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Help Support Features Interviews Matt Busch
Matt Busch interview
by Mitchell Hallock - posted on April 22, 2008
Matt Busch as Indy

Whether he's teaching class, or trekking in the woods looking for trouble, artist Matt Busch is a man of many talents. Recently, Matt took the time around from teaching to draw some of the rare Topps Indiana Jones Heritage Sketch Cards.
In the first in a series of profiles of the artist "behind the pencils" when it comes to drawing Indy, I sat down and asked Matt what inspires him and what is involved with drawing the action-oriented archeologist!


Mitchell Hallock: Hello Matt, and thank you for taking the time away from the drawing board to talk with me. Let’s start off, where else, but at the beginning. How did you get your start as an artist?

Matt Busch: I was kind of an outcast as a kid. I was shy, and I spent a lot of time drawing and creating stories. I wasn't into football, so at recess, the teachers would have to kick me outside, because I'd rather stay in and draw.

When you were a young were you drawn to certain subjects like the other kids dinosaurs, sports figures, cartoons, who did you like drawing?

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Indiana Jones illustrated by Matt Busch.

I was immediately drawn to things that are larger than life. Sports- I'd say not as much. I dug dinosaurs, Spider-Man, and of course, STAR WARS changed everything.

Were you a big movie fan and did you draw characters from those films?

Absolutely. Movies and cool TV shows like Battlestar Galactica and Johnny Sako and the Giant Robot. I drew everything. I'd make my own comic books and even MAD magazines.

When Lucas and Spielberg created Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981, you must have started drawing that, no?

Oh yeah. Before that, I was only interested in things that were otherworldly or larger than life- like sci-fi or super heroes. Indiana Jones was great because it was the first real-world hero that I became obsessed with. I mean, of all things, Indy took a career as boring as being an archeology professor and made it cool!

Turning a passion into a profession is a great thing! Is having that fan connection make what you’re doing extra special?

Absolutely. I'm as geek as they get. I'd be doing exactly what I'm doing right now, even if I wasn't getting paid for it- so the fact that this stuff actually puts a roof over my head is a dream come true.

Were you excited when you got the call from Topps to do some of the new sketch cards for the Heritage series?

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Indiana Jones sketch cards by Matt Busch.

Oh yeah. Actually, I'd known for about a year prior that the Indy cards were in the pipeline. There were a bunch of other sets I was turning down, like HALO and a couple others I'm forgetting. But every time I was like, "Please let me in on Indy, though!"

I have to ask, how do you work get so much comical expressions into your Topps Indy cards working on such a tiny canvas?

It's extremely difficult. That's the part I don't like. I'm in awe when I see the crazy detail that guys like Randy Martinez or Adam Hughes can get in their cards. I normally draw much larger. The trick is- trying to get a nice "unfinished" sketch that folks will be really happy with upon opening the pack of cards.

How do you capture the “spirit of Indy” when you are working on the sketch cards? DVDs? Movie Stills? Listen to the John Williams music?

Funny- I have tons of the books, trading cards, and even both of the Indy Rolepaying games from TSR and West End Games! So I did plow through those, but also I went through the images galleries right here on and found some killer stuff that I don't have.

Out of all the art you have done for the Indy Topps cards do you have certain favorite characters?

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Six sketch cards making one illustration.

Short Round is really fun to draw, and I don't get a lot of chances to do so. I guess he was the most fun this time around.

Is there a trick in getting Harrison's famous scar right when you draw him as Indy or Han Solo?

The trick actually isn't Harrison's scar, but his nose. If you can get that, you've nailed Indy and Han Solo. Haha!

Are you working on the Crystal Skull or the next series of Indiana Jones Masterpieces from Topps -- anything you can tell us on about your Topps Indiana Jones project?

A couple things coming out that I can't talk about yet, however there are some sketches I can show. And yes- I'm on for the next couple Indy sets from Topps. In fact, for the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull sketch cards, I did 106 size of them and actually hand painted each and every one in full color! Needless to say, I'm pretty excited about the movie.

Pretend you are now playing the academic and not the adventuring artist. What would you say to your students who were looking to follow in your footsteps, or rather pencil strokes?

Stay with it. Do what you need to to survive- lord knows I spent years flipping pizzas at Pizza Magic! Haha! But your passion and determination will take you beyond your wildest dreams if you pursue it to no end.

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More Indiana Jones artwork by Matt Busch.

Matt, it has been a pleasure talking to you, and I know that Indy fans like myself will be feverishly ripping open packs of Indiana Jones cards to see if we can find one of your sketch cards. If fans want to see more of your art, where should they look?

By checking out the website at Also I throw a lot of stuff on my MySpace page which you can check out at Lastly, check out this new Indiana Jones parody episode of How To Draw STAR WARS right HERE. It's the first in a series of episodes where I combine Indy with the STAR WARS mythos... Can you tell I'm having fun with this?


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