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From Whimsical Teapots to VIZAĜO Playing Cards - The Journey

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NineLives

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Hi all,

I've made a start on a new deck of cards, which I'm hoping to share with you as it evolves ... from inspiration, to drawings, to cards :)
At this stage, the deck doesn't have a name or a release date - though as things progress, both will hopefully become clear.

This design is all about faces and colour, where my aim is to create a fully custom, playable and surreally happy deck of cards.

Inspiration ...
I am fascinated by faces and love drawing and painting them in all shapes and forms. From detailed drawings to expressive paintings and colourful designs, faces have appeared in my work for decades ... While working in clay I developed a range of wheelformed pots with whimsical faces - bowls, mugs, jugs and teapots ... 





The ink drawings below are in part inspired by their old three-dimensional friends - and the starting point for new and colourful characters to emerge. Lines translate a multitude of shapes to bring out the essence of each individual face. Once painted, the colourful and segmented artworks bear a slight semblance to wood/lino-cut printing - with a nod to playing card history - as kings, queens and jacks face the same way as the (originally wood-cut) standard Anglo/American faces. Colour plays the role of connecting the 13 cards within each suit; where red is for hearts, yellow for clubs, green for diamonds and blue for spades.



Playing Card Design ... starting with the Courts

I always find that starting with ink on paper gives me freedom to translate the ideas in my head into something real and tangible. Once the drawings are finished and scanned, I continue working on them - making adjustments for symmetrical two-way artwork, painting the colours and adding indices.

The suit of hearts is starting to take form in the world of colour, design and indices. The courts feature a royal banner in the background reflecting the suit colour - where hearts are draped with red:







With the royal hearts on the move it’s time to visit the clubs.  As always, I welcome your thoughts and hope you enjoy the ride of following this new deck of cards!

Annette :)

« Last Edit: May 06, 2017, 11:38:59 PM by NineLives »
 

Re: From Whimsical Teapots to Playing Cards - The Beginning
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2016, 06:20:45 AM »
 

Cardfool

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Love what I see so far, especially that KoH :D  Definitely looking forward to seeing more! ;D
 

Re: From Whimsical Teapots to Playing Cards - The Beginning
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2016, 06:30:10 AM »
 

NineLives

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Love what I see so far, especially that KoH :D  Definitely looking forward to seeing more! ;D

Thanks for your kind words and encouragement Cardfool :)
*wave*
 

Re: From Whimsical Teapots to Playing Cards - The Beginning
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2016, 09:36:15 AM »
 

Eddie Hughlett

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I don't know much, but I know what I like and I do like where you're going......
 

Re: From Whimsical Teapots to Playing Cards - The Beginning
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2016, 11:55:29 AM »
 

NineLives

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I don't know much, but I know what I like and I do like where you're going......

Thank so much Eddie, glad to hear :)
 

Re: From Whimsical Teapots to Playing Cards - The Beginning
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2016, 05:50:15 PM »
 

Don Boyer

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Annette, I have one word for you...

WOW!

Seriously good stuff.  Slightly reminiscent of the White Knuckle decks because of the three-dimensional nature of the faces, something many designs lack because they hew too closely to the traditional "flat" designs.  Your faces look like they stick right out of the cards.

This one's a keeper!
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Re: From Whimsical Teapots to Playing Cards - The Beginning
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2016, 02:33:34 AM »
 

NineLives

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Annette, I have one word for you...

WOW!

Seriously good stuff.  Slightly reminiscent of the White Knuckle decks because of the three-dimensional nature of the faces, something many designs lack because they hew too closely to the traditional "flat" designs.  Your faces look like they stick right out of the cards.

This one's a keeper!

Thanks ever so much Don :) Your support means the world - especially as I'm having so much fun with this deck :)
*wave*
 

Re: From Whimsical Teapots to Playing Cards - The Beginning
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2016, 07:36:43 AM »
 

leangyan

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This is going to be a deck to look out for...Good stuff, indeed.
"Bharata Tarot Playing Cards"  live on Kickstarter now:  http://kck.st/2hhqrRi
 

Re: From Whimsical Teapots to Playing Cards - The Beginning
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2016, 02:37:30 PM »
 

Helshawk

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Let me start off stating this is fantastic work. The scale of the faces and use of color is pure eye candy and makes my eyes water in anticipation to see more.  Impressive stuff and I feel I could brag on these until the cows come home.  Now I'd like to give my two cents for some considerations for refinement and, in the end, it all comes down to unity/harmony.  All the face cards have free floating hearts in the design (so this doesn't refer to the hearts used within the portraits).  The Queen and King have 4 while the Jack only has 2.  Why?  The Q & K also have hearts extend beyond the red block background while the J doesn't.  (Personally, I love that those hearts extend beyond the edge of the red background and even wondered if, instead of being the peachy/pinky color, let them be white with a red border where the heart extends into the white. That way they pop like the eyes of the portraits do.)  I love how there are 2 hearts in the K card that kind of define a neck and collar.  Could that be implemented on the other face cards as well instead of random hearts floating in the hair of the Queen and provide an extra needed set of hearts for the Jack?  Those are my suggestions as minor as they are.  Looking forward to seeing this deck in my collection.   
« Last Edit: July 16, 2016, 02:39:38 PM by Helshawk »
 

Re: From Whimsical Teapots to Playing Cards - The Beginning
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2016, 01:53:47 PM »
 

NineLives

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This is going to be a deck to look out for...Good stuff, indeed.

Thank you for your kind words Sunish :)

Let me start off stating this is fantastic work. The scale of the faces and use of color is pure eye candy and makes my eyes water in anticipation to see more.  Impressive stuff and I feel I could brag on these until the cows come home.  Now I'd like to give my two cents for some considerations for refinement and, in the end, it all comes down to unity/harmony.  All the face cards have free floating hearts in the design (so this doesn't refer to the hearts used within the portraits).  The Queen and King have 4 while the Jack only has 2.  Why?  The Q & K also have hearts extend beyond the red block background while the J doesn't.  (Personally, I love that those hearts extend beyond the edge of the red background and even wondered if, instead of being the peachy/pinky color, let them be white with a red border where the heart extends into the white. That way they pop like the eyes of the portraits do.)  I love how there are 2 hearts in the K card that kind of define a neck and collar.  Could that be implemented on the other face cards as well instead of random hearts floating in the hair of the Queen and provide an extra needed set of hearts for the Jack?  Those are my suggestions as minor as they are.  Looking forward to seeing this deck in my collection.   

Thank you Helshawk for your kind words and great feedback. I like your suggestions and I agree that the floating hearts need attention, they've been playing on my mind for a few days - Updates to follow :)

These past few days I've been busy painting clubs, which has given me a clearer picture, even though I'm merely 'half-way' in terms of colour schemes (and just at the beginning of the road in terms of the deck) I find that as a project or body of work progresses - individual works start to dictate the direction and adjustments needed to bring them together as a whole. It is one of the things I really enjoy about creating a deck of cards - alongside fresh eyes and feedback from great people in the card community :)

First: Ink drawings of the royal clubs:



Painted Jack and Queen:





Still working on the King :)

*wave*
 

Re: From Whimsical Teapots to Playing Cards - The Beginning
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2016, 01:41:02 AM »
 

Helshawk

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Now look what yo made me do!  I've drooled all over my keyboards.  (but keep them coming, I can clean this mess up!) ;-)
 

Re: From Whimsical Teapots to Playing Cards - The Beginning
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2016, 12:09:52 AM »
 

NineLives

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Glad you're enjoying the updates Helshawk :)

Here's another one ...

King of Clubs



He watches and listens, while mentally preparing his next move. Will he join his Queen and Jack on a quest for the Royal Flush? Or, will he seek to join forces with the other Kings while exercising his diplomatic powers?

Thanks for looking
Annette :)
 

Re: From Whimsical Teapots to Playing Cards - The Beginning
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2016, 12:55:46 AM »
 

Cardfool

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Looking awesome!  Keep em coming!  :D

One thing I did notice going back to look at the other courts though, the color of the JoH's nose is inconsistent with the K & Q (while the Clubs are consistent) and kinda sticks out and unfortunately, now I can't unsee it :-\   Not that it will change my mind about the deck as I definitely want a bunch, just thought I would point it out.

BTW, I noticed a little aboriginal art influence in this deck or am I just imagining things?
« Last Edit: July 20, 2016, 12:58:44 AM by Cardfool »
 

Re: From Whimsical Teapots to Playing Cards - The Beginning
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2016, 03:25:45 AM »
 

NineLives

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Looking awesome!  Keep em coming!  :D

One thing I did notice going back to look at the other courts though, the color of the JoH's nose is inconsistent with the K & Q (while the Clubs are consistent) and kinda sticks out and unfortunately, now I can't unsee it :-\   Not that it will change my mind about the deck as I definitely want a bunch, just thought I would point it out.

BTW, I noticed a little aboriginal art influence in this deck or am I just imagining things?

Thanks so much Cardfool :)
Ahhh the green nose ;) - I do see your point. Thinking maybe different is ok given that Jack is in profile (light falling differently on his nose?) - though I'll definitely have a play with it :)

There's no intended Aboriginal influence - (I'm assuming you mean Australian Aboriginal?)

*wave*
 

Re: From Whimsical Teapots to Playing Cards - The Beginning
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2016, 06:05:55 AM »
 

Cardfool

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Hey Nine Lives,

Yeah, I mean Australian Aboriginal Art...I guess it was the patterns and especially the white dots on the faces of the courts that made me think of it...and the fact that you are from Australia ::)

Let us know what you decide on the JoH, either way, I am all in!

Look forward to seeing more!  :bosswalk:

Cheers!
« Last Edit: July 20, 2016, 06:06:14 AM by Cardfool »
 

Re: From Whimsical Teapots to Playing Cards - The Beginning
« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2016, 10:46:06 AM »
 

ecNate

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I really like the art, it's different and fun, but still has good artistic merit!  The only thing holding it back is it feels like it's great art thrown onto a card instead of a great art playing card.

  • The first is the layout used where the image is a framed artwork with the colored background instead of faces directly on the card.  In the case of the KoC it seems like you could easily remove the yellow background and push the faces right/left and resize to allow for the entire crown to be shown.  However, in the case of other images that's not really possible.  Making the image and background to take up the entire card and removing the white border entirely obviously has playability concerns, but if it's art deck who cares.  Still, I think it's better to continue on your current track and keep a white border for playability and retain your general layout and consider ways to minimize the downsides of this layout.
  • You have a lot of white space on the edges, check with your planned printer and see how close you can push the indices to the edge and then also see how much closer you can pull the central artwork towards the indices and still make it flow.
  • Additionally, or alternatively, you could utilize that white space on the edges to add related decorative elements.  Perhaps something as simple as a long wavy line of the same color as the background on the left and right sides under the indicies to make it feel like the borders are part of the artwork instead of a thick white border.

I've had to greatly reduce my purchases lately due to lack of space and have become very selective, but this will mostly likely be the exception that I'll buy, especially if further changes are made to address the concerns mentioned.  Nice work!
 

Re: From Whimsical Teapots to Playing Cards - The Beginning
« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2016, 02:15:43 PM »
 

NineLives

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I really like the art, it's different and fun, but still has good artistic merit!  The only thing holding it back is it feels like it's great art thrown onto a card instead of a great art playing card.

  • The first is the layout used where the image is a framed artwork with the colored background instead of faces directly on the card.  In the case of the KoC it seems like you could easily remove the yellow background and push the faces right/left and resize to allow for the entire crown to be shown.  However, in the case of other images that's not really possible.  Making the image and background to take up the entire card and removing the white border entirely obviously has playability concerns, but if it's art deck who cares.  Still, I think it's better to continue on your current track and keep a white border for playability and retain your general layout and consider ways to minimize the downsides of this layout.
  • You have a lot of white space on the edges, check with your planned printer and see how close you can push the indices to the edge and then also see how much closer you can pull the central artwork towards the indices and still make it flow.
  • Additionally, or alternatively, you could utilize that white space on the edges to add related decorative elements.  Perhaps something as simple as a long wavy line of the same color as the background on the left and right sides under the indicies to make it feel like the borders are part of the artwork instead of a thick white border.

I've had to greatly reduce my purchases lately due to lack of space and have become very selective, but this will mostly likely be the exception that I'll buy, especially if further changes are made to address the concerns mentioned.  Nice work!

Firstly, Thank you so much ecNate for your feedback, I really appreciate it :) Pointing out things that will make this deck more playable and exciting to use is exactly what I want...

I can definitely see your point about the white ... In wanting to emphasize details flowing beyond the background, I was worried I'd lose that effect if the background extended the full width of the artwork... You made me see that I had room to extend both background and artwork.





Your comments were really clear and hopefully these updated and revised Kings are on track to solve some of the issues?

As far as printing goes, EPCC and Legends are at the top of my wish list, though I haven't really looked into the printing/launching side of things yet ... *as soon as I stop procrastinating and panicking with 'first Kickstarter campaign syndrome' - I'll get the ball rolling*

Hey Nine Lives,

Yeah, I mean Australian Aboriginal Art...I guess it was the patterns and especially the white dots on the faces of the courts that made me think of it...and the fact that you are from Australia ::)

Let us know what you decide on the JoH, either way, I am all in!

Look forward to seeing more!  :bosswalk:

Cheers!

Great associations Cardfool :) Traditionally, the only Aboriginal people allowed to do the intricate dot-painting are the desert people. Here on the East coast the artwork is different, with more carvings and bark paintings, though galleries show and sell Indigenous art from all over the country. For Aboriginal people, the clan or people they belong to - dictates the type of art they can do (and the stories or dreaming they paint)... Sorry that was a bit of a side-track - for me, I just like dots :)

I'm still thinking about JoH's nose, having revised the palette slightly with this update, there will be changes to both Jack and Queen - coming soon :)

Thanks again for all the great feedback guys! :)
*wave*
« Last Edit: July 21, 2016, 02:25:41 PM by NineLives »
 

Re: From Whimsical Teapots to Playing Cards - The Beginning
« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2016, 06:09:20 PM »
 

ecNate

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That looks MUCH better.  I would still work with your final printer and their specific templates to see how much further out you could push it though.  Please keep sharing updates and especially launch date.   8)
 

Re: From Whimsical Teapots to Playing Cards - The Beginning
« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2016, 09:49:31 PM »
 

Helshawk

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Yeah, that's what I'm liking!  Love those free floating hearts and clubs now (although one is not turned the correct way on the JoC, which you may have overlooked and I know is an easy fix.)  Making the black is much better than the old color.  The extended background really looks good, too.
 

Re: From Whimsical Teapots to Playing Cards - The Beginning
« Reply #19 on: July 23, 2016, 03:01:04 AM »
 

Don Boyer

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Overall, I'm liking the direction the art for this deck is taking.  It reminds me of some kind of carnival face painting - there's a certain realism to their look, rather than a cartoon-like appearance or the flat look of standard playing card designs.  Yes, diminishing the white space around the cards and making the art larger and more full is an improvement.

I actually like the idea of the Kings and Queens having four pips in the artwork background while the Jacks have only two - it's sort of signifying the Jack's lower rank.  If you look at old card designs going from the Medieval era right up to Antebellum 19th-century America, before the advent of the index, the crowns worn by the jacks in the whole-body art designs were really little more than flat hats, while the king's crowns were slightly more elaborate, allowing players to visually distinguish between them and know which were the higher-ranked kings and which were the lower-ranked "knaves/jacks/princes/knights/etc."  The queens, being women, were much easier to distinguish!  This pip arrangement is simply a different kind of visual cue to someone looking at the art, allowing them to know right away which is the higher- or lower-ranked card.
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Re: From Whimsical Teapots to Playing Cards - The Beginning
« Reply #20 on: July 23, 2016, 10:49:22 AM »
 

NineLives

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That looks MUCH better.  I would still work with your final printer and their specific templates to see how much further out you could push it though.  Please keep sharing updates and especially launch date.   8)

Thanks heaps ecNate :)
I know players really value having a super narrow edge.Currently, its 3.5mm  (top / side of indice & small pip)I - so I may have a little wriggle room ... At the same time, I'm thinking the current white edge may be a good balance for the colourful artwork - though I'll keep it in mind for sure :)

Yeah, that's what I'm liking!  Love those free floating hearts and clubs now (although one is not turned the correct way on the JoC, which you may have overlooked and I know is an easy fix.)  Making the black is much better than the old color.  The extended background really looks good, too.

Thanks Helshawk - glad you like the latest updates :)

Overall, I'm liking the direction the art for this deck is taking.  It reminds me of some kind of carnival face painting - there's a certain realism to their look, rather than a cartoon-like appearance or the flat look of standard playing card designs.  Yes, diminishing the white space around the cards and making the art larger and more full is an improvement.

I actually like the idea of the Kings and Queens having four pips in the artwork background while the Jacks have only two - it's sort of signifying the Jack's lower rank.  If you look at old card designs going from the Medieval era right up to Antebellum 19th-century America, before the advent of the index, the crowns worn by the jacks in the whole-body art designs were really little more than flat hats, while the king's crowns were slightly more elaborate, allowing players to visually distinguish between them and know which were the higher-ranked kings and which were the lower-ranked "knaves/jacks/princes/knights/etc."  The queens, being women, were much easier to distinguish!  This pip arrangement is simply a different kind of visual cue to someone looking at the art, allowing them to know right away which is the higher- or lower-ranked card.

Thanks Don :)
Interesting read! The idea of using subtle visual clues to signify rank really appeals to me - 2 pips for the Jacks and 4 for Queens and Kings it is :)

Here's the revised Jack and Queen of Hearts - extended background and artwork, along with the updated palette:





*wave*
 

Re: From Whimsical Teapots to Playing Cards - The Beginning
« Reply #21 on: July 23, 2016, 08:02:33 PM »
 

Helshawk

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Oh my, you are KILLING it!  Bring on the spades and diamonds!!!!!  And I can't wait to see the back design.
 

Re: From Whimsical Teapots to Playing Cards - The Beginning
« Reply #22 on: July 25, 2016, 01:17:34 PM »
 

NineLives

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Oh my, you are KILLING it!  Bring on the spades and diamonds!!!!!  And I can't wait to see the back design.

Thank you Helshawk :) Your encouragement is fabulous!
Back, Aces and number cards are all taking shape in my head - and I have to say I'm having a ball with this deck :)

I wanted to bring the royal Hearts and Clubs in line with the direction the design is going, before moving on ..
Jack of Clubs grew his hair a little and is now sporting a 'casual' ponytail, which he likes to tie back with a silk ribbon



Next up is the Queen of Clubs - and then it's time to visit the realm of Diamonds ...

Thanks for looking!
Annette :)
 

Re: From Whimsical Teapots to Playing Cards - The Beginning
« Reply #23 on: August 04, 2016, 01:17:11 AM »
 

NineLives

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Here is the updated and revised Queen of Clubs ...



And I've made a start on the Royal Diamonds - where the courts are defined by a green background:

Jack of Diamonds


Queen of Diamonds


Thanks for looking!
*wave*
Annette
 

Re: From Whimsical Teapots to Playing Cards - The Beginning
« Reply #24 on: August 04, 2016, 10:24:56 AM »
 

Cardfool

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Another beautiful set of court cards!  ;D. Thanks for listening to everyone's suggestions, this deck is turning out fantastic...so colorful and lively...it definitely stands out amongst a lot of the other decks out there.  Really looking forward to the launch of this deck!   :D