Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My first '57 football custom

I've expanded by repertoire once again, creating my custom football card in the format of 1957 Topps.

As you can see, the subject is Don Shula, in his final year of playing in the NFL, and his only year with the Redskins.

I was never a big fan of the 1957 Topps football set . . . not as a six-year-old kid and not as a 60-year-old custom card creator. But there have been a couple of players in my photo file that would have been appropriate for a 1957 card, so I thought I'd create the template and kick it off with Don Shula.

Since Topps reprinted the 1957 football set in its entirety (along with the 1956) in a 1994 Archives presentation, you'd think finding the parts to build a Shula card would be a piece of cake. Not quite.

Topps did a great job with the 1957 reprints, but they look "too new" to strip down for the elements I need to make a card. Still, the reprints allowed me to see the backs of each card in the set to find those that could contribute to my custom. Specifically, I was looking for cartoons that could be re-purposed for a Don Shula card. I chose to go with a cartoon that ran on the back of the 1957 Raymond Berry card (the college cartoon) and a piece of the cartoon (the bus) that ran on the back of the 1956 Harlon Hill card.

By searching for those cards on the internet, I was able to glean images of the backs of the originals and work them into my Shula back design. 

Notice however, that in making the 1957 reprint set, Topps changed the typeface on the player name on front. While I wasn't able to find an exact match for the original name type, I found that Rockwell Condensed Bold adequately fills the bill and the difference between the two is likely noticeable only to a print professional comparing an original '57 and my Shula custom. 

The portrait half of my card was taken from a "Chalkboard Legends" subset card from the 1994 Roger Staubach's NFL Football set from the Ted Williams Card Company.

The action photo at right on my card probably started out as a team promotional/press photo taken in 1953 when the Baltimore Colts joined the NFL. If you're familiar with 1954 Bowman football, you'll recognize the format and background of the photo as being similar to many of the Colts' cards in that great vintage set.

You'll be seeing that photo again in the near future, when I've finished a 1954 Bowman-style card of Shula with the Colts. Creating a custom in that format will be another first for me.

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