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Kickstarter: 7 Questions with Maciej Frolow of Victorian Playing Cards

Victorian Playing Cards is an intriguing deck combining the old and the new in historic Victorian-inspired design. The deck is currently over 160% funded on Kickstarter with .. to go. Designed by Maciej Frolow, the deck features fretwork patterns, with gold and silver arabesques, floral lines, and curves.

The main idea of the deck is to replace the traditional court cards with symbols: scepter for the king, rose for the queen, and pistol for the jack. The color of the suits has been updated: copper for the red and silver for the blacks. This makes the various design elements and patterns do stand-out against the black cards. The mirrored card backs are filled with a dense copper and silver pattern which also integrates two card symbols. The deck is packaged in an elegant tuck box with embossed and embellished in silver foil!

Last week, we had a chat with Maciej about his design background, inspiration, and design process behind the Victorian Playing Cards.

For those of us who don’t know, can you tell us about yourself and what is your design background?
I was born in Poland, moved to France at the age of nine, and still going back and forth between those two countries. I get cultural influences from both of them. About work, I’m a self-taught freelance illustrator using 3D tools instead of traditional pencil and pen 😉 I’m working with advertising agencies, magazines, and scientific & medical clients for 25 years now creating photorealistic images and animations. My influences are from Japanese manga, French comics, American movies, and of course a lot of illustrators like Syd Mead, John Howe, Rodney Matthews, Paul Bonner, concept art designers Like Doug Chiang or Daniel Simon and many many more.

Can you describe Victorian Playing Cards and why you’re passionate about it?
Working for advertising or magazines is based on short projects with limited diffusion so all ends to be some kind of virtual. I wanted to spend more time on a project which people can enjoy and cards came naturally.

For the description, I’ll refer to what I wrote “The project main idea is to replace the traditional court cards by symbols: scepter for the king, rose for the queen and pistol for the jack. Other cards stay as usual. The colors are copper for the red and silver for the blacks. The background is black with a victorian pattern.“

As my passion is 3d modeling, in fact sculpting in virtual clay, for those who don’t know the term. Spending long hours creating the patterns, sculpting the shapes, working with textures, lights, and how they react to each other, with no deadlines and no constraints is what I love to do. With hope, the final result will be eye-catching and pleasant

Walk us through the process you took to design the deck. How did you come out with the idea and how did you get to this finished product?
In fact, I came to the idea by planning another deck which involved crazy amounts of time, people and money and about which I’ll talk more one day. In short, it was real people in costumes a with 3D generated backgrounds. An idea we had with my associate Vincent Corlaix who is a great storyteller and with him, we are creating a bunch of fantasy worlds and ideas for next projects.

For the process first I established the color palette, I wanted something very limited in colors. So I chose copper for hearts & diamonds and silver for spades & clubs. Black background with a Victorian pattern given to all an elegant look. As second I worked on the shapes of the scepters which each fit the symbol on the top of it.

What was your most brilliant breakthrough when designing the deck?
I think as in the description above, by replacing the traditional court cards with symbols. Something interesting which is not so far from the original concept and communicates immediately what “function” the court card does. It can be turned into many different ways.

With so many playing card projects competing for funding, why should potential backers choose your deck?
I think because most of the decks use traditional two-dimensional techniques instead of 3D rendering which I used. You should know there is no photoshop used there for anything else than color correction. Also because they will be printed by NPCC. By seeing what they created and spending a lot of time speaking with Roman I have no doubt the result will be awesome. Also, I feel really lucky as I meet Max (from Max playing cards) who decided to help me in this campaign preparation process which I did know absolutely nothing. He told me that he believes in this project and treats it like it was his own which is great. So with such support, I’m confident this is a good project.

What’s next? Can we expect more deck designs in the future?
Yes, I have many ideas that will come from my twisted mind and from the Galaeth universe we are creating with Vincent, especially one which will continue the concept of replacing the court cards figures by symbols but in a much more extended way. It will be a steampunk style deck. I’m showing you just two card sketches. The Jack of Diamonds and the back of the cards. The background story of those cards is huge and you’ll discover it soon.

Finally, what are your favorite playing cards?
Those with elaborated graphics, surprised? 😉 Wicked Kingdom by Wilie Becket – Dark and twisted beautifully executed illustrations, LUMINOSITY Playing Cards – Just awesome and Vonnart Illustrated Playing Cards – I’m actually backing this one as it’s still running on Kickstarter.

Thank you for your time Maciej and congratulations on the quick funding. If you like what you've read here and want to support Victorian Playing Cards, you can find it on Kickstarter Here! 

The deck will be printed by NPCC on 310 gsm premium German linen card stock. Pledge starts at $17 on Kickstarter.

Kickstarter: 7 Questions with Maciej Frolow of Victorian Playing Cards Reviewed by Ivan on 5/21/2020 Rating: 5

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