CREATIVE DIFFERENCES WITH ERIC WHITE


Welcome to the first installment of Creative Differences, where I lob questions over to other creative-type people and they toss the answers back to me.

It's really just that simple.

In this inaugural installment I talk to Eric White who describes himself as a dad, a husband, a workaholic and a lover of coffee. So really, it's almost like I'm interviewing myself.

Eric White

Eric works in graphic design during the day, but by night he draws/colors comics and comic book style artwork, does freelance graphic design on all sorts of projects and, as of recently, contributes sketch card art to Star Wars trading cards by Topps.

In fact, his first work on the trading card front dropped just yesterday with the release of the Topps Star Wars Galactic Files: Reborn trading cards in which you can find his sketch cards in random packs.

Full Disclosure: Eric is a friend, though we have yet to meet in real life (One of these days, buddy! One of these days there will be a Planet Comicon that we are both able to attend!). Eric taught me how to digitally flat comics and even helped me to get a few paying jobs in that arena a time or two.

But enough about all that, let's get with the Q&A.



NOTE: The following interview was done entirely through email.

STEEVEN R. ORR: Eric, you were chosen, along with 76 other artists, to contribute sketch cards for the new Star Wars Galactic Files: Reborn trading card set from Topps. How did that come about?

ERIC WHITE: Back in 2008 I discovered through the grape vine of the internet that people were being paid to draw Star Wars scenes and characters on these little 2.5" x 3.5" trading cards. That is literally all I knew about it at the time but I knew right away that I was going to do that. SO after some digging I found a contact with Topps and submitted a (really terrible) portfolio. I got ZERO response. So I began working on some other card sets and over the years built up a somewhat respectable-ish portfolio of cards all the while sending in submissions to Topps every 6 months. After almost 10 years of not even one single reply to ALL my submissions in January of this year they finally emailed me back inviting me to work on a set! It was amazing having all those years of work finally feeling like it was paying off.


SRO: How many cards did you do?

EW: I did about 60 cards for this set.


SRO: Was 60 the required amount, or did you choose the amount to submit?

EW: No. Each set has different minimum and maximum number of cards each artist can choose. Most have a minimum of 25 and a maximum of around 100.


SRO: Was it difficult deciding on who you were going to sketch?

EW: That part was INCREDIBLY hard. Here I've been dreaming about getting on one of these sets
for so long, I finally get on the set and I can't decide which characters to draw. I want to draw them all! But of course I have to be selective. That was a real challenge.


SRO: Which one, when you drew it, felt effortless (or at least the easiest) and which one did you find the most difficult?

EW: The easiest for me are all the Droids. BB8 was LOADS of fun to draw!! He's really great. The hardest for me was probably Leia. I just didn't want to get the likeness wrong and dishonor her
memory.


SRO: OK, so you contributed 60 cards to the set. Will I be able to find one of your cards in every pack I purchase, or will it be a more random, luck of the draw type situation?

EW: It's complete luck. The sketch cards you pull in these packs are the actual original pieces of art. Not reproductions. So my handful of sketch cards are mixed randomly into a million packs of cards. If you're really out to find them though you can buy boxes or cases of packs. There are something like 8 boxes in each case. In each box there are something like 50 packs. You are guaranteed 2 "hits" per box meaning you'll get at least 2 sketch cards , autograph cards or other rare cards.

The good news is on Galactic Files I got 7 Artist Proof cards. These APs are cards that I draw and send in for approval (there are very tight controls with these cards for quality between Topps and Disney). Once they sign off on them they send them back to me to do with as I please. Those cards will be up for sale on my website as soon as I get them back! So if you want an original piece of art from this Star Wars set just let me know!


SRO: So these are super rare cards, that's really cool. Is there one card that you did for this set that, for you, stands out over all the others as your favorite?

EW: This Galactic Files allowed us to create artwork from all the movies and any of the animations and television shows so I got a chance to draw everything from Queen Amidala, to Ahsoka Tano and a few different eras of Darth Vader. I tried to sprinkle in a little bit of everything. But I think my personal favorite card from this set might just be the Porkins I drew. Poor Porkins. He's never gotten the respect her deserves!


SRO: Who are your influences?

EW: I have always been a huge fan of the classic animation style. Like the old Johnny Quest and Thundarr the Barbarian cartoons. Where there's a sense of realism there and proportion but just enough cartoon to make it accessible to people of all ages. In my heart-of-hearts I've always wanted to be a Frank Frazetta type illustrator but I know I just don't have the patience for that.


SRO: Thundarr the Barbarian was the best. That cartoon is where my love for post apocalyptic fiction began. We should do a Thundarr the Barbarian comic together. How can we make that happen?

EW: I would love to do that some day! We can explore it for sure. :)

SRO: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

EW: I knew from a very early age that I wanted to make a living but creating art. I always figured it would be somewhere in the comic book universe...but just something to do with being creative and drawing/coloring. Turns out making money in comics is, like...super difficult so I had to diversify my dreams a bit.


SRO: What are you most proud of, creatively?

EW: Like a lot of other artists I tend to forget pretty quickly about the artwork I've created. I finish
something and love (or hate) it then move on to the next thing. Since I really haven't had a project that has been my "BIG" thing...I sort of feel like I'm the proudest about the stuff I'm currently working on or JUST finished. But over the years I've had a TON of fun on these star wars books, and with some of the comic book projects I've had published. different stuff like that.


SRO: Where do you draw?

EW: I find myself drawing MOSTLY at home, late at night after the kids have all gone to bed at my desk. But I'm super busy with the day job, family stuff and with all my art projects to I've been known to draw in the car, in hotels, on planes, and in children's gymnastics lobby. Really anywhere I'm sitting still at for more than 10 minutes there's a chance I'll have my pencils out.


SRO: When are you at your most creative? First thing in the morning, late at night, middle of the afternoon?

EW: 100% it's late at night. I'm one of those jerks who only sleeps about 4 hours a night so after the kids are in bed is when I sit down to work. I'll start at 9 or 10 and work through about 2 or 3 in the morning.


SRO: If given the choice, who would you love to collaborate with that you've never worked with before?

EW: I've worked with a lot of really great artists over the years. Some really fantastic men and women on all sorts of great stuff. I don't think there's a single person at this point that I could point at and say "I want that!" but I DO have some story ideas in my head that I have been rolling around for years. Some day I hope I can get connected with some writers and some artists to help me bring that vision to life.

SRO: What are you reading, what are you watching, and what are you listening to?

EW: I have Tinnitus really bad so when I'm working I almost always have something playing to help drown out the ringing while I'm trying to concentrate on the work. Recently I have been listening to the Harry Potter audio books again for the millionth time (Jim Dale is the best!). I also just finished GLOW on Netflix which was pretty great and am crazy excited for the new season of Game of Thrones!!


SRO: Can you talk about, or tease, anything you have coming up?

EW: Since this first set of Star Wars cards for Topps I have since been invited back for their next TWO sets as well. Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi was originally announced to be released some time in September and the 2017 Masterworks set which was announced to be released sometime around November/December.

I also have a 6-issue comic series that I'm coloring that should be out some time next year (I think) and a crazy huge board game which I illustrated which I'm pretty sure will be out sometime next year as well. Sadly I can't really talk much more about either of those.


SRO: Eric, I want to thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. I'm super excited for what you have coming up next, most especially if we can make that Thundarr the Barbarian thing happen. Until then, where can people find you online?

EW: I'm everywhere online as GeekyWhiteGuy. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Also I'm timing the release of this sketch card set with the release of my newly redesigned website www.geekywhiteguy.com. There you'll find all my art galleries and my store where you can get original art, super fancy prints and all sorts of swag with my art on it. Plus keep up to date with the blog OR order your very own custom piece of art!



There you go folks. Star Wars Galactic Files: Reborn trading cards are out and available now. Pick them up at your local Wal-Mart, Target, comic books store, or most any website that sells such things.

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