/ work in progress /
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My love for dogs has taken on a new form – special playing cards called Dоg Kingdom. The luxury deck is illustrated with elegant dogs and birds, developed with the technique of classic aquarelle. It contains the standard 52 cards and two additional Jokers.
The creation of the cards as entertainment is attributed to the Egyptians, Indians and Greeks. In ancient times, Egyptian priests recorded all the wisdom of the world on 78 gold cards. 56 of them – “Junior Arcana” – became ordinary playing cards, and the remaining 22 “Senior Arcana” became part of the mysterious deck of Tarot, used for divination. The name comes from the Egyptian “ta rosh” (“way of the kings”), and the cards themselves were brought to Europe either by Arabs or by gypsies, who are often thought to have come from Egypt.
The first mentions of playing cards in Europe date back to the 14th century. In 1370, the word naipes (naipi – playing cards) appeared in a Spanish book of poems. Since 1377, the mention of cards (most often for prohibitions) has increased. It is believed that each figure in the cards represents a certain historical figure.
Fifty-two cards symbolize the 52 weeks of the year, the thirteen main cards symbolize the 13 lunar months, and the four colors symbolize the 4 seasons.
In the process of work came a stage of maturation, in which the project began to require from me as an author greater depth and striving for perfect expression of the idea, content and form. For this reason, I took more than a year to rethink and rework it to perfection. Some of the cards were redrawn more than once in search of the right clothes, poses, the best-fitting character, color, etc.
Unlike the classic cards, which have their characteristic and strong stylization, in Dоg Kingdom I was looking for vivid images depicted with the technique of classic aquarelle, without any digital intervention. The numbers and signs of the paints are also hand-drawn.
― SPADES ―
The color code for all Spades is green, so it is no coincidence that all cards of this suit have the same color clothes. Their crowns are also identical. King, Queen and Jack of this color are depicted in a pattern with dark hair and dark eyes and are the only ones looking to the right along with the two Jokers.
Spades are a symbol of courage, danger and war. In the game bridge and bridge white, this is the paint with the highest value. The spade is literally a sharp-pointed weapon.
Ace of Spades
In some games, Ace of Spades is one of the strongest cards, so it differs from other Aces in a certain way. After a long search for an influential and provocative image, I came to the final look of the card – a royal bird wounded by a spear / spade /.
Кing of Spades
His image was unequivocal from the beginning – a dignified black Doberman. It is believed that the prototype of King of Spades is King David.
Queen of Spades
The fatal black Queen. It was definitely not easy with her, she changed three images until appearing in this form – strict, dark and elegant.
Legend has it that Queen of Spades was a virgin who lived in a village in the 13th century. She was the most beautiful and desired girl. All the men in the village sighed at her, but she ignored them. Soon the repulsed suitors became angry with her and decided to attack and disfigure her. After carrying out their intention, they expelled her from the village and declared her a witch. As a reason, they pointed out that she managed to enchant all the men in the village and the surrounding area.
Disfigured, the girl wandered for a long time in the woods with the thought of revenge. This thought obsessed her and she gradually became a real evil witch. Before she died, she performed an unusual spell – she imprisoned her evil force in a mirror. From that moment on, everyone who stood in front of this mirror, after summoning her, went mad, because the disfigured face of the witch appeared in the mirror, covered with a black veil. There were those who seemed to be spared her anger. She asked them three extremely difficult questions, and when they could not answer them, they were locked in her mirror and disappeared from this world forever, leaving no trace behind.
Jack of Spades
Jack of Spades is a young man depicted in profile, also known as the one-eyed Jack. The Jacks have bird feathers in their hats- the same as the birds of the Aces.
― HEARTS ―
The Hearts are with a predominant red color and are often associated with love. King, Queen and Jack are depicted with light hair and dark eyes looking to the left. In the game bridge and bridge white, the paint is second in value – after Spades and before Diamonds.
Ace of Hearts
The symbol f the Hearts comes from the word “cup”, so in Ace of Hearts you will notice this essential detail in the beak of the little bird Red Robin.
King of Hearts
I found the King of the Cups in the image of a noble Afghan Hound. It is believed that the prototype of the this King is Carl the Great. He is often depicted with a sword held behind his head, as if piercing it (it is very likely that this movement has something to do with his suicide).
Queen of Hearts
The Queen of Hearts is again an Afghan Hound with beautifuly arranged hair.
Richly adorned with jewelry and expensive clothes, the Queen brings a sense of superiority. According to legend, the Queen of Hearts represents Elizabeth of York, wife of Henry VII.
Jack of Hearts
The young Jack of hearts is a African hound Azawakh. The silhouette of his clothеs resembles the shape of a heart.
― DIAMONDS ―
The iconic color for the diamonds is orange, which you will notice as the main color of their clothing. Their crowns have a specific shape, decorated with a diamond. King, Queen and Jack are depicted with light hair and light eyes looking to the left.
At the very beginning of the game they were illustrated as a coin.
Ace of Diamonds
Ace of diamonds depicts a kingfisher holding a gold coin (symbol of paint) in its beak.
King of Diamonds
It is believed that the prototype of this card is Julius Caesar, whose dignity I rediscovered in the image of the unwavering and confident husky.
Queen of Diamonds
The Snow Queen of Diamonds is a white husky with blue eyes
Jack of Diamonds
The typical grace of the greyhound Ibiza is embodied in Jack of Diamonds. I will reveal to you an almost imperceptible detail – in the collars of the jacks you can find the symbol of the respective color as lace decorating the garment.
― CLUBS ―
The predominant color for all Clubs is ultramarine. King, Queen and Jack are depicted with dark hair and light eyes looking to the left. The sign of Clubs symbolizes the wooden cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified.
Ace of Clubs
A graceful bird carries a cross in its beak.
There are no random things in life. On the day for finishing this illustration, during my morning walk in the park, I found the Ace of Clubs card.
King of Clubs
The King is represented by an English Setter dressed in royal robes. The sign of the paint creeps into his crown. The prototype of this card is Alexander the Great.
Queen of Clubs
Queen of Clubs is represented by the elegant Gordon Setter. In addition to her crown, the sign of the paint is hidden in her necklace, and in the clothes you will notice a hint of the decorative element from the Aces.
Jack of Clubs
The elegant pointer, with a dark blue cloak slung over his shoulder, depicts Jack of Clubs.
― JOKER ―
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The joker or the fool, is a mysterious figure in this game. In Tarot cards, it symbolizes every end and every beginning that contains the complex journey of life. It is a “wild” card and can be both the strongest and the weakest in various games. The card was originally introduced around 1860 for games in which it was used as the tallest trump card.
The jokers in the Dog Kingdom deck are two, almost identical Italian greyhounds, with barely noticeable differences. It is as if an image divided by its madness is on both cards. Following the examples of the old classic playing cards, the colors I have chosen are a combination of red with yellow and black with yellow. Red and black are the two key colors used in the card game.
― THE BACK ―
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As a logical continuation of the Ace with royal birds, the back of the cards is shaped in a similar way with floral ornaments. The two birds forming a circular composition point to the Chinese symbol Yin and Yang, the beginning and the end, the coexisting and complementary opposites that pass into each other.
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which saves stray dogs and cats.
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