Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Deck of Many Things

Every once in a while you are thrown a curve ball as an illustrator and a funky project lands in your inbox. I had actually forgotten about this assignment since it was commissioned so long ago. "The Deck of many Things" was a 23 card assignment to produce playing cards that would be used as props in the game "Madness at Gardmore Abbey" (Wizards of the Coast, 2011.) Actually the deck was commissioned to be released with the D&D online magazine, and was presented as a rush job to be released the following month. With roughly twenty business days to produce the artwork I presented a mock-up image to the art director of what I felt confident I could produce under the tight deadline and still deliver on schedule. In the end the project was shelved and the rush was not necessary. (The foibles of publishing). The image shown here represents the original card back that I was rather partial to. Months afterward I was commissioned to re-design the card back because a yin-yang symbol would not be contiguous with the game universe.

Aesthetically the challenge was not to make the images look like contemporary cards, but rather like antique objects or an old woodcut tarot deck. It was a fun assignment, and a lot of work to complete 23 images in 3 weeks, but one of those assignments that only comes along once in a blue moon.




  1. That is too bad -- I love your original design. But I still plan on picking this up one of these days, almost entirely for your card deck.

  2. Hi, I know this is old stuff but I really love your artwork. Was the deck ever published? Do you know if it can be bought from anywhere? I searched on a few sites with no luck..

    1. William's artwork was eventually published later in Dungeon Magazine Issue 177. If you have a D&D Insider account you can download and print out the deck, since this image is missing the Talons and Ruin cards.