Why did the wind sound like a whispered voice? Why did your dog whine when you try to go down that other path in the woods? Why did you startle awake in the night, to find nothing?
These questions will be answered as you visit a sprawling mansion at the crossroads between our world and the world of myths and legends. The creatures who live there, The Thornclaw Family of monsters, is a very old and venerable extended family of Fairies, Demons, Lovecraftian horrors, Cryptids, and things from beyond. Don't ask me how an elf and a Medusa-like creature are supposed to be related, otherworldly genetics are a mystery to me.
They find our world and our modern trappings intriguing, compelling them to cross over and check us out, often with eerie effect. They leave no witnesses, only legends, stories, strange dreams, and myths.
I was asked by the Dowager, the matriarch of the clan who holds the purse strings, to create portraits of the family.
By sharing their pictures and writing down their stories, she wishes to create an understanding between our world and theirs. She claims they mean no harm, truly.
The first manifestations of this project are the poker decks and artwork you see here. As time goes on I will share with you more images and family members as well as their stories.
The Thornclaw Monster Family Playing Card Deck is a passion project that has been filling my sketchbook in between my comics and illustration work. It was born a few years ago while watching Downton Abbey with my wife, Mila. I sketched a period Cthulhu-like character - no reason, no client, just sketching. Then I made him a brother, and a mother, and then more and more family members....and the world of Thornclaw Manor was born.
It comes out of my love of myth, creepy fantasy, and the period of Spiritualism in the early 20th and late 19th centuries, books like Pride and Prejudice, the writings of H.P. Lovecraft, Poe, and Arthur Machen, real life characters like Harry Houdini, The Fox sisters, my fascination with the occult, and the creepy dark woods of my upstate NY home.
Eventually, I had well over a dozen family members. I made a short print run and took them to Gen Con where they quickly sold out. For other cons I made more decks and prints, and sold those out too.
Lots of people asked for them so I decided that it’s Kickstarter time.
This Kickstarter consists of beautifully illustrated playing card decks, prints, and original art. The cards will be official poker deck size on 300g grey core card paper, glossy finish, spot foil, and packaged in a lovingly illustrated deck box with each facecard, ace, and joker a lavishly illustrated work of art. The prints will be 5x7 on archival paper matted to fit an 8x10 frame. Original art is as described below. The funds from this Kickstarter will go to printing enough decks and prints to fulfill my printers' minimums and for adding silver foil to the cards. If you purchased one of the decks from my test print run at Gen Con, expect to find some additions and upgrades.
Each character has a story. If this Kickstarter does well it will provide seed money to create more characters, begin to develop a Thornclaw Family Album, an art book collecting all the Thronclaw portraits as well as the stories behind them, and a cutthroat card-based tabletop game in which family members jockey for the Dowager's favor (and eventually the inheritance!).
Want to help make this project a reality? Click "back this project" on the right, and select a reward tier.
The cards are official poker deck size on 300g grey core card paper, glossy finish, spot foil, and packaged in a lovingly illustrated deck box with each facecard, ace, and joker a lavishly illustrated work of art.
The "Classic" Prints
I've created 5 prints of the most loved of the Thornclaw Family Monsters. Choose from: The Lady Lenore (the demon child), The Playboy (Mr. Cthulhu), The Lady (the young fairie), The General (the old crow), or the strangely alluring Bachelor (the David Bowie-esque smoking dragon). Each print comes bagged and boarded with archival mats.
$100: Random Creature 5 x 7"
You will receive a piece of original monster art from the mind of Steve Ellis. The medium will be pencil, ink, wash, prismacolor, acrylic and whatever else the madman wants to use.
No telling what kind of creature, but it will be one worthy of the name Thornclaw and come signed and sealed in a mat!
You will also receive two lovely Thornclaw decks!Limited to 20 people!
$200: Random Creature 8 x 10"
$500: Join the Family, full illustration Join the Family (Finished Illustration) You will become a member of the Thornclaw household and be anointed with a name and title.
As a new member of Clan Thornclaw you will become the proud owner of a fully realized toned Thornclaw illustration inspired by you. The artwork will be 8"x10." The medium will be pencil, ink, wash, prismacolor, acrylic and whatever else the madman wants to use.
You will also receive four Thornclaw playing card decks! limit 10 people!
Thank you so much for reading this far and considering supporting my Kickstarter. this is a passion project of mine and I would love to see the world of Thornclaw Manor cross over into our world.
Risks and challenges
There should be little risk when it comes to this Kickstarter. The artwork, except for an easter egg or two, is complete and I've already made a test run of 30 decks. My printer has a 90 day turn-around time.
Likewise, the Prints are all laid out and ready to be printed with a relatively short turnaround time.
The only real place for delay on the cards or would be if we have so many backers (what a wonderful problem to have!) that envelope stuffing becomes difficult. If so, I will use a local fulfillment house to hep with that.
Completing original art is a slower process. I've limited the custom rewards to make sure I am not overwhelmed, but all supporters who purchase custom art should expect a slower delivery time than someone who is ordering cards or prints only. And of course, those rewards will be contingent on the appropriate photos being received by me. If that runs smoothly I predict we can have all fulfillment done in 6 months.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)