You may have seen Tyson Beck’s artwork without realizing it – at NBA games, on ESPN’s SportsCenter – and now they are on Topps trading cards.
Topps Fire Football released last week with the Australian artist’s creations throughout the set.
“Football cards are modern and progressive,” said Topps Football Brand Manager Kevin Eger. “We wanted something that captured that. When we saw Tyson Beck’s artwork on Instagram, we felt it was something we wanted to add to our product portfolio.”
Eger and football art director Jeff Zachowski reached out to the 25-year-old Beck to see if he was interested in creating an insert or smaller set for Topps. They didn’t imagine at the time that he would spearhead an entire project.
But they got it, and 1,000 working hours later, Beck’s imprint is all over 2014 Topps Fire Football.
“When I started designing purely for fun at the age of 14 I had two dream projects to work on, designing an NBA All-Star uniform and the other being designing an entire set of trading cards,” said Beck, a graphic artist and huge fan of the Los Angeles Lakers. “Being located in Australia I always thought the chances to tick off that dream was slim to none.”
“What else intrigued me was the opportunity to be creative with the series of cards, which ideally would bring in a new market of fans due to the loud artistic approach to the various card designs,” Beck added.
While Beck has worked on many other sports projects including baseball, soccer and basketball, this was a first for him on trading cards. He usually works on a much larger space, so creating his art and getting them on small pieces of cardboard was a bit of a challenge.
He worked in a larger space to ensure the details were right. Then scaled the images down to fit on the cards. These are like large poster-sized creations shrunk to trading-card size, which make them easy to trade and collect.
“The biggest challenges were creating something unique and creative while being compliant and to have the entire series of cards feel like a set, but not to be repetitive,” Beck said. “It was challenging but in a positive way that allowed boundaries to be pushed and concepts improve over the time of developing the subset of cards.
“The other challenge was, being my first trading card project I’ve ever worked on I wasn’t familiar with best practice for parallel printing set-up, but Topps Art Director Jeff Zachowski was an amazing help and a wealth of knowledge throughout the whole project.
Beck looked for ways to push his imagination to come up with pieces of art that scream for attention.
In the case of Topps Fire, Beck’s re-imagination of the NFL stars puts the athletes in other worlds with meteorites falling around them or running through wisps of smoke.
“The process was different throughout the subsets. Some cards I scanned in elements of paint/watercolor and brought it all together in Photoshop. Other subsets were more imagery/effects driven so those were a combination of creating the effects and sourcing images that would work,” Beck explained. “With the concepts on hand for some of the subsets I had to think how different colors will work and possibly clash for each team once applied. ”