Alan Studt
Illustration Sports Art Design Internet


My Beckett Publications Story - or -
(...sooooo, how did you get started doing Sports Art?)
> Checklist of Beckett Artwork        > Samples

In the late 80s I was the Art Director at WUAB-TV 43 in Parma, Ohio which is a suburb of Cleveland. Channel 43 produced and aired the Cleveland Indians games. They were also the home of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Since the main reason for wanting to broadcast the Indians games was for the station to make money, we often had to design literature that was used to assist the Sales Department and the Promotion Department in succeeding in their challenges to sell air time and get high ratings so the air time could sell for a higher price. Being that I have always liked baseball alot and I've always loved drawing faces and figures it was a natural solution for me to create illustrations when there was a need for a piece of Sales literature. Quite often the photos we'd have available left alot to be desired anyway. So I accumulated a small portfolio of samples that I had usually done at home on my own time since there was no time at the office for such menial tasks as "scribbling" all day long.

The second phase of the story develops as the trading card industry is really heating up and card shops are popping up on every corner of every street in every city. A pack of Topps cost 50 cents and still had gum inside. Along comes the time for another Spring training season which also means that all of us at the TV station are getting all the graphics ready for the first Indians broadcast. Our favorite part was working on the opening graphics that came on at the beginning of the game. This particular year, 1989, someone had the idea of using old and new baseball cards floating by as graphic elements along with other baseball related items. One of the other artists said he still had a bunch of cards from when he was a kid. He wasn't currently a collector but he had just put them up in a box as a keepsake from his youth. We had a blast looking at his cards. Some other people in the station remembered they had some some stashed away too. There were many familiar looking cards that brought back alot of memories. My favorite was the '68 Topps with the burlap background. I remember having more than a few Carl Yastrzemskis, both his regular player card and the ones that heralded his Triple Crown Season. I was a huge Red Sox fan as a kid. Aaaaanyway. In all of our fun and reminiscing someone (I think from the Sales Department) says, "You know, I hear these things are worth some money..." Well, that got everyone's attention and eventually our curiosity got the better of us. I volunteered to stop at the local card shop and see what they could tell me. They said "It's all in here" and handed me the most recent copy of Beckett Baseball Card Monthly. In addition to the pricing information on cards from the early to mid 1900s up to today, they had articles on other aspects of collecting cards and articles on popular players. One other thing that stood out to me was that every issue had illustrations on the inside front and back covers. I thought "I should send them some of the stuff I've done for the TV station". Eventually I did and got a positive response. I just happened to contact them at the right time. When I first heard of them they only had a Baseball magazine. By the time I got some samples to them they were planning three more, Football, Basketball and Hockey. So I got busy working on players from those sports since they were in need of artwork to fill those covers. Although my first published cover for them was Carlton Fisk in the June 1990 Baseball issue #63.

I still have alot of the original pieces of art. Beckett would only buy the First North American Serial Rights to publish the artwork, I got to keep the originals! I have two photographic copies that have been autographed. One by Roger Staubach. He wanted a copy for himself as well. The other by Sandy Alomar. Sandy Also wanted copies for his brother Robbie and his father. I've never met any of the players I've painted. That's the closest I've come.

All this gave me alot of exposure to the trading card industry. Upper Deck, one of the growing card companies, saw my work being published regularly and commissioned me to do illustrations to be reproduced on their trading cards.
> More about Upper Deck

© Copyright 2023 ~ Alan Studt