Tokens of Appreciation

Hallie Santo CK Exclusives

The Fulfillment department at Card Kingdom has doubled in size since the beginning of the year, and at lunch time, our break room can get crowded. There are usually two people on the couch, staring at books or smartphone screens, and four or five others assembled at the table, munching on sandwiches and snacks from Café Mox downstairs. Then, there’s Brian – head bent over the table, working on his daily sketches.

“This one is going to destroy me,” he says as I walk over. According to the invoice in front of him, his current assignment is an anime-style Marit Lage token. Brian pores over his smartphone, searching Google Images for cartoon squids and octopus, and finally settles on Squid Girl. Then, he picks up his mechanical pencil and gets to work.

Brian at work. Photo by Chris Rowlands

Brian has been at Card Kingdom since March, and in that time, he’s become Fulfillment’s artist in residence. Our Fulfillment Specialists have been drawing dragons and Planeswalkers on customers’ invoices for years, but Brian took an early interest in drawing playable characters. He found a pile of Card Kingdom branded card stock, intended for hand-drawing tokens, and started sketching the ideas that his coworkers batted around while packing orders. If someone needed saproling tokens for a Commander deck, Brian was ready with a handful.

“It was a great exercise to get me working in physical media again,” he says. “I’ve been working in digital for so long.”

Brian has been working as a freelance illustrator since college. He’s done book illustrations, touch-up work for comic books, and character design for video games. He came to Card Kingdom looking for more stable hours and income, and found he could use his artistic talents to improve the customer service experience. After he started including a few of his extra tokens in customer orders, word spread on social media, and the requests started pouring in. Now, Brian fields about a dozen requests each week. It’s common to see him in the break room at least twice a day, diligently looking up references on his phone or quietly completing his latest project.

If you’d like Brian to draw you a custom token, leave a comment at check-out. Here’s a selection of some of his best work.

Header design: Chris Rowlands
Token art: Brian Hughes