"Grotesque" playing cards is a fully custom deck designed by Lotrek of Half Moon Playing Cards, the creator behind the beautifully crafted Venexiana playing cards. This will be second deck under the Half Moon Playing Card label and was designed to be the first annual deck for UnitedCardists, a popular forum for card enthusiasts, collectors and cardists.
Between his busy schedule, we were able to catch-up with Lotrek for a quick Q&A on his design background, the inspiration & the design evolution of "Grotesque" and lessons from his first Kickstarter project.
Can you tell us about yourself and what is your design background?
This always the most uncomfortable part. I don't know what is interesting for people and what is not! I'm a Greek illustrator and designer, I have studied painting and I love cooking!
What is your inspiration behind "Grotesque"? How did you come up with the idea?
It's a bit strange how ideas come. Or, to be precise how they are taking shape. I'm saying that because "Grotesque" has gone through many transformations before it got its final shape. Yesterday, as I was looking at my notebooks I saw the first sketches for Grotesque and I was a bit shocked! I didn't remember how different it was at the beginning! A completely different deck! First I had the idea to make a deck with this name. I just liked it. But the first sketches didn't please me at all so I put it aside but kept thinking about it.
Grotesque playing cards is also known as the United Cardists 2014 Annual Deck. Can you elaborate further on the Annual deck concept and how you got involved?
I got involved a bit accidentally! UnitedCardists (UC) has recently changed ownership and also direction. Someone posted a comment in a thread saying that it would be great if the site released an annual deck. Randy Butterfield had already designed a UC deck but this wasn't intended to be annual. I was the first to comment that this was a very interesting idea and that was it! Everyone agreed I should do the deck for 2014. Mike Ratledge, the new owner gave me complete freedom regarding the theme and I decided to use "Grotesque".
How much time did you spend working on the deck?
I'm still working on it. Generally I draw fast but I spend much time on the elements of the concept. I can't really tell. The first idea came about a year ago, and this is the starting point for me. Since I never stopped thinking about it, I guess you can say I've been working on "Grotesque" for almost a year.
Can you briefly go through the evolution for one of your unique card design?
At some point, as I was searching for some reference images in the internet, I came across a picture that I liked it a lot (Picture 1).
I realized that I could do something with it. One day I made a sketch having that picture in mind (Picture 2) And this was the basis for the current ace of Spades (Picture 3).
Having successfully completed your first project, Venexiana playing cards last year, are there any takeaway lessons you would like to share?
Yes, basically three lessons: Think a lot, plan a lot and be honest. People will appreciate it and will help. Backers are not ATMs, they're people with feelings and expectations who at this point act like friends. Treat them as friends.
Wise words! Finally, what are your favourite playing card decks?
My future decks! Haha! But seriously, I think Theory11's Black Artisans is definitely a favorite. I only wish it had a bit more customized courts. Needless to say that Federal 52 is one of the finest as well.
Thank you for spending some time with us Lotrek and all the best!
"Grotesque" will be printed with two different tuck cases: the Original edition and the Limited edition by the USPCC. Pledge starts from $13 and there will be add-ons available and announced during the campaign.