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Kickstarter: 7 Questions with Jim Jackson of Sanctum Playing Cards


Designed by Jim Jackson, Sanctum is a unique deck of playing cards inspired by the Gothic architecture and the craftsmanship of the medieval cathedral. Sanctum is currently seeking funds on Kickstarter with a goal of $6,000.

A semi-custom deck, the tuck box, and card backs feature intricate artwork inspired by the beautiful stained glass of the cathedral in a turquoise colorway. Inside, the face cards are pretty much standard with the exception of the Aces. Also, the black suits have been recolored to turquoise to match the overall color palette of the deck.

We caught up with Jim for a quick chat about his design background, the inspiration and design process behind Sanctum.

For those of us who don’t know,  can you tell us about yourself and what is your design background?
Once upon a time in college, I was a fine arts major. A long story and a couple of majors later, I ended up graduating with a theater degree. I specialized in sound design, but I also have done a lot of scenic painting and prop building; which is what I mainly do for work now. I draw in my free time and I have been recently been learning more about Adobe Illustrator. Also, I am currently working towards a degree in graphic design. I've been influenced artistically over time by experimenting with a range of different media. Some of my favorites have been calligraphy, printmaking (which my wife has her degree in), classical figure drawing, and ceramics.


Can you describe Sanctum Playing Cards and why you are passionate about it?
The cathedral was always such an amazing display of craftsmanship and design. Its major forms are immediately recognizable and its intricate details are innumerable. Sanctum was designed with this in mind. I tried to take that feeling and translate it through the balanced design and line work that playing cards are known for. I don't think it needs to be said that I'm quite passionate about playing cards in general. The range of artwork you can find on them is astounding. There are practically as many styles out there as people producing decks. I would be honored to have my work included in collections around the world. I love seeing magicians and cardists on YouTube and Instagram and I think it would be so cool to see what they do with my cards.


Talk to us a bit about going from the first draft to the final version. How did you get to this finished product?
The design started out with the arch featured on the card. Just as an exercise in drawing, really, but the more I worked on it the more it came together. I had started to design a card a while back, so I had some card templates from USPCC buried in my email somewhere. I dug them out and started looking at the arch I had made as an element for a composition rather than an individual piece. I started laying in shapes, doodling ideas in Photoshop, and doing a LOT of things over again once I discovered a way to do them better. The very last thing I did was decide on a name.


What was your most brilliant breakthrough when designing the deck?
Getting better at using Illustrator. I don't know how brilliant it is; but it seems like everything in this design I did once, learned about another way to go about it, and re-did entirely. What I struggled with the most was not letting myself go "well its good enough" and making myself go back and actually make big edits that undid a lot of work.

What are a few key elements and principles you incorporated into your project that you think future Kickstarter creators could benefit from knowing?
A surprising backer favorite, so far, has been the option for a specially wrapped deck. People definitely responded to a sort of deluxe edition, something with a little handmade element that's not just a celo-wrapped pack of cards. Something I wish I had done was have at least one prototype deck printed so I could do more photography to get out there.


With so many playing card projects competing for funding, why should potential backers choose your deck?
Simply: If you think my work has merit, I hope you support it. There are a lot of good artists out there working on decks and I have felt honored by every backer who has chosen mine. I also have more ideas in the works for new decks, this campaign will hopefully be the first in a line.

Finally, what are your favorite playing card decks?
Let's see... I'm a big Theory11 fan. The Contrabands are an amazing deck, but I think I love the Hudsons most of all (I was born along the Hudson River in New York.) The Aviator Heritage Edition is a beautiful deck from Dan and Dave. I'm a fan of the Madison Rounders... And finally, my deck of UV-500 Air Flow Finish White Ghosts was my first deck. I found them unopened in a GoodWill.

Thank you for your time, Jim and all the best!


Sanctum playing cards will be printed by the Expert Playing Card Co. Having raised 40 percent of its goal, with another 25 days left to go, a pledge of $9 sets you up with a deck. Check it out on Kickstarter here!

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Kickstarter: 7 Questions with Jim Jackson of Sanctum Playing Cards Reviewed by Ivan Choe on 10/11/2018 Rating: 5

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