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Old 11-11-2013, 04:57 PM   #1551 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alvin View Post
That's the issue right there:

Propaganda sketch cards, die-cuts, things like that-- they're all REALLY cool ideas, but there's no way to control the artists from taking full advantage of the concepts and winding up with a bunch of sketches that are no better or different than... regular sketches.
Alvin-...regarding concerns of repeat "sketch"style imagery, possibly, if you gave direction to create the art in an alternate/more graphic style and checked individual artist capabilities/style-ranges w/art-style submissions?...
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Old 11-11-2013, 05:03 PM   #1552 (permalink)
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Sorry to side track this thread slightly but does anyone on here know how to get Topps Product Support to reply to messages sent through the contact form on the Topps website ?

Topps Cards Support

I have sent them two messages relating to my MA: I pulls over the last 10 days, the second quite long and detailed, and have yet to receive even so much as an acknowledgement that either has even been received. Thanks for any help or suggestions.
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Old 11-11-2013, 05:24 PM   #1553 (permalink)
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Great analysis, MA. Appreciate it. Really nice to hear your kind words about what you did like, but I also wanted to briefly address some of your criticisms.

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Enough Martian heads. We seem flooded with them. Even when the art is detailed and incredible, it still feels like I have seen the same sketch over and over.
Understood, but also understand that when an artist is asked to do 50-100 cards, a headshot is something you're likely to get a few of. Even if you don't like them, others don't mind, and the simple fact is, it would be very difficult for us to say "No headshots." Artists would cry foul, because it's those simple compositions that often mean the difference between making a deadline and not. A beautiful full color headshot is also much more desirable than a rough pencil scrbble. Look at PitViper's avatar, or any of Mark Finneral's heads for examples. Hard for us to tell those artists "No Headshots."

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With the thousands of sketches between Invasion and Heritage, I’d suggest Topps go back to making them special. 1 or 2 a case perhaps.
We thought about seriously, but we needed to get a certain number of hits per box. So if we need two hits per box, to take down the sketches to two per case would mean the addition lots of other COSTLY hits. It just wasn't practical.

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Autos – I guess a good addition to the set as they add interest for others. Only problem with me is I honestly don’t really care too much about getting the signature of these guys and gals. Sure I respect Brown and McCrea and such, but I just don’t get excited. I know that Mars Attacks is fantasy and so it isn’t like there are high profile celebrities or historical figures but I would be interested in a higher end sig, even if it is harder to pull.
Not trying to give you a hard time here, but you want less sketches, no autos, no medallions or patches, but you'll still expect two hits a box for that price, right? That just doesn't add up, even if we could afford to do everything you DID want. With the cost to produce all that dazzling art that you loved (80+ new pieces), the economics mean we have to sell a box for X amount and therefore to make it worth YOUR money we need to include X number of hits. Suffice to say it gets very complicated. But I do understand where you're coming from, it's just there's a lot more to a set composition than a simple checkbox of "this is what fans really want."

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Medallions/Patches – I don’t collect this stuff. A manufacture trinket doesn’t appeal to me. I guess if it was numbered and perhaps signed by someone that would add interest. What if there was an insert you could that was more realistically tied to space? Space exploration to Mars is a very real event. Yes, Mars Attacks is fantasy but tying real life Mars isn't a stretch. You could have inserts related to Mars Rover and introduce real-life NASA into insert hits.
We thought about it and even tried. NASA doesn't license to consumer products, or at least, they wouldn't to us.

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Acetate Anatomy – The plastic cards never excite me. Filler and something I just make a stack of.
The overall response we got from these was overwhelmingly positive, so i'm going to chalk it up to personal preference.

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Originally Posted by MarsAttacks View Post
Asplode game cards – Sadly considering they were actually tough to pull, nobody seems to care including myself. I think the smaller size makes them seem less significant?
This was added at SJG's request, and at their expense, as a way to promote their new game. Just a little bonus.

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Originally Posted by MarsAttacks View Post
Concept sketches – I liked them, I think they were hard to tell though they were concept sketches (beyond the obvious black and white ones). So in hindsight, they could have been distinguished better.
Only TWO were in color I believe, the ones by Eric Wilkerson. Everything else was B&W.

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Originally Posted by MarsAttacks View Post
Base Cards – The new art was fantastic! But beyond that, you are always still left with giant stacks of base cards. If fewer base cards were printed then obviously there would be less. I know that would mean less cards in a pack, but wouldn’t that make them more special? Sure, you have the other hits and pulls, but when it is all said and done and you ripped open your boxes, you always have a huge stack of base cards and they seem like a waste. Thus they get blown by the Ebay guys and gals. This art was so good, it would have been nice to get just one base card in a pack. A lot of people could complain that they were unable to complete a set, and I get that. But it would avoid the flood and make them more special.
I know for collectors you guys are driven to the hits, sketches, inserts, etc. and what sells best, but the primary driver for us was getting this new story in the hands of new fans. That means more base cards. We WANT the base set to be easily accessible and collectible-- not just to card fans, but comic fans, movie fans, young fans and folks who've maybe never heard of Mars Attacks before.

As an example, our Mars Attacks game on Kickstarter has turned gaming fans onto the cards, as many of them have said they're now searching them out. These fans will love being able to complete a set in one box, they'll adore what you might consider a mid-tier sketch and they'll think the patches are the coolest thing in the box.

So, similar to the few dreck sketches out there, just take your extra base set and give it to a kid down the street and maybe make a new fan. The world of cards desperately needs new fans.

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While the new art was imaginative and well-done, how many times can you keep showing aliens and soldiers fighting each other?
That was the point of introducing new elements into the story: space mercs, monster men, United Earth Alliance, mutated insects-- more material and new characters. We also have that game and the comics bringing new characters into the mix like General Zar and heroes from The Novas Vira. Now that this new card set is out there, a second set of sketches can hopefully make full use of these new characters, factions and scenarios. I even created a PDF of some of the comics and new card imagery to send to as many artists as I could, which is why some of them used the mutants, the different Martians, space mercs, etc.

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If it were me, I would create Mars Attacks: Earth Invades. I’d flip it all around and Earth goes to Mars and kicks Martian butt.
We've got it all planned out. We'll get there

Last edited by alvin; 11-11-2013 at 05:30 PM.
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Old 11-11-2013, 05:33 PM   #1554 (permalink)
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Any chance box toppers could be included if you go with a standard hobby box format with the next product? That could be a good opportunity for some different inserts and maybe even larger-format sketches.

Allen & Ginter always does some interesting stuff with their toppers.
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Old 11-11-2013, 06:01 PM   #1555 (permalink)
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Alvin, how about a redemption card that you can send in for an exclusive game figure/character?
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Old 11-11-2013, 06:22 PM   #1556 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by monkeymcgee View Post
Any chance box toppers could be included if you go with a standard hobby box format with the next product? That could be a good opportunity for some different inserts and maybe even larger-format sketches.

Allen & Ginter always does some interesting stuff with their toppers.
That would be feasible. Something we wanted to do for this one, but didn't work out.
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Old 11-11-2013, 06:41 PM   #1557 (permalink)
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"Look at PitViper's avatar, or any of Mark Finneral's heads for examples. Hard for us to tell those artists "No Headshots."
...thanx Alvin!...working within the confines of 2.5"X3.5" is a challenge!...especially when you start introducing multiple elements into those dimensions...doing headshots, busts, close-ups and single figures/creatures enables greater detailing possibilities, hopefully resulting in a more rewarding/collectable image for the fan/collector...
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Old 11-11-2013, 06:44 PM   #1558 (permalink)
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"so rad. just rad"
....thanx J.A.!...(crafty/cool stenciling!!)
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Old 11-11-2013, 06:54 PM   #1559 (permalink)
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At the shop I go to, these two cards were in one guy's single pack. Packaging error?
http://www.worldnetmall.com/worldcorner/1311/b36.html
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Old 11-11-2013, 07:06 PM   #1560 (permalink)
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At the shop I go to, these two cards were in one guy's single pack. Packaging error?
http://www.worldnetmall.com/worldcorner/1311/b36.html
Sometimes sketch cards with a tacky surface get stuck together. Happens once in a while when guys use paint.
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Old 11-11-2013, 07:09 PM   #1561 (permalink)
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Or a "host" card protecting the Ted sketch in tow lol
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Old 11-11-2013, 07:22 PM   #1562 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by alvin View Post
We thought about seriously, but we needed to get a certain number of hits per box. So if we need two hits per box, to take down the sketches to two per case would mean the addition lots of other COSTLY hits. It just wasn't practical.
I'm sorry, I laughed out loud
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Old 11-11-2013, 08:08 PM   #1563 (permalink)
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I'm sorry, I laughed out loud
It's ok... i guess...?
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Old 11-11-2013, 08:28 PM   #1564 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by monster View Post
"so rad. just rad"
....thanx J.A.!...(crafty/cool stenciling!!)

Cool, thanks!!
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Old 11-11-2013, 10:00 PM   #1565 (permalink)
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...NICE!!!...
Thanks, Mark! That means a lot, comin' from you. Your stuff's pretty much the tits.

Speaking to the "Too many headshots and torsos" thing, as an artist, I get it. Variety is a worthy goal.

But, I think it bears keeping in mind that one of the reasons sketch cards ARE collectible is that they are original pieces of art, and art tastes are varied. You might think there are too many head shots...someone else might be sick of comic book-styled sketches, and not enough painted cards...someone else might think there aren't enough full-color sketches or ultra-realistic rendering...

The super intricate cards? Those are HARD. They take a lot of TIME and ENERGY. All of which seems to have been forgotten by folks who buy in bulk, expecting every single sketch to be a money-making masterpiece...kind of like a professional gambler getting pissed that the casino doesn't have more jackpots every night, so it's worth putting their paychecks in the slots.

Sketch cards used to ALL be quick sketches. When you get a great piece of fully realized art on a small trading card, you're benefiting from artistic competitiveness...a need to up your game that some artists feel more than others.

And, though the hardcore collectors out there are looking for the big $ amazing cards that make their money back for buying cases, you're not the only people buying cards. And like others have said, lots of regular folks buying card packs for the fun of it, or just to get the whole set like we all used to do as kids...those folks could be perfectly happy with a well-rendered head shot.

And, honestly, if they were all incredible pieces of art? NONE of them would bring that much value, because they would cease to be exceptional or rare.

I agree there should be some minimum standards of artistic skill that someone should be held to when they take on a card set, absolutely. NO ONE want's to spend money on a piece of crap that took three seconds to scribble.

But, some folks need to take an honest look at what they're expectations are, and then think about what is reasonable.

Last edited by vandavisart; 11-11-2013 at 10:13 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old 11-11-2013, 10:38 PM   #1566 (permalink)
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Just to chime in on th etopic of possible die-cut sketches, there were massive issues with the cards being damaged in the pack-out process leading to folks selling them as "crimped" or "non-crimped". It had to be a nightmare for customer service on the sheer volume that had to be replaced.
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Old 11-11-2013, 11:10 PM   #1567 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Igman7 View Post
Just to chime in on th etopic of possible die-cut sketches, there were massive issues with the cards being damaged in the pack-out process leading to folks selling them as "crimped" or "non-crimped". It had to be a nightmare for customer service on the sheer volume that had to be replaced.
Right... The crimp hit SWG5, but was corrected with SWG6 which had no crimp. Basically, don't do diecuts with points (maul and clone trooper had these), and they should be fine. It really was only an issue with that one set. SWG4, SWG6, and the other Topps sets with diecuts did not have rhe crimp issue. Please chime in if I am wrong, but I don't recall it being an issue with any other set.
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Old 11-12-2013, 01:56 AM   #1568 (permalink)
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...here are various "works in progress" shots taken while working on the Mars Attack sketch cards...


Uploaded with ImageShack.us


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Uploaded with ImageShack.us

Last edited by monster; 11-12-2013 at 02:40 AM.
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Old 11-12-2013, 07:03 AM   #1569 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by vandavisart View Post
Thanks, Mark! That means a lot, comin' from you. Your stuff's pretty much the tits.

Speaking to the "Too many headshots and torsos" thing, as an artist, I get it. Variety is a worthy goal.

But, I think it bears keeping in mind that one of the reasons sketch cards ARE collectible is that they are original pieces of art, and art tastes are varied. You might think there are too many head shots...someone else might be sick of comic book-styled sketches, and not enough painted cards...someone else might think there aren't enough full-color sketches or ultra-realistic rendering...

The super intricate cards? Those are HARD. They take a lot of TIME and ENERGY. All of which seems to have been forgotten by folks who buy in bulk, expecting every single sketch to be a money-making masterpiece...kind of like a professional gambler getting pissed that the casino doesn't have more jackpots every night, so it's worth putting their paychecks in the slots.

Sketch cards used to ALL be quick sketches. When you get a great piece of fully realized art on a small trading card, you're benefiting from artistic competitiveness...a need to up your game that some artists feel more than others.

And, though the hardcore collectors out there are looking for the big $ amazing cards that make their money back for buying cases, you're not the only people buying cards. And like others have said, lots of regular folks buying card packs for the fun of it, or just to get the whole set like we all used to do as kids...those folks could be perfectly happy with a well-rendered head shot.

And, honestly, if they were all incredible pieces of art? NONE of them would bring that much value, because they would cease to be exceptional or rare.

I agree there should be some minimum standards of artistic skill that someone should be held to when they take on a card set, absolutely. NO ONE want's to spend money on a piece of crap that took three seconds to scribble.

But, some folks need to take an honest look at what they're expectations are, and then think about what is reasonable.
You've said perfectly what I never could.
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Old 11-12-2013, 07:19 AM   #1570 (permalink)
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This would require artists to do sketches months and months before production on the set begins, making development of the set take much longer. Just not feasible-- unless we use sketches from previous sets.
Digital, smidgital. All of my prelim sketches were done the old-fashioned analog way. I generally drew nine prelim sketches on one sheet of typing paper.

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Old 11-12-2013, 08:08 AM   #1571 (permalink)
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One other thing about head shots. For my first ever sketch card gig -- Mars Attacks Heritage -- I poked around to see what other sketch card artists were doing and saw that head shots were common. And since they are generally easier to draw than an original composition with figures, machinery, perspective, etc., and since I had no idea when I started if I was going to have trouble meeting the deadline or not, I drew 58 head shots out of the 108 cards I drew.

Afterwards, when I had a better understanding of what I was doing, I felt guilty about doing so many -- even though they were very detailed, and, as a long-time popular culture collector, I wouldn't have minded pulling any of them in a sketch pack myself. So when I had a chance to sort of "redeem" myself with Mars Attacks Invasion, I did zero -- count 'em, zero -- head shots out of the 106 cards I drew. There are technically two pseudo head shots, but if you compare then with the typical head shot, they really aren't.
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Old 11-12-2013, 08:10 AM   #1572 (permalink)
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Here's my first Artist's Return from this set.

I was allowed to keep one blank, due to time constraints; so I can go ahead and post this for sale while I wait for the rest to come back.

Sweet, sweet drawing!!!
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Old 11-12-2013, 08:17 AM   #1573 (permalink)
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Awesome work Mark! And great studio pics!
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Old 11-12-2013, 08:22 AM   #1574 (permalink)
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Great stuff Mark.

Ted, you're leatest AP on eBay is in-friggin-tense!!!

One final comment on head shot sketches - the run of the mill collector would probably be THRILLED to pull a good head shot. It's only repetitive, when you look across the spectrum of all of the sketches produced. I still enjoy head shots, myself.
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Old 11-12-2013, 09:05 AM   #1575 (permalink)
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I don't mind the head shots--I bought several myself. I would just suggest limiting how many are done, if possible. I know other companies do some version of this--either limiting the number of repeats for characters or poses.

It does get a little repetitive after awhile for those who are buying a lot of sketches, which I know is an overall tiny percentage of the collectors.
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