Sketch cards have been around for a long time. And while they've become a key component of many entertainment trading card releases, they haven't totally caught on yet with sports fans. But that might be changing. 2013 Leaf Best of Hockey includes a sketch card in every box. In doing so, the release is helping to bring sketch cards closer to the mainstream with sports fans. 2013 Leaf Best of Hockey sketch cards include work from more than 30 artists, each of which bring their own sense of style.
The term "sketch card" should be used loosely with 2013 Leaf Best of Hockey. Art cards are more like it. While not all use full color, the level of detail in the vast majority of them is impressive. They also use many different techniques ranging from paints to stencils to intricate dot art. Some are ultra-realistic while other artists take a more cartoon approach. Most sit somewhere in between.
All 2013 Leaf Best of Hockey sketch cards are one-of-one pieces of artwork. That's because no two are alike. They're mini masterpieces that most often have to be held to be truly appreciated.
By including one sketch card in every box of 2013 Leaf Best of Hockey, more collectors are going to get a chance to see these types of cards up close. Chances are, many of them are going to get a sketch card for the first time.
Besides their beauty, sketch cards bring a lot to the table for the hobby. First, they allow companies like Leaf to use likenesses that they might not be able to without a license. Also, they have a wide range of appeal. Player and team collectors are more likely to chase multiples as they're all unique. In entertainment sets, many collectors go after artist sets, getting one sample from each person who worked on the set. With so many being so eye-catching, there will also be collectors who casually collect them simply because they look good are are something different.
Because of their unique nature, it's often hard to gauge a firm value on any given sketch card. Player choice is one consideration, but so too is the artist and the level of detail. Because each card is different, prices will likely be all over the place.
Besides regular sketch cards, there are also randomly inserted sketches that also come with a Gordie Howe autograph.
Below is a full list of 2013 Leaf Best of Hockey sketch card artists provided by Leaf. We've also included a sample of their work so you can get a sense of their style.
A helpful thing that Leaf has done with these cards is that they've labeled the back of each sketch card with the player and artist for easy identification when collectors pull them.
2013 Leaf Best of Hockey Sketch Card Artist Visual Checklist
Below is a full list of the artists who contributed to 2013 Leaf Best of Hockey sketch cards and samples of their work.
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Don Pedicini Jr.