A Conversation with Adam Godolfo, Topps artist and featured model for inserts!
Almost four years ago I decided I would like to try and track down some of the artists responsible for m favorite cards. It started with a Linkedin Inmail and has turned into another great card friendship in this collecting community. Adam Gandolfo was one of the original phototouch artists who worked on creating this award winning and innovative set. Awhile back we spent some time chatting about his experience working on the 2006 set and I’m so excited to highlight some of those learnings here.
He was also a model for 4 different cards for Topps, including the three shown here. He was kind enough to sign them all and I’ll add those pics to this post in the future. For now, enjoy and let me know if you have any follow up questions for him at all - thanks!
Q. How were the colors selected? The painting filters? I'd love to just hear about your whole retouching process if you don't mind. No details are too obscure and you can't tell me enough :) LOVE the whole look and design of this set.
A. During the creation of the 2006 A&G set, the card design and frames were chosen by a small team of people including the art director and the brand manager. At the time I was one of 4 photo retouchers. I didn’t have any direct say into the design of this set but I did develop the photo effect and the color splash behind the players. If I remember correctly we made 1 pattern and duplicated that into 5 or 6 colors. We wanted to make sure they all looked different from each other. We had the original cards as reference and really tried to recreate the look while giving it a slight originality. We created an action to run through several steps in seconds (which included adding noise, blurring, and a painted effect.) We would actually use the eraser brush With different shaped erasers to create different angles and softness around the edges.
Q. The color of the cardstock seems to be sepia, know anything about that design choice?
A. The card stock was actually white and we dropped a light sepia screen on top as the first step. This staining convo reminds me that we were nervous about the staining effect, afraid it would affect value in a sense and that people would think that the cards were dirty. We felt that it added to the realism of it all. In the end, we had 4 to 6 different stains that they randomly chose with the color splashes.
Q. I'd love to hear about the design process for the frames that went around the relic and auto cards
A. This was pretty simple, as far as the frames go I do know most of the design ideas came from original A&G cards. The leaves and floral look.
Q. How were the subjects selected? Why presidents? Why were the non-baseball folks that were chosen the ones who made it to the final product?
A. The subject list was created with champions in mind. People that were the best at their craft. There were some really cool inserts!
Q. Know anything about the Framed Originals (1800's buyback cards) by chance? Specifically, know how they were selected?
A. The originals were chosen by availability. We bought the ones we could get our hands on.
Q. Also, mysteriously, Topps never released a checklist for this particular set, do you know if they had one internally? and maybe do you know how many cards there were? Everyone thinks 100 but I've found photo proof of more than that.
A. There definitely was an internal checklist. The reason for the no official checklist was probably more a financial one on our part.
Q. What kinds of cards do you collect?! Love discussing collecting whenever possible and would love to know about yours.
A. I’ve been collecting since the mid 80’s so when I got the job at Topps it really was a dream come true. I collect mostly baseball cards but I try to collect rookies from all sports. I also collect autographs and some memorabilia. A lot of pictures and several autographed jerseys and balls. I do have a small collection of original Allen & Ginter Flag cards. I noticed you have a couple. I also have a few t206 cards which I am fascinated with.
(Referencing the cards he modeled for) Someone wrote a blog about my topps cards thought you might get a kick out of it. It’s a quick read. https://www.allaboutsportscards.com/2011/08/who-are-2011-topps-gypsy-queens.html?m=1