Monthly Suits


Hills speak of Autumn

A shifting feathered skyline

Full moon rises red

One of my favorite months to illustrate and one of the first three months I completed was the month of August. In fact, it was such a delight to draw that after completing this design, I was more confident that I could complete the whole set. It wasn’t until much later that I considered creating a proper deck for more than myself and using Kickstarter as my funding mechanism.

Pampas grass, sometimes known as “Suzuki” in Japanese, is the special flora that plays the role of suite maker in August. During my research, I found that there are many custom decks out there that take this particular suite’s subject manner with a fair amount of artistic license. While the color of the rolling hills within Modern Hanafuda are not traditional, the look and feel is closer to that of a more traditional rounded hill deck.

Full Moon in Red Sky – This card is also called the harvest moon card and was the progenitor to the rest of the scene. I wanted this card to be balanced as far as color and hill proportion to the moon. The classic card has a red background because during this time of the season, the moon rises at sunset. In the end, the color of the hills from this card dictated how the other cards were to unfold.

The migrating geese card marks the celebration in the changes of the  season and the beginning of the annual voyage for birds. I decided to stay true to the number of geese shown in the card. Originally I had planned on making them smaller within the scene and adding more birds to accentuate the flying V that is common with large groups of migrating birds. However, it just didn’t feel right to illustrate them so far back from the viewer and I rather enjoyed drawing all the feathers or details around the head.

The Dregs – The last cards I drew were the Dregs as they really needed to play a support role within the grand image of the scene. Looking back to Chinese landscape paintings of old or modern photography of the same subject manner, I always liked how the hills framed the shot. I decided to take a shot and let the hills rise up  past the horizon line and closer to the top edge of the cards. The effect is creating a “U-shaped” rolling hill range when placed side by side.

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