THE BLENDING DILEMMA
Back in the spring of 2018, I began to illustrate the characters of Gem Blenders. When faced with designing the blend cards, I encountered an interesting dilemma: If blends are transformations used by the specific heroes on your field, what is the best way to depict them? I ultimately decided that the blend illustrations would feature unnamed example heroes using the given blend. While this remains a good decision, it fails to highlight that the likeness of your heroes is meant to carry through even when they are blended.
I find it helpful to think of blends as outfits or costumes. A single hero has the ability to use different blends depending on what gems they have.
Conversely, different heroes can use the same blend and still maintain their own likeness.
Up until this point, there has only been one official representation of each blend. With our monthly Patreon exclusive sets, I’m revisiting cards from the Base Collection (Beta Version) and offering a depiction that features a different base hero. Not only are these new interpretations fun to compare to the originals, but they help to more holistically depict how blending functions in Gemlandian society.
THE BIG RETURN
I studied art in school, but illustration was definitely uncharted territory for me when I began to piece together the aesthetic of Gem Blenders. I opted for cute, simple, black-and-white drawings paired with lo-fi backgrounds and accents, all to reference the early internet and old-school video games.
Over these four years, Gem Blenders and I have matured in so many ways. From printing the base collection, to expanding the team, to designing a whole set of new cards (which will be a part of the next print run), we’ve been through a lot together especially during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It feels really special to go back to the blends that began this journey and take an entirely new approach to them four years later. Having the support of the rest of the Gem Blenders team has been a major boon as well, providing a sounding board for new lore ideas that we can release via alternate flavor text.
FOR THE COLLECTORS
The Base Collection (Beta Version) was released using a “Living Card Game” model, which I had decided was the best way to begin to grow our community at the time. As a team, we’ve now begun the journey to become a true trading card game.
These Patreon exclusive cards are our first-ever cards designed to be collectibles. Not only do they have alternate art and alternate flavor text, but they also feature our updated full-art template design in holofoil! While these cards have not necessarily reached their final form, they are much closer to what we imagine our cards to look like in our first print run as a TCG.
More than anything, these cards are indicative of the transition we are experiencing as we begin to prepare for our Kickstarter. By supporting our Patreon, you’re helping us create the cards that solidify us as a collectible and will help us reach new players and collectors alike.
Thanks for checking out this post and be sure to watch the following video where I describe our Patreon exclusive cards:
Check out the Gem Blenders Patreon page here.