In addition to cards, photos, and index cards, some collectors also create custom items for autographs. I am no graphic artist, but have created some custom items that have come out pretty good. I have even had several requests for extra copies of my customs from the people that I have sent them to. Customs can take time to design and create, but if done well, they can be a one of a kind collectable.
Here are some of the customs that I have created...
My "Wrestling Legends" Series (28 created /20 signed so far):
|(This are meant to look like old west wanted posters)|
My Star Wars Series (137 created / 88 signed so far):
|(These cards were inspired by the original Kenner action figure packaging)|
My Detroit Tigers Series (90 created / 88 signed so far):
|(I made these so I could get the signatures of Tiger players who just never appeared on an trading card)|
My R2-Detroit (Star Wars FanForce southeast Michigan chapter) Series (6 created / 3 signed so far):
|(These were inspired by the Topps Allen & Ginter series of baseball cards. Very simple and clean, with a vintage look. I give the signed cards to members of R2-Detroit at our monthly meetings)|
To make custom cards, you do need some special software. Personally, I use Adobe Photoshop Elements and Microsoft Word. There are some pretty good photo editors out there for free, like PhotoScape, and GIMP. You can find a list of good editors with links to download them here. I am no Photoshop expert, but I know enough to figure out how to do what I want to do (and if I can't figure it out I just look on the web). I learned by just playing with it and trial and error.
How you print your customs is also very important. Some people use online printing services like Shutterfly, Snapfish, or even Walmart. I just print mine out at home using a middle of the range HP inkjet printer (set to the highest quality settings), using the best quality photo paper.
If you are thinking about trying to make your own customs, my advice is to keep trying new techniques until you find something that you really like, and HAVE FUN WITH IT!
Once again, may your mailbox be filled with autographs and not bills!