Ever since the pandemic began and the hobby seemingly exploded overnight, I noticed the increasing popularity of art cards. I've found that the familiar link between art and cards were finally getting their 'due' it deeply deserves in this hobby.
Whether it be personal projects by various artists or the ever popular Topps Project 2020 (the biggest 'mainstream' attraction), these two industries just meshed together so nicely, and It's been so fun seeing this card category finally takeoff and reach new heights.
Today, I added my very first art card in my Jhonas Enroth collection. This card is actually an Artist Proof sketch card that was created by Matt Stewart, an artist who's creative abilities can been seen on various Topps, Upper Deck, and Leaf trading cards.
Not only did I add a new card into my collection this week, but I also gained some new card knowledge when it comes to these fancy Artist Proof cards, something I didn't even know existed until dealing with Matt on this unique card art project.
What are these 'Artist Proof' cards, Anyway?
These blank Artist Proof cards are official "unfinished" licensed trading cards that were privately distributed by the card companies (Topps, Leaf, Upper Deck, etc) to the commissioned artist(s).
While sometimes offered up as an additional form of payment for an artist providing their services, (Example: creating a new card set that featured their artwork), these blank Artist Proof cards are given to the artists so that they can continue their commissioned work "off the clock" that feature their unique artistic talents.
Artists usually distribute them into the card community through artistic requests (like I did here with Matt), or sell the 2.5" x 3.5" blank canvas cards on the secondary market to collectors & other artists to use for their custom card projects.
After learning about these blank Artist Proof cards, I found them to be exceptionally cool, and it's something I didn't know existed until a few weeks ago. #TheMoreYou Know
The Image Used
Since I didn't have a card that featured Enroth on his current club (Örebro HK), I decided now it was the right time since Enroth has been off to a great start this season in the SHL.
This image Matt used to recreate on cardboard was from a game on October 7th, 2021 vs Brynäs IF, where Enroth recorded his 2nd shutout of the season. Matt did a great job on this project and the finished product turned out great! Out of all of the art cards I've come across, this is a really great sketch with colours that pop.
In Progress vs The End Result
If you want to get in contact with Matt about your own custom art card, you can connect with him below:
Matt's website: MattStewartIllustrations.com
Facebook Page: Matthew Stewart Illustration Design
Find him on Twitter at @Archaeomatt
Find him on Instagram @stewartillustrations
Aaron / creasecollector
Author - Aaron
I've been collecting Hockey cards since the late 90's. Mainly the goalies since 2005. I also Co-Host a Hockey Card Podcast.
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Beyond The Crease: A Hockey Card Blog