Wednesday, 29 October 2014

LXXIV. The Jacks

The work on the second custom Fate Deck continues. I've already written about it in LXVII. Another Fate Deck (WIP), where I showed the twelves of the deck and explained the idea behind the designs. You can see and read about the first deck in XLIV. Fate Deck. Now I have proceeded to make another batch of face cards: the elevens. And this time I'll say a bit on how I go about painting the cards.

Rough sketches- the first transfers of the designs from my head onto paper. Useful for many different reasons.
It begins with sketches. I carry a notebook and a pen with me wherever I go, which I use to store any ideas I come up with for later use. At this point I also search my books and the Internet for reference pictures. Once I'm happy with my design I start drawing on an actual blank card.

Blank cards. I cut them to size myself and lightly stained them with coffee. I usually make enough of these for a whole deck at once, to avoid too much difference in tint.

I learnt long ago that use of reference when drawing/sculpting/etc. is pretty much mandatory. The results are better beyond comparison. I have a fine number of various illustrated books at home, and I keep a folder on my computer packed with pictures of interesting things I find in the vastness of the Internet. For these particular illustrations I dug up as many pictures as I could find of ancient Greek black-figure pottery (for everything, but the satyr especially), plate armour and bascinet type helmets (for the man-at-arms), medieval depictions of wildmen (for the woodwose),  Danse Macabre (for the revenant)...

The sketches of the four Jacks/elevens on the cards themselves. Left to right: Bone, Flesh, Blood, Spirit.

When the drawings were done I scanned them. Not just to show them here, but also because some of the small details get lost under the base layers of paint as I work. The scans help me know where everything needs to be.

Colouring the sketch. These are the same paints and brushes I use for my miniatures.

The card value, in this case 'XI', is written in black ballpoint pen.

For the suit symbols I use improvized tools- plastic tubes of different diameters that leave neat rings when dipped in paint and pressed on paper. You can see them left of the card. One is a part of a broken pen and the other two came from brush packaging. This way I know all suit symbols are the same size and regular shape. The larger suit symbols in the corners require some extra work with a brush.

And that's it. The following picture shows all face cards I've finished so far. Comments and critique are very welcome. :)


  1. These are beautiful. What is your paper and weight of choice?

    1. Thanks! :)
      It's heavy printer paper, probably 120 g, I found stashed in a drawer at home. I think the weight is not ideal for making cards (they could be a bit heavier), but it is acceptable. I put them in transparent card protectors and they work well.

  2. I really love all your cards! Great designs and colours. Nice to learn about your process, too.
    I think Blood is my favourite... on both sets:)

  3. Amazing work, Ana. Yours is a truely unique blog and I enjoy every single update! These cards are phenomenal and I'm happy you've decided to share your methods. Simple and incredibly effective!

  4. Stunning. You've put a lot of effort into these and it shows.

  5. Just found your cards. Truely awsome. Very inspirational. Thanks.