Alan Studt
Illustration Sports Art Design Internet


My Upper Deck Story - or -
(...hey, how can I get Upper Deck to use my artwork?)
> Checklist of Upper Deck Artwork       > Samples 1      > Samples

Late in the week, one afternoon before the July 4th weekend in 1991, I was doing some Art Director type o' paperwork in my office at WUAB-TV Channel 43 in Parma, Ohio. As often happens throughout the day, the phone rings. "Who wants what right away so I won't be able to go home on time" I thought to myself. It turns out that it was someone from Beckett Publications in Dallas, Texas calling to tell me that they just received a call from the Upper Deck Company in Carlsbad, California and they wanted to talk to me about doing some paintings for them. In case you aren't aware, Beckett Publications publishes magazines for the various sports regarding the sports trading card industry and the current value of trading cards. At that time Upper Deck was a relatively new company that produced baseball cards but was branching out into the other sports as well. Back to my story. For the past year I had been doing freelance illustration work with Beckett Publications creating drawings and paintings of popular athletes that they would reproduce in their magazines. Someone at Upper Deck liked my artwork. A "trade mark" of Upper Deck's card sets was that they would use paintings of one player from each team as a team checklist card. They were scheduled to release an inaugural set of NBA trading cards in the fall of 1991. Sooooo, they needed someone to create 28 paintings in time for them to meet their release date. They figured I was the man for the job. Since it was a holiday weekend and there was also a big national trading card industry show that weekend which the person I needed to talk to was attending, I was unable to talk with them until Monday. I just happened to be taking the next week off of work. By 9am Monday morning I'm dying of curiosity and it's still only 6am in California! It was mid-afternoon before I was able to get them on the phone. They needed 28 paintings by late September. The only hitch was, I would never be able to finish these paintings if I was working a "9 to 5" job. They offered me enough $ to make me think about resigning my position at the TV station. I gave it some thought (for about 2 seconds - I'm joking). I really did think it over because I was not looking for a job and figured I was a "lifer" at Channel 43. But, I decided I'd give the TV station my 2 weeks notice when I got back from vacation. The rest of that week was spent setting up my basement studio in preparation to really crank out some work. My last day at the TV station was Fri. July 21, 1991. So, everday, from Saturday July 22 until, I think it was, Sept. 24th, I put in at least 10 hours a day, 7 days a weeks. The longest week was the 2nd week when I worked 80 hours just to see how far I could push myself in case an emergency came up and cut into my time. So, in a nutshell, that's how I got started on my journey as an Independent Professional.

© Copyright 2023 ~ Alan Studt