Wednesday, November 30, 2011

11/30/11 Sketch Card Update

These are some of the RED retail ones done exclusively for Target stores. For those unfamiliar, Target's "thing" is marketing in red, so all of the artists doing their exclusive cards have to make red a central theme. I'm doing a little over 100 of these, and over a hundred of the regular cards too. I'm almost done with all of the Target ones, but here's a few of my favorite of the Jedi/Sith ones.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Advice You May Have Missed!

I know, I know. This post is kind of a copout, but hey, I'm wrapping up a decent amount of my sketch cards right now, and haven't had much time to dig up some new content for you guys. BUT, each of the following links contain a lot of great info you may have missed from industry artists and I highly suggest you revisit them for some solid advice!

Kate Cook's Advice

Interview with Grant Gould

Interview with David Fernandez

Interview with Randy Martinez

Interview with Denise Vasquez Part I & Part II

Will try to get some new stuff up soon! =D

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well, it's Thanksgiving 2011, and that means it's time for a list of 11 things I'm thankful for!

  • My parents, for all their love and support.
  • My girlfriend, for always being the first to hear good news.
  • My followers on DeviantArt, for coming to my rescue when I lost my job in March.
  • Topps, for bringing me back for Star Wars Galaxy 7!
  • Upper Deck, for helping me expand professionally past Star Wars!
  • Grant Gould, for constantly being awesome.
  • My bandmates of Pleasantly Immature, for being a source of stress-relief and fun.
  • All those who purchased my first self-published art book, for helping me realize another dream.
  • The time I had with my grandfather, Tim Hogan, who, with my father, influenced me more than I'll ever fully know.
  • My sister and her fiancee, who're my biggest chearleaders, and are getting married this Saturday!
  • You, for following this blog! =D

So I guess the long and short of it is: I'm thankful for all the people in my life who help me make a difference each day. Thanks from the bottom of my heart!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

11/23/11 Sketch Card Update

Hey, guys!

Unfortunately, I don't have much of an update in terms of content, but I'm happy to report that I'm very much on schedule and will be reaching 80 cards by the end of today! After tonight, I'll have 132 to go, and I'm making great progress.

Next week, I've got my eye on two sets of cards that I'm going to try and get approved to show you all, and I think you'll really get a kick out of them!!!

Anyway, hope you all have a great holiday weekend! I'll be throwing together a Thanksgiving post tomorrow, so be sure to check that out should it interest you. =)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Skyward Sword Lands

Today I'm taking what I feel is a well-deserved break from Topps (gonna knock out a quick commission, though!) to play the game I've waited 5 years for: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. It's finally out and so far, 2 hours in, I am in love. More thoughts to come, but I've gotta get back to playing. Enjoy this little art to celebrate!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Interview with...ME?!

That's right! Kristen Archer of was kind enough to consider me for this interview! I had a lot of fun answering these questions and I hope you'll check it out in place of today's update!

A quick note about Wednesday's lack of update: I'm of course in the thicket of Topps' Galaxy 7 series, but have no yet gotten any cards approved to show yet. Hopefully by next Wed I'll have something to share! As of today, the card count is 50! =D

Friday, November 11, 2011

Why Chris Duhaze is Awesome


Dude sent me two SWEET sketch cards of Kyle Katarn and Dash Rendar for my birthday, and a hilarious postcard with it. And if that wasn't enough, he went out of his way to send me THREE white gel-type paint pens AFTER the first package for my sketch cards to experiment and get better whites on my cards. WHO DOES THAT?! Only awesome people like Chris, that's who!

I'll let you know when I return the favor to him...But this week's post is dedicated to Chris for being an all-around awesome dude, and a talented artist in the making! Keep up the intensity, buddy! You can check out more of his work at his DeviantArt, so go do it!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Topps Has Begun!

Not much of an update, but my Topps cards arrived yesterday morning!

If you have no idea what you're looking at, it's the box Topps sent with all 212 (106 Hobby/106 Target Retail) cards divided into 10 (and 2 6's), for me to do per day. So that's 22 days of work!

I had a few more cards to do last year and far less time to do it. You can see with my box last year just how many I was doing per day...20 - 30 per day!! YIKES!

Anyway, not the case this year. Not to mention, Upper Deck's Marvel Beginnings 2 set, which was originally scheduled for a December deadline, is now pushed back! So I have all this and next month to work on Star Wars. I'm ecstatic!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Interview with Denise Vasquez! Part 2

Photo courtesy of

Q: "Sketch Card Mania" is a FANTASTIC read and has so much practical advice for entry-level artists that are serious about breaking into the sketch card business. What inspired you and Randy to compile so much valuable information for us beginner artists?

The more I started doing sketch cards, the more emails I started receiving from artists asking me questions. Randy had been getting the same questions, over the years. Then I started receiving questions for Randy as well! At first I tried to write each person back that took the time to write me. It got to a point where I was receiving hundreds of emails every day & I couldn’t find the time to answer every one! I noticed that these artists had the same questions I did when I was starting out as an illustrator. There were no guidelines posted anywhere, and many people do not like to share information!

Over the years, I’ve been invited to do panels on the topics of Promotion and Sketch Cards. After the panels I would get asked the same questions. I was very happy to offer my advice and share information! I quickly discovered that there was a demand for the knowledge I had to offer. I work with & endorse companies like “Daisy Rock Guitars”, “Audix” Microphones, Sakura” and “HK Holbein USA” to name a few. I’ve worked with many companies and artists for over 20 years (including Randy), showing them how to market & promote themselves. One day I was bombarded with more questions, I walsed into Randy’s studio and asked him if anyone had ever written a book about sketch cards. When he said no, I pitched him my idea for the book, he pitched it to the publisher & the result is our book “Sketch Card Mania”.

Q: What was your favorite part of creating the book?

I love so many things about creating this book! It was a crazy, wonderful rollercoaster ride for two years! Working with Randy Martinez was truly a wonderful experience! Through all of the challenges, we stay focused on what our goal was and did it….we wrote a great book! I truly love sharing information in a positive light! I love to inspire. I love showing others how to DO IT YOURSELF while BEING THEIR UNIQUE SELF! I love being able to include fellow artists by featuring their art & photography! I love that our book is the platform for the art directors of sketch card companies to express their personal views on how they find their artists and what is expected of them! I love sharing information that is accessible to everyone at any time! My favorite part of creating the book was being able to share my knowledge on the topic of “The Art Of Self Promotion”! This part of the book was really important to me, and it was all me! I found a way to fit my knowledge into the book! I wrote, wrote, and rewrote to make it fit! So many artists have a hard time promoting themselves! I know some pretty amazing artists, who people have never heard of! The book gave me an opportunity to help people understand “The Art Of Self Promotion”! Whenever I do panels on Promotion, I have students approach me and invite me to talk about promotion at their schools. So many artists have approached me thanking me because their schools didn’t have any course that taught them what I did. In the end, I love watching people who embrace what I share with them & use it to their benefit! It is truly a gift to see!

Q: Where can people interested in "Sketch Card Mania" get their hands on it?

If you’d like an autographed copy of the book with a personal sketch from Randy & I in the book, go to Randy’s website to see our special offer. “Sketch Card Mania” is also available on and at your local bookstore. If they ran out of copies at your local bookstore, you can ask them to order more!

Q: Do you have any other advice for artists specifically looking to break into the Star Wars arena?

BELIEVE IN YOURSELF! Be your unique self! Stay true to you in everything you do! Keep drawing! Write down your goals. Know what you want! Stay focused on what your goal is! Do your homework! ALWAYS BE PREPARED! Carry business cards with you everywhere you go! Find ways to show your creativity in everything you do & share! Get a portfolio together featuring your best work. If you’re looking for work in Star Wars, then show how you draw Star Wars. Learn about your industry! Know who’s who! Learn names. Be determined & persistent, but not overly aggressive! Go to Star Wars events & conventions. Don’t be afraid to talk to people & let them know who you are and what you want to do! Stay positive! Be nice to everyone you meet, you never know who you’re talking to! Always be professional! Stay away from negative people or negative conversations, those energy vampires can suck you dry! Never listen to those that try to bring you down! YOU CAN! Dare to dream & LIVE IT......AND most importantly, NEVER GIVE UP!

Q: What's next for super-star artist Denise Vasquez?

Where should I start! LOL! I’m currently juggling a lot of amazing art & writing projects right now! Randy just reminded me that I’ve done four gallery shows in the last three months! Crazy cool! Right now My GLOW IN THE DARK Star Wars Dia De Los Muertos Vader Helmet is being showcased at “Petra Gallerie” where it is available to purchase 310-247-0252 I’m working on a NEW Darth Vader Helmet for a contest I’ve been selected to participate in for a couple of great causes! I can’t tell you what I’m making right now because there are 24 other artists participating & I want my idea to be a surprise! Be sure to follow me on Twitter where I’ll be posting sneak peek photos! I’m collaborating with Randy Martinez on a piece for SHEVACON in Feb 2012… I’ve been having fun creating custom vinyl toys for “Bean Pot Toiz”…. As soon as we finished writing “Sketch Card Mania”, I started writing two books: one is on the How To Art side, and the other book I’m writing is more on the spiritual side… Topps Trading Cards invited me to be a party of Star Wars Galaxy 7 so I’m waiting for my sketch cards to arrive. More projects in the works so be sure to check out my websites:

Official website






Google +


Awesome stuff! A thousand thanks to Denise for taking the time out of her busy schedule to provide us with so much great information. I hope you guys reading will take advantage of her and Randy's advice and follow in their examples like I'll be striving to do myself!

Interview with Denise Vasquez! Part 1

Hey guys! I've condensed today's post into 2, in order to make sure the formatting doesn't go all wiggy again like the one with Randy did. Anyway, today I've got an AWESOME interview with superstar artist Denise Vasquez for you guys!

Q: Denise, you've got so many artistic talents! When did you decide to take illustration seriously as a career?

Being an artist is all I’ve ever known. I’ve been an artist for as long as I can remember. My mother always made sure that dance, music, art & the theater were in our lives. Being raised by a strong, independent, woman who happened to be an artist, had a big influence on me from a very early age. I began singing as soon as I could talk, dancing as soon as I could walk, drawing from the time I could hold a pencil, and writing songs and poetry as soon as I could form a sentence. All I’ve ever wanted to do is create, and all I’ve ever wanted to be is who I am, an artist. I’ve always taken my art seriously as a career, that’s all I’ve ever wanted to do! It doesn’t matter which medium I use, whether it be dancing, singing, writing, drawing, painting, playing the violin or guitar. Having a number of mediums on my palette means more opportunities for me as an artist to do what I love the most, create!

I lived in the U.S. Virgin Islands on a beautiful Island called St. John for many years. The first week I moved there, I was walking down the street with my guitar on my back, wearing this rocking hand-painted t-shirt I made. This lovely couple stopped me on the street & we had the best conversation! One of those kismet moments in life where you’re at the right place at the right time! The woman asked me where I got my t-shirt & when I told her I painted it by hand she got so excited! Turns out she was the manager for a store called “World View Graphics” and was looking for an artist to hand paint on clothing! (*0*) Also turned out the gentleman with her was a music producer & musician (I ended up working with him over the years & recording music with him!) I applied & got the job at “World View Graphics” and the cool thing was people could come in and actually watch me paint on the clothing! This was the beginning of me getting paid to draw, paint, build a fan following. Working here opened my mind, and many doors, which led to many private commissions, as well as from local businesses!

Q: What was your first "official" Star Wars gig and how did you get involved with it?

I met this amazing artist, Randy Martinez while I was working at “Blick Art Materials”. Working at Blick was great! I met a LOT of people in the industry, some of my favorite artists, actors and musicians who inspire me BEYOND, would come in on a daily basis! I learned so much about the about the artists, products, events, the industry, about projects, about websites & I got discounts on my favorite products! Randy would come in & ask for my help quite often. We always had great conversations about art & music! We were actually friends for a couple of years before we got together. Randy has helped a LOT of artists break into the art scene! I always give props where props are due & I am truly grateful to Randy for bringing the Star Wars Art scene into my life! Randy invited me to work with him on some projects. I felt like he had me work with him to see what I was capable of (^.^). Topps was looking for artists for their “Indiana Jones Masterpieces” set & Randy recommended a number of artists including me. I submitted samples of my work & that was my first gig working on sketch cards. Working on this set was a great lesson in focus, determination, deadlines…I had a week to do 116 sketch cards & I did it! When I finished that set, I was invited to work with Topps Trading Cards on Star Wars Galaxy 4 where I did exclusive sketch cards for “Target”. That was my first Official gig as a Star Wars artist!

Q: So far, what's been your favorite Star Wars-themed project?

My favorite Star Wars themed project is a gallery show I was a part of with Randy Martinez called “ART FROM A GALAXY FAR FAR AWAY”! The way everything happened from start to finish was pretty spectacular! Hold Up Art Gallery was interested in having Randy do a show featuring original Star Wars Art he’s created over the years. The owner came over to our place to select the pieces he wanted for the show. Randy expressed his vision for doing a show with 3D art and talked about how he wanted to do a show showcasing my 3D art along with his art. When the owner of the gallery saw the art I’ve created in my studio he was blown away! He was sold on the idea of Randy & I doing the show together. Once the date was set, I made some time to go to DKE Toys to find some DIY vinyl’s to work with. Dov asked what I was going to create & I told him my idea “Star Wars meets Dia De Los Muertos”. He loved my concept, and thanks to Dov , I walked out of DKE Toys with some cool vinyl toys & two Vader Helmets left over from the Vader Project! I LOVED having the opportunity to come up with my own concept for the show! It was really freeing! I decided to do every piece I created for the show in the theme of “Star Wars Dia De Los Muertos”. I’m obsessed with glow in the dark paint, so everything I created for the show glows in the dark. This show was really a challenge for me, but a GREAT challenge! I love seeing what I’m capable of when put to the test, and it really showed me what I was capable of! I had a short amount of time to create all the 3D mixed media pieces I made for the show. I improvised on every piece. I trusted myself, my ideas, my skills, my love, my inspiration & just went for it. The response from the media was beyond incredible! My art went viral worldwide! I received messages from fans in Taiwan, Australia, Africa, Mexico, Germany… telling me they saw me & my art on the news! It was truly exciting and humbling at the same time!

Photo by Sheldon Norton

I am truly honored to have my art featured all over the world by: Reuters, Wired, Huffington Post, Slashfilm, Forbes, Patron Of The Arts, Warholian, Daily Trojan, Geek Chic LA, Girl Gamer, The Edge On The Net, Comic Attack, Forcecast,, Galacticbinder, LAist, Nerdeux, Frequency, Eye Spy LA, networked blogs, Plastic And Plush, RamaScreen, Comic Book Resources, Buzz Box, Daily Motion, Action Figure Insider, Jedi Insider, Sir Steve’s Guide, Geek-Cartel, Geek With Curves, When Nerds Attack, Daily News 24, West Side Today,, and many more! Over 1,000 family, friends, fans, celebs, fellow artists came out & showed a LOT of love and support at the opening! Quite an experience! It is truly a blessing to be able to share my art, love & light!