Friday, February 26, 2010

Custom work

Editor's note: Please allow Hound Central 5.0 to introduce Brett, one of the blog's most faithful readers and commenters, a very talented custom card maker (they look better than those produced by major companies, don't you think?) and owner of My Hockey Card Obsession blog.

Here, Brett, who hails from Alberta, shares his passion for the hobby as well as his talent for designing cards:

Brett's custom cards

I absolutely love custom cards. I enjoy making them and I enjoy seeing what other people come up with.

For me, custom card making started probably five years ago. I was a regular on the "Beckett boards" and noticed one guy constantly posting custom cards. My mind just started racing from there. One day, this guy decided to hold a custom card making contest for fun. People would make a card and we would go head-to-head with another designer (kind of like the playoffs). The other board members would vote for a winner and a few rounds later -- we had a champion.

At first, my skills were pretty slim, but with each card I made, I saw improvement. Eventually, I won a couple rounds. One time, I even won the whole contest.

I delved into the "retro" cards. Taking an old OPC design and putting a current player into it. I've seen many people try it, but only a few were at a level that I thought "this looks bang on ... you can't tell that it's a custom." I'm happy with the ones I have made, but the retros never really quenched my thirst for customs.

One of the other advantages to customs is you can make your own sets. The ideas and concepts were (and still are) aplenty. I started with the "Ultimate Masks" set as I am a huge fan of the goalie mask (especially the old fibreglass ones). Eventually, I'd like to send some off through the mail as I think they would make a great-looking card.

I've also developed a "Flashback Autographs" set or "FA Authentic" as I like to call them. I want it to span not just hockey or sports, but pop culture in the 1980s. Along with this Curly Neal card, I've made a Mr. T card and a Marc Singer (star of the 80s miniseries V). I'm excited to send those off as well.

At the start of this season, I tried making a set featuring a card for every day of the regular season. A hectic work schedule and the holidays have put me too far back and I'm going to have to abandon the set. I'm hoping to do something along the same lines during the playoffs.

Most recently, I have been working on a set that I have wanted to do for over a year now. I was lucky enough to be at the game where Trevor Linden's jersey was retired. I thought it would be cool to create a set of cards commemorating his career. There will be 16 cards in the set (his jersey number). I'm about half done with the fronts, but am hoping to upgrade on some of the photos.

Recently, I have had a couple people ask if I could do some cards for them. One person even sent me some autographs he got when he was a kid. The big one was Maurice "The Rocket" Richard (shown at top). I've finished a couple, including this one of Jean-Guy Talbot , and have got them printed and cut.

I'm really happy with the way they turned out and am excited to continue on with them. This guy also had a ticket stub from one of The Beatles' final concerts ever. As you can see, I created a card that enshrines the ticket stub.

As you can see, I love making custom cards. For me, for others. ... I've even got my 11-year old niece into it. We've designed a template for some Twilight cards (her favorite movie). We're hoping to get some cards out in the mail this year and hopefully we can snag some autos.

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