The Insecta Deck; life evolving on the card table

It's week 36, & I'm 36 card designs into my Insecta Deck project to create my 2nd transformations poker deck. So it seems like an opportune time to review work so far, as I start the final stretch; making the court card, aces, & joker designs...

The Insecta Deck 7S card design being made, featuring metallic shield bugs drawn in polychromos pencils, & a rough edit. Shadows under each creature will be added to the designs after all the insects are drawn, in the final edit; this ensures consistency across the deck.

Twelve playing card designs from the Cryptic Cards deck, with moths painted camouflaged onto every card face.

The idea behind Insecta is different to Cryptic Cards (although I do plan to make further camouflage/mimicry themed transformation decks.) In Cryptic Cards I was asking 'what would happen if moths evolved to hide on human-made materials, like playing cards?' For Insecta, I'm imagining card tables as a habitat for different types of insects, living in symbiosis with players.

As climate change and habitat loss threaten many species of life on this planet, insects are not immune from extinction. Despite their multitudinous variety, many species will likely be wiped out before humanity is even aware of them. While this should give us all cause to fight for change in the way we, individually and collectively, treat the planet & it's many intricately connected habitats... We also need hope. We need to imagine ways to thrive alongside other living things, without their destruction, otherwise we lose hope. Without hope, it’s easy to become apathetic and stop pushing for change. So the Insecta deck is my expression of hope for the future; my imagining us sharing new niches with insect life.

We like to think of 'natural' biodiversity-friendly environments as pristine forests, or unpolluted lakes. But go and spend 10 minutes on a disused lot, & you'll probably find it’s full of life! I remember a while ago, when I was really depressed & lost, looking from the train window every day as I commuted past a disused platform in a nearby station. All kinds of wild flowers grew out of the cracks on the platform. It always made me feel better. I bet it was full of insects too. I bet those habitats in towns and cities are important for wildlife. From urban parks, to corners of out houses, to sunken ships - humanity leaves a lot of new ecological niches in its wake, & nature is resourceful in filling them. What if we're creating niches that provide unexpected opportunities for new symbiotic relationships? What if we invited other forms of life to join us in our daily activities, and... What if that life stayed for a game of poker? Insecta Deck imagines insects from four different taxonomic orders that have evolved to provide a colourful form of card pips, in exchange for a sheltered niche in casinos and at card tables.

Below is a peek at some of the designs so far. The best is yet to come, so stay tuned for the court cards in the next few weeks. If you want to be the first to see finished artwork, timelapse videos, & get studio peeks, please consider supporting my Patreon.