Although it varies from deck to deck, the Aces are almost always a focal point; at the very least the Ace of Spades would be. Having been inspired while viewing some vintage decks–and considering the subject matter of Hummingbird Feathers–we decided that we need to push the bar beyond our original aiming point for the Ace’s artwork.
Digital Painting by Hand
As a result, we decided to digitally paint by hand three hummingbirds. One each for the Aces of Hearts, Clubs, and Diamonds. While the Ace of Spades would receive something a little more unique and brand oriented, since it usually is tagged with additional logo material traditionally.
The digital painting takes place in Photoshop on a Microsoft Surface Pro. Reference photos are manipulated and posed, often times utilizing multiple images to make one pose that frames up nicely on the 3.5×2.5 canvas. Then the painting begins. The basic shape is painted in black. Then the eye, feet, beak, and wings are painted in. It’s important to take into consideration the size and printing methods being used when creating artwork like this. The feathers on these hummingbirds will be overprinted on holographic foil.
Next, a general outline is drawn in for the placement and scale of the feathers.
Once the outline is drawn in, all of the feathers are individually painted in place. It took quite a while to create a workflow that would create the desired result at the small scale of a playing card. So, a lot of time was spent just painting one feather over and over again, until the perfect method was found. After that, coffee was made, maybe some whiskey was ingested, chill electronic music was played, and who the hell knows how many hours were spent painting feathers… but, it was a lot, and it was worth it.
Ace of Spades
We wanted to stick with the traditional style of incorporating branding on the Ace of Spades, but with Marvelous style. So, the Ace of Spades will feature Marvelous Deck’s new and final monogram in front of a large spade filled with the same unique texture as the card backs. This texture is inspired by and sort of mimics a zoomed in look at the magical and almost armor like feathers of the hummingbird with a modern, abstract approach.
We’re definitely pouring our heart out into this deck, and I think you will truly love the results.
Hmm, I thought we were going to make these updates short. Oh well, this is fun stuff. 🙂