Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A custom card is never "done"

I guess I never consider my custom cards to be "done." Maybe that makes me anal.

But when I discover an error in one of my creations, or even just a way the card could be significantly improved, my inclination is to update the card.

I've done that dozens of times in the past nine years, sometimes just correcting a stat or a misspelling, sometimes replacing a picture.

A trio of examples will give you an  insight into my thought process.

On Saturday, while watching the Wisconsin Badgers survive an opening-game scare from Northern Iowa, I noticed that the Panthers had on their helmets a logo of a brown panther.

Five and a half years ago I had created a 1955 All-American style custom card of Kurt Warner, who had played at Northern Iowa.

For that card I used as the team logo on front a black panther. It was the black panther that Topps had used on one or two of the original AA cards in 1955. I just associated the word "panther" with "black."

I could have easily ignored the faux paw (sorry), but I decided to go ahead and change the logo on my Kurt Warner custom.

Because the Topps' panther was black, there wasn't much detail to the big cat. When I tried simply changing the black to brown, the result looked like roadkill.

So I scoured the internet for a new panther logo. A google search on mascot>illustration>panther gave me some workable choices and by adding some color to a black-and-white picture, I came up with the result you see here.

I'm not going to do a special press run to print up new Kurt Warner cards for my two personal "master" sets, but next time I'm printing some new cards, I'll add the revised Warners to the printing.

Another example of an updating was undertaken a week or so ago.

I was working on a 1970-style baseball card (you can see the finished card on my blog in two days) when I had to refer to a stack of reference cards to see how Topps handled switch-hitters -- Bats: S, Bats: B or Bats: L&R.

While looking over card backs, I discovered that on pitchers' cards (at least those with a cartoon element), Topps indicated the throwing preference on the first line of biographical details under the the player's name. Pitchers' batting choice was shown on the second line, with the birth date.

The opposite was true on position players' cards: "BATS" was on the top line, "THROWS" on the second.

Since the template that I used when I created the back of my 1970 Carlton Fisk card four or five years ago was a pitcher's card, I figured I might have got that order mixed up. Sure enough, upon checking my Fisk creation, I found I'd had it wrong.

I made the correction to my computer image and printed up a couple of the new version while I was printing the new 1970 custom card.

Similarly, when I first printed my 1952 Topps-style Rogers Hornsby manager card earlier this year, one of the first persons to see the back image noticed that I had used "BATS" and "THROWS". In those years that Topps issued manager's cards, they used "BATTED" and "THREW".

I reviewed all of my manager and coaches cards and found that while I had the correct tense on my 1955 Charlie Grimm and 1956 Grimm and Casey Stengel customs, I had used the present tense on my 1972 Larry Doby (Expos coach), 1975 Duke Snider (Expos coach) and 1979 Bill Mazeroski (Mariners coach) customs. Corrections will be forthcoming.

A lot of work goes into researching and designing my custom cards. I can own up to my mistakes but feel a compunction to correct them when I can. I don't mind those who see my cards thinking I was careless or mistaken, but I wouldn't anybody to think that I didn't take pride in my creations.

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