Full disclosure in that Grant Gould is a friend of mine. It may not be important to you that he’s one of the nicest dudes I know and that he constantly cracks me the hell up, but what should be important to you are that he’s talented and the following three words: Vikings vs. Werewolves. How can you not want to read that?
Grant’s career so far is mainly as a sketch card artist for every major trading card set from Revenge of the Sith to Iron Man. His first comic Wolves of Odin is coming in November from Super Real Graphics, but I wanted to know more now, so I asked him some questions and I’m sharing the answers with you. He was also recently announced as one of the artists on Lucasfilm’s Clone Wars webcomic, but I’ll save that conversation for a future column.
Michael May (MM): Tell me about your background with sketch cards. How’d you get into that?
Grant Gould (GG): In 2004, Topps was looking for new artists to tackle their Revenge of the Sith card set and one of my online pals, artist Tom Hodges, was already on the set and gave me the heads-up and put in a good word, etc. I sent Topps some samples, they got me approved through Lucasfilm, and that was that. Since then I’ve worked on several more Star Wars sets, Lord of the Rings sets, DC, Marvel, Heroes, Halo, Indiana Jones, you name it. Sketch cards have been huge for me in terms of helping to get my name out there and get my foot in the door.
MM: What’s your favorite piece that you’ve done so far?
GG: As in, which is my favorite card set so far?
MM: I’m wondering more about which drawing of yours are you most proud of? You’ve done so many sketch cards and commissions and fan prints; is there one particular piece that you still look at and think, “Yeah, that was a really good one.”
GG: Well, I tend to be my own worst critic. I have a habit of really liking a piece, then going to sleep and looking at it the next day and suddenly hating it. But there are a few things I’ve done that I’m pretty pleased with, even if I do see faults in the art that I wish I could change. For example, on the most recent Lord of the Rings: Masterpieces card set, I had the opportunity to illustrate one of the base cards and that was a huge thrill because I’m such a massive fan of Tolkien and the LOTR movies. I think I tend to be most proud of the projects that I enjoyed the most – not so much the projects that I think the drawings look the best, if that makes sense.
MM: Perfect sense. Drawing sketch cards and commissions is pretty secure work for you, right? What’s the attraction to making a comic that makes you want to spend more time on that and less time on the work that pays more regularly? In other words, at this point in your career, why comics?
GG: To be honest, sketch cards and commission work aren’t very secure, or reliable, in terms of making a living off this stuff. I knew that I would have to start branching out into other things if I wanted to keep any sort of fulltime art career going. I think there are three major factors in me getting into comic work: