1 - Can you tell us a little about yourself, your official title and what you do at Viceroy Cards?
- My title is Owner/Operator. I handle the daily business operations, along with various design jobs within the company. I live and operate Viceroy Cards in Las Vegas, NV.
2 - How long did you collect sketch cards before starting Viceroy Cards?
- I collected trading cards for many years when I was younger. I got into sketch cards once my friend Ashleigh started working on various sketch sets for trading card companies. I'm a big fan of a variety of styles and subject matter within the sketch card market.
3 - How many people officially make up the Viceroy Cards company and how did it get started?
- Officially there is myself, and our Art Director Ashleigh Popplewell. We also have several collectors and others in the industry who serve as consultants in various aspects of the company.
4 - Did you decide to go straight with unlicensed property or did you make an attempt at acquiring licensed property when you started?
- We were always going to start with unlicensed properties, even if we had lined up a license early on. It was a conscious decision to use the small early sets to work out logistics and learn on the fly, without jeopardizing a large scale licensed release. We had been in contact with a couple of companies prior to our first release, one of which decided to produce their own basic (no sketches or inserts) set once they saw a potential market was there.
5 - Your first set Cryptids was an unlicensed set that did extremely well. What were your expectations for it?
- We had hoped it would be well received by collectors and sketch fans. We took the single sketch, premium pack concept and tweaked it a little, but we never had a doubt that we were on the right path. We spent over a year prior to our first release speaking with collectors and artists, and getting feedback on what they both liked and disliked about the current sketch card market.
6 - What did you learn as a company from your experience with Cryptids? Are you surprised at how well it did?
- We learned several things during that first release. Overall I feel we accomplished the goals we set, and were thrilled with the positive response from both collectors and artists.
7 - With your upcoming Space set, you created miniature sculptures that fit into a trading card holder. Who came up with that idea and how long did it take to create your first successful sculpture?
- That was an idea I had originally, and we were able to find a great artist to create sculptures for the set. He took about the same amount of time as sketch artists, and everything remained on schedule quite well.
8 - Unlike other companies who generally pay artists a few months after a set release date, Viceroy policy is to pay artists as soon as they turn in their assignment. You obviously must have a lot of faith in your sets to do this. Why stray from the normal card company payment formula?
- One of the main complaints from artists was the length of time it took to receive payment from trading card companies. With our AD Ashleigh being an artist herself, I discussed with her the possibility of paying artists when they return their cards, instead of months after a set releases. Artists have responded well to the practice, and we believe it's a policy we will keep for all future sets. Happy artists are very important, and waiting to pay artists months after they have completed their work seemed like a common practice worth breaking.
9 - Viceroy also print its own cards using a vintage letterpress machine. What made you decide to do that?
- We felt the use of letterpress would bring a unique feel to our sketch cards, while at the same time providing artists with an amazing canvas for their artwork due to the thick card stock. We are very lucky to have an amazing local letterpress shop, Somersault Letterpress, print our sketch cards.
10 - You have several more sets based of unlicensed properties (Space, The Deep, Carnival, Insecta, and Cryptids 2) Do you plan to produce licensed property sets as well?
- We do plan on producing licensed sets in the future, but we're not looking to rush anything. When the opportunity comes to produce a licensed set that both fits with our company theme, and will interest collectors, we'll definitely head down that road. We also have plans of producing non-sketch based sets, but we're still working out the details for those.
11 - The themes from your sets has been "outside the box" so to speak but yet it has been pretty successful thus far. Did you plan to intentionally avoid the "mainstream" themes of superheroes, or cheesecake pin ups for your sets? Or will you eventually do some superhero or pin up themes later on?
- We're not opposed to comic or superhero themed sets, but again we feel the market is meeting the demand for such sets. We'll probably never do a pin up style set, even though they are quite popular in the sketch community. While some artists enjoy sketching in that style, we've had many artists give us feedback that they enjoyed working on our sets because it forced them to adjust their style, find new and interesting source material, and take a rest from the common themes.
12 - Can we expect to see some licensed property set in the future?
- Yes, we're currently in talks with a few licensed properties, and will be attending the Licensing Expo this June in hopes of securing others.
13- Do you see sketch cards in a different way since you now produce sets for them? Do you still collect sketch cards?
- I do see it a bit differently now to be honest. Our AD Ashleigh had prepared me a bit, having watched her sketch and work on sets as Viceroy was coming together. I have a better understanding of the artists and how they work as well. I do still collect cards, and if we hadn't already pre sold all of the Space packs, I might have just secretly cancelled it and kept them all for myself!
14 - Will Viceroy be making any convention appearances this year?
- We plan to attend the Amazing Las Vegas Comic Convention, and are currently looking at other conventions in the near future. Las Vegas Comic Con is on June 14-16: Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con
15 - Where can people go to if they would like to learn more about Viceroy or to purchase cards?
- Our current set, Space, is sold out and scheduled to release at the end of March. Collectors can visit ViceroyCards.com to see a list of our upcoming sets and place preorders once the order window opens. You can also find us at Facebook.com/ViceroyCardCo and on Twitter @ViceroyCards. Artists are able to submit artwork samples directly to Ashleigh at email@example.com. General company questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org