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For over 25 years The Upper Deck Company has been in the forefront of quality and innovation. We are proud to maintain an award winning portfolio of gaming and entertainment products that contain some of the industry’s best original works of art. We are excited to share exclusive interviews with some of our top sketch card artists bringing a look at the amazing people behind these amazing works. This is the Upper Deck Artist Spotlight Series.
For November the spotlight shines on Randy Martinez.
UD: When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
RM: I really cannot remember NOT being an artist. Both of my parents are artists so I was literally born into it. My mom made all kinds of arts back then from painting to stained glass, and she was a high school art teacher, so I learned a multitude of different medias and tools. My Dad was an illustrator, mostly doing cartooning and Caricature. My Style is heavily influenced by the drawing instruction I got from my Dad, while my passion for using so many different kinds of art media definitely comes from my Mom. I just always took to it, not like it was a choice… I just always had art materials around and people who liked to teach, so I just absorbed everything. My parents were my greatest inspiration; they gave me my foundation and love for art.
UD: Beyond your parents, who helped you from either an inspirational or educational standpoint to become the artists you are today?
RM: I have been blessed with a long list of great art teachers and mentors. Because my parents were both artists, I was surrounded by countless great artists, some you would know, some you would know very well, like Sergio Aragonés, of MAD magazine fame. Speaking of MAD… I cannot forget to credit MAD and all its great artists like Jack Davis, Mort Drucker, and of course Sergio for inspiring me. My first love in art is Cartooning, Caricature, and humor so MAD spoke to my soul. As much as I love humorous art, I still wanted to learn more and see what else I could do.
When I started Collage, I had some great teachers like Jerry Slattum at Cal Lutheran University, Richard Peterson at Ventura Community College, and Dietmar Winkler, Mark Schuler and Steve Mayse from the Kansas City Art Institute. All who were very, very tough on me and pushed me to dig out more of who I am through my art. But you know, art is a lifelong journey, and I’m continually inspired and educated by life, other artists, and music… yes music. I’m also a musician/songwriter, and I am obsessed with music and music history. I learn so much about art as a whole from great music and the artist who create it.
UD: Your work within the Alien universe has span Trading Cards and Gaming. What do you enjoy most about drawing characters from the Alien universe?
RM: Alien is definitely a whole world into itself. I think initially, my favorite thing about the Alien Universe, was the challenge of getting to know the characters and creatures more intimately. I’ve loved the movies all my life, but I didn’t really study them, as I have with other movies I’ve been fortunate enough to do art work for. That is really important for an artist, to get to KNOW the subject matter pretty well before executing a project. So I watched the movies again, studied the characters, the ships, and of course the Xenomorphs. Every movie franchise has its own set of art direction, I guess rules, you might say, and that’s what separates Alien from other Sci Fi franchises.
Even tough each Alien movie has its own style and feel, due to the different directors, there is still a connecting theme of colors, lighting, and camera angles (just to name a few things). Very subtle things that make Alien what it is. The challenge of getting to know these things is always fun and interesting. After that, I would say the Aliens, and the Alien environments themselves are the most enjoyable part of creating Alien art. They are just so strange with their mix of grotesque organic matter and industrial looking rivets hoses and gears. But all that texture is wonderful to draw, though challenging. There is so much detail that is necessary to make the Xenomorphs look right, and so much detail on top of each other, sometimes I have to step back and get my eyes uncrossed. But it’s fun!
UD: You have been doing great work with Upper Deck for many years covering both Sports and Entertainment. What are some of your favorite projects you have worked on and favorite characters you illustrate? There are also a few projects coming next year from Upper Deck that you have created content for. Which projects are you most excited about and what do you think fans will enjoy seeing from you?
RM: Yes, Upper Deck has been one of my favorite clients to do art work for, and I feel very fortunate to have such great relationship with everyone there. Picking a favorite project is really hard. They are all so fun for me and each project has a different experience that I learned something from. The Alien work was of course really mind blowing and exciting. I’m very proud of eh collection art I did for both Alien Anthology, as well as the VS System 2PCG card game. I was a card gamer one upon a time. I wasn’t very good, but it was fun, and I always loved the art work on the cards. So to be able to have my art in game that people will be playing with… that’s just pretty cool, and I hope to do more!
But I also love my experience doing Marvel Sketch Cards. I’ve been a Marvel fan my entire life, so to do official Marvel art was really special to me. Those Marvel Sketch Cards were some of my first official Marvel art I had created, which helped me also create official Marvel Fine Art (prints). I’ll always be thankful to Upper Deck for that first opportunity to do Marvel art. Baseball Sketch Cards were fun to create too. I come from a big baseball family, and I was pretty good when I was younger. So it was great to revisit all those memories of baseball while I worked on that set. Then there is this other set coming soon… but I of course can’t talk about that yet 🙂 its Top Secret! All I can say is I know they will love what’s coming next… Really wild stuff! Beyond that, the fans I have been speaking to really want to see my paintings of Marvel characters in future card sets and games… I’m up for that!
UD: What tips do you have for those youngsters looking to become professional artists?
RM: My advice for young artists is there is only one rule with art, and that is to have fun. The only way you can make art incorrectly is if you are not having fun. If you want to be a professional artist, it’s a lot work and sacrifice, but it’s a career doing what you love to do every day. And trust me, when you get to be an adult… doing what you love for a career is everything! You won’t understand that now… just trust me.
Some keys to getting better. Draw every day, work on your fundamentals, study, learn from others, and create art that you love. Challenge yourself to draw things that you maybe aren’t proficient in yet. Challenge yourself to draw all subject matters, not just what you are already good at. As an illustrator you will be asked to draw everything from Alien to potted flowers, so you have to be ready. There is so much more, but that is for you to learn on your journey!
You can find more of Randy’s work on the web and social media here…
Twitter – @randy_martinez
Instagram – @randymartinez40
To purchase art, including original art form the Alien series, go to
For commissions and to see more art, visit
What is your favorite set that Randy has worked on? Let us know in the comments below!