we are the beautiful people!

Hey there beautiful people!  
I want to start by saying a modest YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WE DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOO!!!!!!!!!!!! HOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If you have no idea what I'm talking about, bear with me now because you're about to absorb a lot of information: yesterday at 3:06 PM PST while I was on a cross-trainer at my gym, I received notice that my high school math teacher made the pledge that put me over the top for my Kickstarter goal. How serendipitous is that?  SHE DID THE MATH!  Wow. Aren't numbers fun?
So now I can painlessly present to you the final-ISH installment of my club series. I added that non-commital suffix onto the word final because I am trying to resolve that pesky Dalecarlian Horse, and I still want to ponder a bit more on what the final club critter will be, so this update will bring us up to 11 of the 13 in the suit. The good news is that I'm certain that I'll be able to show you the entire diamond suit characters before this Kickstarter has ended in 7+ short days.
First, we have Jin Chan, the lucky frog for achieving Kickstarter goals. Okay, really, Jin Chan is that frog you see in a lot of restaurants that's got a Chinese coin in his mouth, bringing in the prosperity like his amigo Maneki-neko. I made my own version and used one of the flower patterns seen as a detail on the classic rider version of the Bicycle deck. 

Next, there's the unicorn, a figure I've made a lot in my day, but I tried to give this one some extra special love. 

The last one I'll show you today is William the hippo. This has been a lifelong favorite of mine, as my parents had a replica of this happy Egyptian plant eater when I was a wee little one. I am sure that sculpture was a big influence on me, so I had to include it in the deck.

So for tonight, I bid you a fond farewell, but will be back very soon because I've already gotten a very good start on the land critters for the diamond suit and can't wait to show you!  A big thanks again to everyone who's supported my project. If you're still on the fence about supporting this project, you only have a short amount of time to grab a deck for only ten bucks!
take care,
Hil-Chan the lucky art frog


How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Extras!

Hello Beautiful People!!!
I'm back to start your weekend off with a few more of the imaginary animals I've been working on for the club cards. You'll see here that my Sasquatch character has moved from being a disco dancer to a basketball superstar. 

The gargoyle figure was a new challenge--I decided he needed to have an open toothy mouth. 

And last, but not least, my jackalope, still jumping over a traffic cone.

I am really excited to announce that I'm really coming down the homestretch with the funding for this Kickstarter project with about $700 to meet my goal with just a little over a week left! Speaking of which, there seems to be some general confusion about adding on additional card decks, uncut sheets or 8x10 prints to your pledges. I wish Kickstarter had a shopping cart feature, but since they don't, I made up this handy guide to getting all the goodies your heart desires! No need to choose another pledge level, especially if you want a handmade piece of art--just add the amount you see here to your current pledge. Please take note if you're an international backer--I am trying to take on some of the costs of shipping outside the U.S., but need to keep it reasonable. If you want extras, you NEED to do it in the next ten days while this Kickstarter campaign is alive. 

Thanks again to all 315 of you who have helped me near my goal! I'll be back on Sunday with the rest of the club critters!


Yeti approved box update!!

Hello Beautiful People!
I am here with a very important update about the card storage box that will come with the original artwork mounted on top that's part of the $95, $200 and $275 backer reward levels for my Kickstarter campaign! 
I have decided to create a slightly larger box that will now contain TWO decks of cards inside, as well as a space for the fortune telling notes, and a tiny note pad and pencil. There is NO increase in price for this rewardyou just get a better thing at the end, in my humble opinion.
Here's a few more details about this box upgrade:
  • The box is now sectioned off so that the two card decks are on one side, and the other items are in another side. 
  • I modified the box lid so tha, rather than hinges, it now comes completely off--this way, there's less chance that the artwork will come in contact with a tabletop if the box is left open.
  • The bottom will have small feet to elevate it just a tad.
  • You choose your pattern of grass, water or clouds painted on the outside! 

Here's an image of my little mockup of the paper insert that comes with every deck that tells about the fortune telling aspect. The text is not confirmed yet, so I don't recommend you actually read too much of it in the photo--I just wanted to give you a visual on how it will feel. I will print it on a thin linen paper so, if you choose, it can be inserted into the tuck box for easy storage. I'm going to sit down with this once the cards are being printed and make sure it's all-age-appropriate and will keep you posted on the details when I'm ready. For those of you who get the boxes, your inserts will be printed on card stock and stored within the box, as I mentioned above.
Last, but not least, I know I promised you a new release of imaginary critters. Here's my personal favorite, the Yeti. You'll have to wait until the weekend to meet Big Foot, the Dalecarlian Horse, Jackalope, and other friends. I'm beginning to work on the diamond suit now, which will be various land animals. I'll push to be able to show you as many of these completed figures before this Kickstarter campaign ends on July 7!  I'll continue to update you all once the campaign ends, so you can continue to watch my progress. 

Again, I send all of you my love and gratitude for your support of this project! If you haven't pledged yet, this is your chance to grab a deck at over 30% off future retail!


imagination is more important than knowledge

Hello Beautiful People! 
I'm soooooooooooo excited to show you what I've been working on this week and, as with the spade birds before, will release the figures for the club cards in three chunks. This section is so much fun, delving into the history of each piece has been a blast, especially with your suggestions. I still haven't made my final decision on the 13th card, so I hope you'll give me a few more days to ponder all the possibilities. Seriously, I could do an entire deck of imaginary animals....and maybe I should create a variant deck in the future.

 I'll start off with the Anubis, the Egyptian dog god. Okay, technically, the Anubis is a Jackal, but as a dog person, I'll just simplify it to the general category of canine. 

Not to disappoint the cat lovers in our midst, here is Maneki Neko, our favorite greeter when we dine on sushi. I wish I had a photo to share with you of the year I went as this for a costume event in Portland, but, alas, no dice. For the card deck, I made this figure and changed the characters on the coin to refer back to one of the common heart motifs from the classic Bicycle Rider deck. 

Thank you so much to everyone who responded to my call for suggestions for this suit! A few of you suggested the Loch Ness Monster, and I assure you, Nessie is still part of the deck! Here's my vision of her as a party girl. 

And, last, but certainly not least, I present the piƱata donkey!  

As a reminder, you can own any one of these figures by pledging at the $275 level. At the time of this posting, there are only 9 people who have chosen this level, which will allow people to choose the original figures made for this card deck in chronological order, starting with the earliest pledge. The odds are still pretty good that you will get the figure you love the most, and I can guarantee you that the prices for most of these figures will increase after this Kickstarter campaign. Of course, you can also choose to get an 8x10 print of your favorite card by adding $15 to your pledge. Thank you so much to everyone who has backed this campaign so far! I crossed over today into a new milestone: less than $2k to raise to make this project happen in the next two weeks. 
****Please note that these are photos I've taken myself to show you the figures. I plan to have each piece professionally photographed for the card deck and each card will have a white background, similar to the whale and snowy owl cards shown in the video for this project.****
Thanks to everyone who has supported this project and to those who have helped me promote the project by forwarding these updates and sharing on social media. I'll be back in a few days to dazzle you with a few more of the club critters!
take care,
ps. And now, your moment of Zen, courtesy of my cousin Tripper Dungan:


birds and other critters

Hello Beautiful People!
I'm back with another update on the card deck. As of this writing, I'm exactly at $10k, so it really feels like we're coming down the homestretch in these remaining 17 days. Thanks again to everyone who has passed on my updates or link to their card-loving friends! 
Thank you so much to everyone who wrote to me with their bird suggestions for that last card. Ideas included Western Tanager, Christmas Robin, Woodpecker, Canary, Blue Footed Booby (oooh, so tempting!!!) Bald Eagle, Sea Eagle, Christmas Robin, Bluetit, Phoenix, Cardinal, Steller's Jay, Mallard and Turkey. I'd love to do an all-bird deck, but the matter at hand is to choose one. I decided to go with the Cardinal because of its unique head feathers, and also to add a spot of red to the deck. 

I've already made a few adjustments to my original cast of characters for the Club cards featuring imaginary animals. After revisiting the group, I decided that the three-headed dog wasn't going to look very good crammed into that tiny card form, King Kong is too linked to a copyright, and the Griffin might be too serious. I decided to replace them with a Dalecarlian Horse and Anubis, the Egyptian dog. But I still need one more. What do you think? Should I go with the Griffin? Or do you have a better idea? I'd love to find another character who perfectly fits this group. Please comment on this post if you have thoughts on this, and keep in mind that I have to actually be able to make it out of wood!  
I posted more technical information about the potential of Bicycle branding and the card finish on my recent Kickstarter update. If you're interested, click here.
Thanks again to everyone who has pledged and helped me meet my goal! Don't forget, if you want more than one card deck with your rewards, you can add $10 per deck to the pledge. Likewise with 8x10 prints ($15 each) and uncut sheets ($35 each.) This offer is only limited to this Kickstarter campaign, which ends in 17 days! 


clubs in progress

Hey Beautiful People! 
Thank you to everyone who sent feedback and comments on the birds--some great ideas came in and I'll decide by the end of the week who makes the cut!
In the meantime, here's some process shots for my next batch of work--the imaginary animals for the clubs. Hopefully by the weekend you'll be able to see at least one of these figures completed. 
Take care and thanks for helping me spread the word! I have less than $3000 to raise in three weeks to make this project fly!  Click here if you haven't seen my official Kickstarter page yet!


the rest of the birds (well, almost)

Hello Beautiful People! Happy Father's Day or Bloomsday, or whatever you're celebrating today!

I have some images of the rest of the bird flock, except that I decided to remake one of our originally planned characters. That's the magpie, who I'll start with here. I do like this figure, but after thinking about the entire card spread, I decided that we already had the blackbird, so I might look for a more colorful bird. I am trying to decide between canary, cardinal, or toucan, so if anyone wants to comment on this post, I'll take it under consideration.

Apparently I didn't take a lot of process shots for this group, but I do have this one of the Hawk under construction. The finished piece is seen grilling some veggie burgers.

I am in love with the quail on the watermelon, and the dodo with the cupcake on its head is sweet too. I'll wait a few days before starting in on that last bird, so stay tuned for that.

I was happy to get another blog mention on LoopCuts, who just launched their own Kickstarter playing card project the other day. Check it out!
Thanks again to all my backers! I'm at 75% with three weeks to go. If you know of anyone in need of a cool playing card deck, you know where to send them!