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A deck of [info/divination/fun] cards and a companion digital reference, incorporating illustrations from the Dictionnaire Infernal.

Just the facts, ma'am

Right to the point: I want to design and print a deck of 69 large (3.5"x5.75"), full-color cards, each featuring an illustration from the Dictionnaire Infernal.  I'd also like to create a supplementary PDF for the deck, with all 69 card images and extended information about each.  If you're already familiar with the images I'm talking about, you can scroll down to the "accountability" section to see what this project would entail.

It's my hope that people will want this deck and PDF for all sorts of reasons. I mean, sure, there's the beautiful art -- but I'm aiming to create something that's useful for more than just looking at, too. I'm building a resource of art and information, for people that want inspiration for creating, or divination, or planning a gaming campaign. They might even be useful flash cards for Demonology 101. The beauty of it is that I get to restore something old, create something new, and then hear about all the wonderful things you can think of to do with it once it's released into the world.

Here's where I get excited about history and process

“There is no exquisite beauty without some strangeness in the proportion.”

If you look up Jacques Auguste Simon Collin de Plancy's Dictionnaire Infernal on Wikipedia (and many other sites on the web that have cut and pasted from Wikipedia), you'll see that "perhaps the most famous is the edition of 1863, in which sixty-nine illustrations were added to the book."

That's not entirely accurate: there were really more than 500 illustrations added to that edition that weren't in the original 1818 copy. The French National Library have digitized the entire book (at a not-so-great resolution, in black and white instead of grayscale, but still) so you can see them all, if you like. But, in my opinion, the most interesting of those images are the 69 engravings (mostly of demons, but there's a couple of unnamed witches, too) signed by L.B. (Luis Breton). Those are the images Wikipedia is talking about, and that you may have seen reproduced in other books and websites.

It's no wonder that those are the engravings that get all the attention: they're lovely, and they're strange. They're probably lovely because they're so strange. These demons aren't pretty men and sexy ladies with batwings and horns pasted on, they're creatures with exaggerated, not-human proportions, or animal heads and limbs. So, when I got my hands on a copy of the book, I too wanted to pull out those 69 images and print a collection of some sort. And, because the images are over a century old and in the public domain, I can.

Now, the images in the original book aren't very big. I don't mean scanned resolution in this case -- I mean the actual printed images are only a couple of inches square. Any larger reproductions you've seen have probably been redrawn (with varying degrees of detail), as there's only so much you can scale an image up (especially engravings) before the line weights start to look off. I don't want to redraw these images -- I think they're lovely at the intended scale, with incredible detail. What I want to do is restore the images -- clean up the bits of dust and dripped ink, bring out the shadows and highlights -- and then create design elements to bring everything together, incorporate the names of the demons, and add additional details and information.

When I'm done, I'll have created a beautiful deck of 69 cards, one demon per, and a supplemental book that expands the tiny paragraph of information into something a bit more detailed.

I hope this is where you come in. 

I'm looking at a fair bit of work, here, between the restoration of the images, design of the cards, and research for the book. And it's work that I love to do (and often get paid for), so I'm certainly not lacking the skills or enthusiasm. What I need is enough people saying "yes, this is something we want" to help pay for the time that's money and the print production costs for the finished cards.

Accountability (what exactly are you paying for?)

  • There are 69 original images that need hours of work, each, to be print-ready. And a lot of that work is just "oh, what's this weird spot, that needs to go" -- but there's also level adjustment to bring out the shadows and highlights of the engravings, fixing broken lines, and then printing out the images to check the proofs and go back in for a second pass.
  • Then, when I've got nice, crisp, clear images, there's designing the card fronts and backs. That's the graphic elements/ornaments, text layout, choosing quotes and information that works with each design (and fits in the allotted space)... and then printing out the images to check the proofs and go back in for a second pass. I'm going to leave that last bit off on the rest of these points, but you can assume that every step is going to have quality assurance.
  • The cards go off to the printers. I want good quality, glossy, rounded corner, professional-looking cards.  All the design in the world doesn't make a bit of difference if the finished project isn't on quality paper.
  • But that's not all! A short line of text on each card is great for design and mnemonic purposes, but there's so much more information available out there, just waiting to be bundled together.  So, each card will be placed on its own page in a PDF file, and accompanied by extended descriptions, so I can go into more detail.  These pages will be laid out like a physical book, edited and numbered with a linked table of contents for accessibility.
  • I'm generally a bit wary of stretch goals, as they're often a bit vague to start. That said, if this project is wildly successful, I would love to keep going with the work I will have already done: there's the possibility of turning all of the images and information into a website, amending the PDF to create a physical book, perhaps even incorporating the images into other, larger posters and prints. 

To sum up: at the very least, you'll get to come along with me as I put together something pretty.  I'll be posting updates with pictures and rants (probably more than a few rants, because let's be honest -- there's always gremlins when you're designing something new) as I go along, and I tend to get very chatty when I'm talking about design or research.  I can't promise you'll find out anything you didn't already know (especially any fellow designers out there), but it should be fun.  If you pledge a bit more, you'll be helping me offset the costs for print and shipping, as well as my time and energy (and coffee).

And thank you!

Your time is as valuable as mine, so thank you for taking the time to stop by, for reading all of this, and for considering my project.

.

FAQ

  • If you'd like, pledging $5 more will offset my international shipping costs.

    If you don't live in the States, but you've ordered things from here in the past, you know that it usually costs a little bit more, and takes a little bit longer (and sometimes customs thinks that paper is a hazardous material). That extra cost is something I initially figured I'd just wince and bear because there's no way to calculate shipping per pledge on Kickstarter. But a couple of really nice folks have asked in advance, so there you are:

    Yes, $5 will, cost-wise for me, make shipping to you more like shipping to California.

    No, that's not a required fee.

    Yes, it really did make my entire day that a couple of people asked and offered.

    Wow, some of the folks I'm finding through this Kickstarter are amazing, thank you.

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  • Playing-card paper.

    Right, I know, but that's actually what it is. It's not the sort of paper you buy at the store. If you hold a regular card stock up to a strong enough light, you can see what's printed on the other side. Professional playing cards, on the other hand, are made up of two somewhat-glossy sheets of super-thin paper, with another super-thin sheet of solid black in between, so you can't hold them up to light and see through them. They also bend a bit differently than normal card stock -- there's microlaminate wizardry involved to give the cards the flexibility to shuffle without just bending in half. That's part of why you need to break in a new deck before it shuffles smoothly.

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  • Whatever you like, so long as it's yours! Now, that can be pretty much *anything* you've got -- I can work with lineart, logos, even colored pieces and photographs -- I will be more than happy to work with you to get a 70th card that you like. But you *must* own the rights to the image (or it must be in the public domain or commons *without* a non-commercial clause).

    Also: I am a good designer, but I'm no Luis Breton! I won't be able to draw you an *original* illustration to add to the deck at this reward level. I'll need *you* to provide the image, and I'll do the work to make your custom card fit perfectly into the deck.

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  • Pledge $3 or more
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    38 backers

    A Good Deed Is Its Own Reward: But a thank you is always nice, too. My thanks for a $3 pledge will be a single, random card from the deck, slipped in an envelope and mailed wherever you like.

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  • Pledge $6 or more
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    5 backers

    The Hellish Wallpaper: It's probably even going to be a little bit yellow, because that's the color parchment I'm working with. For this tier, I'm making a 1680x1050 desktop wallpaper of all 69 demon images (not the full cards).

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  • Pledge $9 or more
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    35 backers

    Six Fiends for Six Friends (+1 to Keep): A single, random card from the deck for you, plus six more (also random) cards to give to your friends -- or to strangers you'd *like* to be your friends.

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  • Pledge $25 or more
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    16 backers

    Digital Demons: A PDF of all 69 card designs, with additional pages of more information on each of the demons, translated (and a bit expanded) from the original French. This is the research bit of the project -- I won't just be shoving de Plancy's short texts through google translate (although, sure, that too, a bit) -- there should be a good page of information for each image, nicely laid out with a table of contents and professional design.

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  • Pledge $26 or more
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    55 backers

    Digital Demons Plus Thanks: As with the standard Digital Demons reward, you'll get a PDF of all 69 card designs, with additional pages of more information on each of the demons, translated (and a bit expanded) from the original French. BUT, as a thank you for keeping to the "sixes" theme of this project and pledging $26 instead of the classically "most popular" $25 reward, I'll also mail you a single, random card from the deck.

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  • Pledge $42 or more
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    5 backers

    DIY Grimoire: Centuries-old references are all well and good, and this package comes with the Digital Demons PDF. But for those of you that want to add your own notes, you'll get an A5 (5.8"x8.3") spiral-bound notebook with 200 pages of blank or lined paper and the card design of your choice on the cover.

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  • Pledge $66 or more
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    181 backers

    Digital Demons and Analogue Deck: Here we go. You'll get the PDF of all 69 demons and supplemental information, AND physical deck of high-quality cards. These are larger (3.5" x 5.75") than a standard deck of playing cards, to fit the images and names, as well as frame elements and designed backs.

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  • Pledge $76 or more
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    32 backers

    Electronic, Print, and Potential: A couple of people have asked now, so this is the package deal for the PDF+deck from Digital Demons and Analogue Deck level, AND a matching notebook from the DIY Grimoire tier. (Those of you that are good at math may wonder if this really adds up, but this project is brought to you by the number 6, so.)

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  • Pledge $86 or more
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    8 backers Limited (58 left of 66)

    The PERSONAL Deck and Digital Demons: This is the same as the Digital Demons and Analogue Deck reward, but YOUR deck will have 70 cards, the last of which will include your own choice of image. Your band logo? Your tattoo? Your cat? Your choice. (Please note that you must own the rights to the image -- I'm not getting sued for putting a corporation's logo on a card, no matter how funny I might think it would be.)

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  • Pledge $96 or more
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    42 backers Limited (58 left of 100)

    Bless and Keepsakes: The Digital Demons and Analogue Deck package, and a 5.25" square, wooden keepsake box inlaid with a 4" tile on which will be printed the demon of your choice. Because the original engravings are nearly-perfect squares, these boxes will show off the restored images at about double their original size. The cards will NOT fit in the box (cards are rectangles, the boxes are square), but I'm absolutely certain something special will.

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  • Pledge $116 or more
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    22 backers

    I Wanted to Make a Paradox/Pair of Decks Pun, But: The Digital Demons and Analogue Deck package for yourself, and a spare deck to give to a friend. Or to use as a backup. Or to shuffle both decks together and play Le Pouilleux (which is really just Old Maid without the obvious jab at Lamia).

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  • Pledge $166 or more
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    1 backer

    The Full Spread: This is the package with *everything* -- The Digital Demons PDF, the Analogue Deck, the 1680x1050 desktop wallpaper, the 200 page notebook (you can choose lined or unlined paper) with your choice of any of Breton's 69 illustrations on the cover, and the keepsake box, also with your choice of the 69 illustrations on the 4" inlaid tile (you can choose the same illustration for the notebook and box to make a matched set, or two different ones). ☞N.B. as above: The cards will NOT fit in the box (cards are rectangles, the boxes are square), but I'm absolutely certain something special will.

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  • Pledge $166 or more
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    2 backers

    Deuce-Ace: These sorts of things do tend to come in threes, don't they, so this is the Digital Demons and THREE Analogue Decks -- one to keep, and two to share.

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  • Pledge $666 or more
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    1 backer

    The Reward of the Beast: The Full Spread reward (PDF, deck, wallpaper, notebook, keepsake box) for you, and THREE MORE full sets to give to your friends. You'll be able to pick up to 8 different illustrations for this reward (one for each of the 4 notebooks and 4 boxes) so you can have matched sets of books and boxes, or a different image for each one. ☞N.B. as above: The cards will NOT fit in the box (cards are rectangles, the boxes are square), but I'm absolutely certain something special will.

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