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Platinum Card Talk Member
Picture of Raven
posted
This is a question for sketch card artists or sketch card collectors. Recently I came across a sketch card that I liked. It was on licensed card stock from an older licensed product and had the usual 1/1 wording. The artist was named and signed it. Problem is, that artist was not mentioned on the original artist checklist and was probably not doing commercial work at the time of release. The fine print on the description said "modification" while the header had only the set title.

The two options I can think of would be that it was either a repaint or it was a blank cardboard that was used. I knew what it was, I just still liked the work, so that's fine. What I want to know is how artists or sketch collectors would view doing something like that?

Is it considered just an ACEO, or a commissioned sketch, or does it lose value for looking like a licensed sketch, when it was not in the product? Would it be regarded as a counterfeit, if in fact there was a sketch underneath? Would it be OK if it was just a blank given to the artist or bought afterwards? Does calling it a "modification" cover all bases/claims?

Another grey area that I think happens more than we know, but the artwork is still there to judge. I have seen cheap ACEOs that are gems compared to what was in packs, so art is always going to be subjective. Whereas pricing is a different matter and can depend on many factors. Thoughts on this one?
 
Posts: 9494 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Gold Card Talk Member
Picture of Scifi Cards
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I have strong opinions on this subject, and it annoys a lot of people.

First, absolutely bad form if they did the art over someone else's work. That alone would make me avoid the artist.

Second, if the card was blank, then it is stolen property. Artists do not own blanks, and are supposed to return all sent, even if they could not finish or messed some up.

UD not paying well does not change this. They knew what they were getting into when they agreed to do the set. Keeping blanks and selling them to other artists is selling property that IS NOT YOURS.

AP's are a little more grey, as they do belong to the artist but they are supposed to have art done on them and approved through official channels. But UD and Marvel are the worst at approvals (I had an AP that waited 1 year in approval hell before the artist gave up and sent it to me unapproved). So blank AP's are a little different, but again I'm not sure I'd want an AP from an artist not on the set.

I could go on, but I'll stop here...

Ed

____________________
www.nonsportcardshows.com Home of the Chicago Non-Sport Card Show

Trading Page Now Online: http://www.scifi.cards/trading.html

Collecting Sketches of the Character Crystal

 
Posts: 4944 | Location: Phoenix, AZ | Registered: March 09, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Platinum Card Talk Member
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Totally agree, Ed.

Personally I avoid anything that wasn't in the same form as it was when it left the manufacturer.

I will only buy an AP that was by an original artist on the set and of the proper license.

Further I avoid any set/card that embraces copyright infringement. Sadly many small press sketch releases fall into this category now.
 
Posts: 5202 | Location: Parts Unknown. | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Platinum Card Talk Member
Picture of Raven
posted Hide Post
Yes, my own opinion is that it is unethical of artists when licensing is being violated and/or buyers are deceived. In the case of sketches, it gets even more dicey because it is original art involved.

Just to clarify this item wasn't from a UD title and made no claim to be an AP. I don't know what UD has been up to lately. The product is more than a dozen years old and had many light pencil sketches of little value in the packs. Were I to guess, I would think one of them was just erased and reused. Which would probably be easy to do.

I liked the new sketch enough and it was priced low enough that I did buy it. The thing that intrigues me is in the description part that says it is "Modification: Original Sketch". Is this how such sketches are being advertised now? Is this how some artists are trying to get around license restrictions?

I think if that's the case, it's a good thing to point it out so that buyers can look out for it.
All artwork is whatever you like, as long as you don't believe that you are getting more than you are paying for.
 
Posts: 9494 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Silver Card Talk Member
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quote:
Originally posted by Raven:
The thing that intrigues me is in the description part that says it is "Modification: Original Sketch".

I'm surprised it was even labeled as such.

Personally, I think it stinks when someone modifies or changes artwork somebody else did. If it's resold as "altered" I guess that's not so bad, but to pass it off as original or legit is just wrong.

There are rogue artists that will draw whatever you want on whatever you give them, even if it's on official stock that they did not originally work on. In that case it's on the artist, but it's also on the manufacturer for not policing and holding artists accountable.
 
Posts: 1455 | Location: NJ | Registered: August 28, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Platinum Card Talk Member
Picture of Raven
posted Hide Post
Unfortunately holding anybody accountable for anything is very hard when it comes to this hobby and other hobbies. Not only does the item have to be proven to be fraudulent, which is often hard unto itself, but the seller has to be proven to have known about it. The refrain is usually. "I was fooled too". So all you can really do is try to return anything you don't think is genuine, whether cards, autographs, sketches, or anything else.

The license holders on older products may no longer be in business. Even if they are, they are unlikely to pursue small individual transactions, just some mass production. If its overseas mass production, they may not be able to even do that. So you can't depend on manufacturers to clean up anything, except maybe for Marvel and Disney, who have a reputation for cease and desist letters. Wink

If an older item is on eBay, who knows how many times its changed hands? Who do you blame once things get to the secondary market and are traded in good faith or bad faith? If an artist does a commission for a private collector, and years later that sketch gets sold and starts to circulate, who can be held accountable, by whom? It's just really important that whatever its nature, the buyer does enough research to not confuse any item with something else. Especially if it is pricey.
 
Posts: 9494 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Silver Card Talk Member
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quote:
Originally posted by Ted Dastick Jr.:
I think it stinks when someone modifies or changes artwork somebody else did.


In some countries (particularly France), artists have the right "to prevent the defacement or alteration of the work (the right of integrity or droit au respect de l'oeuvre)".
 
Posts: 1800 | Location: Huntsville, AL United States | Registered: November 30, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Gold Card Talk Member
Picture of mykdude
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I am pretty sure that early on the deal was that artists were allowed to keep X amount of blank sketch cards for personal gain. Then AP's or variances were developed to mark a notable difference. The card company accounting for this is as simple as it can be. What happens to those extra cards in the long run is a mixed bag I am sure, but it seems that a direct commission would be the most value for the artist.

I have talked to card artists at cons and some of the ways they are treated by card manufacturers is inexcusable. We can sit here and talk about integrity all day but I am sure all of us would have different thoughts if a big company with plenty of money is jerking you around with getting paid.

As far as "modification" is concerned I guess I am against it even though I have some pack pulled garbage that could certainly use it. Wink

There are always going to be collectors buying things through either ignorance or deception. Even though checklists are getting more detailed it seems like a simple list of artists is supposed to suffice. Numbers can't be that difficult to report.

I think most of us have figured out there is no such thing as the card police and that most guarantees written on the back of specialty cards are only enforceable when enough collectors are taken in by fraud. There are also major checks and balances that keep things in line such as image and license owners. For the unusual or outside of normal stuff true accountability is 100% on the buyer.
 
Posts: 4262 | Location: Tennessee | Registered: March 09, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Platinum Card Talk Member
Picture of Raven
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quote:
Originally posted by mykdude:
I am pretty sure that early on the deal was that artists were allowed to keep X amount of blank sketch cards for personal gain. Then AP's or variances were developed to mark a notable difference.


Yes, the rules have changed from maker to maker and sometimes from set to set. We have had close to 20 years of non-sport products that have leaned heavily on sketch cards as the primary or secondary or alternating hit. Some of the backs have identified the artist. Many have not or the name can't be read. Most of the sketches on licensed card stock made it into product, but a fair portion of them may not have been seeded for various reasons. Blank licensed card stock can still be found. ACEOs, APs and Commissions are all available on the market.

As time goes on and the original buyers, who may or may not be sure of true origin, sell the sketches, certain ones are going to be miscategorized out of plain ignorance or actual deception.

We don't talk about sketch cards all that much on Card Talk, but it is worth considering when you see something you want to buy that you be sure to know what is. I don't know how much these issues are discussed on the artist sites. I tend to think rules are rather loose, just because of the real difficulties that many sketch artists have with the card companies and license approvers, as has been noted. If in doubt about origin, and it seriously means something to you, better to pass than be sorry. I would say that about any item.
 
Posts: 9494 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Gold Card Talk Member
Picture of mykdude
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quote:
Originally posted by Raven:

As time goes on and the original buyers, who may or may not be sure of true origin, sell the sketches, certain ones are going to be miscategorized out of plain ignorance or actual deception.



In the case of an artist getting extra cards and selling them on commission does it really matter one way or the other? It seems to me that most of the integrity is still valid no matter if the card was placed into packs or not. Basically it is an agreement both parties are a part of. One question I would have for artists in this position is how tied to the manufacture approval process are they in the area of direct commissions? Do they even know what it is completely or do they find out after submission? Who holds on to rejected cards? Do they still have them? Personally I would like to think artists are free from it but I really don't know.

Obviously anything that involves original card modifications are a different matter.
 
Posts: 4262 | Location: Tennessee | Registered: March 09, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Platinum Card Talk Member
Picture of Raven
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by mykdude:
quote:
Originally posted by Raven:

As time goes on and the original buyers, who may or may not be sure of true origin, sell the sketches, certain ones are going to be miscategorized out of plain ignorance or actual deception.



In the case of an artist getting extra cards and selling them on commission does it really matter one way or the other? It seems to me that most of the integrity is still valid no matter if the card was placed into packs or not. Basically it is an agreement both parties are a part of. One question I would have for artists in this position is how tied to the manufacture approval process are they in the area of direct commissions? Do they even know what it is completely or do they find out after submission? Who holds on to rejected cards? Do they still have them? Personally I would like to think artists are free from it but I really don't know.

Obviously anything that involves original card modifications are a different matter.


Lots of good questions posed there and I think the answers might differ depending on who you are asking. Big Grin

Safe to say that if the cardstock used is the same, and there is no documentation or visual way to tell if a particular sketch was seeded in a product, or was deemed an Artist Proof/Artist Return, or was a private Commission done afterwards, then it doesn't matter if it can't be proven one way or the other.

However if origin can be proven, there should be some sort of a pecking order to it as far as desirability that subsequently might affect price. Sort of like rock, paper, scissors. We know that artists always charge more for Artist Proofs and Artist Returns. They are generally their best looking pieces, although I've never really understood the difference between a Proof and a Return, and as far as I know they aren't indicated anywhere on the sketch. You are just taking the Artist's word for it.

Same way that, while the approval of the card maker and license holder are often mentioned, there is no seal attached to it. If I pulled a sketch from a pack, I would have to assume it's been approved. If I got it right from the Artist or someone else and didn't see the pull, how would I know whether the image was approved or not? How would I know it ever made the product? It might make a difference in the pecking order, but you can't categorize it if you just can't tell.

Now Commissions are going to be whatever the Artist is charging, and they usually will draw whatever subjects the customer wants. I really don't see a big problem for private, individual Commissions, provided that Artists don't start mass producing certain licensed images on their own for general sale. That would be noticed and might cause the Artist to lose contracts, among other things. However if a Commission gets done on a licensed card stock, then the lines get crossed again and how do you tell what it is years later?

Remember when sketch cards first appeared as hits and the checklists actually stated how many sketches each Artist made for the set? Completists and Master Set builders wanted one of each Artist and the ones with the smallest numbers cost more. Seems silly now because its art, but knowing the number meant something then.

Anyway there is too much ground and too many opinions to cover but original sketch modifications, which was actually the topic, is a different matter. In the current market, I don't know how widespread the practice is. I don't know if Artists regard it as taboo, or if no one cares enough to call it out. Even the Old Masters would paint over someone's other work when they didn't have a canvas, didn't they? Wink But if we are getting into ethics and possible deception on selling, that's a whole other subject and I'll leave it here, as this is already turning into an essay and I don't have any better answers than anybody else not in this business. Smile
 
Posts: 9494 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post



Diamond Card Talk Member
Picture of hammer
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Having said that - there are a few thousand "Screaming Monkeys" that could do with being turned into a decent sketch Smile
 
Posts: 12067 | Location: England | Registered: September 16, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Gold Card Talk Member
Picture of mykdude
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quote:
Originally posted by hammer:
Having said that - there are a few thousand "Screaming Monkeys" that could do with being turned into a decent sketch Smile


Those were what I had in mind when I said

"As far as "modification" is concerned I guess I am against it even though I have some pack pulled garbage that could certainly use it.

Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin
 
Posts: 4262 | Location: Tennessee | Registered: March 09, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Platinum Card Talk Member
Picture of Raven
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I think we all have at least a few of those "Screaming Monkeys", "Sculls" and "Orcs". Some of the better-known subjects among the collections of stick figure and kindergarten quality licensed and approved sketch card garbage that everyone involved should be ashamed of distributing. Creating artwork where the value of the licensed paper is worth more to anybody than the drawing on the front is exactly why we are even talking about this topic.
 
Posts: 9494 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Platinum Card Talk Member
Picture of Batman
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Where does aftermarket sketches stand? Back in the early days of sketch cards, artists would take one of their original cards and enhance it, turning a basic pencil sketch into a nice looking card, with more detail and color added. Once manufacturers found out, contracts were re-worded and artists were told to stop doing aftermarkets. I have several of these in my collection, and the artists generally marked the card as AM along with the signature. If I were to sell them I would fully disclose they are aftermarkets. I consider them legit cards as long as the facts are disclosed.

____________________
"The problem, I'm told, is more than medical."
 
Posts: 5760 | Location: Brielle, NJ | Registered: April 03, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Gold Card Talk Member
Picture of Scifi Cards
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Batman:
Where does aftermarket sketches stand? Back in the early days of sketch cards, artists would take one of their original cards and enhance it, turning a basic pencil sketch into a nice looking card, with more detail and color added. Once manufacturers found out, contracts were re-worded and artists were told to stop doing aftermarkets. I have several of these in my collection, and the artists generally marked the card as AM along with the signature. If I were to sell them I would fully disclose they are aftermarkets. I consider them legit cards as long as the facts are disclosed.


Certainly, when allowed aftermarket work done by the original artist is a legit collectible. Not everyone thinks the value is the same as pack inserted work of the same quality, but opinions are just that and art will always be subjective.

It gets murkier is they don't notate the AM.

Problem with all this is nobody will remember when these are Vintage cards. Will anyone care? Probably so, but with all the touch ups and even custom works out there these days it will be hard to track what is legit.

Ed

____________________
www.nonsportcardshows.com Home of the Chicago Non-Sport Card Show

Trading Page Now Online: http://www.scifi.cards/trading.html

Collecting Sketches of the Character Crystal

 
Posts: 4944 | Location: Phoenix, AZ | Registered: March 09, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Platinum Card Talk Member
Picture of Raven
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Scifi Cards:
Certainly, when allowed aftermarket work done by the original artist is a legit collectible. Not everyone thinks the value is the same as pack inserted work of the same quality, but opinions are just that and art will always be subjective.

It gets murkier is they don't notate the AM.

Problem with all this is nobody will remember when these are Vintage cards. Will anyone care? Probably so, but with all the touch ups and even custom works out there these days it will be hard to track what is legit.

Ed


I would imagine that at least some of the people reading this have never heard of an "aftermarket sketch". It's not a term you see used that much anymore and "aftermarket" doesn't specify that something has been modified or enhanced. It can also just mean that no manufacturer is listed. Something "handmade" could be called "aftermarket". Any ACEO can be called "aftermarket". There are different ways to interpret the word and to me it just indicates that something has been done as an alteration after the item was licensed and produced, if that item was ever licensed in the first place.

My only direct contact with Artists has been to get a couple of dozen of Commissions long ago, so I don't have any sketches with an "AM" on them. I think you could make a case that Artist Proofs/Artist Returns are close to the same thing, except that they require licensed approvals according to the rules. "Aftermarket" makes no approval guarantees, but when it comes to that, a buyer is taking the Artist word and usually has no idea if a sketch actually passed approval when purchased directly from the Artist.

This is my view on "aftermarket sketches". If done on licensed card stock by an authorized artist in the product and the modifications are made by that same original Artist, its legit.

However, if a licensed and approved sketch is altered by any other Artist besides the original one it voids all licensing agreements and can no longer even imply its an approved sketch. It wouldn't matter if the second artist was also authorized in the set or not, you can't improve upon someone else's artwork, taking credit or not.

If you want to further complicate it. If the original Artist agrees to improve upon his/her licensed sketch, but subsequently adds something that would not have been approved under the product rights, that also voids the licensing agreement. Its why Artists were told not to do any of this in the later contracts. It makes the modified sketch unapproved and illegit. Think of it like voiding your product warranty when you fix your own TV yourself. Big Grin

Anyway, if somebody loves the artwork and knows the Artist, none of the rules may matter to them. But they will matter if you want big money from a knowledgeable sketch card collector who will want everything to be in order if they want a licensed sketch. It gets complicated fast once you start talking about money and which one is worth more, ignoring the art quality of course.

eBay's authentication program won't accept sketch cards. You rarely see a graded sketch card and that's only for card condition. I just checked the Terminology section in "The Art of Sketch Cards vol. 1" and while ACEO Card, Artist Proof Sketch and Artist Return Card are there, no mention of "aftermarket" work is made. So yes, all that custom sketch business seems murky indeed.
 
Posts: 9494 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Gold Card Talk Member
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Only time I have come across aftermarket sketches was LOTR Evolution where some artists who did plain B/W sketches then coloured them in for a fee .
 
Posts: 2526 | Location: Sutton Coldfield England | Registered: August 09, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Platinum Card Talk Member
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I also avoid after market cards.

I suppose if I could buy one direct from the artist I might consider it -- if it was allowed on the set.

That said I wouldn't trust that a modified card was actually modified by the original artist if I weren't buying it direct from them.

I remain disappointed that manufacturers don't care enough to scan all of the sketches (and patches for that matter) that they produce and host them on a website -- Inkworks was the only company that did that.
 
Posts: 5202 | Location: Parts Unknown. | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Silver Card Talk Member
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There is another line to this discussion that just popped up in my daily emails from eBay. What do people think about after market autograph cards ? My email from eBay was about new arrivals for Blake's 7 cards. It contained 8 new cards autographed by memebers of the cast. No real problem there except that two of them were clearly dated 2018 and used gold ink which was not part of the original set release back in 2014. The asking prices are quite eyewatering too Smile

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/125420500989

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/125420500999
 
Posts: 1435 | Location: Warrington, UK | Registered: January 10, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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