Monthly Archives: June 2013
When I was nearing the finish line of the artwork for this tarot deck, I still had one very important piece to work on: the back of the cards, of course! I’d like to say that I saved the back for last, but it was last mostly because I had no idea where I wanted to go with it. This was another huge challenge for me, and it was made even more overwhelming when I started to look into other tarot back designs. How intricate do people make the back of their tarot? What kind of style do they aim for? Do they make it a reversible image or create something entirely different? Is the back all that important – I mean, it’s the first thing that’s noticed when you see a deck, or do tarot readers not really care?
I looked around for inspiration and to get a feel for what other tarot backs were like. Styles and level of complexity varied wildly of course, from the very traditional, simple playing card backs to intricate Celtic knot designs and layers upon layers of details. I tried several different sketches, random designs, shapes, swirls, symbols, some animal-based ideas, some focusing on the elements. To me, the back of the tarot was sort of like the cover of a book.. I wanted it to be a visual summary of the rest of the deck. After a while, it felt like I was trying too hard with stuff that looked really different from the rest of the cards. So I went with something much more straight forward – something that actually made sense to me!
The skies have played a big part in the images of this deck; so it seemed fitting that night and day would be the focus of the tarot back. And with animals being at the center of it all, it was perfect to have the animals in the moon and the sun tarots take their place on the back.
I was always fond of the thin borders in the paintings; so that was brought into the image and helped define the night and day scenes. Though I don’t personally focus on reversed tarot cards (at the moment), I did want a reversible image for those that would prefer it, and as a result, there’s a sense of time passing in the picture that reminds me of the Wheel of Fortune, moving around and around.
I think I’m happy with the final piece.What do you think? Are backs all that important when it comes to a tarot deck?
It’s here! It’s here! Everything’s ready, the last sketch, the last paint stroke, the last edits, the last typed words and all the sweat and energy and hours upon hours and all the craziness have been worth all of it because we’re here! The Animism Tarot is now available!
I am ecstatic beyond words, and if I can just spazz a little, this is going to make for one amazingly memorable birthday (: I even had a little birthday spread the other day (seen below), and it’s surprising how eye opening these cards can be. It’s also still SO surreal to be able to use this tarot deck because it actually came from my brain. How did that even happen?? I am still speechless. I don’t even have the words. The right words. I’m surprised any words are coming out right now. All I can do is ramble because my brain is going nuts and this is crazy! Crazy! This is awesome!
Here’s a shot of some of the tarot cards from the very first copy of the Animism Tarot. It is beyond surreal to have this project be a reality. It was always a dream to get to this point, and all of the sweat and love and effort and craziness over the last few years have finally come to this moment. I can’t believe it!
I haven’t had the chance to really play with it yet. I still feel a little overwhelmed with what to do with it now. Is that weird or what! Aside from drawing a few cards here and there, I’ve been shuffling it a lot lately and I have to admit, I think I’m in love. This is technically the proof copy; when I first got it, I focused a lot on the very slight shifts in brightness/levels of the original images from file to print, but I think spending the past week with it has helped me get comfortable with the very subtle changes. I am debating on making a few minor colour tweaks to a few files but I think on the whole, they are as close to what I originally envisioned. I need to relax a bit and not be too much of a perfectionist over things, I think. I’m still trying to take it all in!
So yes, yes, it will be available very soon. Like as soon as I can possibly get it out. I have a verrry little bit of writing to work on, but I think I need to spend just a little bit more time with the deck to make sure that I am really satisfied with it before it’s officially available. It’s almost here!
Can you see the two cups in this tarot? I think the cups in this deck became a little more subtle than say, the more obvious sword cards. Painting the symbols was definitely a challenge and I hope they haven’t disappeared into the images too much. The Two of Cups was a fun tarot though. I thought that a sweet kind of encounter between two curious seals would be a fitting image for this card: not quite as intimate as the embracing seahorses in the lovers tarot, but this card offers a lot of potential to maybe head down that path of the lovers. There is definitely a connection between two parties when it comes to this card.
I have so much more to learn when it comes to tarot and building that connection with the images. Maybe this tarot is a good reminder of the importance of holding others close to your heart. It’s good to know that you’re never truly alone when there’s so much love and possibility just around the corner.
There’s still a bit of tweaking to do with the writing for my tarot deck, but other than that, I’m just about at the point where I’m like.. okay.. now what? Now what should I do? It’s weird actually being finished with all of the artwork! It took me a few years to get to this point; so now it’s so strange to be (just about) done this project. What do I do with myself! Eek!
I pictured pages as a bundle of potential. We have a young page, eyes shining with excitement, getting ready to take on the world, whether they’re truly ready or not! I think choosing pages was easier than some of the other court cards. The pages of this deck have a little bit of innocence. They aren’t the big, grand creatures like many of the kings or queens or knights. These pages became animals that are a little bit smaller, a little less threatening, and if I could make something cute, the pages would be it.
The Cayuga duck came to be the Page of Swords. I’d like to say that I had these grand reasons for choosing a specific breed of a species over other breeds, but most of the time I would choose a certain breed because there is just something about the look of it that just felt right. I wanted a duck that looked a little more unique, and this one has this great depth in the colouring that I was immediately drawn to. As a duck, he’s not as fierce as the wolf as the King of Swords, not as powerful as the osprey as the queen, and not quite as fast as the greyhound knight, but he is sharp, and quick, and ready to reach the greatness of the other swords.
Maybe I have the potential of the Page of Swords now. Now that the artwork for this deck is complete, I’m at a slight crossroads at the moment, trying to figure out what path to go on with my artwork. In terms of my Etsy shop, greeting cards seem to be getting the most attention; so it’s been an interesting shift from tarot paintings to more commercialized greeting cards, but it’s all about experimentation for me still. But where should I go as far as the tarot world is concerned? I feel like there’s still so much more art that can be made!
I’ve been working on nonstop file editing over the last long while. Editing and re-editing (and re-re-editing) an entire tarot card deck was definitely no picnic. But I can safely say that all of the painting for this deck is done, and for now I can enjoy the fact that in terms of this deck, all I can really do is sit back and wait, maybe even relax and daydream about having it in my hands – which, fingers crossed, should be happening very very soon!
Which brings me to the King of Pentacles. Perhaps it’s good timing to write about him after finally being able to say that the artwork for my deck is complete. The silverback gorilla was a pretty easy choice; I wanted my king to be solid and strong: a very grounded looking, caring creature. For me, this is a king of many successes, and I wanted that to show in an image that was as uncluttered as possible. He’s simply a very proud, happy and successful king, able to take time now to enjoy life, sit on his throne, breathe in that sweet air, and watch over his kingdom.