5 Things You Should Know About Anatomica Playing Cards

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5 Things You Should Know About Anatomica Playing Cards

From Curio Playing Cards, Anatomica is a fascinating deck currently funding on Kickstarter. The deck features aspects of anatomy, from the familiar to the absolutely impossible. The deck is fully custom and hand-illustrated with incredible detail by designer Amal Nur Karim Amal (Behance: @amalnkarim), a graphic designer, and illustrator based in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The deck provides a bizarre and beautiful experience. From culture to carotid arteries, Anatomica is sure to be a conversation starter and a great fit for any collection. The deck is the first deck by Curio Playing Cards, a creative banner developed by Jamie Morrison, an avid playing card collector based out of the Pacific Northwest, in the state of Washington. 

Here are 5 things you should know about Anatomica Playing Cards:

1. The Theme
Jamie has always been fascinated with anatomy – not in an academic sense, but as an intriguing subject. His original vision was to have a deck portraying completely exposed anatomy in the style of those old anatomical study drawings. The idea would be to take traditional elements of a deck of cards and customize the experience with a focus on anatomy. Jamie explained,
The project would be very academic – very accurate. Early in the design phase, it was clear to see this deck would be much more interesting if the approach to anatomy was more impossible and with more character. Anyone with a background in A&P will see these illustrations and do a double-take. Their first look will be perhaps to admire the illustration. Their double-take will be to say something like Hey, that’s not a normal ribcage… or Where did those extra organs come from?! This deck will be a conversation-starter not only for the beautiful illustrations, but for the unique approach to the classic elements of a deck. 

2. Breaking Down the Systems
As part of the original concept, the team wanted to highlight different systems of the body and that vision has been maintained despite the fantasy approach to human anatomy. The four suits of the deck represent four major systems of the body: Clubs: Skeletal System Hearts: Circulatory System Spades: Nervous System Diamonds: Muscular System You will see these four systems featured on every face, from the pips to the courts. 

3. Worldwide Influences
The idea to highlight different cultures on the court cards came after the club courts were completely finished. Jamie explained,
I wanted to push my artist a bit after seeing just how much she could do and introduce different races where they are seldom seen in a deck of cards. With that in mind, the court cards feature a diverse and stunning cast from Arabic, African, Asian, and British/European royalty. The end-result lends to a beautiful combination of fashion and unique characters, while reminding us we all share this human anatomy.

4. The Perfect Collaboration
After deciding on a concept, Jamie was faced with the daunting task of finding an artist. Jamie said, 
I have the illustration skills of a toddler, so I needed to find someone who could translate my concept into reality. I came across Amal’s profile on Behance after finding one of her projects where she created a custom font that was styled to look like muscle and bone. When I didn’t scare her away at the huge scope of this project, we got started and she began with the Aces.


Jamie was blown away by the bizarre result of her artistic style set to the concept of the body’s systems. Jamie continued, 
It was at that point the switch was made from keeping things strait-laced to going bat-shit crazy with these concepts. This was a perfect collaboration because Amal not only has amazing illustration skills, but she also understands how the pieces would need to work together in a cohesive deck of cards. She was quick to respond to feedback and helped enhance this project with her own unique perspective.

5. Small Details are Crucial
One of the things Jamie is most proud of is how all the small details come together to improve the full experience. Like someone reading a story, Jamie's aim was to create a project that would keep people engaged from start to finish – from tuck to pip. 
I think the small details go a long way to add to a cohesive and complete aesthetic.


You will notice amazing detail even in the pips, where Jamie and Amal have included two variations: full pips and “peeled” pips that give just a hint of bone, organ, or muscle. The subtle border allows the courts to shine while adding a nice touch. Another crucial aspect of the court designs is the transition between the mirrored characters.
I didn’t want to have a hard break and Amal was brilliant in the way she approached how they meet in the middle. I also wanted to keep the tuck boxes minimal and very clean, though they are anything but plain. My sincere hope is that collectors opt to #freethepip and let these cards out in the wild so they can see the full effect.
Two editions are available during the campaign, the standard edition Anatomica and the limited edition Alterna playing cards. Both decks are printed by the USPCC and pledge starts at $16 on Kickstarter.

5 Things You Should Know About Anatomica Playing Cards Reviewed by Ivan on 1/15/2021 Rating: 5

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