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For over 25 years The Upper Deck Company has been in the forefront of quality and innovation. We are proud to maintain an award winning portfolio of gaming and entertainment products that contain some of the industry’s best original works of art. We are excited to share exclusive interviews with some of our sketch card artists bringing a look at the amazing people behind these amazing works!
This is the Upper Deck Artist Spotlight.
Today we are shining the spotlight on artist (and father) Adam Conklin. Adam began his career with Upper Deck in 2017, contributing sketches to Upper Deck’s 2017 Marvel Premier trading card set. Since then, he has worked on a number of other projects, including 2019-2020 Marvel Annual and 2019 Marvel Premier. Adam was happy to chat with us about his career as an artist and what it’s like to work for Upper Deck.
Thanks for interviewing with us, Adam! Would you like to introduce yourself?
I am Adam Conklin. I am a Father, Artist & Pretend Adult.
How long have you been an artist?
Most of my life, though I got back into really pushing my talent and skills back in 2015.
Can you walk us through your process when creating a sketch card?
When I am working on a card that calls out a specific character depending on what I know of the character, I will do research on them, their origin and what their most iconic stories are. Then I plan out if I want them to be alone in the image or with relative teammates or villains. I took to using a sketchbook to outline the perimeters of my cards and placement of logos. That way I can sketch without worry of damaging any of the cards. (I have full assignment original prelim sketches in my sketchbook. I also record the dates for beginning and completing the assignments.) I work mainly in watercolor and alcohol markers. I grew up in with the ‘90s comics era where a “shiny” card or comic cover equated to being very cool! So once completed, I really enjoy using metallic paint markers to accent the pieces.
Can you tell us a little bit about the process you went through to become an artist for Upper Deck?
I was creating art and doing shows for about 2 years and enjoyed painting anything from Comic Books, Video Games, Anime, and Pop Culture. Then out of nowhere I was contacted by a representative of Upper Deck. To be honest I thought it was a fake message at first. I was pretty excited to find that it was the opportunity for a childhood dream to become a reality.
What are some of your favorite projects you have worked on for Upper Deck?
Each set I have worked has had favorite pieces that I have created. Though I feel that my skill levels have grown most on 2019 Marvel Premier and 2019-2020 Marvel Annual.
What type of illustration work do you most enjoy doing?
I enjoy working on commissions. Being able to bring an image that someone wants into a tangible piece that they can hold is a great feeling. I also enjoy creating portrait pencil sketches.
Do you have a favorite piece?
My favorite painting I’ve done is titled “C’est La Mort” I am very proud of it and what it stood for. It won first place and Superintendents choice at the 2017 Oklahoma State Fair in Watercolor painting.
Aside from being an artist, are you also a trading card collector and/or previous fan of Marvel?
I would say so. I learned a lot of my beginning drawing skills from redrawing the Marvel cards of the early ‘90s. I own full sets of Marvel 1990, ‘91 and ‘93, Marvel Masterpieces Series 1, X-Men Series 1 & 2, Spider-Man ‘94 and Fleer Ultra X-Men Series 1.
What is your favorite part about drawing Marvel characters?
It speaks from a source of pure joy inside me, and I hope that my art inspires that same joy in others.
What advice would you give to other artists out there who are looking to work on Sketch Cards professionally?
Try creating legible pieces in the 2.5” x 3.5” frame size in order to consistently be able to make pieces that are clean, and as always, practice, practice, practice.
We hear you have a 16-year-old daughter who is also an aspiring artist. Can you tell us a little about her?
Her name is Amara. She is wonderfully talented and has already surpassed my skill level. She is a huge Manga & Anime fan. She wants to create her own Manga one day.
Thanks for chatting with us Adam!
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