The Insecta Deck
- Poker sized transformations deck & uncut sheet, printed by Cartamundi UK
- 56 unique & highly detailed hand-drawn card designs by Immy Smith
- 2 colour variants with different tucks & card backs, Opal and Ruby
- Full 4-colour designs on every card face, tuck boxes, and backs
- Accompanying 120 page artbook, limited edition (250), printed by ExWhyZed
- My previous deck; Cryptic Cards
Insecta is an intricately detailed transformations deck, ~2000 hours in the making
Insecta is a transformations deck that imagines a vibrant symbiotic relationship between card players and pip-carrying insects. Every single card has a unique and highly detailed design, hand-drawn by me (I'm Immy Smith, hi) featuring colourful imaginary insects. There are 2 colour variants with different tucks and card back designs. Well over 1500 hours have gone into drawing the card face designs, and more are going into editing the deck & book artwork for print. This deck is a labour of love; about 2000 hours of creative work, all in! It features more than 240 individual insects (no copy-pasting, every single insect has been drawn separately - you can see a timelapse of the 10 of hearts below.)
About the deck
I'm always curious about how nature responds to change, & how life adapts to new environments. In my Cryptic Cards deck, I imagined what would happen if moths evolved new wing patterns to hide on human-made materials like playing cards. The idea behind Insecta, rather than cryptic camouflage, is a colourful symbiosis. I'm asking 'what would happen if insects evolved a symbiotic (mutually beneficial) relationship with card players or collectors, and adapted to new habitats in our spaces?'
The Insecta deck is my imagined answer to that question; a story where new species from different taxonomic orders of insects have evolved to carry suit symbols for players, in exchange for a safe home on card tables. The 2 colour variants, Opal and Ruby, are inspired by the jewel-like appearance of many insects, and reflect the colours in the court cards of the different suits.
The Insecta suits
Spades - Hemiptera (true bugs)
Hearts - Hymenoptera (bees, wasps, ants, and sawflies)
Clubs - Coleoptera (beetles)
Diamonds - Blattodea (cockroaches)
Jokers - There are four jokers in the Insecta deck. The designs will be kept secret until all the decks have shipped. In a world of 24/7 news and social media exposure... It's good to still have some surprises in life. In my last deck, Cryptic Cards, I kept the Ace of Spades a secret until all the decks went out. This time the Jokers will be the surprise, so you'll have something new to see when your deck arrives.
Artbook - Accompanying the deck is a limited edition (250) artbook in the style of a guide to deck dwelling insects. It features all the artwork from the project, with a short story about each imaginary insect species and its behaviour.
Reward add-ons & shipping
All of the items within the rewards can be added on to your pledge. Please send me a Kickstarter message if you want to add on items, so I can keep track of what you've pledged for, calculate any extra shipping, and track the number of limited edition items. So, you can add;
- 1-3 Extra Decks - £10 per deck and extra shipping of £1 (UK) £2 (International) per deck, for up to 3 extra decks
- Half-brick (6 decks) or brick (12 decks) - add the brick/half-brick reward & shipping value. You can also add extra insurance to the full value if you want it (see note on shipping below)
- Uncut sheet - add cost for the single or double uncut sheet reward & shipping.
- Artbook - £12 per book, and extra shipping of £2 (UK) £4 (International)
- Postcard pack - for 8 cards and 4 stickers, add £10 and extra shipping of £1 (UK) £2 (International)
- Print editions - limited edition (of 20) A4 bright white matte finish prints of each of the card designs are available for £12 per print, contact me for shipping and insurance quotes. Prints are signed on the front unless requested, and are printed in Canon ink & paper guaranteed to last a minimum of 100 years if kept out of direct sunlight
Certificates of authenticity for limited items can be included on request. All items will ship via UK Royal Mail. Add tracked/signed shipping for £2 (UK) or £5 (international) - includes compensation to £50. Extra insurance for compensation up to £250 can be added to international tracked & signed shipping for £3. If you're based in the UK & want me to use Royal Mail Guaranteed special delivery services, drop me a Kickstarter message to arrange.
Artwork, printing, & schedule
Artwork readiness - the artwork is completed, digitised, and has been processed to remove the paper background, clean up any dust/spots on the scanned image, & overlaid on the digital card templates. The artwork is currently going through final edits to be made ready for print. To ensure consistency across all the artwork in a long-term project like this, I leave final edits & any redrawing for all designs til the end, so I can do them together. Right now, I'm editing shadows under the insects, tidying edges and tweaking the odd insect leg or antenna to stay within the print margins of the card template. All these small changes & edits need to be done before laying out and sending final artwork to the printer for proofing.
Printers - Insecta will be printed by Cartamundi UK, who also printed my Cryptic Cards deck. Cartamundi is the world's largest card and board game manufacturer, with its UK site right here in the south of England. The book will be printed by ExWhyZed, who I've had a good experience with before, and who are experts in art catalogues, small books, and zines.
Timeline - The schedule for rewards allows for me completing my editing, proofing, and the wait times provided by each printer. It also allows extra time in case of any hiccups - for example, needing any extra rounds of proofing, or having to return/reprint any items that get damaged in transit, or misprints. It may turn out that I can start shipping in July if everything goes 100% perfectly to plan. But life is rarely perfect - so I'm planning accordingly!
Above is a timelapse for the Ace of Spades design, including a small colour test drawing at 1/4 size. It took just under 30 hours to draw
The majority of my funding goal is made up of printing the deck. I've been in discussion with Cartamundi UK, and am happy with their formal quote. Shipping rewards is the second biggest chunk, and within that I'm accounting for a large proportion of backers being located overseas (particularly in the US, where around half my Cryptic Cards backers were based.) Third on the list is artbook printing, likewise already discussed & quoted by ExWhyZed. The remainder of the goal accounts for mailing containers and all the other small reward items/packaging/materials/etc.
Stretch goals - if this Kickstarter exceeds its goal, I will focus on embellishments to the printed decks, in line with Cartamundi's offerings and minimum order requirements. This Kickstarter has a bigger funding goal than my first one, especially given I'm aiming for two different coloured tucks & backs. So I'm very focused on meeting my initial goal... But I do have one beady eye on possible tuck embellishment.
I'm an interdisciplinary sciartist; I work freelance in the visual arts, and also have experience in bioscience as a researcher, and in tech as a data analyst. I'm particularly interested in natural patterns and their evolution/adaption to change. Cryptic camouflage, mimicry, and symbiosis are my fascinations; I'm always imagining how they might evolve. I also make generative art, and draw in Morse code. You can see more of my art here, and get pelted with my art on a regular basis by joining my Patreon here.
The background idea behind Insecta...
We love to think of biodiversity-rich environments like pristine forests, or remote valleys. But spend a few minutes in an urban park or disused lot, and you'll often find it full of life. From the quiet corners in your home, to abandoned buildings and sunken ships, humans create new ecological niches, even though we destroy far too many others. Nature is resourceful in filling them, so... What if our day-to-day spaces provide unexpected opportunities for new symbiotic relationships between us and other species?
As humans change Earth's environment, many species are threatened - and despite their multitudinous variety, insects are not immune from extinction. While this should give us more reason to fight for change in the way humanity treats the planet and its many intricately connected ecosystems... We also need hope. We need to imagine ways to thrive alongside other species, without their destruction. Without hope, it's easy to become apathetic and give up trying to make change. So the Insecta deck is my expression of hope for the future, my imagining humans sharing more space with insect life.
I hope you enjoy the artwork in the Insecta deck. And if it makes you wonder even a little about insects you come across in the niches you inhabit? That would be a great bonus.
Copyright & licences
Artwork & writing in the Insecta deck is copyright to me, Immy Smith, 2017-2019.
Fonts - Journal & Base Mono, licensed via Adobe (the licence doesn't require attribution/credit - but designing fonts is also creative work, & I love to credit; these fonts were designed by Zuzana Licko.)
Pips - http://sourceforge.net/projects/vector-cards, Copyright 2015 - Chris Aguilar - email@example.com, Licensed under LGPL 3 - www.gnu.org/copyleft/lesser.html
Risks and challenges
The main risk/challenge, based on my previous experience, is some of the print items arriving with errors or damage. I've been through lots of different kinds of print projects at this point in my life, and there's usually something that needs replacing! So I've tried to factor that into the timing of rewards. I had a good experience with Cartamundi and ExWhyZed making necessary replacements for my last deck. Cartamundi charge a fee for any additional rounds of proofing after the first round, so I've accounted for a set of extra proofs. It could also take me longer to finalise artwork than expected if I need to make any further edits for proofing, and that's a second reason that I've been generous in allowing time for reward delivery. I want to give you (and me) the best possible deck I can. So while I don't anticipate any delays in that regard; better safe than sorry!
In the event that the printing of smaller items like the book and postcards runs into any major issues, I have a back-up printer costed that I have previous experience with. I'll be making the limited edition prints in house, but in the event that anything disastrous happens/my fancy printer explodes/the cats eat my nice print paper/etc, I can also source art prints from another supplier. I also have multiple suppliers for mounts for original artwork.
I have received written quotes for all the printing already, but there's always a possibility that changes happening here in the UK could lead to an increase in my shipping costs to mainland Europe when I'm mailing rewards. In budgeting for shipping costs, I've accounted as if all overseas backers are outside Europe, to be on the safe side.
If you backed my previous Kickstarter, you'll know I changed card printer from a smaller company to Cartamundi; the smaller company in the end couldn't give me the quality standards they'd promised. While that wasn't fun... It means I have experience dealing with playing card project problems, and still delivering a great quality deck. Cryptic Cards came out really beautifully, Cartamundi did a smashing job, and I'm still very proud of it. So I'm willing do what's necessary to get the best possible rewards to you.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)