Last Friday on June 28, designer Juan Solorzano launched his playing card project called Alice Of Wonderland on Kickstarter. The project was launched with a $19,500 goal and will complete the funding process on July 28th. After being live for a week, the project has raised just over $5K in backer funds.
Click here to view Alice Of Wonderland Playing Cards on Kickstarter.
Juan's concept is only the first part of an entire "Alice" story that is set in a Steampunk Wonderland where Alice is a bit older and more mature than the original story. The artwork of Alice Of Wonderland, which is 100% custom designed by Juan, features updated characters that sport brand new wardrobes and a Steampunk environment. Steampunk is not a new concept in the playing card industry. In fact, it has been done quite a bit - sometimes tastefully and sometimes not. However, with Juan's story it makes sense and he makes it look incredible. Explained in detail on the project's Kickstarter project, here is the idea behind combining Alice and Steampunk:
The original Wonderland story was written and set in the late 1800's Victorian era. The genre of Steampunk derives from that same era so it ties in nicely with the Wonderland theme.
This is not meant to replace to the original Alice's Adventure in Wonderland but it is meant to add to the story and the character development that the original started.
TuckCase.com spoke with Juan about his Alice story and he gave insight into a whole world that features Alice and friends (and foes). You can bet the playing card project is just the start of something big. Juan is just getting started....Read further to get the inside scoop into this brand new Steampunk Wonderland:
Tuck Case: You are quite the illustrator, can you describe your design background?
Juan: Thanks! I have been drawing my whole life, and I took some college art classes. I am mostly self-taught in art and design. I got a lot of design experience and was able to hone my graphic design skills when I worked for a large company for 5 years doing web and print design.
I use these programs extensively: Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter 12 with a Wacom tablet.
I also edit my own videos.
Tuck Case: Is the Alice Of Wonderland project your first venture with playing cards?
Juan: Yes, this is my first playing card venture, and it is more work than I expected! This is also my first Kickstarter project, so everything is an experience!
Tuck Case: How long have you been working on the Alice Of Wonderland project?
Juan: I've been working on Alice of Wonderland for over a month, but the idea of a new Alice in a Steampunk world came to me about a year ago. I started with simple drawings of the characters, and I thought it would be a cool idea to make all of the face cards in a card deck the characters in my story.
Tuck Case: The idea behind "Alice of Wonderland" seems much larger than cards. What is your vision for this entire project? Beyond the current project and add-ons, will there be more than cards released?
Juan: That's the big question, I'm glad you asked! My vision for this entire project is to establish a Steampunk Wonderland story in print. Playing cards was the most logical first thing I could create. It would put my characters into the hands of my future readers. With playing cards they will become familiar with the characters whenever they play cards using my Alice of Wonderland Playing Cards. That is my hope. Beyond this project lies a book waiting to be written. I already know what to write about for the first book, and it has to do with introducing the public to a new, grown-up Alice in a new Wonderland. I want to write a literary book first, and then create a graphic novel. The graphic novel will take longer to create as I will create all of the art, and I don't want to make it a quick project. I want it to have the best quality of art I can create and simply tell a good story. I also want to take my first book and write a Wonderland stage play - create the costumes, and also the musical score. These are bigger goals, but the vision I have for my Steampunk Wonderland is engraved in my mind!
Tuck Case: The court cards that have been released feature medieval attire. Is there a reason you went with medieval attire over the Steampunk attire that this deck is themed on?
Juan: Yes, I do have a reason. Since my deck is directly based on a Wonderland story I want to write, I have to keep true to the element of fantasy. In my Wonderland, the Steampunk element is still new, and the royals use medieval attire for major events in the story, such as having their likeness drawn on a deck of playing cards (that actually happens in my story). So in the story when the royals are not posing for art, or attending a formal event, they are dressed in their elaborate and majestic Steampunk attire and think it's all the rage in Wonderland. Everyone's doing it, and trying to "out-do" each other in the most recent Steampunk fashion, especially the queens!
Tuck Case: Will the court cards eventually be in full color or will you keep them black and white? If so, why did you decide to keep them b&w?
Juan: I went with black and white at first to keep a simplistic and elegant design. But now that I see them, I may add color to this project or I may create a stretch goal to colorize them. I will need to send out a poll to my backers and show them the colored version, and depending on the results I may go to full color.
Tuck Case: You mention The White Rabbit will be a Joker card. Can you give any other insight into what cards some of the other main characters will be featured on?
Juan: All of the face cards have their own role, and they will be the character that is depicted on that card. Since there are 4 suits in a deck, there are 4 kingdoms of that suit in Wonderland. The Kings and Queens rule their respective kingdoms, and the Jacks are the military leaders of their kingdoms. The Aces, although not depicted on a face card in keeping with the traditional de la Rue style, are wizards. Not all Aces are male, which will make for an interesting mix of characters. So we are left with the more popular characters, and these are going on Joker cards: Alice, the White Rabbit, the Hatter, and the Cheshire Cat, all in some kind of action pose.
Tuck Case: A lot of card collectors are big into Bicycle branded decks, Are there any plans for adding a stretch goal to include a Bicycle branded deck?
Juan: Yes, I do plan on making a Bicycle branded deck if my backers can help me reach a stretch goal.
Tuck Case: Do you have any favorite playing card decks?
Juan: I don't as of yet, but I am seeing a lot of good cards coming out of Kickstarter. If I see really good art, with a good theme behind it, I'll most likely back it.
Also, check out the Alice Of Wonderland website here for future updates and projects featuring Juan's new Alice.
Editors note: Interestingly enough, my girlfriend and I attended The Witch's Ball in the city of Bethlehem, PA (about 20 minutes from me) last Halloween. We went as Alice and The Mad Hatter. We put our costumes together by going to thrift stores and our closets. Although not Steampunk, we are extremely fond of the Wonderland story and had a blast at the Ball! This deck reminds me of that. Here is a photo of my girlfriend and I at the ball. Notice the playing card in my hat.