Monday, July 31, 2017

I Love And Hate This Card

If ever there was a card I proud of but died a little making ... it was this one.  Growing up I loved the Detroit Bad Boys.  That's my team.  I'd make a case for me being their biggest fan.  I can remember as a kid being so anxious watching playoff games that you'd think I was playing. The Chicago Bulls in general, and Michael Jordan specifically, were the enemy.  They didn't like us and we didn't like them. I'm old school.  I respect them (barely), but I STILL do not like them.

I've been wanting to find an excuse to use the 1990 Fleer baseball design for some time now.  For baseball Fleer's designs are not as classic as really any of their Topps counterparts, but this particular year was probably my favorite.  The design is clean and attractive.  I've done other cards tied to the year 1990, but I didn't feel any of them would be right for this design.

1991 Upper Deck
Before Michael Jordan quit basketball to try his hand at baseball he took some BP at the old Comiskey Park and hit a couple into left field stands. This was July of 1990, the same year the Detroit Pistons bounced the Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals for the second year in a row and went on to capture their second of back-to-back NBA crowns. But, I digress.  It's was sort of a thing to the point that Upper Deck included a short print card in their baseball set of their poster boy to commemorate the event.  I never owned one but I do remember having one or two unlicensed "Broder" Jordan baseball cards.

Outside of liking the overall aesthetic of 1990 Fleer set I really dig the White Sox uni that Jordan was wearing.  I used to have the cursive "C" hat like the one he's wearing and would actually like to get another.  That's not to take anything away from their blacks-and-white unis they've been donning after these, they're classic too.

If ever there was a card I made that turned out exactly like my vision of it would, it's this one.  It's a perfect manifestation of what I wanted to produce.

In the spot where the player position would go I simply put "Chicago".  I thought that just about covered the spirit of the card.  I toyed with "Guard", "G-OF" and "1990", but ultimate chose the city name as it applied to both the Bulls and White Sox.

This is yet another card I have no hopes of getting signed.  Not only would the odds be against it should I send it in the mail, but I think Michael Jordan is contractually obligated only to sign Upper Deck Authenticated cards.  Ironically Upper Deck purchased all of Fleer's trademarks during Fleer's 2005 bankruptcy.  So, maybe UD will make a retro card similar to this one day?

for comparison's sake

Friday, July 28, 2017

Game. Blouses.

Here's a card that originally came as a commission request.  Although nothing came of the request, I still thought this would be a fun card to make, and it was.

Apparently Prince, in addition to being a musical virtuoso, could also get down on the hardwood. The Charlie Murphy story that spawned the hilarious Dave Chappelle skit about he and his brother Eddie hooping with Prince at Prince's house is said to be all true, right down to the after game blueberry pancakes.

The 1972 yearbook picture of Prince on Minneapolis' Bryant Junior High's basketball team originally ran in a 1984 article in the Star Tribune, but went viral in 2015 when the old clipping was unearthed and posted on Twitter.  In the article Prince's basketball coach, Richard Robinson, said that Prince was an important part of the team, usually the first or second guy off the bench.  He noted him to have a good shot and excellent handles.  Even though Prince was only 5'2" Robinson told the Star Tribune he could have started for a different group of players noting the team was loaded with talent.  He also said Prince expressed his displeasure with not being a starter frequently.

1971-72 Topps basketball
For the card I wanted to go with the 1972-73 Topps basketball design but I saw that after a search with the keywords 'Prince Bryant basketball' that someone had already beat me to it.  So, I went with the design from the year prior.  The person who did the '72-'73 actually colorized the picture and did a pretty good job at it.  I've only dabbled with colorizing a black-and-white photo - with very limited success - so I kept mine newspaper clipping color.

I knew the biggest challenge to this one would matching the funky font.  As expected I could not find a match.  I decided to seek out something that might be used on the title screen of a 1970's blaxploitation movie.  I think I funked it up pretty good with my choice.

Bryant Junior High closed permanently in the late '70s.  I looked but I couldn't find a mention of the school colors or mascot anywhere.  I chose to go with the color scheme used for the Los Angeles Lakers team cards because the background was purple and Prince is pretty much synonymous with the color purple.  It's also cool that there's the tie-in of the Lakers having moved from Minneapolis in 1960.

In the spirit of a Topps style fun fact that were often found on the backs of cards ... Minnesota is known as the "Land of 10,000 Lakes" hence the nickname Lakers.  It's curious that Los Angeles chose to keep the name seeing as there are no naturally occurring lakes in the city of Los Angeles.  Now you know.

The card marks the second card that I've made posthumously of the card's subject, therefore giving me zero chance of an autograph, the first being Tupac.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Monster Squad

I don't take a lot of custom requests.  It's not because I'm a dick or lazy, it's because I do these cards in my spare time (most of my spare time actually) and if I'm going to devote the time it takes me from concept to physical card it needs to be something I have an interest in as well so I can do the project justice and feel good about the end product.  With that being said, when I had a request for some Monster Squad cards I didn't hesitate much to get right on it.  Plus, in exchange I got some pretty cool VHS tapes -- you see, I'm a geek for that bulky dead media.

1987-88 Fleer basketball
I had actually thought of doing some Monster Squad cards for quite awhile.  Any self-respecting '80s kid is a fan of The Monster Squad.  The problem was I like to keep my cards year specific and I just didn't think the wood-grained 1987 Topps baseball cards would fit.  Enter the 1987-88 Fleer basketball design.  It's a simple enough design and could work with most subjects.  It was a win-win.  I got to add another basketball card template to the mix and also create a pretty bitchin' card.

I kept the stripes the light grey and matched the font as best I could.  I stretched "Monster Squad" across the whole card instead on trying to keep it right aligned, and dressed it in the original movie poster font colors.

In the lower right corner is where Fleer listed the player's position. Only the Sean got text there being given credit as the "leader" of The Monster Squad.

I've made three cards in this set thus far and all three went in the mail right away hopefully to be returned autographed.

Tom Woodruff, Jr.  who played the Creature from the Black Lagoon-esque Gillman was a quick turn around, and he's got a great looking signature.
one down, two to go.

Extra: also check out these sweet Monster Squad customs done by Branded in the 80s!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Hockey Pac

Well, you can file this one under cards that I probably won't be able to get autographed.  But, in case Pac is alive and planning the greatest comeback ever I've got a card for custom card for him to sign. This is one of the more famous images on Tupac and practically begging to be a card.

This one is inspired by the 1986 Topps hockey set.  This is the second time (Cameron Frye) I've used this design, and also the second Red Wing.

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Apollo Creed Of Football Players

In case you weren't aware, the man most famous for portraying Apollo Creed had an NFL football career, albeit brief.

1970 Topps football
Carl Weathers, a linebacker, played 7 games for the Oakland Raiders in 1970, and appeared in a single game for the club the following season.  He then spent a couple of seasons in the Canadian Football league with the BC Lions before giving up professional football to focus on an acting career.

I decided to make a 1970 Topps football inspired Carl Weathers for two main reasons; the first being that the late Bob Lemke already did a 1971 style card, and the second being that Carl played the games in 1970 as opposed to one in 1971.  I owe Mr. Lemke some credit as he colorized the black-and-white photo that I used for my card so I that's a task I didn't have to take on.

The fonts on this one didn't pose much of a problem, so much of my time was spent cleaning up little imperfections.

I not real confident about getting a TTM success from Mr. Weathers as I've got a few Rocky cards that have been pending for a long, long time.  Even if I don't get mine signed it was still a cool card to make.

Friday, July 14, 2017

A Tom Hanks Double Feature

I was recently contacted by person seeking a couple of Tom Hanks cards who is confident he'll be able to get them signed.  I told him shut up, just shut up, you had me at signed... you had me at signed.  Not really, but yes, I jumped at the chance at designing a card that could possibly be signed by Tom Hanks.  Does it get any bigger than that?

The characters in question are Jimmy Dugan from A League of Their Own and Forrest Gump.

I thought about it and the two roles should be first balloters for someone who likes making custom trading cards of sports movie roles.  I guess I haven't to this point because of the era they are set in. I'm an '80s kid and that's what generally stokes my nostalgic nerd fire.  But, I was more than eager to take on this challenge.

The first of the two that I made was the Forrest Gump card.  For this I chose the 1963 Topps football design.  Now, to the best of my knowledge the movie doesn't say a specific year that Greenbow's favorite son attended the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.  But, we did see him witness the Stand in the Schoolhouse Door which occurred in June of 1963, and that was enough for me.

The design itself is aesthetically about as simple as it gets.  My challenge was trying to degrade the photo.  This was something new to me as usually I'm trying to improve the quality of a crappy screen capture.  I messed with the photo a ton, plus watched and read a few tutorials.  I'm not sure how 1963 the end result is, but it was my best shot without actually knowing any photo aging techniques or having an app to do it for me.

Up next was the Jimmy Dugan character.  A league of Their Own was set in 1943, the inaugural season for the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.  I really wasn't enthused about trying to replicate another pre-1980s design ... so, I didn't.  I chose to go with the 1992 Topps baseball design -- the year the movie was released.  I've made some early '90s basketball card designs, but this was the first Topps baseball design beyond 1990 that I've tried.

1992 Topps
Let me just say I love the way this one turned out. The design more than anything was time consuming.  It took me a while to figure out how to make the little shaded three dimensional name plates, but I eventually did.

The picture is from a classic scene where the Rockford Peaches skipper is trying to find a better way to reprimand Evelyn so as not to make her cry. Because, as you're probably aware, "there's no crying in baseball". Because of the photo selection I had to go with a horizontal layout where as not all, but the majority of the 1992 Topps are vertical.

Try as I might I just could not find a close fit for the boxy script team name font.  So, I went with one I felt looked best.  I had to place every letter individually to have the script connect, but dare I say it looks better than Topps' font choice?

Now I'm just waiting on the autograph connection to get back with me.  Hopefully it comes through and it's not just my mom tricking me into some Tom Hanks custom cards, because holy crap does she love her some T. Hanks - shout out to Big.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Pigskin Wrestlers

There's a number of big time wrestling names that had football careers prior to stepping inside of the squared circle, and I'm happy to have recently added two of them to my list of custom card TTM successes.  Both all-time greats, and both Georgia residents.  I don't know how significant that second statement is, but I just felt like adding it.  Also, while I'm on a tangent, it seems to me through my TTM requests that a lot of retired pro wrestlers reside in Florida.  Neither here nor there, but whatever.

Bill Goldberg played defensive tackle for the University of Georgia Bulldogs in the late '80s.  He was taken in the 11th round of the 1990 NFL draft by the Los Angeles Rams.  He spent one season with the Rams and then onto the CFL before landing on the Atlanta Falcons from 1992-94 and then shortly after suffered a career ending injury.   Bill was spotted by none other than Lex Luger (whom also had a pre-wrestling football career) and Sting.  Those two encouraged him to pursue pro-wrestling and the rest, as they say, is history.

To stay era-appropriate I chose the 1989 Topps football design, and it's actually the year the photo used was taken.  There's nothing too fancy about the design, but every time I use it I come away thinking it's a clean design and perfect for customs.  I got the card back from Mr. Goldberg pretty quickly and was actually pretty surprised as he had just come off his pretty well publicized comeback with the WWE.

Ron Simmons played for Florida State from 1977-80.  His FSU career was quite prolific. He was an All-American in 1979 and 1980.  He was in Heisman consideration in 1979 and had his number retired by the Seminoles in 1988.

Simmons was taken in the 6th round in '81 by the Cleveland Browns and played for them in the 1981 and '82 seasons.  He then played for the USFL's Tampa Bay Bandits where he was teammates with ... wait for it ... Lawrence Pfohl, aka Lex Luger.

I tried to get Ron's autograph on a wrestling card awhile back and got a note in return saying he's now charging $5 for cards.  I thought that was more than reasonable although I didn't immediately resend my card, and this was before I really started to get going with my custom cards.  I ran across some pictures of Mr. Simmons being a monster for the 'Noles and decided to make a custom feeling fairly certain I'd have a return success.

I chose the 1978 Topps football design, a year right in the middle of Ron's FSU days.  I liked the design because it really has funky retro feel to me, and I was very pleased with the end result.  I think it has a great vintage look. I sent $10 and two card and asked if he could add his WWE catchphrase "Damn!" to his signature, which he did. He also included a signed WWE card of his own, plus the turn around was pretty quick.

Also see : The People's Champ

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Jem Wolfie

I stumbled upon Jem Wolfie on Instagram.  Jem is fitness model from Australia whose brand spans everything from nutrition to work outs.

I first saw a basketball picture of her that I'd thought would go great in the 1986-87 Fleer  basketball template.  Then I came across others that would be perfect for my TKO (1985 Topps Rocky IV) template and my 1988 Donruss baseball inspired template.

I contacted Jem about getting them autographed for my collection and she was more than happy to oblige, and so they were shipped Down Under.

Jem enjoyed the cards so much she asked me about making more for any autograph requests she gets. She selected the image and the 1986-87 Fleer basketball design.  Jem was the first person to request cards from me for personal use and I have to admit that was a bit of a high.  I even got one of the new cards signed for me, and the picture with the card sweetened the pot.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Arr Arr Arr

I came across this picture of Tim Allen in a complete Matthew Stafford Detroit Lions uniform and knew it hard to turn into a card.  I believe it's from a Halloween party he attended.

I'm a Tim Allen guy.  Tim's from Michigan and has always repped the home state (obviously, right?). That's the reason I watched Home Improvement damn near every day in junior high; loved seeing the Detroit-centric references.  Plus, it was a good show.

The card is in the style of the '86 Topps football set.  For no other reason than I'd just made it for some Wildcats cards, and it's also one of Topps' more recognizable football designs from the '80s.

I've got this one pending in the mail.  Tim's a pretty reliable signer so I'll update this post if I get a TTM success.

1986 Topps football


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Matthew Modine

Today I got quite the surprise on my Instagram account. Matthew Modine reposted my Dr. Martin Brenner Stranger Things TTM success from him.  Talk about floored!

As you can see he tagged my account and captioned it "let's make this happen".  I'm not sure what that means? I mean, as far as my cards go I would consider myself very small-time.  It's more of a hobby.  It takes me forever just to make a few, so as far as mass production goes I would need the support of an entity with the know how.  It's just me, my laptop, my printer, and a guillotine style paper cutter.  Not sure what would come out of this, if anything.  I was just more than thrilled with the shout out from one of my favorite actors.

As for the show, I loved Stranger Things.  I'm usually not really big into sci-fi, but being that the setting for the show was Midwest America in 1983, they got me ... hook, line, and sinker.  I thought it was awesome, and what a cast!  I cannot wait until Season 2 which is set to hit Netflix on Halloween.

That brings us to the card.  It's inspired by the 1983 (naturally) Topps baseball set.  Where the player position would normally be I made note of the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana and trimmed the card in the Stranger Things themed red and black border.

That card was actually one of two cards Mr. Modine signed for me.  I also did one for his character Louden Swain in the 1985 movie Vision Quest.  This one utilized the 1985 Topps baseball inspired design.  The colors are Thompson HS's school colors and I was able to recreate the Warriors logo from a screen grab of one of their wrestling singlets.