This week, we have a guest post from Max of maxplayingcards.com in conjunction with the launch of the Metal Rider Back Playing Cards earlier this week. This deck has been well received and the project hit its funding goal within the first 48 hours! Amazing!
Hi, my name is Max and I am basically a collector. I began collecting playing cards many years ago, mainly Spanish decks (there is an old playing cards tradition here). I was then attracted by the card magic so I began practicing. After some magic courses I demonstrated to be incompetent as a magician, but I felt in love with that rider back design. My fingers are short and clumsy and I had many difficulties to practice every day, so, as I couldn’t properly advance in my magical skill, I decided to go beyond with the Bicycle playing cards collecting.
The story about the Metal deck is a bit long but juicy. Are you ready to hear it?
Some years ago I began making some dummy designs of different playing cards on napkins and used papers. I am not a great designer, I mean, a talented draftsman, so I just experimented with basic shapes, but in my dreams I used to think of creating my own Bicycle deck. I made a couple of designs I finally printed in a China based company dedicated to print anything on anywhere. The quality (specially the centering) was awful but I enjoyed a lot seeing those decks. But I needed to make a Bicycle deck.
I was always playing with textures in my Photoshop experiments and suddenly I had the idea of the Texture series. I was able to mix my retouching techniques with the rider back deck. So, I spent almost one year (mainly at nights) designing two different decks: Steel and Wood. Fortunately, I found Randy Butterfield. In that moment, he begun to create playing cards and I always thought he would arrive really far with that, and I was right. Randy saw the potential of my design and gave me fantastic tips to improve it. He is a master in the digital design and his style is something I have always envied, because he is not only technically impeccable but also hugely talented guy (and a fantastic person, by the way). When the Steel deck was almost completed, I needed to know if it could be a real deck and contacted to USPCC in order to check if they would approve my design, specially the metal rider back (they had, and have, a strict policy about any change of the original Rider back). I was exultant when Anamika, from USPCC, told me my design was approved. I wasn’t able to afford the production but I knew I was in the right direction.
Then, I decided to send it to some companies (relevant in that moment) such as Circle City Card or Encarded, in order to catch their interest in my job to be published, but the feedback wasn’t too enthusiastic as both Paul Carpenter and Russel Kercheval stated my work was too immature. I even sent it to HOPC but I never got their answer. I got depressed about that and stored the designs in the deepest place of my computer. I filled my frustration creating and feeding Max Playing Cards website. I needed to learn and to spread about design and cards and I tried to be everywhere a new designer or a new deck appeared.
Working on Max Playing Cards has been fantastic. It is not easy to handle a website trying to make happy everyone, including myself. I am quite perfectionist in everything I do and I wanted Max Playing Cards to be something different, not only cards, but also heart and soul. I put my heart in every word I write and unfortunately I don’t have anyone to help me on this so writing in two languages and trying to be in the loop regarding playing cards is not easy, specially combined with a full time job and two nice girls at home (my wife and daughter) that want to be with me. The night is my partner and the lack of sleep my daily companion. But the best reward I have got during all this time has been to know such a great group of people with dreams like mine that see them become true. I am proud to keep a fantastic relationship with (almost) all and I can call many of them as “my friend”. One of them, Lotrek, has also been really helpful in all this process. Even being terrible busy he has found time for me and he even designed for me the new Max Playing Cards logo.
The Metal Deck
One day, Cardicians launched the Bicycle Steel deck, and I felt terribly bad. Someone had decided to make a deck made of steel and give it the same name I had used. I thought everything was lost about my idea but fortunately, the design had nothing to do with mine and at the same time encouraged me to retake my deck and improve it.
I changed the name into Metal deck, something more general that in my opinion fits better in the Texture series idea. One day, I showed the designs to Mike Guistolise, from Collectable Playing Cards, and he showed so enthusiastic about it that I simply agreed with him to be produced by CPC. It was a real gentlemen’s agreement. I have been really comfortable working with Mike till now because even having so many companies, websites and things to control, he is always online to solve things.
From that moment, and during last 6 months, I have just worked on every little detail. I have had to redesign several parts of the cards and I have to admit that working with the USPCC is sometimes quite frustrating. It was especially hard the embossing/debossing design of the deck. I made it more than five times and I have to say that I still have no a real impression of how it will look at the end.
Almost three years after, the deck is already available through Kickstarter and I am really excited about it.
I am not quite sure about Kickstarter future. It is true the interest on playing cards has grown exponentially along last years and backers have become much more demanding and selective. That’s the reason for that many projects that would have been widely funded in the past, are even unable to get the basic funding goal. The is some kind of cycle on this (I imagine it happens in all the collecting world) but it is true that crowdfunding has given backers a fantastic opportunity to be involved in the creation process and they (we) have learnt a lot about it just following the projects along last years.
Nevertheless, being a collector outside the USA has become an impossible mission. The growing rates of the postal service, the prices of decks and the customs taxes difficult a lot being a serious collector. Furthermore, this last fashion of making ultra-limited decks based on a seal or on a slight change with a terrible rise of the price is also damaging the serious collector that is not able to be updated about everything. When I see a project with just one deck or at most two different colors, I feel happy because I think about all the money I am saving… but suddenly, a new update reveals a new version, variation or edition… And that kills me :)
For some reasons, and perhaps you will consider it stupid, I like people and not decks. Think that I belong to that group of masochists that collect sealed decks, so I don’t have always a real opportunity to enjoy my cards. I am not sure which is the passion that comes before, but when I feel something special about a creator, I simply love his, her or their designs. That happens to me with several of them like Lotrek, Randy Butterfield, Linnea and Peter from Uusi, Nat Iwata, Lee McKenzie, and many others (sorry, I can’t write them all but I have already tell them this in person)… I feel a special attraction to their work because they transmit me good vibes… There are other works that are widely considered as fantastic, that even get thousands of dollars in their projects, but don’t make me feel anything special (although I desire to have them as I am a serious collector).
This exclusive guest post is written by Max of maxplayingcards.com for Kardify. No part of this article can be reproduced without written permission from the author. You can support the Metal Rider Back Playing Cards here on Kickstarter!