Junior Emma Hsiao’s “Tale of Scales” deck of playing cards is currently in its fundraising period on Kickstarter with 29 of 55 illustrations completed so far.

Junior Emma Hsiao launches a deck of playing cards on Kickstarter

Combining her passion for art and environmental awareness, junior Emma Hsiao has launched a Kickstarter project to help spread recognition of global herpetofauna (reptiles and amphibians) decline. Hsiao developed her idea to create a deck of cards, Tale of Scales, with reptile and amphibian illustrations in art teacher Catherine Ciccolo’s graphic design class. 

Kickstarter is an American corporation that provides a platform to crowd-source funding for creative projects. After posting initial illustrations online, Hsiao received positive feedback and therefore decided to pursue the project. 

  When someone mentions extinction and endangered species, the first animals that come to mind are the polar bears and rhinos. Often, reptiles and amphibians (collectively known as herptiles) are overlooked,” Hsiao said.  

As a result, Hsiao believes that reptile and amphibian species deserve more attention in order to protect them from harm. 

“Frogs especially have been impacted most significantly; 90 species have gone extinct in the wild in the last 30 years.  Each card in the deck has a different animal on it, so regardless of what game you play with the deck, you’ll see something unique,” Hsiao stated. 

Ciccolo believes Hsiao’s keen artistic eye has contributed to her success.

“Emma has worked hard to hone a sophisticated design sense, attention to detail, observational drawing skills and real command over the digital programs. This project is an opportunity for all of these long-practiced skills to come together,” Ciccolo stated. 

Hsiao’s initial success stems from her different artistic abilities and perspectives, resulting in reaching her first goal of $3,000 in funding within nine days of launching. 

“I think the major reason why this project was so successful was its unique vision and art style. There aren’t many decks of cards out there that are centered around reptiles, much less all hand-illustrated, so I think this uniqueness attracted a lot of interest,” junior Anthony Cui stated. 

Aside from reaching her initial goals, Ciccolo hopes that Hsiao has gained meaningful experience in this artistic process.

“I think Emma has seen how much determination and hard work can really pay off.  Of course, she has learned better work-flow by the sheer number of cards produced and the merits of a limited color palette, cohesiveness, balance and variety in design,” Ciccolo noted. “More importantly, I can see that she has discovered a real passion for and confidence in her creative endeavors. I can’t wait to see how she tackles the next challenge!”

For more information or to support Hsiao’s project, go to: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/haasio/the-tale-of-scales-deck

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