sitting on the idea for this card for quite a few years.  I think the reason it hasn't gotten done until now is that I wanted to time it with Independence Day and in years past the 4th of July has always snuck up on me and then it would be too late, so it would go on the backburner for a year at a time.  More recently I've mainly been working on autograph cards for my personal collection, so this time it was easier to take a break from that as opposed to being in the middle of creating a new mini-set and not wanting to pause from that.

Rack Pack Glossy all-star

The idea for this card was always to do it in the style of the old glossy rack pack all-star inserts.  Anyone who collected baseball cards in the '80s probably had a few of these in their collection.  These cards highlighted MLB all-stars from 1984 to 1991 with virtually no change to the design with the exception of updating the year at the top.  I chose this design for its 'all-American' appeal.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High is one of the 5 or so movies I consider to be my "favorite" because I just can't pick a clear winner, as I like different movies for different reason.  Fast Times, as well as The Karate Kid (another on that favorites list), are movies I've exhausted most any sensible trading card tie-ins for.  I particularly enjoy making cards for Jeff Spicoli and Linda Barrett with those two being my favorite male and female characters in the film.  I'm sure that's also true of most fans of the movie due to their respective magnetic scenes.   


The scene depicted on this card was foreshadowed on the first day of school - "Just like you wouldn't want me to come to your house some evening and discuss U.S. history with you on your time" - and is the third and final act in Mr. Hand and Jeff Spicoli's adversarial teacher/student relationship.  After having Mr. Hand's will imposed onto him in the first two acts Jeff was able to muster a little redemption with his recounting of the American Revolution in the most Spicoli way ever.  That summary of events of what led to the birth of a new nation I thought would be the perfect card back in a Constitution/Declaration of Independence style presentation. 

One element this card HAD to have was a reference to, in my opinion, one of the funniest lines in Fast Times when on the first day of school Jeff Spicoli, despite the totally confusing new schedule, reasons that he's found the his U.S. History class he's supposed to be in because he spots a globe in the back corner of the room - "This is U.S. History, I see the globe right there."  Dead giveaway, right?

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