Artist’s thoughts: Grotesk Macabre Playing Cards. The darkest deck by Lotrek

Grotesque Playing Cards, created by the already famous Greek designer Lotrek, was released as the United Cardists 2014 annual deck. Although Lotrek (Half Moon Playing Cards)  has been working since that moment in new and exciting decks including different Venexiana‘s aftermaths or Icons Playing Cards, Grotesque was the starting point for the artist to express his own vision of the dark, the macabre, the eerie. So, Lotrek just launched his new creation: GROTESK MACABRE.

Grotesk Macabre was an idea I had long ago in hibernation. I always wanted to do a deck that will feature a very dark theme but I didn’t like the way those themes are usually made: Blood, intestines, zombies crunching a hand etc. I wanted my deck to have a more sophisticated view on the subject of death. I was occasionally playing with the idea but never felt it was the time for it.

My original intention for now was to release the regular version of the ICONS deck,the edition without foil on the back. However, I was so tired of the ICONS production with the continuous  problems that I wanted to keep a distance from it. And suddenly, as I was doing sketches in a notebook, came the desire to bring Grotesk Macabre in the light. I started fervently working on the tuck case (I always start from it) and in a few days I had the whole picture in my mind.




Although this deck keeps the atmosphere of its predecessor, having a deeper look to it is very easy to see that this is a completely new designs, a renewed aspect of a higher artistic maturity. Thorough Gothic-inspired graphics represent that particular vision of death, the disturbing force of darkness. Court cards with a huge aesthetic power, elements and symbols alluding to death, custom indexes and numbered cards and many surprises to unveil during the campaign… the deck will become undoubtedly one of the successes of the year.

The courts that usually take a great amount of time to decide, came very fast almost subconsciously. I was like hypnotized and the ideas kept coming one after the other. Now I am at the final artwork stages, where all the pieces wait to be completed and put together. It’s always fun to do this during the campaign because you get feedback from hundreds of people, all wishing to have the best result possible.



Two editions will be printed: Original and Limited. While the original is a darker deck, with smooth black backgrounds in faces annd black borders in the back, Limited has white borders in the back and a frame with marble-like designs in the court cards. Both editions will be printed by Expert Playing Card Company. The tuck cases are very luxurious with special inks, metal foiling and embossing. Limited won’t be printed again and Original, if printed again, will be with a more basic tuck. Furthermore, the limited deck will include a mysterious animation (to be revealed) like in a flip book.

The campaign will be kept simple, no fancy add-ons will be available. Just the decks, uncuts and a nice brick box that I’m planning as a stretch goal.

Another interesting feature is the Original edition tuck case which will be printed with special inks on black stock! Again, I’m not aware of such a technique used in other decks for the printing of the tuck. Only the white circle on the T11 Artisans black edition deck. But this time I’ll have the whole artwork emerging from the black paper. The result is quite different from a white stock printed with black ink. The edges of the cut paper remain white and sometimes this is disturbing.

The Limited edition deck has a feature that I’m not aware of in other decks, at least not like the way I’m doing it. It will be animated. Not the back design but the face cards. If you see the deck as a flip book, there will be motion. I’m planning to reveal how this will be as soon as the deck gets funded. The only clue I can give now is that the animation will be in accordance with the theme of death and destruction. I’m very excited about it and very curious to see how it will be received by the backers. Let’s don’t forget that no mater the gravity of a theme, playing cards are a game and fun should be part of it.



If you want to join this grotesque story, please visit the the project website and raise your pledge.

Good luck!