Back in June, 2012, I started soliciting a few producers of trading cards, like Topps and Cryptozoic Entertainment. I’d done about 60+ of my own personal sketch cards and felt I was ready to try to get on an “official” set.
About a month later, Cryptozoic invited me to be a sketch card artist on an unannounced trading card set, and I jumped at the opportunity. My commitment was 40 cards and I had until December 7th to finish and return them. This seemed like more than enough time, but I ended up cutting it down to the wire.
It wasn’t until December 19th, when Cryptozoic finally published a product page for the set that I could finally reveal it. The 40 cards I drew are for the upcoming “Superman: The Legend” set, to be released in Spring 2013.
The good news is that Cryptozoic approved all 40 cards. The bad news is they still have to go to DC Comics to be approved before they actually go into random packs of trading cards.
If you’re unfamiliar with sketch cards, here’s the lowdown. For each set, a group of artists is commissioned to produce hand-drawn sketch cards. These are actual 2.5” x 3.5” bristol board cards. The front is plain white, usually with a small logo for that specific set, and the back is printed full-color, usually congratulating the finder on drawing a rare sketch card.
When finished, the cards are sent to the trading card producer (in my case Cryptozoic) for initial approval. Approved cards then go to the licensor (i.e., DC Comics) for final approval. Those cards are then randomly inserted into retail packages. In the case of Superman: The Legend, you’ll have a 1 in 24 chance of drawing a sketch card from a pack.
Also, for every 10 of my cards DC approves, I get an “artist proof” card back. This is basically an extra blank card I can draw on and do with what I want. I can keep it, sell it, whatever. And it’s basically an “official” DC trading card at that point.
And in early November, while in the midst of the crunch to finish Superman, they invited me to try out for another unannounced set. I can’t say a thing about it, other than the subject matter was just so tempting I couldn’t resist. I submitted 4 cards as an “audition” and I got in! So now I’m working on my second official card set. But if history repeats itself, it could be 4-5 months before I can even say what the property is.
But trust me, it’s super cool.
Unfortunately, I still can’t show ANY of the Superman artwork yet until about a month before the cards go on sale. Hopefully won’t be more than a couple months. Keeping all this stuff under my hat has been a bit frustrating, but it’s worth the wait.