I’ve been getting my ass handed back to me every time I try to draft a card back. The above three are the most recent attempts. Left and center ones are way too busy, even for busy-body me, and although the right one above isn’t quite there yet, it’s promising. I can probably work out the details.
In the above snapshots of design elements, for each, I hand-drew a quarter of what you’re seeing as the image. After drawing in that quarter, I create a mirror image of it and attach it to its side to create a half. Then I create a flipped image of that half to create the whole.
It’s so satisfying to me to watch it blossom into the final ornate image. =) Because the quarter that you actually draw is– ehh– I mean, it’s lovely, but nothing crazy, right? And then you mirror, flip, and suddenly, whoa!
I think I know what my problem is this time around. I can’t envision and commit to a base color. With the First Edition, it was an open and shut case as an illustrator– black background. I would draw something and center it on solid black background. So right from the start I could envision its base color.
For the Vitruvian, I also committed early on to what the base color would be. I wanted it to be antiqued brown, and appear aged. Then pop an ornate something-something in the center. The ornate thing you see above left is a quarter of the final image on the Vitruvian card back, only in that previous edition, it was sepia-toned, whereas here I’ve colored it in,
My inspiration and the mood I’m going for is illuminated manuscripts. The cool thing is several museums in Europe have online galleries where you can view scans of illuminated manuscripts, including their covers. Most of them have a button in the corner of the page that allows you to switch to English.
I kinda liked the blue-gold one above to the right, but J and my peanut gallery of loved ones were “meh” about it.
Beyond the “illuminated manuscript” vibe I’m striving for, I want the card back design to be reversible. That means in terms of design, I’m probably going to stay in the realm of ornamental patterns rather than anything too scenic.
I also want the style of the card back design and even how it’s drawn to be a sampling of the deck itself. I think I achieved that with relative success for my previous two editions. The First Edition card back was a thing I drew, scanned it, made into a reversible design, and that was that. The Vitruvian Edition, again, was hand-drawn, reflecting the sepia-toned aesthetic of the cards.
But in full color, the approach I used before isn’t working now, maybe because I’m choosing too many colors?? I dunno. Right now every draft I’m creating looks more gaudy than elegant, and obv. I’m trying to go for elegant. =)
Now we get to why I’m posting this. HELP ME. =)
For those of you who feel like yah, okay, you’ve picked up on the vibes this SKT III is going for and you’re kinda getting a sense for the style I want to create, I ask you this: What would you envision for the card back design?
Also, what base color do you envision for SKT III? For example, the First Edition was black and the Vitruvian was brown.
At first I thought maybe the base color I was envisioning was a lapis lazuli blue. But that wasn’t working out. Or maybe I haven’t tried hard enough with the blue options and need to go at it some more?
James calls the above three early drafts “old lady designs.” Like, this is what your grandmother would have chosen for the wallpaper in her front parlor. Sigh.
Please help stoke my inspiration?