By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor
Celebrity sports artist Kevin-John has been creating artwork for 25 years. But he only recently got his name into the sketch card business.
Two years ago, Kevin-John was at the National Sports Collectors Convention where Brian Gray from Leaf Trading Cards saw his work. From there, Kevin-John’s career as a sketch card artist took off.
The NSCC had opened new doors for him and he was able to use his skills in a different market he hadn’t even known existed before then.
“A year ago, I didn’t even know what a sketch card was,” Kevin-John said from the floor of the National. “For the last 25 years, I have been creating sports art by commission for athletes and teams.”
Leaf commissioned about 200 of sketch cards from Kevin-John for its 2010 Pop Century product. The company officials were so pleased with the work, it commissioned another 700 for the 2011 product.
Leaf brought Kevin-John back once again for the 2011 National.
This year, Kevin-John is taking orders from fans on the floor, creating black and white or full-color sketch cards on site. The color cards normally cost $200, but Kevin-John has a show special for just $40.
Customers order their cards at the Leaf booth, and if Kevin-John can, he will be able to give the card back before the collector leaves.
However, his sketch cards have been a very popular attraction.
“I have taken enough order to keep me busy for the next two months,” said Kevin-John, a 42-year-old from Erie, Pa. “I am going to be working solid right from now until the end of the show.”
Kevin-John was surprised by the responses he’s received, including from Gray. Gray pulled Kevin-
John to the side on Friday afternoon and gave him exciting news.
Leaf plans to make a Kevin-John sketch card product.
“He said, we love this product,” Kevin-John said. “It will be art cards from sports to pop culture to odd stuff. I am just ecstatic.”
Kevin-John thought maybe his artwork could appear on a card one day, but rather have larger pieces reduced down on to a 2×3 card such as Merv Corning had done back in the 1980s.
“His idea that people who wouldn’t normally be able to afford the originals would be able to get,” Kevin-John said. “This is just something different. It’s great.”