KickStart a SketchCard

A recent KickStarter initiative caught my eye … “100 Years of Dejah Thoris Collectible Sketch Cards” (Celebrate over 100 years of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “Mars Universe” with this highly-collectible sketch trading card series.) Dynamite Entertainment needs $4000 to fund the project, and has already surpassed that goal. A $65 pledge earns you two sketch cards.


It started me thinking about how many SketchCard sets have been Kickstarter’d recently, and the average asking price of support that earns you a sketch card. Dynamite Entertainment previously ran a successful Red Sonja 45th Anniversary Collectible Cards Kickstarter that raised over $15,000. They had a similar pricing tier … $65 earned you two sketch cards.


I started researching other companies. “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Trading Cards Series Two” was run by — Rather than “premium packs” that had a sketch card or two per pledge, they sold entire hobby boxes. If you pledged $75 you got a full box that guaranteed a sketch card.

MST3k also ran a “Sharknado Trading Card Series” via Kickstarter. You again had to pledge $75 to get a full box before you could guarantee a sketch card reward.


“Krampus Trading Cards” by Attic Cards used the premium pack format similar to Dynamite Entertainment. A $33 pledge earned you a pack containing an assortment of 3 base cards, 1 solid metal insert card, and 1 original sketch card.


“Space Series 2” was Viceroy Card’s sixth overall set. They had two different pledge tiers. $29 earned you a premium pack that had base and insert cards with a sketch card, but $22 was “just the art.” This level guaranteed a sketch card without the packaging frills.


Kirk Lindo’s “VAMPRESS LUXURA: Sketch Card Gallery Art Book” was a twist on the concept. A $25 pledge earned you a book with sketch card scans. $55 earned you the book plus an original art sketch card that was used to make the book.


Even a couple big companies have got in on the action. Topps Kickstarted “Mars Attacks Occupation Trading Cards” and raised almost $200,000. — Sketch Cards were guaranteed 1 per $80 hobby box, but they had “add-on” options. For another $50 you could order a special Judge Dredd/Mars Attacks Crossover Collector Pack. Each came with 20 cards, based on the Mars Attacks Judge Dredd comic published by IDW, including 1 creator autograph and 1 hand-drawn crossover sketch card.


There have been tons of great Kickstarter trading card offerings, and I like the variety and possibility for niche themes. In recent memory the least expensive guaranteed sketch cards have been in the $20 range. The average seems to be about $35. If you’re going to run a Kickstarter that offers sketch cards, please tweet me (@sketchcards) … I’ll see what I can do. — Happy Collecting, y’all.


Halloween Card-Season Cards

I love all types of trading cards. This post may not be all about sketchcards; but it’s seasonal (#HappyHalloween). There is a very small-press set that is too often forgotten called TERROR CARDS XL that focused on horror movies and scream queens.


Terror Cards released signed, sealed autographs from 2004-2007. The were priced per-card, and offered new cards every few months. There were a few heavy hitters, including Gunnar Hansen (Leatherface in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 1974), and Ben Chapman (playing the Gill-man on land in the 1954 horror film Creature from the Black Lagoon).


Below are samples of the cards. Each were individually encased and stickered.

What’s most interesting is the print-runs. I always thought a company making a small card set would shoot for the moon, and print as many as they could. But as I researched, I discovered that even the most desirable cards had a minute print run …


So, good luck. If this Halloween you have a taste for collecting horror cards and scary nonsports, you may have your work cut out. These do not pop-up on eBay often … BTW, if you are “scared” I wasn’t going to discuss Halloween-themed sketchcards … try:

  • Wacky Halloween Postcards 2013 (Topps)
  • American Horror Story 2014 (Breyent Marketing)
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 (RRParks Cards)
  • Ghostbusters 2016 (Cryptozoic Entertainment)

Let’s continue the conversation on Twitter @Sketchcards … Happy Collecting!


Blank SketchCards for sale

In a previous post I discussed that many artists are partially-compensated from the card manufacturers with blank sketch cards (called Artist Proofs) that they can sell as commissions. But what if the artists just decide to sell the blank sketch cards instead of drawing on them? Here’s a rundown on blank card etiquette …


Not all blank sketch cards are equal. The Adventure Time cards above were meant to end up in the hands of people who want to doodle on a card for their own enjoyment, or commission a favorite artist. They were pack-inserted and easy to obtain. Have fun with these. Do what you want with them.

The above are examples, however, are of Artist Proofs that were created to be given to an artist as partial-compensation. Perhaps an artist listed them on eBay because they didn’t have the time to produce any art. But there arises some questions:

  • Are they going to stay blank in a collector’s collection?
  • If a non-contributing artist is given a blank sketch card as part of a commission request, should they draw on it?
  • Should an artist make a notation on the back that it is an “aftermarket?”
  • Is there a fear that a blank card is given to a contributing artist for a commission, then the finished card is later confused with a pack-inserted sketch card?


Here’s a real-life situation. Kevin Munroe might be a very talented artist, but he’s not listed as a contributing artist on the Indiana Jones Masterpieces set. He has acquired a blank sketch card, and is willing to draw a commission on it. Is this a perfectly acceptable practice?


Regardless of etiquette, selling blanks is big business. Rare blank sketch cards can sometimes sell for more than even finished art. — Do you have an opinion? Would you buy a blank sketch card if it was offered at the right price? Let’s continue the conversation on Twitter @Sketchcards — Happy Collecting!

Spotlight on: Eric Basaldua (EBAS)

Eric Basaldua started his career at Top Cow studios working directly under its founder, Marc Silvestri in the mid-2000’s. He quickly became famous drawing pretty ladies like Witchblade, & Grimm Fairy Tales (for Zenescope). He was at Top Cow during the dawning-age of sketch cards, and drew for some landmark sets.

  • Fathom by Dynamic Forces – 2001
  • Witchblade: Disciples of the Blade by Dynamic Forces – 2002
  • Lethal Ladies: Lady Death/Medieval Witchblade by Comic Images/Dynamic Forces – 2002


Fathom was one of the very first sketch card sets that was not Marvel-based by Fleer (1998-1999). Sketch cards were inserted 1 per-box, and Eric Basaldua drew 1000 cards out of approximately 4000 total. Many had a similar pose/composition, but that’s to be expected when drawing ONE THOUSAND cards.

Disciples of the Blade was not the first Witchblade set to include sketch cards, but the first to contract Eric Basaldua as a contributing artist. Sketches were again 1:box. EBAS drew 250 numbered cards; some in black ink & some in blue ink. Pose/Composition differed more than his previous set (as seen in the examples above).

When Lethal Ladies was released, it was a very different set. Sketch cars were only 1-in-4 boxes, totaling a scant 500 (according to the text on the back of the card). Eric Basaldua drew 234 of the cards according to the serial numbering on the front of the card. This makes it his rarest official sketch card.

Since 2002, Eric Basaldua has not drawn for another official sketch card. that I know of. Good luck chasing one down. When searching eBay, I only found 2 total cards at auction (either live or completed). Do you have one? Please share it with me on Twitter @Sketchcards. Happy Collecting!



Vintage eBAY Sales

There was a time in eBay’s infancy when completed auctions actually showed seller, buyer, and final price. Every once in a while I captured a screenshot. Now 10 years later, here’s a tiny timecapsule of sales-gone-by.


Let’s start with FAMILY GUY Season 2.  Mark Dos Santos was a regular contributor for Inkwork; but when you take a popular cartoon, a marvel comics spoof, and a collector trying to finish this larger puzzle … you have lightning-in-a-bottle.


Star Wars 30th Anniversary (2007) was already hot … but Topps upped the ante by getting known comic book cover artists to contribute. Phil Noto has drawn more books than I can list. Even a minor character from him can sell over $200.


When Lord of the Rings Masterpieces (2006) came out, people lost their minds trying to get one of each artist. Each contributing artists was listed at a different “rarity” with different insertion odds. This is a Level D (1:163 packs) Jake Myler (300 total sketches).


I’ll leave you with a Marvel Legends (Topps, 2001). This Silver Surfer is ridiculously rare because it was not found in hobby boxes. This is a “Custom Cover” sketchcard only found in retail packs by Marat Mychaels.

If there’s a particular throwback set you want me to dig for, let me know. I’ll see what’s hiding on an old hard drive. Good luck collecting fam. — Find me on Twitter @Sketchcards

DragonCon 2018 review & sketchcard gallery

I’ve attended DragonCon for well over 15 years. My favorite part is always Artists Alley. It’s no secret I love sketchcards; so below is my big ole’ gallery of cards seen on the convention floor. Without a lot of commentary, here’s my very photo-heavy review:

Kate Carleton (@KeelHaulKate on Twitter) had $60 Artist Proofs. I loved the variety and choice. I also appreciate that they are pre-drawn (not blank), because sometimes seeing a ton of blanks is overwhelming when you consider the volume of possibilities.


For example, seeing Matthew Sutton’s notebook (@Sketchbooks on Instagram) was awe-inspiring. He must have had almost 100 blank cards, including Stranger Things and Bombshells II. — I wouldn’t even know where to start. It’s like when Willy Wonka says, “The suspense is terrible. I hope it will last.”

Robert Hendrickson’s photo-realism is off the charts, (@Hendrickson_Art on Twitter). He even had cards drawn with room to add an actor signature (like the Patrick Stewart card above); which is brilliant for an actor-heavy convention.


Caleb King (@caleb_king on Twitter) brought his A-game. “Rick and Morty” fans should have been lined-up at his table as soon as the doors opened. He brought almost 40 different cards, and none disappointed.


I’ve brought from Scott Rorie (@ScottRorieArt on Etsy) a half-dozen times before. He only brought 3 cards to DragonCon, but he brought these Star Trek masterpieces.

I always like chatting-up Bryan SilverbaX (@SilverBaXart on Twitter). He’s actually local to my neck of the woods, and a great talent. He’s got a current Kickstarter (until 09/15), so hit him up.


Blair Shedd (@onegemini on Twitter) only brought two cards with him, but they’re a bargain. He kept them in his cash-box, so you may have to “request” them if you’re interested.

These Tad Stones sketch cards were not from any official set, but when you meet the creator of “Darkwing Duck” and Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers … you flip through his notebook. At $20 each, they may have been the bargain of the convention. The lady in front of me bought two, and I bought the one Tad is holding. I imagine he sold half the notebook by the end of DragonCon.


Jill Thompson (who has worked on Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman and her own “Scary Godmother” series) has never been on a sketch card set that I know of … but when I requested a card (seen in front of her), she didn’t hesitate. She’s a great creator and kind person.


But if you want to go the old-school route of buying from card dealers, there were a few of those on the convention floor as well. The first 3 floors of the AmericasMart building were dealers and vendors. The fourth floor was Artists Alley. — I’m sure I missed a ton of great artists and available cards. Did you attend & pick up a sketch card? Please share with me @Sketchcards on Twitter. Happy Collecting.

Scott Hanna at DragonCon

Scott Hanna (@inkerscott1 on Twitter) has inked more comic book pages than anyone ever. ComicVine has him credited in 1447 issues (and I think that’s still light). ComicBookDB says “well over 21,000 pages of comics art.” — So, when he was tabled at this year’s DragonCon, I had to chat him up and commission a sketchcard. His table-partner (I assume his wife) documented the whole thing on her Instagram. Below are screenshots from her videos.

He’s an incredible talent & kind to fans.
I totally recommend you meet him if you ever have the chance.

It’s always fun to be part of the process. Thanks again, Scott. I’ll be sharing more pickups and photos on my Twitter (@Sketchcards). Happy Collecting! — I’ll leave you with a scan of the finished card: