THE GRAPHIC HEADSTONE: JASON CROSBY, MARS ATTACKS TRADING CARD ARTIST!

 

graphicheadstonebanner copy                             JASON CROSBY, Mars Attacks Trading Card Artist

Deadwest: Howdy there, Scream Freaks! Thanks for meeting me in this here cemetery. You never know when you might need back-up when gett’n involved with goods on the grave market! That must be our contact over there. Howdy!jasonheadshot

Jason Crosby: Hi, there. Are you Deadwest?

DW: The one and only. You got the stuff?

JC: Sure do. The complete Mars Attacks: Invasion trading card set. Go ahead and check it out. Every card’s there.

DW: Hold yer horses, now! What are these doodle cards mixed in here?1175582_10152169149959115_1619755684_n

JC: Those are original sketch cards from me and other artists.

DW: Let me guess, you pull’n a fast one on me? Couldn’t find a complete set, so you try pass’n off doodles for the real thing, and fool me into think’n this is a complete set? That it?!

JC: What? No! Those are sketch cards! Sketch cards are 1/1 2.5 x 3.5 pieces of art randomly inserted into packs. I know what I’m talking about, because I’m one of the artists for the newer Mars Attacks series.

DW: I see yer mouth flapp’n, but I’m not hear’n any convinc’n. Who are you?

JC: My name’s Jason Crosby. I’m a freelance artist best known for my trading card artwork.

DW: So, yer an Aaah!rtist, huh? Mind entertaining me and the Scream Freaks with some questions we got for people like you?

JC: Uh, sure? Am I being held against my will?

DW: You can see what happens when you run. Alright, you say these sketch cards of yers are officially part of the Mars Attacks: Invasion set. How did you make that happen?

JC: I was hired to work on Topps’ Mars Attacks: Invasion in 2013 after they saw one of my Martian drawings I did for fun and posted it to the official Topps Facebook page. The former brand manager of Mars Attacks then contact me. For the Invasion set, I contributed 150 sketch cards, the most I’ve ever done for a set. For 2015’s Mars Attacks: Occupation, I’ll have 80 sketch cards, my own 9-card, printed chase set, additional base cards, and creator card (autographed).

DW: So, now yer claiming to have art in the newest Mars Attacks card set? Must have been nice to be called back.

JC: Mars Attacks has been HUGE for me. I was a full-time freelance illustrator for 8 years before ever drawing my first sketch card, but since then, the companies have kept me busy. I have my own 9-card, printed chase set in the upcoming Mars Attacks release where I redesigned classic sports cards with Martians destroying each other. It was a dream project that combined my childhood passion (card collecting) with both my careers up to this point (graphic designer and illustrator).   I designed, drew and wrote the fronts and backs of the set! Here’s some you can look at.

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DW: I have to admit, they look mighty cool, but let’s dig into yer claims of being the guy who drew these. How are these printed cards colored? Looks like it’s maybe watercolor?

JC: With the quick turnaround time for a lot of my work (especially editorial art), I have to color in1235949_10152159673874115_1632539797_n Photoshop. Even when coloring in Photoshop, however, I use hand-created textures to keep the hand-drawn feel.

DW: Most people know artists working in printed media create their work on a much larger scale than what it’s ultimately reduced down to for the final product. You don’t have that benefit with your sketch cards. Are there any artistic challenges to drawing for such a small format?

JC: I prefer to draw larger. Even after thousands of sketch cards, I’m not completely comfortable with the 2.5 x 3.5 layout.   Most of my personal work is at least 10 x 14 or larger.

DW: Pretty convincing answer. You must have had some favorite trading cards growing up?

JC: I was a huge sports card collector growing up and still own most of them. I have most key rookie cards in the major sports from the late 70s to the mid 90s. My collection started to wane when I started college.

DW: I always hated when companies gave an inferior movie sequel a trading card series as opposed to its more successful predecessor. Like when we got cards for Jaws 2 and Ghostbusters 2 but never any for the originals. Was their ever a movie or TV show you thought deserved to be trading cards?

JC: I’m a huge horror movie fan and would LOVE an all-encompassing horror set. I know this is an impossibility with all the different copyrights owned by the studios, but I can dream, can’t I??!!

DW: Hey, who’s stopp’n you, right? If you haven’t heard of it, I’d recommend the Topps Fright Flicks trading cards from some time ago. They showcased Freddy Krueger, Pumpkinhead, Fright Night, Slimer, the Fly, and included stickers and posters you could make with the cards. Might have sold with the stick of chewing gum, too. You ever buy an old pack of cards with decades old gum and try to chew it out of curiosity?

JC: I have. Very dry!

DW: Boy howdy, trading cards were everywhere back then for nearly everything. Think they’re on the verge of a comeback?

JC: I don’t think so. If anything, I think they may still be declining. I think kids have so many other forms of entertainment now compared to the 80s when I grew up. The current pack prices for a lot of the card releases are also prohibitive for young kids to get started.

DW: Maybe if they came up with some new creative way to make trading cards even more fun. Not like a game or noth’n like that, but . . . something . . . you know?

JC: I think introducing different ideas on cards is one of the easiest and best ways to set your work apart. 10532791_10153006350154115_4043107751701370937_nEveryone has seen portraits of their favorite heroes, but how can you do something different to make your art stand apart? For Upper Decks’ 2014 ‘Marvel Premier,’ I designed these “Famous Fisticuffs” cards that went over well for me. And Topps loved it when I combined classic sports card designs with the Star Wars universe.

DW: Whoa now! Yer name dropping like a mother over here! You drew cards for Marvel comics too?

JC: I’ve contributed cards for numerous sets including 13142_10153367995814115_6001558340895302206_nmultiple sets for Topps (Mars Attacks and Star Wars), Upper Deck (Marvel Comics), Cryptozoic (DC Comics) and multiple smaller companies and franchises.

DW: Whoowee. You must be one well connected guy to keep jobs like that comin’ in. Any networking advice for other aspiring artists try’n to break into the business?

JC: Introduce yourself. Meet people. Email art directors (without being annoying). Don’t get offended if they don’t hire you right off. The internet makes it so easy to put your work on display now.

DW: I’ve always heard a great place for meet’n and greet’n are the conventions. What’s your 2 cents on that?

JC: I’m still a newbie to the Con scene as I’ve only set up a booth at 3 so far, 2 of those being at the local SC Comicon. I’m not sure I could ever be an artist who travels the country every few weeks setting up at Cons, but I will pick and choose several per year in the local region to set up. Another way I network with artists is with my JEEPERS project I run on Facebook.

DW: What the heck is JEEPERS?

JC: JEEPERS is a Scooby-Doo villain fan page I started several years ago. In the beginning, I planned to draw every Scooby villain and design the pieces like trading cards. After about five villains and multiple artists asking if they could contribute, I opened it up to friends. The goal is to still draw every villain in the entire franchise. No villain is repeated. So far, we have around 65 completed villains by 40 artists. Please go to www.facebook.com/JEEPERS to see all the great work as well as contribute if you want!

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DW: Alright, Jason. I’m more than convinced yer the Aaah!rtist you claim to be and ready to close our deal. (Spa-tuh!) Put ‘er there.

JC: Did you just spit in your hand? How is that even possible?!

DW: Okay, fine. Here’s what I owe ya, and mind inform’n the Scream Freaks where they can check your work out and contact you if they ever wanted to commission you fer a job requir’n yer artistic know how?

JC: I have prints available. I also have ‘APs’ (artist proofs) available for most of the card sets I’ve worked on. When working on a set, the company gives artists so many blank cards to keep and commission. My main site (www.jasoncrosbyillustration.com) isn’t regularly updated, but please check www.facebook.com/jasoncrosbyillustration to see prints and current work.

DW: You heard the man, be sure to check his stuff out and buy it fer Peter’s sake! Thanks fer watching my back, but now I gotta book it and enjoy my haul here. See ya later, Scream Freaks!

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TIMJACOBUSttitle lastcopy TOMSULLIVANNEXT

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