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Tarot Cielo by Kat Black

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Myrrha's Avatar
Myrrha  Myrrha is offline
Join Date: 23 Sep 2002
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 3,652

Originally Posted by retrokat
I think some of you may be pleased to know that I will be commiting myself over the next few months to making Tarot Cielo.

Does this mean I've got a publishing deal? Well no, not really. And I won't be looking for one (not in the traditional sense, anyway) until it's all finished.

So, how is this so?

A wonderful, generous benefactor, who wishes to remain anonymous, has given me an 'arts grant' to support me while I work on Tarot Cielo.

You can imagine how deeply humbled I am that a perfect stranger would see fit to donate me a large sum of their own hard-earned cash so that I can have the luxury of being able to indulge my creative tendancies on this project solidly for a couple of months.

The person doesn't even want rights, or a percentage or anything. Just a copy when and if it gets published.

Thanks so much, secret benefactor. I will be forever in your debt, and I hope I can produce something worthy of your faith in me.

Since I can't say who you are, perhaps all the other people who feel grateful that you've enabled Tarot Cielo to be created might like to leave you a message here?

Warmest regards,

That is so great! You have a patron, just like the artists who painted those original long-ago paintings. How wonderful to hear of such a generous act.
Top   #151
acucent  acucent is offline
Join Date: 08 Jul 2007
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Kat...Q. of wands is lovely...she immediately speaks to my heart.
U.S.Games did a nice job, with the printing, packaging and quality of the Golden Tarot...much better than their usual plastic coated product...But with this new deck you are are moving into an area of greater refinement and sensitivity.

Does Magic-Realist Press print decks other than their personal creations? Their print quality is luminous...Perhaps they will be expanding in the future...

I can see this new deck in the same type of flip box as golden...good looking, strong, and convenient... tarot bags of silk imprinted with card images would be very elegant...again I am thinking of a collaboration with Magic-Realist Press.

Thanks for the peek of Q of Wands!
Former Corporate Designer
Top   #152
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retrokat  retrokat is offline
Join Date: 12 Aug 2002
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Thanks for the suggestions Susi. Karen said back on Page 8 that they're booked out a couple of yrs in advance and don't really publish other peoples decks (although no actual reference to Cielo, it was in the context of a similar suggestion to yours).

My main hope is still for a digital deal, in order to make an ongoing living. The problem with producing something like a tarot deck is that even if people love and treasure it and use it every day, the creator only gets paid one small amount once. If I can have my images used in context of something more consumable (eg phone and online readings) then I stand a much better chance of making a living from the work.

I will definitely be trying to have a 'real' version of the deck produced, but it may be a small self-published run just for collectors and loyal fans (in particular my wonderful patron). I'm not that fussed if none of the 4 main tarot publishers are interested, this was never intended to be a typical tarot deck - more of a personal project because of my interest in new media, and the challenge of making a deck for such a different format.
Top   #153
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Tesseljoan  Tesseljoan is offline
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Oh, so I was close with my guess! (well, kind of...)

Kat, it seems like a very interesting concept, and I hope that it will work out to break into that mobile phone market. Your deal with USGames also made for interesting reading. From the standpoint of a consumer it's interesting to see how a deal is done (remake the whole deck at high-res? I had no idea!).

Good luck with Tarot Cielo, and many thanks to your anonymous benefactor!
Top   #154
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baba-prague  baba-prague is offline
Join Date: 24 Nov 2002
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Well, just to clarify in general - with no reference to Cielo - we will gradually be moving to publishing other people's decks - though probably not until 2009. We aren't very likely to accept submissions (though in theory it could happen) as we have fairly clear ideas about the kinds of decks we want to do - as we only intend to publish a few each year we will tend to go for those that we feel very personally committed to and involved with.

As I understand it, Tarot Cielo isn't intended for print but is designed to be used digitally, on mobile phone networks - it's very nice to see a deck done specifically for this purpose.
Top   #155
6 Haunted Days  6 Haunted Days is offline
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6 Haunted Days 

I was just loving the direction this deck was heading, I do so love that whole time period. Using such farmilar faces for cards is so brilliant! And I was liking the art much better than the Golden (which I love!) but now that the secret is out I am not so happy. Digital? So I can admire it online but not acutally use it (cell phones work for crap in VT, so no point in owning one). *sigh* Oh well.

Also I am one of those people who don't like e-books or reading cards online (as in those generated card sites) as it just seems cold. I love to hold, shuffle and get the energy of the cards, and with them in a computer it's just kind of cold and removed imo. But I do know some who enjoy doing things like that online with images or reading books. I'm just old fashioned when it comes to those things.
Top   #156
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retrokat  retrokat is offline
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As I've said, it will probably be a 'real' deck (ie, made of dead trees) as well, but probably a small collector run as I'm not chasing any of the big publishers.
Top   #157
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baba-prague  baba-prague is offline
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Originally Posted by retrokat
As I've said, it will probably be a 'real' deck (ie, made of dead trees) as well, but probably a small collector run as I'm not chasing any of the big publishers.
If I understand your intentions for this deck that may be very wise in any case - as you obviously will need to retain full copyright. I really do hope to see it on a mobile phone screen before too long, that would be very exciting!
Top   #158
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Pagan X  Pagan X is offline
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Pagan X 

The story of your relationship with US Games in your interview was fascinating. They seem...well, an 800 pound gorilla at first blush, muscling the poor Tarot designer with their demands to all rights of reproduction. Then, with their commitment to production quality for the Golden, bringing it out in China at such a reasonable price... one would assume that now that Kat has proven herself with an award-winner that they'd bend on the the reproduction rights, eh?

I think about what must be the publisher's side of the story. One thing occurs to me: for US Games, Llewellyn, LS, not all of their decks are going to be sales winners. The winners have to make enough money for the publisher to offset the clunkers; and part of that income comes from selling/leasing reproduction rights to web sites, standalone video games, tee shirts or whatever. If they don't extract enough value from the winners to pay for the clunkers, then they'd have to become more conservative in their choices of decks to produce--to take fewer risks and go with safe Waite/Smith clones--or bring out no new decks at all.

In addition to the difficulty of predicting what will be a winner versus a clunker *this year* is the lag time between the introduction of a new deck an it reaching its audience. We've seen here time and again a deck introduced some years back going out of print, but the demand continues beyond its publishing life.
Top   #159
retrokat's Avatar
retrokat  retrokat is offline
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Hiya Pagan,

Yep, I agree 100%. I don't feel bitter at all about the fact that they get digital rights. I think even though Golden's a good seller, with such incredible production quality for such a low price I'm sure even as a sales-winner it's not a profit-maker for them. I'm forever grateful that they went to so much effort to produce the deck the way they did, and hopefully it's continued popularity makes them know it was worth the effort and expense.

Before I even signed with USGS, some of their other top creators had warned me that they will never budge on the copyright thing, so I think it's probably less awkward for both me and them if I don't even ask them

I spoke to a printer friend who told me that a small run is possible. Of course it won't have fancy gold edges and stuff, but it will at least be something 'real' in addition to the digital version.

There's a wonderful book The Long Tail by Chris Anderson that I read about 2 yrs ago, that made me more determined to think laterally about how artists can support themselves in the new economy. eg self-publishing a book on may make the author more income than getting a deal with a major publisher.

Llewellyn have changed to respond to the new 'Long Tail' - eg they cultivate author fan-clubs on their site, have a program of regular guest appearances throughout the US, encourage their authors to do podcasts, and all those other new audience/author relationship possibilities that the web's given us. USGS are a more traditional publisher, but then they work very hard at their established ways of distribution - and there are always going to be people who walk into a bookstore, see a deck and buy it. Not everyone uses Amazon, Tarot Garden, Alida etc. I've heard there are even people who don't use the web, although I'm a bit skeptical that they exist

I think what Stuart Kaplan's done for modern tarot is amazing. I wonder if any of this... the whole tarot community... would be what it is today if he hadn't taken a fancy to a copy of the RWS deck he picked up in Europe back in the 70's. If he wasn't such a forceful personality, he could never have made USGS what it is.

So, in his honour, here's Kaplans oft-quoted favourite card (the Fool) from Cielo (still in progress...):
Attached Images
Top   #160


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