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MHS grad returns to share success story with art students (Video added 8:10 p.m.)

Friday, February 26, 2010

(Photo)
From left, Jim, Ellen and Tim Proctor are flanked by examples of Tim's Star Wars artwork. Tim Proctor spoke to art students at Marshall High School Thursday, Feb. 25, showing his work and explaining how he was able to get work producing illustrations for trading cards. The examples above come from Tim's Web site, timproctorart.com.
(Eric Crump/Democrat-News)
Anyone who buys a pack of Topps' Star Wars Galaxy Series 5 trading cards that were scheduled to be in stores Feb. 24 might -- with a little luck -- get an original sketch card by former Marshall artist Tim Proctor.

Proctor, a 1990 graduate of Marshall High School, was at his alma mater Thursday, Feb. 25, to share his work and the story of his career with art students from Shawn Harris' and Danielle Adams' classes.

And his art career is starting to take off.

After getting a degree in illustration design from Memphis College of Art, Proctor took some time off from art -- about eight years -- and when he decided to return to his calling, he wanted to combine his love of art with another love: Star Wars.

Proctor said he has been a big Star Wars fan since the first movie was released in 1977.

Proctor proceeded to hone his skills and develop a following by posting his artwork to several fan forums on the Internet, particularly the forums at REBELSCUM.COM, a Star Wars fan site.

He began getting commissions to do paintings and drawings of Star Wars scenes and characters.

Then he went to Comic-Con in San Diego and got his big break. He met with an art director from Lucasfilm, the company that produces Star Wars films and television shows, and while he didn't get a job offer, he got some advice. And he didn't give up.

"I just went up to other artists and said 'Will you look at my work and tell me what you think?'" he said. One of the other artists at the convention had connections at Topps and liked what he saw. He took samples to an editor there.

Two weeks later, Proctor was invited to create artwork for a Topps card series based on the Clone Wars characters.

That was the beginning.

Proctor said he was then invited to create illustrations for the Galaxy 5 series, nearly doubling his output from 106 to 208 cards. He just accepted an invitation to do a third series.

He clarified that he is not actually employed by Lucasfilm but by Topps. Lucasfilm, however, reviews the work of Topps artists and gives its approval before their work can be included in a series.

Pay for the card sketches is not very high, he said, but the exposure is extremely valuable. Because sketch cards are rare -- there is one included per 24 packs of trading cards -- fans seek them out and trade them online.

Of course, since Proctor's cards are among those contributed by a number of artists, the chances of getting one of his originals is fairly remote.

Proctor said artists get to keep a few cards from each series after they have been reviewed and approved by Topps. Those cards can be sold, and artists often make better money selling their return cards than doing the work for the company.

The exposure provided by being selected as a sketch artist leads to additional commissions from other clients.

Proctor said he still has a day job, but between drawing sketch cards and doing commissioned illustrations, it's becoming difficult to keep up the pace. He hopes to turn his artwork into a full-time job.

"You have to be smart about it. Freelance illustrating isn't always stable," he said.

Proctor's parents, Jim and Ellen Proctor, who attended the presentation, said Proctor was an artist from early on, "as soon as he could hold a pencil," said his mother.

Proctor said he remembers his high school and junior high art teachers -- Judy Frerking, Carl Collins and Betty DeLuce -- and said he learned from each.

"You pick up something from every class," he said.

Proctor was scheduled to return to MHS Friday, Feb. 26, to do a demonstration of his process.

Contact Eric Crump at marshalleditor@socket.net

On the Net:
timproctorart.com/timportfoliopage.html
www.topps.com/ent/brands/SWGalaxy5Web/SW...
threads.rebelscum.com/ubbthreads.php


Comments
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Great story!!!!

Thanks for coming back Tim

-- Posted by Gal66 on Mon, Mar 1, 2010, at 6:48 AM

Great story and great artwork. I too am happy to see grads come back and share with the younger generation and show them that there is life after Marshall and that their education here can be a good one that leads to great things. Way to go!

-- Posted by Greg House on Sat, Feb 27, 2010, at 12:19 PM

Tim is very talented and I'm so happy that he came back to share his time and talents with our students! Very nice of him to give back to his High School and inspire current students to go for their dreams! I wish you many years of luck and success with your talents.

-- Posted by RedAngel on Sat, Feb 27, 2010, at 11:57 AM


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