Divine Art Playing Cards

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Divine Art Playing Cards

Unread postby guru » Sun Mar 20, 2016 9:38 pm  

Hi All,

I'm glad to share with you all a few draft designs of card that I've been working for last few months with my team. This is inspired from Kalamkari & Sanjhi, two of the traditional Indian folk art & crafts. Each card is custom illustrated & hand drawn and we interacted with a few Kalmakari & Sanjhi artisans to get their feedback during the design process.


For the suits earthy Kalamkari inspired colours were chosen - deep red and olive green instead of the usual black and red.
The motifs take inspiration from the use of dots in Kalamkari and curved forms and the detached elements are inspired by Sanjhi art.

Gods, Goddesses and their "vahanas" or vehicles form the perfect trio for face cards.


Krishna_suit_003.PNG


hearts_draft_006.PNG


clubs_ace.PNG
clubs_ace.PNG (28.79 KiB) Viewed 1119 times


We're working on the tuck box design at the moment, and plan is to launch it through Kickstarter. I'm a playing card enthusiast but never had thought that I'll be doing this at any juncture of my life, and the whole design process has been a great learning experience. Please feel free to provide feedback, comments and/or suggestions.

PS: I'm also working on Ganjifa card game (130 cards per deck, round in design) based on Dashavatar. It was almost finished but we received the feedback that the traditional game play is complex and doesn't look strategic enough. The team went back to the drawing board, and have come up with another game that should cater to the masses (hopefully), and it is being play tested. I'll be sharing details on that card game soon.

Regards,
Sunish
Last edited by guru on Sat Oct 22, 2016 7:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Traditional Indian crafts inspired deck

Unread postby shimmering » Wed Mar 23, 2016 1:36 pm  

Hey, just a word of encouragement for your Ganjifa project. I knew of Ganjifa from the story of the history of playing cards, but had no idea until checking just now after reading your post how unavailable the cards seem to be outside India. It looks like someone ran a kickstarter project for Ganjifa cards a couple of years ago, but outside that project (which is now available on Amazon I think), there's not so much. Probably obvious, but if you go ahead and run such a kickstarter project, it would be pretty much obligatory I think to include a rulebook for games that can be played with these cards. Good luck...
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Re: Traditional Indian crafts inspired deck

Unread postby ecNate » Wed Mar 23, 2016 3:19 pm  

Personally I just am not interested in Asian or Indian themed artwork, but the art is well done here. Nice pip design as well, but not sure on the extra dots for the clubs, it works on the hearts though. What we really need to see here is a tuck and card back though. Have you considered coloring in the courts? Just curious how that might look different. One thing you should consider changing is the background frame on the court cards because that is a bleed to the edge design which can then be seen in a deck from the side view when stacked together or in somebody's hand, really ruins the playability if you are concerned with retaining that. I also assume the red/olive frame backgrounds are something that will NOT appear on the cards themselves and just part of the design layout, because that would have the same issue. I'm also not one to be a fan of using colors for pips other than red/black, but at least there is a clear contrast between the two.

Good luck!
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Re: Traditional Indian crafts inspired deck

Unread postby intlgrrl » Fri Mar 25, 2016 7:40 am  

I personally, like what you have so far. The face cards are really unique. I'd like to see what else you can come up with. I personally, would love to see more culturally inspired playing cards, besides the regular standard face cards.
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Re: Traditional Indian crafts inspired deck

Unread postby guru » Sat Mar 26, 2016 4:50 am  

ecNate wrote:Personally I just am not interested in Asian or Indian themed artwork, but the art is well done here. Nice pip design as well, but not sure on the extra dots for the clubs, it works on the hearts though. What we really need to see here is a tuck and card back though. Have you considered coloring in the courts? Just curious how that might look different. One thing you should consider changing is the background frame on the court cards because that is a bleed to the edge design which can then be seen in a deck from the side view when stacked together or in somebody's hand, really ruins the playability if you are concerned with retaining that. I also assume the red/olive frame backgrounds are something that will NOT appear on the cards themselves and just part of the design layout, because that would have the same issue. I'm also not one to be a fan of using colors for pips other than red/black, but at least there is a clear contrast between the two.

Good luck!


Hi ecNate,

Thanks for the feedback.

On the playability front, we've tried to incorporate the feedback given by Mike and others, and have included the indices on both ends for all except the court cards.

changes_002_Krishna.PNG
changes_002_Krishna.PNG (177.3 KiB) Viewed 999 times


For the common back and tuck box design, the tree of life from Kalamkari art was chosen and the
peacock form. The reason these two elements were chosen was becuase they are recurring elements in
both Sanjhi as well as Kalamkari art forms.

back_004.PNG
back_004.PNG (159.93 KiB) Viewed 999 times


The background, motifs, colors etc. were chosen after keeping in mind both of the art forms, Kalamkari & Sanjhi. The red/olive frame backgrounds are also intended to be part of the cards and not just design layout. The deck's value proposition is to be a collectible owing to the inspiration from two major traditional art forms, Kalamkari & Sanjhi. If you can elaborate on the issues w.r.t. playability, that will be really helpful.
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Re: Traditional Indian crafts inspired deck

Unread postby guru » Sat Mar 26, 2016 4:59 am  

shimmering wrote:Hey, just a word of encouragement for your Ganjifa project. I knew of Ganjifa from the story of the history of playing cards, but had no idea until checking just now after reading your post how unavailable the cards seem to be outside India. It looks like someone ran a kickstarter project for Ganjifa cards a couple of years ago, but outside that project (which is now available on Amazon I think), there's not so much. Probably obvious, but if you go ahead and run such a kickstarter project, it would be pretty much obligatory I think to include a rulebook for games that can be played with these cards. Good luck...


Yeah...a rulebook for different games that people used to play with these cards as well as any new game invented or identified, that can be played through these cards is already on my list.
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Re: Traditional Indian crafts inspired deck

Unread postby NCarter » Mon Mar 28, 2016 11:53 am  

I would have though as an Indian themed deck it would be full of colour, maybe mix in some Mendi patterns to give it some flare?
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Re: Traditional Indian crafts inspired deck

Unread postby guru » Mon Mar 28, 2016 4:54 pm  

NCarter wrote:I would have though as an Indian themed deck it would be full of colour, maybe mix in some Mendi patterns to give it some flare?


I'd have loved to do some Mehandi patterns, but, since this deck is based on traditional arts: Kalamkari & Sanjhi, we felt the need to be true to the art forms, and considerable time went into researching these forms.
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Re: Traditional Indian crafts inspired deck

Unread postby TGunitedcardists » Mon Apr 18, 2016 9:22 am  

No disrespect, but the only thing I like is the card back.

The number cards are not playable. Get rid of the greyed out hearts etc. If the card is an "8" only have eight pips, not eight red and nine greyed out. That is by far the worst artistic decision you've made.

The colors you've chosen just don't work. The court cards don't have a card feel.

Suggestion: Get rid of the yellow/red colors on the front, and stick to white. Improve the number cards. Tweek the card back. As of now, it looks pretty good, but a little too much black space.
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Re: Traditional Indian crafts inspired deck

Unread postby Räpylätassu » Mon Apr 18, 2016 12:15 pm  

I second TGunitedcardists on pretty much everything. The color does not work at all. Neither the pips or the aces. I'd say that do not scrap those court cards right away, I think that they could work with tweaking.

The back is not pretty good. It's splendid in my eyes. I don't say that it couldn't be tweaked a bit but when you have a back that is in the same series as some of the work the best designers in the world (Like Lotrek and Lorenzo) have done, it tells you have the talent to make the improvments on the rest. I would love to see that back in gold foil. It really is splendid.
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Re: Traditional Indian crafts inspired deck

Unread postby MagikFingerz » Tue Apr 19, 2016 6:49 am  

guru wrote:and [we] have included the indices on both ends for all except the court cards.

That's like saying "We're going to vaccinate children, but only 80% of them. It'll probably be fine."

Which doesn't make any sense. Consistency is key when it comes to card design.
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Re: Traditional Indian crafts inspired deck

Unread postby guru » Tue Apr 19, 2016 11:42 pm  

Hi TGunitedcardists , MagikFingerz & Räpylätassu ,


Appreciate your critique on the given design. It help get new learnings, explore mindset of collectors and people who are into cards.

Sorry, I was busy with Ganjifa project for last couple of days, and thus, could not look into this thread as such.


But, considering the genesis of the concept and the inspiration taken from Indian Mythology, and traditional art & crafts like Kalamkari & Sanjhi, makes it pretty much difficult to go with the given suggestions. In fact, similar comments were received during the design process and, still, the team & I found it to adhere to the inspirations taken while keeping keeping the research in mind.

Allow me to explain. The first disclaimer I'd like to make is I'm just a playing card enthusiast. It was only through Kickstarter & Indiegogo, that I was able to see the brilliant work done by artists & designers in this space starting 2013. In fact, some of the the old & upcoming card designs that I've come across in this forum are just "sheer brilliance", if I think of defining what I've seen in a word or two. I see a lot of learning opportunities for a no. of years, that keeps me excited.

Now, coming back to the design- the colors used are an ode to the traditional colors used centuries ago by the artisans involved in Kalamkari & Sanjhi. Giving it a new background like white would lead to not being true to the art forms and the concept.

Since, there are 2 crafts involved here, the intent was to have a balance across both of them. The greyed out hearts and subtle design element in there is taken from Sanjhi. Unmarried girls used to make similar patterns in cowdung and paste it on village walls, with the intent to entice Lord Krishna. If I think about it now, it is really difficult to do anything on cowdung except making those patterns like you see on greyed out pips.

Since almost every Indian folk art form is based on Hindu mythology, for the Kings, Queens and Jacks of each suit various Gods and Goddesses as well as their mounts
(vahanas), were taken as inspiration. Indices on only one side has got two meanings.....

1. There is only one way to hold these cards right owing to the religious significance and sentiments of Hindus.
2. The quality like consistency, equality etc. has been missing in Hindu rituals & traditions particularly around worshipping idols in temples. It is just now, in 2016 that even the higher court has taken cognizance of this fact and rulings are being made to allow women inside some of the temples, as an example.

http://www.firstpost.com/india/right-to-pray-debunking-its-400-year-old-tradition-shani-shingnapur-now-allows-women-to-enter-temple-2718778.html

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/12/indian-temples-cannot-bar-women-rules-supreme-court


The inconsistency between court cards showing Gods and the number cards is symbolic of such practices.

Lastly, I do think that playability factor was not on the mind during the concept inception phase, and that may be the reason of few of the comments made in the above posts.


I do hope it clarifies some of the design decisions taken during the development. A 6- page booklet has also been readied that gives a background on the art forms and some of the information mentioned above.

Please do keep the comments coming. It will help in taking all of the feedback into considerations in the future projects from Guru Playing Card Company.

Thank you.


Regards,
Sunish
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Re: Traditional Indian crafts inspired deck

Unread postby guru » Wed Jun 22, 2016 9:05 pm  

Hi All,

I'm back again on this after a long hiatus.

I canceled Guru Ganjifa campaign and working on the feedback received from different quarters. There has been an interest in the deck from two Playing Card museums (Germany & France) apart from certain section of backers and I will relaunch it for sure in future.

Anyways, this thread is not related to that but to another deck that was in progress. I've gone through the feedback and this playing cards deck has been updated with your feedback.

Here is one court card. The subject is Lakshmi - a Hindu Goddess of wealth, fortune, and prosperity and is worshipped by millions the world over.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lakshmi

sq_Lakshmi.png
sq_Lakshmi.png (370.35 KiB) Viewed 751 times


That being said, I did get a prototype deck printed through MPC with the old designs ( check earlier threads). Though the design has been changed, still I am interested in the comments pertaining to playability factor:

One thing you should consider changing is the background frame on the court cards because that is a bleed to the edge design which can then be seen in a deck from the side view when stacked together or in somebody's hand, really ruins the playability if you are concerned with retaining that. I also assume the red/olive frame backgrounds are something that will NOT appear on the cards themselves and just part of the design layout, because that would have the same issue.


I didn't face any issue with playability as mentioned above, and neither did others who played with the deck. Still, it is possible that this might have got overlooked during the game session. I'd appreciate if ecNate or someone else can elaborate on the above comment. This will also act as a future reference.


Regards,
Sunish
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Re: Traditional Indian crafts inspired deck

Unread postby JuFiN » Thu Jun 23, 2016 12:38 am  

Hey, cool deck! wanted to join in with my feedback. I actually really liked the original design or the number cards with the greyed out pips, just have to make sure the the red is really deep so there isnt too much issue in reading the cards during play. For the courts definitely need the letters on both corners, and I would prefer mirrored art, but the art itself is beautiful and I like it a lot. One sided courts are OK but if you could mirror it without changing the art too much that would be great. I for one prefer the old courts to the new one you just posted (except for the obvious improvement of having the letter on both ends). I dont know anything about this style of art but the first version looks more authentic from an untrained eye.

Really unfortunate the ganjifa deck didnt fund its a really cool concept and ill be here to back the second time around!

Regardless im looking forward to updates on both of these projects and will follow along eagerly!
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Re: Traditional Indian crafts inspired deck

Unread postby guru » Thu Jun 23, 2016 4:38 am  

JuFiN wrote:Hey, cool deck! wanted to join in with my feedback. I actually really liked the original design or the number cards with the greyed out pips, just have to make sure the the red is really deep so there isnt too much issue in reading the cards during play. For the courts definitely need the letters on both corners, and I would prefer mirrored art, but the art itself is beautiful and I like it a lot. One sided courts are OK but if you could mirror it without changing the art too much that would be great. I for one prefer the old courts to the new one you just posted (except for the obvious improvement of having the letter on both ends). I dont know anything about this style of art but the first version looks more authentic from an untrained eye.

Really unfortunate the ganjifa deck didnt fund its a really cool concept and ill be here to back the second time around!

Regardless im looking forward to updates on both of these projects and will follow along eagerly!


Hi,

Well, I'm pretty sure you're going to love the new designs more, just wait for previews of few other cards,card back and tuckbox.
Court cards will be one-sided though as I did try to look at both mirrored and one-sided options, and one-sided works better here.

Thanks for the follow and your suggestions, btw. Please keep them coming.

Regards,
Sunish
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Re: Traditional Indian crafts inspired deck

Unread postby shermjack » Thu Jun 23, 2016 7:08 am  

Definitely like the looks of this so far! Though I prefer 2 way courts, I think that the QoS is done well and would like to see more :D
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Re: Traditional Indian crafts inspired deck

Unread postby Räpylätassu » Thu Jun 23, 2016 4:35 pm  

Okay, I love that new Queen of Spades! I hope that you will keep the original back, maybe with some tiny tweaks.

You got my curiosity, as good jokers and aces and you will have my attention.
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Re: Traditional Indian crafts inspired deck

Unread postby TGunitedcardists » Thu Jun 23, 2016 7:15 pm  

The Queen of Spades Version 2 looks so much better on many levels. The white background is better. The subtle design behind the Queen works fine. The spade pip itself is OK, but something more readable would be better. But the way you have it isn't a deal breaker. I also prefer mirrored court cards, but one way court cards aren't a total deal breaker either.

I just wanted to say it's a good restart.

I think your previous back design doesn't need to change much. A color change might be all that's needed. A black and white design might work really well.
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Re: Traditional Indian crafts inspired deck

Unread postby guru » Sun Jun 26, 2016 8:50 am  

Another draft of more court cards below.


sk_Vishnu.png


sj_Garuda.png


dk_Shiva.png


dq_Parvati.png


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Re: Traditional Indian crafts inspired deck

Unread postby RichK » Mon Jun 27, 2016 12:44 pm  

guru,

I hate to be the negative one on this post but to me your new art has a clipart look to it and you just flood filled in areas with color, missing a tiny circle or edge here and there. I can't draw to save my life so if these are hand done and not finished artwork I wholeheartedly apologize.
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