Happy New Year to you! Wow what a year.
For quite a few months now I’ve been working on the Origins. I’ve learned a lot about the history of cards. I’ve learned a lot about the card industry. I’ve been introduced to a passionate community and come to know a lot of amazingly talented people. Artists, Cardists, Magicians, Collectors. And I’m almost ready to share my own small project with people around the world on Kickstarter.
It would be true to say I would never have had this opportunity without a place like Kickstarter. The figures for producing these decks boggle my mind. I’m a dad with three amazing young boys. Like any parent I pinch pennies and watch the power bill. Like any parent I wish I could give them more. I’ve spent more than I should have obtaining images of the historic art so I can see the detail, and share it in my project. To be talking figures in the tens of thousands with the likes of the United States Playing Card Company? Not in my wildest dreams.
And yet, with the amazing support of people, like you, I can almost.. almost.. see the Origins on the press. It’s a gamble after so much time spent on this project. And it’s hard to feel this project is all my own. I’ve taken inspiration from beautiful historic art and inspiration from the people who have offered feedback. I feel very humbled and so very lucky to have such an opportunity. Will the project be funded, I don’t know. Will supporters in the States back a non-US dollar project? In around 2 weeks I’ll soon know. But what a ride. Thank you.
Here’s a nice article by Max at Max Playing Cards.
And the video promo for the decks –
[video_lightbox_vimeo5 video_id=79081505 width=960 height=540 auto_thumb=”1″]
As a side, the whole project has been documented – and updates continue – on two great forums, from the day I posted my first ideas to Dribbble, a design forum.
You can follow along at United Cardists and The Discourse
I’ve been very busy recently working on the fine details in the Origins artwork and the upcoming campaign. A lot to cover – from researching historical cards through various archives and museums, to promotional videos, to how much shipping will cost for the variety of shapes and sizes I have planned.
But in the process I’ve had the pleasure of sending out my first batch of limited edition prints, and now have an online store for the site. I hope that the store will soon be packed full of high quality goodies but I’m christening it with the early release of the art sets. There are only 80 sets total, 40 on white gloss stock, and 40 on premium quality recycled art stock, all hand signed and numbered. Each set comes in a handmade folder, also signed. Proceeds will help me with the promotional push and launch of the Origins card campaign.
A quick background and thank you to some, on how my work on the Origins began in earnest..
Quite some time back I began the design work as a pet project. It was something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but I wasn’t confident it would ever make it to market. I wanted to make a deck that was of the highest standard, that was embossed and golden and luxurious. I wanted it to revive the face cards of history, and create a deck that players, magicians and cardists would all appreciate. A very tall order. I knew this would cost money to do, and being based in New Zealand felt the hurdles would be too great.
Out of interest, I went to Kickstarter and searched for ‘playing cards’. There are a LOT of playing card decks on Kickstarter. I about gave up on the idea of seeing the Origins funded and created. But I carried on with the design work and posted the very early ideas to Dribbble, a designers forum for feedback.
Little did I know Kete Moon would post the art to his playing card blog love.youthwant.com.tw. I didn’t see it. This was in turn posted by Volantangel to the great card forum UnitedCardists – title ‘Origins Playing Cards – status unknown’, and simultaneously Scott Carey to his excellent blog TuckCase.com. Even then, I wasn’t aware that my art had caused ripples until David at Magic Orthodoxy sent me a tweet inviting me to United Cardists. I was then contacted by Robert Butler at Loop Cuts who has given me great support, and a string of other people who had seen my work. I had excellent feedback and advice from the people at The Discourse, another great card forum, thank you Don Boyer and team.
Out of the blue the deck had momentum, no promotion, no website.
I owe that to the people above and many more who have offered their support and opinion. So thank you all.
And thanks to the card community.
I’m celebrating my birthday and giving away three sets of A4 signed limited edition art prints. If you would like to go in the draw for one of these, just like this post on Facebook or email me. I’ll draw randomly from the list around Monday the 9th Sept.
These are early concept pieces so it’s likely there will not be another release quite like these. All the best and have a fantastic week!
I’ve been living and breathing the Origins art for a long stretch of time now, spending my spare time working and reworking the art, researching, and talking to people who can help me produce something special.
I haven’t been keen to step away from the project until I see the deck hitting the press and heading out to the people who have given me such amazing feedback and support. So when Loop Cuts approached me and asked if I would be interested in working with them on a new accessory, I had to think about it. Very briefly.
I’d seen the nice work they’d done on their original card clip, and this seemed a perfect opportunity to expand on the Origins world. Loop Cuts has also been very supportive so it’s nice to work in with them on something new and it gives me a chance to share something with my supporters while I head into the final stretch with the Origins artwork.
So in the next few days the ‘Armatura’ Loop Card Clip will be hitting Kickstarter for a short and sharp campaign. There will also be a special Signature Edition. Here’s a quick overview of the artwork in the clip:
I’ve taken inspiration for the Armatura artwork from 16th and 17th century woodcut renders of knights armour. The word armatura itself is latin for armour, and is still spoken in italian today. The line work I’ve refined for a clean modern take on the historic art. Designed with reference to the bordered art of ancient book covers, the work depicts shield like elements protecting the four pips of the deck, with a central compass making reference to movement and travel. The result, Armatura – armour to protect your favourite deck when you’re on the move.
I’m really pleased with the work the Loop Cuts team have done with the Armatura. I hope you like it too, and I’d like to thank you again for your support, it really keeps me going.
If you would like to keep up with the developments on the clip, head across to the Facebook event page. I’d love to see you there.
Right, back to the drawing board.
I thought I’d post a little on where and how I work. This is my creative space, general tools of the trade. I use a Wacom Intuos tablet for most of my art. Two screens, one for work, the other for general stuff, emails, facebook 😉
When I work I love to have good music going that fits the piece I’m working on. Right now I’m listening to soundtracks with an epic feel. Hans Zimmer features heavily, I love his work. Believe it or not, my favourite albums running on Spotify without bias are Batman Begins, Gladiator and Inception. All by Hans, legendary.
Having work on my wall keeps me focused, and when I take a break allows me to run a critical eye over things. If I’m not annoyed by a detail, it’s a pass.
Right now I’m working on the Jack of Hearts, close to my last face card! Very excited. I have a range of historic cards on screen while I work and my goal is to produce a modern card with the same essential elements. A lot of research, back and forth. Some cards I’ve completely redone as I refine the concept and style.
Once I’ve finished the face card set, I’ll be going through again and adding detail and making sure they all fit into the same family. It’s a huge amount of work as I make sure all line widths are the same and styles match. But very rewarding. I can’t wait to see the deck come to life.
First, a huge thank you to everyone who has supported me in this project. I’ve been busy working on a little promotional material and I wanted to offer a little something to celebrate 1500 FB likes and a growing subscriber list. Below you can download wallpaper for your monitor or mobile. Thank you to each of you, it’s amazing to see interest from around the globe. I also have another little release in the next few days…
Just a short update. Progress is going well on the designs, if not slowed up a little by the more serious matter of seeing them produced. Being outside the US makes things more difficult as it’s not economically viable to have a few thousand decks shipped to my comfy abode for distribution – back to the States. It also makes the option of Kickstarter more difficult, not being a US citizen.
So a few hoops to jump through there, but I’m determined to produce a premium quality deck I can for card collectors and players at a realistic price. The people at USPCC have been fantastic so far, willing to help and open to ideas. There are a few plans in the printing I’m very excited about.
The interest in the Facebook page has been great and I’m currently working on a promotional video which I’ll link to from there.
In the research I’ve found useful information. There’s a great site by Paul Bostock called Plain Backs, which has good examples of the English pattern. The International Playing Card Society has a good section on the history of cards. And the World of Playing Cards also has an excellent resource.
As an extra, here is the latest concept – the Queen of Clubs