In the hobby today, there are certain signatures that are coveted by collectors. One of these is Susan Van Camp. Her art is simply beautiful; a staple of early MTG history. One of my favorite pieces is Orcish Spy. Her take on the orc is unique and unlike any other found in the game today. The same can be said for all her pieces.
Susan's artwork is fun, engaging, and colorful. Like her art, Susan’s signature is also fun and unique. She predominantly signed vertically on the upper right border of the card next to the image, in a bold beautiful script. The signature in and of itself looks like a piece of art, it is simple, neat, and detailed, unlike some artists today who simply block letter their names across the text box.
From her signature, you can tell she was diligent and precise. Like many artists, Susan’s signature evolved over time. She has three distinct variations: Generation 1, Generation 2, and Generation 3.
Susan began painting for MTG in 1994 in Arabian Nights. In her early days, she printed her full name in ball point pen. Her signature is extremely neat, with each letter visible. As she started attending events, she switched to her full name in cursive. The Wyluli Wolf and Willow Fate in Figure 2, were signed in the same time frame. The first letter of each portion of her name is identical in both photos.
As she attended events her signature changed. As seen in Figure 4, the distance between letters shortened and the spaces between first and last began to disappear. Susan switched completely to cursive script and removed the block print letters from her name. However, much of the name is still visible and the S.V.C is prominent. The S dramatically changed during this time-period.
The hook of the S, once distinct, now connects smoothly into the body. This was due to the speed in which she signed her signature. Susan had to adapt her signature to make up for the volume of cards attendees were asking her to sign.
Later in life, Susan’s signature drastically changed as seen in Figure 5. She began to blend the first and last name together. Visible is an S,n,V,p, but not much else. Even though the signature changed, it never lost its beauty.
Sadly, Susan stopped attending events and signing cards in 2011 due to health reasons. Like her art, her signature has had a lasting impact on the hobby. As the years pass, her signature is becoming harder to find. I am lucky to own a few signed pieces in my collection. I cherish them, the same way I do the images she created for the game I love.