Just before season four of HBO's hit series "Game of Thrones" premiered, Brazilian artist Fabio Alencar decided to embark on an ambitious project. Along with his friend and fellow artist Raitan Ohi, Alencar rounded up more than 50 fellow artists from his country and asked them to render a character from "Song of Ice and Fire" -- the book series on which the TV show is based -- each as a different playing card.
The project took two months to complete and the result is a spectacular collection of fan art that hasn't really gotten the attention it deserves -- until now.
Here we present a selection of our favorite designs, like this one -- Alencar's own Rhaegar Targaryen, the brother of one of the show's most popular characters, Daenerys Targaryen.
This is the card illustrated by Raitan Ohi, Alencar's partner in launching "The Cards of Ice and Fire" project. In the project, the Lannisters were given the suit of diamonds, naturally. In Tyrion's case, he might only be assigned the lowly two of diamonds, but "The Imp" looks pretty happy with his trademark glass of wine.
This rendering of loyal Night's Watchman Sam Tarly was done by Everton Caetano.
"I chose Sam Tarly," Caetano told Crave regarding the project. "I was imagining him in a cute cartoon style, because I'm always inspired by cartoons from Pixar, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon. But in this case it was a mix.This illustration took me about a week or so sketching different styles until finished. It was amazing to participate in this project with a lot of talented people, most of whom are now my friends."
Wildling Ygritte is included in the suit of clubs -- which was assigned to House Stark in the series -- thanks to her relationship with Jon Snow. The illustration was done by Patricia Sonoda who says she wanted to render the character in a cartoonish style that still allowed people to instantly identify her. Mission accomplished.
He might not say a lot, but Hodor is definitely a fan favorite. Here, Guilherme Darezzo says he created the lovable giant from his idea of what the character looked like in the books rather than the TV show, which he doesn't really follow.
"I cheated a little bit there," Darezzo told us. "I included a Bran on my card. But Hodor without Bran on his back is not that iconic Hodor that lives inside my mind. He becomes just a generic big slow-witted man without Bran. Anyway, I wanted my card to have a bit of lighter tone than some of the rest of the deck. I drew them at a happy peaceful moment of their journey."
Artist Leandro Sakami has done a great job of capturing the madness of Theon Greyjoy in this card, the nine of clubs, which places the much-conflicted character into House Stark for better or worse.
Sakami says his inspiration for the illustration comes from Jason Seiler, an illustrator who has created characters for Tim Burton's film "Alice in Wonderland," as well as for the online game World of Warcraft.
This dark illustration of Westeros' master puppeteer, Petyr Baelish (also known as Littlefinger), was done by Bruno Cerkvenik, who says his inspiration for the piece came from classicism.
"I love Renaissance painters, so my big inspiration was Caravaggio for that image," he told us. "I think his vision of life is somewhat similar to Littlefinger's. The troubled young years translated into an adulthood that transgresses the standards of the time in which he lived."
While there's a lot of speculation (and worry) about whether Jon Snow will be returning to the sixth season of "Game of Thrones," he'll be forever immortalized in this stylized illustration from Vencys Lao.
Lao says he initially wanted to illustrate Daenerys Targaryen but that she had already been taken. "Jon was waiting for me," he adds, "and I love the character."
You can't really assign the terrifying White Walkers to any particular house, so artist Gustavo Battiston illustrated the monster as one of the deck's jokers. If the illustration has a slight Disney feel to it, that's because Battiston counts the media giant's style among his influences, along with those of the Looney Tunes and Hanna-Barbera cartoons.
"The cards thing probably came from the idea that the drama of the series is based on a tactical game, where any move could change the whole game, so the deck of cards matched perfectly with the main theme of the plot," he says about "The Cards of Ice and Fire" project.
The leader of the horseback-riding group known as the Dothraki horde looks extra fierce here in this illustration by Francisco Fontenelle, who received a degree in graphic design from the the University of Fine Arts of São Paulo. He says he's currently looking for work in the fields of illustration, animation and comic-book design. With a style like this, it doesn't seem like it'll take him too long to find some.
Artist Tárkio Paulino works as a character designer for video games, which is apparent in this dynamic rendering of the khaleesi, Daenerys Targaryen. Note that "The Mother of Dragons" fittingly occupies the queen of hearts card.