I've always been pretty fascinated by playing cards. Unfortunately, I have the memory capacity of a moderately stupid goldfish, which prevents me from retaining any card games I'm taught for longer than around twenty minutes.
As a format, however, playing cards are pretty enticing to me — combining illustration, sequence, typography and even ancient traditions. When I've come across 'artistic' playing cards before, I've generally been underwhelmed (with a few notable exceptions). I often feel that designers miss a trick by failing to respect the traditions present in playing cards — beautiful, characterful illustration of people, with an almost editorial necessity for layout. All too often, these decks of cards are simply a way of presenting 52 unmatched illustrations in a small format.
Anyways, all this pondering led me to try and develop my own set — with a view to having a short run printed if they came out well! Unfortunately, I barely made it past the initial sketches — I lost the urge a bit on receiving the first few print quotes. These are the best-developed of the ideas — a couple of suits' worth of face cards, each in a different style.
The Clubs were created using a totally illustative style — sketched out on paper, scanned, and tidied up. They were also based on clubland styles — hence the King/Bouncer, for instance.
These ideas for the Heart face cards were mostly based on fashion photography. The King is, of course, Brian Blessed. Who else could it be?
Hopefully, I'll return to these in time — I think they could have been okay given a few weeks work.