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We are excited to share an exclusive interview with two of Upper Deck’s top sketch card artists. Today we want to shine the spotlight on artists Mick and Matt Glebe. They have worked on a multitude of projects with Upper Deck, including the recently released Marvel Premier set. Recently we were able to sit down with Mick and Matt to talk about their journey to becoming artists, their inspiration for their artwork and what fans can expect from them next!
UD Blog: What was life like growing up for Mick & Matt Glebe?
Mick & Matt: “Honestly, it was quite adventurous—being twins we tend to stick out like a sore thumb. We feel like just average brothers, but outside of that, people tend to pay attention to us more because it’s so unusual to see two people so alike. Our friends refers to us as “The Clones” and it has stuck with us ever since. We started drawing at a very early age—our minds would always drift to galaxies far, far away—filled with mutants, magical powers, and fantasies of epic adventures. In turn these visions would come pouring out onto paper as our mind escaped to our creative side of life, we remain big kids at heart to this day, with enjoying cosplay and working on all the awesome comic books, films, and T.V. characters we grew up loving!”
UD Blog: How did you two get your start in art? Did you each have your own strengths?
Mick & Matt: “Actually, our grandmother and mom used to take us to the local comic book stores where we discovered inspiration in the pages of Marvel and DC comics—our favorite illustrators were Frank Miller, Jim Lee, and Alex Ross. Much of our free-time was spent mimicking the art of capturing what we saw—line for line and shade for shade. By the time we started Jr. High and High School we were inspired by more realistic art like the works of Norman Rockwell and the old masters of the Renaissance. This was a great transition from traditional line-art in comic books to the realm of super-realism which helped develop our skills into our own unique style. We were very meticulous to get every detail just right—we were always pushing each other to do better—and both mentored each other in our techniques — we enjoyed competing for the next big art contest through local or national competitions.”
UD Blog: You were self-taught, but you must have had some help along the way. Who helped you from either an inspirational or educational standpoint become the artists you are today?
Mick & Matt: “Yes, we are completely self-taught, we tend to get this trait from our mother who is a jack-of-all-trades in artistic creativity and our dad who has amazing photography skills—in the genes, we guess. They would always tell us to do what we love as a career and you will never work a day in your life! Our parents were a huge push in providing us with the tools and support to expand our creativity. Once we started doing portrait commissions in school, our parents became even more involved with a stronger business model— helping build knowledge of what would become our family company as it is today, Twynsunz, Inc. Doing portraits gave us a ton of practice in capturing people’s likenesses—human features still remain one of our favorite subjects to illustrate in the entertainment industry. Our Jr. High art teacher recognized our skills and would open the doors to the school art supplies closet and say, “Have at it!” She once told us that she felt the need to feed a passion and that it would only grow. She was, and is, so very right.”
UD Blog: Talk to us about how you developed your unique style of artwork rendered in traditional mixed medium?
Mick & Matt: “Our absolute favorite artist has always been Frank Miller—everything from his pencils to inks. We started by trying to render character poses from the pages of his masterful works like The Dark Knight Returns, Daredevil, and the X-men. Again, we were pretty strict in our very beginnings of drawing—if we didn’t like it, we threw it away and started over. We wanted it to look like what it looked like. As we got older we loosened up and realized that it didn’t need to be per exact—as we were doing things in our own style. Our discovery of the classic works of Norman Rockwell and modern-day Alex Ross was hyper-realism capturing shadow, light, and various tones of color. We just found our way purely through experimentation and understanding just what each medium could do. Our college professor said that “We draw with our paint, and that we paint with our drawing.”—many times he claimed that we had fooled him with what mediums we used. Many of our fans and collectors find it interesting that they are actually getting a painted drawing…or vise-versa.”
UD Blog: You guys seem like a lot of fun, embracing all the industry has to offer, what are your favorite events to attend and any favorite memories?
Mick & Matt: “We have a blast partaking in all the fun—both as professionals and huge fanboys. This actually goes back to being kid’s at heart—part of our creative outlet as youngsters was dressing up in costumes. And now that we’re older attending community events as superheroes has become very rewarding along with the fun. Our most memorable moment would have to be when we scored our first big job in the industry…while in costume! It was quite the interview and experience when we got to show off our portfolio, getting hired on the spot, and then just getting to geek/nerd-out with our newfound colleagues. But hey, dress for the job you want, right?”
UD Blog:You also have a long history of working with Upper Deck. What are some of your favorite projects you have worked on and favorite Marvel characters you illustrate? Also, there are quite a few projects coming down the pipe for Upper Deck you have created content for. Which projects are you most excited about and what do you think Marvel fans will enjoy seeing from you?
Mick & Matt: “When working with Marvel characters specifically we tend to gravitate toward our favorites: Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Wolverine— it really is hard to choose because there are so many great characters in that universe. Our history of working with Upper Deck has been an exciting experience that’s brought us to cover a wide range of diverse Marvel projects. The Marvel Universe has a vast range of characters, settings, and stories that have been thrilling to explore and reinterpret in our own style/take for each product’s theme. It’s impressive that the projects for Upper Deck promote for both the comics and movies. Hopefully one of these days artists will get to start illustrating some of the actor likenesses on some of the movie sets! Our favorite product for UD is the Marvel Premier sets—this is a very unique product for this section of the collector market. Not only does the card stock take well to most artist mediums, but it’s such a professional and quality product. With Premier’s layout and design—and the brilliant artist’s work—it truly is a prestigious product as a whole—and the best of Upper Deck.”
UD Blog: What tips do you have for those hungry youngsters looking to become professional artists?
Mick & Matt: “Our advice would be to work hard at honing your skills, and be dedicated at be being an artist. Create a professional, diversified portfolio, go to conventions and get your work reviewed by as many talent scouts as you can! Always do your best work from the beginning to the end throughout your career. You will benefit yourself and the business that carries you with it, it is the perfect ‘yin yang’ balance of thriving successful business opportunities.”
UD Blog: Anything else we should know about the Glebes?
Mick & Matt: “One of our latest thrilling projects has been illustrating comic book sketch covers for the CGC! This is a really exciting opportunity for us and we love doing this. Our next big step in our career is to eventually be working in the comic book end of the industry—this is an entertainment medium we have always enjoyed. We ourselves have several original comic book projects in the works, The Revenans and The MITH. Both of these comics are available for purchase at our main website twynsunz.com, where you can also find a free downloadable fan-fiction Star Wars comic!”
To view more of Mick and Matt’s unique work, or for more information on their artwork, please check out the following links: