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Alice of Wonderland Playing Card Project

Alice DecksHi Juan, good to see you. The last time we got together was for last year’s Drawtoberfest meetings.  I hope you can participate in the event this year as well.

Juan not all of our audience may know your background. How did you get started in the visual arts?

I got started at an early age. In first grade I started selling my dinosaur drawings for a quarter. I also took an interest in comic book format graphic novels and started drawing my own comic book heroes often emulating my favorite comic book artists Jim Lee and Adam Hughes.

It wasn’t until high school that I started getting serious when my art teacher noticed my skill level and suggested I take up air brushing. He got the school to buy all the equipment so that I could create large murals inside the school.

After that I joined the military where my art followed me. Although I was a power generator mechanic in the Army and an electronics technician in the Navy I was called upon to do art projects for both services.

In the following years I took up airbrushing again but in 2002 discovered digital painting using a drawing tablet. I joined Concept Art.org and CGHub.com where my skills were dramatically improved because of the support of other digital artists and because of the long hours I put into personal development.

But that wasn’t enough. I needed face to face time with local artists in the area and found 757 Comic and Cartoon Creators, the Hampton Anime club and the Norfolk Drawing Group.

What lead to the idea of the Alice of Wonderland playing cards that has recently received a lot of online attention?
I a lot of my character sketches had already included my own versions of Alice and the rest of the main characters from Wonderland which lead to a commission to do a poster for Bean There Coffee House in downtown Norfolk. I created a poster for an event called the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party where everyone was encouraged to wear a crazy hat. I also started seeing fairy tales in a whole new light when the ABC network show called Once Upon a Time came on the scene.

At first I was developing my own comic book super heroes looking to create a comic book series but once I realized how time intensive it was I had to put it on hold. I learned about Kickstarter through a friend Vince White, who had a comic book project called Will Power on this crowd fund-raising site. I noticed many successful playing card projects on Kickstarter and that’s when the Queen of Hearts popped into my head.

Okay Juan, I think you lost me. So was one of your early Wonderland characters the Queen of Hearts?
Alice Queen of Hearts

Yes and no. Obviously the Queen of Hearts is a major character in Wonderland but I didn’t start to design my version of her until the idea of making my own deck of playing cards came to me. So when I realized I needed to design the Queen of Hearts, I wanted to make sure that she wasn’t like any of the queens from existing adaptations of her, but more like my Steampunk Alice.

So now that you have the Queen of Hearts designed, how does she and the rest of your Wonderland story become a deck of playing cards?

That’s a good question. Since the Queen of Hearts character is based on the Queen of Hearts from a deck of playing cards, it only made sense to make the face card of the Queen of Hearts the same character from Wonderland. In doing this, the rest of the face cards in the other suits followed. So the King of Hearts is also the same character from Wonderland, and so are the rest of the Spades, Clubs, and Diamonds face cards. This is why I am very excited about creating this deck of playing cards.

Alice King of Hearts

So now that you have your concept, how did you come about using Kickstarter and why?

Creating a deck of playing cards is not easy, and it costs money. I didn’t want to simply create my playing cards from just any company. I wanted the best because I am going for quality and value. So I researched how projects got funded on a crowd-funding site like Kickstarter. I knew that Bicycle Playing Cards were the top brand and they are seen as the standard of quality playing cards. Once I realized that I had the possibility to make my project into reality, I began my work in creating this project.

Do you think you will get the funding you need to make these playing cards become a reality?

Well, there is always the chance that a project doesn’t get funded, and it happens. But I am passionate about my project, and excited that I am taking on something creative. I’m doing all of the work as far as creating the concept and the art, but I need people willing to back me on Kickstarter. This project cannot happen without the support of my backers. I am in constant communication with them, and anyone that wants to get more information about my project can message me directly through Kickstarter. I also listen to their suggestions and it has helped me immensely in improving my project. One thing that I’d like to point out is that Kickstarter only accepts projects that have not been completed yet, and with my deck of cards the completion will be when I am able to submit my order with the U.S. Playing Card Company, the makers of the Bicycle brand. I also have some extra add-on rewards set up to offer my backers, which are unique to only this Kickstarter project, the crown jewel being a commemorative coin that I call The Alice Coin which is on my Kickstarter page and is set up as a stretch goal.
I am currently half-way into my project, and it ends on July 28 at 9PM. If it doesn’t get funded with enough pledges, then the project doesn’t happen. But if I am able to make my goal of $19,500, then some magic happens! I want to create something unique and special, and I appreciate any pledges that will support this project I call Alice of Wonderland Playing Cards.

I am heading over to Kickstarter http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jsolorzanoarts/alice-of-wonderland-playing-cards-printed-by-uspcc?ref=live to make my contribution and be the first kid on my block to have these great cards. I am a huge Alice in Wonderland fan. Good luck Juan!

Juan Solorzano

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