Draven Reviews: Smudged by John Horn

not approved

Title: Smudged

Artist: John Horn

Producers: Alakazam Magic UK

Link: http://www.murphysmagic.com/Product.aspx?id=53032

Retail Price: $41.50 USD

Learning Difficulty: Easy

Length of DVD: 30 minutes




  • Instructional DVD
  • 2 Gaffed Smudge Markers



DVD Features:

  • Titles
  • Introduction
  • Live Performance
  • One Card Routine
  • How To Handle The Pen
  • Two Card Routine
  • Changing The Ink Cartridge




You have a card selected, signed in Sharpie marker, and returned to the deck. You place an indifferent card on the table face down, wave the sharpie over it. Run your thumb over the sharpie itself, causing the logo to read the name of the selected card, and then when the spectator turns over the card on the table it has magically changed into their signed card!


I’m going to get this out of the way now. I’m not an overly huge fan of card tricks in general, and I absolutely hate this trick. In a market absolutely saturated with card tricks and reveals for card tricks this is just one more convoluted way of revealing something to the spectator that, in my opinion, could be done in other ways that would be more impactful. When the DVD is over 30 minutes long just to explain a paddle move you know they’re trying to oversell it. What you get is a DVD, and two custom printed markers that will all together cost you about $50 bucks. It’s just complete and utter bullshit.

Sharpies are as much a part of the close up workers tool set as a deck of cards is. So finding ways to incorporate the markers into your magic is always a goal. Why just settle for using an item during a trick when the item itself can become the trick right? The potential to make this unique is there but Alakazam chose to go for the easiest copout possible: A card reveal. When you consider that you can print just about anything on the marker from numbers, to pictures, going for a playing card selection is just lazy.


The reactions I’ve received from doing the two card routine, with the marker switch out and second Smudge reveal weren’t bad. People are genuinely impressed by it, but as an artist I just personally roll my eyes at spending close to $50 bucks for a card reveal I can do half a dozen other ways, and for less money, and have a harder hitting impact.



When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The four points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, Sound & Video Quality and Overall Quality.

Product Quality: 4

Over priced and there are other reveals out there that are stronger for the money. Hell you can make this yourself if you really HAD to do this trick.


Teaching Quality: 4

The DVD over teaches this trick. To the point where it is monotonous.  Can you do a paddle move? Do you own a Hot Rod? Done. There you go. Now add in a card revelation and a weak reveal and you’re set.


Video & Sound Quality: 9

The sound and video are the only things good about this product.


Overall Quality: 3

Over priced piece of magic which will be loved more by magicians than the spectators they’re performing for. This is a convention purchase that will sit in your junk drawer and never see the light of day because by the time you get it home you’ll already have stronger ways to reveal a person’s selected / signed card.

About William Draven

William Draven is a professional magician and sideshow performer living in Los Angeles, California. Follow him on Twitter at WilliamDraven or on facebook at www.facebook.com/thewilliamdraven
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