Tuesday, April 28, 2015

2015 Spirit All-Rookie Team

Last year I decided to copy Topps and made my own all-rookie squad. So here I am pulling another page outta Topps' playbook and recycling the same idea again with just a new design. But really, though, I think it's a sound decision to have an insert devoted to the previous year's rookies. Keeping with the whole "team" format can prove to be difficult, though, as you'll see from the checklist below.

1B: Jose Abreu
2B: Kolten Wong
SS: Danny Santana
3B: Nick Castellanos
OF: Billy Hamilton
OF: George Springer
OF: Ender Inciarte
C: Travis d’Arnaud
LHP: Roenis Elias
RHP: Jacob deGrom
RP: Dellin Betances

M: Matt Williams

There a no-brainers like Abreu and Hamilton, but sometimes there just isn't a stand out in one particular position. OR you have the inverse with way too many guys competing for one spot. The left-handed and right-handed pitcher situation up there is a perfect example. Last year's best newcomers on the mound were almost all righties. That means a southpaw like Roenis Elias makes the checklist while guys like Masahiro Tanaka, Marcus Stroman and Matt Shoemaker don't. Maybe I'll rectify that next year. Anyway, let's look at the design.

We're going horizontal again. There seems to be more room for the action shots this year with a sliver of the background staying on the card instead of them being complete cutouts. There are big team logos again just a layer behind the players with a subtle stripe motif behind them. A big silver foil band stretches across the bottom with the 'ALL ROOKIE TEAM' "logo" revealing some of the stripes from below. Player names & positions are in black on the foil bar so hopefully they're readable in most light.

Oh yeah,  here's the autograph parallel version. Same design but with a white fade coming from beneath and the certification text below the bar.

The back mimics the front but with the bar moving to the top and turning white. The only issue with this choice would be finding photos with enough open space up top as to not have the 'ALL ROOKIE TEAM' thing overlap a guy's dome. I lucked out with Hamilton here.

Overall I think these fit in with the rest of the 2015 Spirit designs thus far. Colorful without being too ornate and utilizing negative space in some capacity. I'd like to say that's on purpose but it's probably just a happy accident.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

2015 Spirit Team MVP

Time for the return of the Spirit Team MVP insert. This is the third iteration and just like the previous two, the basic design for these cards contain relic swatches.

The big 'MVP' letters runs across the bottom, cut out from a team-color bar to reveal the jersey swatch below. There are some gold foil embellishments with the player name and a frame around the edges. I managed to leave a lot more space for the player photos with this layout and having them stretch to the edges of the cards helps keep things from getting to claustrophobic. The team logos are also a bit more prominent than the previous design.

The backs are bright with team colors and white borders for each info compartment. I also included the relic codes where you could (hypothetically) enter the code online and see the actual jersey the featured swatch was pulled from.

Just for fun, lets look at the rest of the checklist:
MVP1: Mike Trout (Angels)
MVP2: Jose Altuve (Astros)
MVP3: Josh Reddick (A's)
MVP4: Jose Bautista (Blue Jays)
MVP5: Freddie Freeman (Braves)
MVP6: Carlos Gomez (Brewers)
MVP7: Yadier Molina (Cardinals)
MVP8: Anthony Rizzo (Cubs)
MVP9: Paul Goldschmidt (Diamondbacks)
MVP10: Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers)
MVP11: Madison Bumgarner (Giants)
MVP12: Corey Kluber (Indians)
MVP13: Felix Hernandex (Mariners)
MVP14: Giancarlo Stanton (Marlins)
MVP15: Matt Harvey (Mets)
MVP16: Jordan Zimmermann (Nationals)
MVP17: Chris Davis (Orioles)
MVP18: Andrew Cashner (Padres)
MVP19: Chase Utley (Phillies)
MVP20: Andrew McCutchen (Pirates)
MVP21: Adrian Beltre (Rangers)
MVP22: Evan Longoria (Rays)
MVP23: David Ortiz (Red Sox)
MVP24: Johnny Cueto (Reds)
MVP25: Troy Tulowitzki (Rockies)
MVP26: Eric Hosmer (Royals)
MVP27: Miguel Cabrera (Tigers)
MVP28: Joe Mauer (Twins)
MVP29: Chris Sale (White Sox)
MVP30: Jacoby Ellsbury (Yankees)

Boy, the A's slot was brutally hard to fill. Same with the Twins, though Mauer just keeps it by default on account of him still being around.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

2015 Pennant

Time for the old-timey set. Again, the Pennant brand isn't modeled after a particular set from the past like some of Topps' retro sets have been. The designs basically just contain elements that are reminiscent of an older era. So here's the 2015 version.

The card stock here is of the dull variety, meaning the colors are a little muted and there's definitely not a glossy finish. I've also added a little faux texture to the borders to help make it a little bit aged. In each corner is a little team color shape mean to look like those old photo frame edges you may have seen in photo albums from the past. Inset from the margins is another team color box with the player photo busting out from the edges. Along the bottom is a black bar to house their name, position and team. For the places where their white pants overlap the box, I had to add a black drop box behind the white text to keep things readable. I usually hate to add any kind of stroke or background to the text but I think it kinda fits the rest of the design here so I guess you can call it a happy little accident.

I decided to add a parallel into the mix this year almost strictly because of the design. The sepia parallel here fits perfectly since there are so many different frames and layers to keep thing interesting even when monochromatic. And since the card stock is perfect for autos, I decided to show an autograph version of the Soler card. I just removed the overlap from the bottom of the card and added a white fade spot to keep the signature nice and clean.

The backs are kind of inversed from the front with the corner edges being white and the thick margins being black. A couple things of note here are the full player name and also full career stat box. For the guys fairly new to the majors, there's room for a brief write-up. Overall, I'm really happy with the design, especially the sepia parallels. If I were to ever test-out getting some of my cards printed, this would definitely be at the top of the list.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

2015 Clubhouse All-Stars

Just in time to start the 2015 MLB season, let's take a look at the first 2015 Clubhouse insert, highlighting the players who made the 2014 All-Star teams. I've been doing this insert each year since I started the blog because it's always a great encapsulation of the standout players of the league. This year, it gives me a legitimate reason to feature a Derek Jeter since (so far) I've refrained from putting retired players into any Spirit product.

The cards are split by league once again with red to designate NL guys and blue for the AL. The bottom left corner as a foil star design which is a good anchor for the player name/position to the right along with the "2014 National/American League All-Star" text along the left edge. In the upper left corner is the respective league logo. The foil here is used strictly as a design embellishment and not as a crutch, with the names being an easy-to-read white on top of the color background. I've noticed I tend to lean towards centered, symmetric designs so I'm happy going asymmetrical here.

The back has room for a nice portrait-type image up top along with space for the team logo and a brief write-up. Since the all-star squads seem to be expanding each year, this insert set has a big checklist that would lend itself to being a "one-per-pack" insert which is perfect for a low-end product like Clubhouse.

Now that the season kicks into full-gear tonight and tomorrow, get ready for more designs coming with more regularity. Good luck to everybody's favorite teams and let's 'play ball'!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

2015 Clubhouse

Time to check in with Spirit's "low-end" set, Clubhouse. This is traditionally a bright and colorful design and this year is no different.

I seem to be alternating between horizontal and vertical each year so I guess we're back upright following the 2014 design. The front of the card has solid team-color stripes along the top and bottom with team-colored baseball close-up in the center. The players are cut out and overlapping the stripe at the top which also is an anchor for the team logo. The last names are big and spaced out with the player first name running off-center above it.

On the back, the color stripes return to house the player name and vitals. There's a circle bleeding over from the edge for an additional player photo with the position following that curve below. Right in the middle is an even bigger team logo with a pretty full stat box below. Underneath that middle section is a screened-back version of the baseball from the front. For some of the younger players, there's plenty of room below the stats for a few lines of more information.

Unlike last year, I decided to keep these parallel-free so hopefully they'll be more inserts to fill out the packs. I already have the annual All-Star design done and ready to write once I get around to it, so it looks like I'm well ahead of last year's pace.

Friday, February 20, 2015

2015 Spirit Award Winners

Well I guess baseball is officially back now that pitchers and catchers are starting to report to camp. I guess the Design On Deck equivalent to that is the unveiling of the Award Winners insert design. It's traditionally the first insert I tackle each season. Once again, it there are four segments: NL Gold Glove, AL Gold Glove, NL Silver Sluggers, AL Silver Sluggers. In the past they've been very shiny with an overwhelming amount of silver and gold foil. Last season they were a little more subdued and I followed that sensibility again this time around. Oh yeah, the both NL segments feature red while the AL ones use blue. Again.

The Gold Gloves feature a fielding shot cutout over a gold-ish background. The foil has been pared down to just borders around the design elements along with the player name and "Spirit Award Winners" text. The Silver Sluggers are the same only with silver instead and a batting shot, naturally. I thought the banner motif worked well for the subject matter and helped keep things clean but not too dull. I like that you can make out the background of the photos instead of just having the players cut out and removed from the context of a stadium. You'll probably be seeing more of that from the rest of this year's Spirit designs.

On the back, the banner design reappears but is paired with black and white instead of the shininess. The top half is reserved for a sizable photo plus team logo in the corner. Below, there's room for a brief write-up set on top of a watermarked league logo.

Four years in I think the 2016 version will have to change things up a bit. Perhaps I can add stuff like MVPs and Rookies of the Year?

Monday, February 16, 2015

2015 Spirit Base

Now that the frenzy over the 2015 Topps release has subsided a bit, it's time for my formal unveiling of the 2015 Spirit base design. If you follow me on Instagram, you've already seen a card for each of the 30 teams. I'll post them here again as well as a general overview of the design.

Once again, the cards are borderless with photos bleeding to the edge. I decided to change it up a bit this year and went with simple team hat logos stamped in gold foil instead of the traditional full-color primary logos. Having the photograph show through behind the circle is a nice way to keep things from getting claustrophobic. The team color bar stretches from the left edge across the logo and starts fading out as it moves across the card to the right. I made these cards before the Topps set came out and everyone (myself included) went gaga over the non-foiled names. Fortunately, I think there's enough color contrast here that they'd still be pretty readable in-hand. The positions listed below in white are definitely readable since I added a bit of a dark gradient coming up from the bottom to keep the backgrounds from being too light and unreadable. I also decided to add my own little 'rookie card' designation here on the Castillo card. Not too different from Topps' huh?

Here's a rundown of the remaining 27 teams:

As much as I liked making 900 base cards last year, I figured paring it down to 30 here would be adventurous enough.

I'm really excited about the card backs. The design elements from the front move over seamlessly with a player mugshot in place for the hat logo. The color bar doesn't fade out here and stays as a nice bold contrast to all the white. Between the bar and the stat box is just enough room for the bio and the primary team logo. The stat box itself is really readable with a hint of color separating each year. I love the card numbers just to the left of the photo. They're bold and readable and having them rotated 90° makes it unbelievable easy to scan through as the sit in those cardboard boxes.

Another cool thing on the back is an accolades line just above the color bar. It's easier to read on Bumgarner's up there but you can see it on the Gordon card as well. Depending on what the player has accomplished, there's room for a few noteworthy details like number of all-star appearances, Gold Gloves or, I dunno, World Series MVPs. They're subtle enough that it doesn't stick out like a sore thumb if a guy doesn't have anything listed, like the rookie Castillo.

I'm geared up for the 2015 season and the extra time I'll have with new designs instead of devoting hours and hours on some poorly-thought-out 900 base card project. In fact, I already have two inserts designed and queued up for posting. Hopefully this summer will be a lot more active for the ol' blog. I hope you keep checking in. Thanks.

Monday, February 9, 2015

REVIEW: 2015 Topps Series 1

This offseason seemed longer than most for some reason. I imagine it was even longer for you non-Giants fans out there (sorry.) Personally, I blame my dwindling interest in the NFL and the distraction it usually provided us baseball-starved fans. Perhaps it was due to the anticipation of the 2015 Topps release. Well it's finally February and the curtains have been raised. Hopefully you're all not already tired of all the 2015 Topps talk and pictures. Even if you are, I need to get my review on the books...

The early consensus is that the 2015 design is a homerun and I'm not here to say any nays. Last year's design was so ugly that Topps didn't have a very high bar to clear. Lucky for them (and us), they decided to break (a bit) from the modern traditions they've set in the past half-decade. The most obvious change is the absence of the sterile white borders. They've decided to integrate each team's colors into the design, which I'm sure you faithful readers have noticed is pretty standard for most Spirit designs. When the previews for the set came out last fall, I kinda rolled my eyes at the grunginess of the background but seeing it in-person, it's less noticeable, which is a plus. All the little lines and dots and stuff kind of just multiply into each other to make a colorful background for all the player info.

The second obvious break from the usual is the absence of foil. The only foil on these cards is the Topps logo. All these years of us collectors/bloggers bitching about how hard it is to read foil type on a non-white background have finally paid off. I'm guessing that the busy backgrounds also helped usher that change but go ahead and take credit, y'all. Team logos are easy to make out in the corners above the ripple-prints and the player position dot is perfectly executed as well.

The horizontal cards look just as good as the vertical ones. There's more open space on the bottom for the squiggly tech-y lines so if those aren't your cup of tea then I guess that may be a detriment.

In addition to the usual stat leaders cards Topps has been doing for a while, they brought back team cards for 2015. You may have noticed that the checklist goes to 350(351) this year but with 30 team cards spread across Series 1 and two, that means there are just 5 more players per series than usual. Still, a bigger checklist means fewer duplicates – in theory.

For as much praise as the front design has received, the card backs are just as popular. There's even more continuity between the sides than normal for flagship. The colorful grunge is there as well as the ripple/print behind the logos. The big, easy-to-read numbers are nice, though I wish they were on the left side so they'd be towards the top of when you place the cards in monster boxes. I guess having the logo on the left helps keep the player and team names left-aligned.

The other complaint for the backs is the spacing of the write-ups and stat boxes. As Night Owl mentioned, the line-spacing, or "leading," of the paragraph text is too loose. The last line comes waaay to close to the "COMPLETE MAJOR LEAGUE PITCHING RECORD" header above the stat box. There's actually more space between lines two and three than there is between line 3 and the header. It's not something everybody would notice or pay attention to, but as a designer it drives me insane. My irritation is compounded when you see how much space there is between each year or stats in the stat box as well. Really, the write-up should be the same width as the stat box, which would probably reduce the 3 lines to 2 lines and avoid the whole crowding issue. Sorry if this is getting really dry to read about. I just have to get it out of my system since I have to deal with these kind of issues on a daily basis at my real-life job.

Now that I have that out of my system, let's move onto the parallels. For the first time in forever, Topps decided to make fewer parallels than the year before. There are still, like, a half-dozen or so but they seem to have tidied things up and trimmed some of the fat like the retail-only green and yellows from 2014. Also absent are the red, and blue borders from Target and Walmart, respectively. Most of what you'll be seeing are the non-numbered foils (Roark, above) and the /2015 golds (Beltre.) The scans above are very representative of how they look in-hand but the foils are, basically, a shiny foil background inside the border and behind the player. Essentially they're non-chrome refractors. The golds are big step-up from the usual Topps golds. The borders are actually shimmery gold and not just a flat gold-ish color like years past. The player name is also gold foil but they've lightened up the background at the bottom so it's easy to read no matter how the light hits it. I've only busted retail so far so I don't have any of the black, pink or snow camo to review but the black (/65) and pink (/50) seem to follow the same look as the gold but with their respective colors. The snow camo (/99) just have a light camo look to them without the shininess. There's also the clear (/10) and framed (/20) versions but I'll never have one in-hand so they barely exist to me.

Next to parallels, the other two things Topps flagship is know for are SP photo variations and sparkles. The sparkles are just as hard to find as ever so the only thing I have to say about them is ignore the fronts and check the codes in the fine print on the back. If the last three digits are 903, you have a sparkle. Congrats. The photo variations are a lot easier to spot. Somehow, I managed to pull this George Springer (right) and the Yu Darvish variations in the small bit of retail buying I've done. Chances are, if the photo is really cool and doesn't look like a "standard" action photo, it's a variation. Here's a guide if you want to double-check at home. For the Springer here it's also detectable if you notice the absence of the FUTURE STARS foil at the top and the Rookie Cup at the bottom. (This is also a good time to point out how better they handled the Future Stars designation this year than last. Much less intrusive and it fits the rest of the design very well.)

Moving onto the inserts, here are two that I'm a bit iffy on. The Free Agent 40 design is kinda nice though I'm not really sold on the concept. There are only 15 subjects in Series 1 so it I guess it's premature to pinpoint the flaws just yet. Part of me thinks they should have gone with green instead of blue since free agency's all about cash these days. The Archetypes design looks like a mid-90s Skybox card. Concept-wise, I'm guessing it's supposed to feature players that "break the mold"  but if this is an insert they stretch across Series 2 and Update, they'll be watering down that distinction a bit I'm afraid.

Next up is the First Home Run insert. Design-wise, this looks like a holdover from 2013 or something. These are and look every bit retail-only. The thing that bugs me the most is that all three items of text are basically the same size. There needs to be some sort of hierarchy so you know where to look first. My vote would be for the date to arc from bat to bat at a smaller point size and maybe make the "1st Home Run" text larger. That and doing away with the fuzzy black circle that renders most of it unreadable. You'll also notice three different colorways above — blackish/bluish, silver and gold. I'm guessing one comes from the rack packs, one from blasters and the other from the hanger boxes. I didn't pay attention to which was which, not that it matters. I do like the concept, though. It's a justifiable idea that lets Topps put a wide variety of players into packs, whether it's rookies like Soler or older guys like Victor Martinez or Chris Davis. I'm not even bothered by the inclusion of retired guys.

Here's probably my favorite insert design of Series 1. From the photography to the design, these Robbed cards are, ironically, home runs. The shapes on the right are dynamic and fit the great action shots very well. And the "Robbed In..." graphic in the bottom right corner is executed flawlessly, including the detail of it reflecting where in the outfield each guy plays. Throw in the fact that it's colored by team and I have zero complaints. As for the Baseball History insert, I can't say I'm a fan. The biggest problem I have is that it totally sounds like an insert destined for Heritage, not flagship. There are 15 baseball moments that happened within a few days of 15 other general historical moments. For example, the 4,000 Ks for Ryan card here pairs with a card for the 1985 Live Aid concert. I guess that's kinda cool but it just seems so out of place here since Topps has a release every year that caters to concepts exactly like these. I guess since Heritage focuses on a specific year it might not be a perfect fit but there's definitely some static there when I try to associate this with Series 1. Honestly, though, I think the design is what irks me the most. Too many dots, too many restricting lines. And the big text across the top looks too much like an homage to 1971 Topps. If it's intentional, it makes zero sense. If it's unintentional, that's a pretty big oversight. The design looks like a starting point, not a finished idea.

Here's another disparate pair of inserts. The Highlight of the Year insert is a great idea and good design but comes up a little short on being perfect. Instead of a 30-card checklist, it would've been even better to have a card with the biggest storyline for each of the past, say, 75 years — 25 each for Series 1, 2 and update. They could sprinkle them around so the it wouldn't just be 25 consecutive years in each series. It would be a great opportunity to fill in the gaps of some of the forgotten stories of baseball instead of just rehashing things that get beaten to death (Gehrig's streak.) I don't really have any big issues with the design. I guess the year may be a little big but I suppose it's fitting for the concept. On the other end of the spectrum is the same tired idea, this year named "Inspired Play." You may remember its previous aliases: Legendary Lineage, Timeless Talents, Diamond Duos. Basically it's current team player on one side, former team player on the other. Usually they play the same position. It's not that I hate the concept, I'm just tired of it. I will say that they do look good this year. They're not all boxed up like they've been in past so I guess it's a step in the right direction.

Let's finish things up on a positive note. The First Pitch cards have been getting a lot of good coverage and rightfully so. Unlike the with the Baseball History cards I mentioned above, I welcome Topps bringing over some of the DNA from one of their other sets (Allen & Ginter) into the flagship release here. Mostly because there's an actual link to baseball. Featuring celebrities whom throw out the ceremonial first pitch is a great way to a little extra ink for the hobby. There's enough of a link to the base design to help connect things should a non-collector become interested. I'd really like to see these return in Series 2 with a wider range of teams represented. (3 Dodgers? Really?)  The Gallery of Great card on the right is a hobby-only thing so, again, I don't have one in-hand. But from what I've seen, they're a bit different than the preview image up there. Inside the black paper frame, the background behind the player is rainbow foil-y, kinda like the non-chrome refactors above. Again, Topps has made a slight variation from a previous year's insert. From what I can tell they're pretty basic but not gaudy so that's a plus in my book.

Overall, this is a pretty good showing for Topps. The base design sets the tone for a solid year with only minor quibbles on the design. The inserts, like every year, are hit or miss but the misses aren't nearly as bad as they've been in the past. But the general feeling Series 1 gives me is definitely positive. I hope it's a sign of things to come and not just an anomaly. If they can continue delivering nice designs while tidying up some of the flaws, I'll continue to give them good marks.


• Base design is a break from routine; colorful, tidy without being boring
• Parallels pared down, more than just different colored borders
• Card backs match the fronts perfectly
• 350-card checklist
• "Future Stars" designation less obnoxious
• "Robbed" insert one of the best
• "Highlight of the Year" idea solid, with improvement
• "First Pitch" bridges baseball and non-baseball
• Absence of weirdly-shaped die cuts

• Write-ups on back need tightened up
• Sparkles again
• "1st Home Run" design looks like holdover from the past
• "Archetypes" too Skybox-esque for 2015
• "Baseball History" design and concept
• "Highlight of the Year" execution
• Current/Retired player insert resurrected ("Inspired Play")

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

THIS IS THE REMIX: 1989 Donruss

Oh, hi there. Long time no blog. Just to bring you up to speed, I'm going to make my first 2015 Spirit post some time in February. But if you don't wanna wait until then to see the 2015 design, I'm in the midst of posting a card a day on my Instagram. Once all 30 teams are up, I'll do a standard post here discussing the designs and whatnot. In the mean, I thought I'd revive the long-dormant feature known as "THIS IS THE REMIX."

1989 was right when baseball cards entered my universe. Up to that point I had acquired a few random cards from either my dad buying me packs or cousins tossing me some of their duplicates. Just stuff stacked along with my Batman trading cards. But the summer 1989 is when I started paying attention to baseball. I would look for wax at every convenient store I entered, saving up quarters and dimes to buy a pack whenever I could. There was a gas station three blocks from my house I could ride my bike to whenever I had 54 cents burning a hole in my pocket. They usually had a box of both Topps and Donruss there amongst the candy. I seemed to favor Donruss. They were more colorful than '89 Topps and they came with a freaking puzzle. How could I resist?

I'm not really sure if there's a consensus regarding the '89 Donruss design. Obviously it's not a masterpiece but I don't seem to recall it garnering hate like so many other designs of that period. My guess is the color strips are kind of endearing. That and the fact that it's not cluttered with unnecessary design elements like little baseballsSuper Mario tubes or paint splatters. All in all it's a pretty simple design, but there's still room for improvement.

The basic build is the same but with just a few minor tweaks. We still have gradient color bars sweeping horizontally from edge to edge. My first decision was obvious – change the colors to team colors. Call me crazy but if you're gonna have the colors vary from card to card, might as well make them fit the player and their uniform. As I continued to tinker, I thought about having the top and bottom bars go opposite directions, i.e. the Braves would go red to blue on top and blue to red on bottom. It wasn't horrible but it just didn't quite work. Then I had the notion to fade each bar to black instead of the opposite team color. Perfect. It put the team colors on opposite corners and kept the whole gradient motif without affecting readability.

After having the black in the corners, I played with the tiled line edges. I made sure to lighten them up so they're visible no matter the ink saturation. On a lot of '89 Donruss cards, the edges just look solid black. Making them fade from black to a light gray would help with that and it really tied into everything else at that point.

I decided to go with team cap logos instead of their primaries. The thought behind that is to try keeping the logo from getting too big. Look at that big, boxy Braves logo from 1989. That thing takes up a lot more space than the A does. And since the logos do dip down into the photo a bit, I thought it would be best to have the option to flip the design to accommodate any particular photograph. For instance, the Mariners logo would cover up the helmet bill on Kyle Seager's card if I had gone with the normal orientation.

The final change was the picking a new typeface. After going through several, I landed on Klavika. It's definitely more modern looking than the previous font but still has some of that same "square but not really" flavor to it. I made the names all caps and just added a bullet after, followed by the player position. It really bugs me how the position is a different typeface and smaller on the '89 cards. Problem solved.

Overall I think this has been one of the smoothest remixes I've done. That probably has a lot to do with the starting point. I've always chalked my '89 Donruss fondness up to nostalgia but I'm starting think it was just a secret little gem in need of a polish.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

2014 Spirit Artistry

I decided to bring back the Artistry insert for another year. Just to refresh your memory, it's a small insert set that focuses on pitchers that are particularly adept at confounding hitters. I figured King Felix was a no-brainer for inclusion.

The art here is basically a digital mixed media painting. Again, I've combined the photographs with some brushes and textures in Photoshop to meld the two together. Last year's Artistry cards took too much of my time so I decided to scale back the "painting" part a bit. I did make the title a lot more prominent to help differentiate from 2013.

I ditched the frame on the back and added a close cut of the player's face from the front. There's a soft watercolor wash behind the text. There's also room for the team logo for the first time.

I'm guessing if I do this insert for 2015 I'll have to change things up a bit. I'm not sure I how I can use these same tools and have them look any different than they have thus far.