Playing cards were invented during in ancient China have been around since the Tang Dynasty. Which means Steampunk and the Victorian age can claim no particular right to playing cards other than their prevalence saloons and gambling dens of the American West.
This historical heritage, however, is more than enough to inspire people to create Steampunk versions of a playing card deck featuring steamy versions of the standard deck. Lance T. Miller is designing a set after a wildly successful kickstarter for the project.
The deck is planned to print sometime this month and is, at present, still available for pre-order at Lance’s online store. Perfect for Steampunk gamblers, soothsayers, and magicians as well as the casual card player, this deck will likely appeal to your sense of anachronistic style. Be sure to check back to Lance’s website often to see when this deck goes in to print!
Moving to a new place with only a dream and a few measly possessions can be very daunting. The new environment, the strange people, the different pace of life, it can all get pretty overwhelming for someone new in town. It’s even more difficult when you move somewhere without a job on the hope that somehow, things will work out all right in the long run. I know from first hand experience; when I sold everything but what would fit in two suitcases and flew to Seattle to carve out my own corner of Steampunk bliss here in the Steampunk capitol of the world, I didn’t know everything was going to work out okay in the end. Thankfully, it did. I got my shit sorted with a lot of luck and help, but it took a while.
Another Steampunk, Ms. Dana Hill, also arrived in Seattle not too long ago with naught but a few possessions and the determination to make Seattle her new home. But without a job and the necessities of rent and food piling up, Dana has decided to start taking commissions so she can live out her own dream of making Seattle her new home. Most of you know Dana as the creator and guardian of Nathan Plushie. She’s a talented artist in a wide variety of mediums and styles. Here’s her note, straight off her Facebook Page:
I know I’ve done this a bunch of times before and immediately flaked on my offer, but that’s when I had a job. Alas… now I seriously am in need of some moneys and I haven’t found a new job yet. Correction… I’ve found a lot of jobs, but I haven’t been given any of them yet. Which is lame. So! I’m going to be offering up my, as StrongBad would say, skeels of an artist in exchange for your dollars that will go toward rectifying my sudden unintentional hunger strike. I don’t have internet at home so correspondence might be a bit slow (I check my messages almost every day here at the library, but I’m only here for an hour or two in the afternoon), but if you want to help me out here’s what you can do:
Send me a PM with a character (an original or existing character, doesn’t matter) you’d really really like to have drawn. If you have a reference picture of your character, fantastic. If not, be as descriptive as possible. Alternatively, if your character doesn’t have a design yet, you can be really vague and I’ll fill in the rest of the details with… probably stripes and boots, ’cause that’s how I roll.
How much you decide to help me out with will determine how much time I spend on your drawing. Based on the pricing chart below, pick how much of your character you want drawn and in what coloring style. I’ll reply with my paypal address, you drop some moneys in it, and in a day or two you’ll have some shiny new doodlies. (All examples are from my deviantART gallery.)
- $1 – $5: Head sketch (Example)
- $6 – $10 Full body sketch (Example)
- $11 – $20 Head or full body flat colors (Example)
- $21 – $30 Head or full body cell shading (Example)
- $31 – $40 Head or full body soft shading (Example)
- $41 – $50 Head or full body cell or soft shading with simple background (Example 1 | Example 2)
- $51+ Head or full body cell or soft shading with complex background (Example)
On a side note, pixel art (Example) falls into the cell shading category. As of right now, my traditional art supplies are all packed away in storage, so I’m only able to offer digital art at this time.
Help a starving artist!
If you’re at all interested, be sure to contact Dana and chat with her about working out something. You’ll both be very happy you did!
Those of you who love helping to fund Steampunk creative ventures will likely be very interested in one of the more recent projects to appear on Kickstarter. History Beyond Imagination is a museum exhibit imagined by Aeronaut Productions L.L.C. and The Muzeo. They hope to create a traveling, museum exhibit that will “explore the origins, personalities, and lasting effects of an imaginative aesthetic born in “The Age of Steam”, through a collection of artifacts, replicas and informational displays.”
Here’s their video on the project:
It looks to be a rather impressive exhibition. If you’d like to see it become a reality, do head over to their kickstarter page and contribute. Every dollar helps in a kickstarter project, inching them ever closer to their goal. If, however, they fail to meet that goal, they don’t get any of the pledged money. So be sure to swing by and help out if you can!
During my years in college, I worked on a history degree that focused on two regions histories, Asia and Europe. My European history focus had a smattering of pre-modern history tossed in, but my focus was primarily modern Europe, starting with the events leading up to the French Revolution. So much of the world changed with the French Revolution with its notions of things like secularism and liberal democracies that I found it an absolutely fascinating topic to study. The revolution so completely intrigued me that I even spent some time in Paris studying the event.
After the Revolution, the Terror, and a brief reign by the Directory, order was eventually be brought to France in the form of the Consulate under Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon would eventually seize power for himself and bring about the First French Empire.
All of this history is, however, a little pre-steam. How then, does all of this relate to Steampunk? Well, back in the day, the King of Spain commissioned this portrait of Napoleon leading his troops across the Alps:
Painted by Jacques-Louis David between 1801 and 1805, Napoleon Crossing the Alps is a highly idealized view of Napoleon. It’s also one of the most recognizable portraits in the world. And really, as soon as you look at that portrait, you know this dude is a badass, even if you don’t know exactly who that dude is.
But, in a Steampunk world, that same portrait might look something like this:
This awesome print of a Steampunk Napoleon was created by ApplePoo at deviantART. Be sure to check it out in its full glory at the gallery, and if you love it, consider ordering a print!
As Steampunk continued to grow and attract new people to the movement and subculture, there was some concern that it would lose some of its core values in the process of being absorbed by the mainstream. Notions like individual creativity and the importance of Makers within the Steampunk community are really important to people who live and breathe Steampunk, but really not to those who are just going for a unique aesthetic.
Fortunately, though, it seems like Steampunk is keeping true to its core of makers and individual creativity. There was an article published recently that highlights a program called “Steampunk Accessories” that took place at the Wagner Library in Metairie, Louisiana that inspired kids to create works of art using repurposed and recycled items. To read about it, check out the full article here.
It makes me really happy to see new people being introduced to Steampunk through the notion of DIY and personal creativity, and to me, it’s a sign that while more people are becoming familiar with the notion of Steampunk, Steampunk is somehow managing to stay true to itself and its ideals.
I’ve seen a lot of Steampunked iPhone cases in my day. Believe me, I see more than my fair share of mediocre cases in my effort to weed through the junk and bring you only the very best of Steampunk here. But today’s case is pretty freaking sweet. Observe!
Oh my, it’s gorgeous!
Artist J. “Wilhelm” Dunn, the proprietor of VictorianSteampunk clearly put a considerable amount of attention into these intricate cases. There’s a ton of information on the cases and their various specs within each listing, so if you have questions about the specifics regarding the construction of purchase of one of these cases, please check it out. These cases are available for iPhone 4 and iPod Touch from his etsy storefront. In addition to iDevice mods, he also has a small assortment of jewelry and keyrings.
The Scramble for Africa was a period during the 19th and early 20th centuries wherein various European powers undertook the exploration and subsequent colonization and subjugation of the continent. Africa still struggles to this day with the effects of imperialism, and is, by far, the world’s poorest continent. If you don’t know a lot about the Scramble for Africa, do consider taking a look at this article to give you a basic understanding. It’s things like this that make me glad I’m a Steampunk and not a Neo-Victorian; a lot of this should be downright repulsive to the modern reader.
While European colonialists were running rough-shod over the people and resources of Africa, others were busy plowing through Africa’s fauna. The notion of the safari, back in those days, was for people to hunt game, and even selected a Big Five game list for no other purpose than to bring back skins and heads of their kills as trophies to hang on the walls of their homes.
Fortunately, at least in the respect to the safari, times have changed. You can’t go shooting lions and rhinoceros at your whim nowadays, and the whole animal heads on the wall is definitely not as overwhelming popular as it was back then.
But say you want something like that on your wall, but you’re the gentle sort who doesn’t like the notion of shooting an animal. You may like this Steampunk inspired art by Nemo Gould:
Behold the elusive Acoustapus that was created by Nemo Gould using naught but an acoustic guitar, rocking chair parts, chair arms, salad bowl, beads, light fixtures, brass screws, aluminum. No animals were harmed in the making of this piece of art!
If you fancy the Acoustapus, check out this one entitled Waste Deep:
Also very cool.
Nemo Gould makes all sorts of awesome retrofuturistic sculptures from found materials. You should totally check out his website to see more fantastic artwork.