Today’s Spotlight is on the one and only Matt Applegate!
Matt Applegate, or MattApplegateDraws, is an amazing artist from Kentucky. He creates photorealistic portraits typically on trading card sized stock and has worked on licensed properties like Star Wars, Stranger Things, and Marvel through trading card companies like Topps and Upper Deck Entertainment. When he isn’t working on licensed art, Matt also brings the same amount of attention & detail to his personal sketch cards (or PSCs) for clients. You can even contact him for commissions!
Matt is also a wildlife conservation advocate and has even partnered with Viceroy Cards to spread awareness of endangered species through sketch cards. He’s a true inspiration and spreads the love on social media (links at the end) with the occasional motivational quote – so let’s reciprocate a little bit of that love and take a look at some of his works as well as a full-on #LesDudisSpotlight Q&A at the end:
Topps Star Wars
Matt has officially drawn sketch cards for Topps for many of their recent Star Wars lines: Chrome Legacy, Galaxy 2018, Empire Strikes Back B&W, The Last Jedi (Series 2), Masterwork 2017, and even more! Look at this snippet of beautiful black & white art:
And here’s a quick example of what he’s done for Stranger Things (through Topps) as well!
Upper Deck Marvel
In addition to the photoreal portraits, Matt can also knock it out of the park with comic book art! With Upper Deck, Matt has worked on a number of Marvel sets including ’18 Fleer Ultra X-Men, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and Thor Ragnarok. You won’t want to miss out on his licensed work, bub:
One quick scroll through Matt’s Instagram and you’ll not only notice a slew of breathtaking art but also that a lot of them are commission-based PSCs! So take a look through his Etsy for anything already available for purchase, or simply contact him to create something one-of-a-kind for you, like I did in 2019 for this beautiful sketch cover (a manufactured blank comic book cover) to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Tim Burton’s Batman film:
On top of all of that, Matt is an Arteza artist! You’ll see him review their art supplies from time to time, but truly the best demonstration of their products’ possibilities is clearly through the art he creates! So now let’s hear from the man, the myth, the legend himself… Matt Applegate:
Hey Matt! So who or what inspired you to become an artist?
My parents were both incredibly hardworking while I was growing up so much of my childhood was spent being wherever they were, which meant I made most of my own entertainment… couple that with being relatively poor it made it common to always have paper and pencil as they were a cheap form of entertainment. I loved escaping the world by drawing Ninja Turtles and Batman and I just kept doing that into adulthood. I never thought of being an artist until a few years ago after getting such an incredible response on Instagram.
Who is the biggest supporter of your work?
I’ve had so many, I am lucky beyond words to have met so many incredible supporters on social media. My mom was my first fan, even when I wasn’t good… she made me believe I was. My sister and my close friends who helped me push on when I felt low. My dad gave me a day off every week to draw and has encouraged me consistently. My lady who helps me on the business side (I’m rubbish) and has pushed my work to the extent of printing it on anything and everything she could. My two little girls who act as if I am an art wizard.
Do you currently have a favorite comic book series?
I don’t get to read much currently but I love Batman, that’s what would be at the top of my list. I do read 90’s X-Men for my buddy’s podcast (The Wrestle Special) which I enjoy.
What helps you get the creative juices flowing?
I am constantly thinking of drawing so I draw inspiration from the most random things but probably music the most. I love listening to epic stuff like Two Steps From Hell and Audiomachine.
If you could pick just one project/piece that you’re most proud of, what would it be?
As far as a complete set I think Star Wars Empire Strikes Back B&W and Galaxy 2019 was were I started getting used to the card stock but my personal favorite is changing all the time lol.
When you’re not drawing, what do you like to do?
Oh my, that’s rare but I do love reading, video games, and movies as they often let me escape and relax.
Could you share any advice for aspiring creators out there?
– It’s sometimes an unpopular opinion but I am of the thinking that talent is a lie. Art didn’t just start out easy for me, I always had to tap into my stubbornness to keep going when improvement was slow, it took sacrifice and time… There is no better teacher than experience and if you’re willing to dive in and put the time in (even if you don’t know what to do), you’ll learn.
– Research your tools. Know what you want to do and get the right materials for the project… Early on I thought all art supplies were created equal and I couldn’t have been more wrong. Knowing the tendencies of your materials makes a HUGE difference.
– Take advice from other artists but keep in mind that in the end everyone thinks differently and if it doesn’t work for you, adapt.
– Create things that make you happy. Don’t worry about the market. I was told growing up that drawing superheroes wasn’t real art and if I wanted to make money with art… paint landscapes. Now I stay busy drawing nerdy stuff and get paid for it… the same stuff I’d be passionate about drawing anyway but now it keeps the lights on!
Wow! Matt, you’re such an inspiration. Thanks for taking the time to be in the Spotlight!