create a new deck?

Sayonaran

is it possible to create your own deck and have it published? A close friend of mine is writing a book and he wants me to design the cards... what's your say on this?

-- also, these cards are a bit, ah, unconventional. But I've never designed tarot cards, only comic books.

thanx!
 

Phoenix

If you scroll down the forum main page, you will see a forum titled "Tarot Deck Creation"...a forum dedicated to making your own decks.
 

HudsonGray

Getting published by the big 2 (Llewellyn & US Games) is pretty hard since they only do a handful each year, but smaller publishers may be the way to go--outside of doing a self publishing.

Phoenix is right, nip on over to the Tarot Deck Creation board, there's lots of people over there working on their own deck (me included). Make sure to check the archives on the board too (the number at the bottom of the page, it goes back to older posts.)

Lo Scarabeo has many decks done with a cartoon look to them. So the style won't be all that unusual. Try doing up sketches or a card or so & post a URL where we can go take a look, you'll get feedback that way.

And maybe some more info on what the book author is looking towards, any thoughts behind the design you need to work on, etc.
 

baba-prague

It is possible to do your own deck of course - and it's a great experience. PLUS, I think reading with your own deck has got to be great.

The only thing I'd say from experience is allow double or triple the time you first imagine to do this. It really is a very long haul to design a whole deck (like I say, an enjoyable long haul, but you do need to keep revising - and it takes time). I'd really second the advice about getting feedback from others. It was very useful to us. People here will give you honest opinions.

Best of luck. I'll look forward to seeing your cards.

Karen
 

rota

"The only thing I'd say from experience is allow double or triple the time you first imagine to do this. It really is a very long haul to design a whole deck (like I say, an enjoyable long haul, but you do need to keep revising - and it takes time). I'd really second the advice about getting feedback from others. It was very useful to us. People here will give you honest opinions."

++++++++++

Let me second that from Baba: As a non-tarot type, you may simply see one more job ahead of you, and are simply taking into account doing a sequence of 78 images. As a fellow illustrator, I understand the point of view.

What you may not yet fully grasp is how extremely important these images are to the Tarot devotees. You may as well mess around with the Koran or the US Constitution. They will not thank you for hurried, ill-considered, off-the-point images. Beauty counts, but accuracy is paramount. Check around a bit, and you will see that the woods are already full of poorly-understood and shallow decks masquerading as Tarot. Put yourself through a course in Tarot, or hook up for advice with a Tarotist who has a little history behind them, and a thorough working understanding of the deck. You'll avoid all kinds of errors, and end up with a deck that will stand the test of time.

I'm not saying this to put you off, but to try to impress upon you the responsibilities that go with this endeavor. I wish you the very best in your work! And some profit!
 

Sayonaran

symbols and such

I've numbed my brain to the point where I can't think coherently anymore with all this imagery!
<screams>

I just can't understand it all. I've taken a break on the cards for awhile, and started again. The only ones I understand are of Native American and Japanese in origin... the Western symbols are giving me a complete headache.

I wonder if it's possible to use just what I understand, instead of shelving deeper into library fines just to get it exactly right? I'm trying as hard as I can to make it ture for those who use tarot often (more often than I do), but I just can't get it right for some reason.
I've given it to a close friend and she gave it a test run. She told me it's more like an oracle deck, since I have so many other hidden meanings in there or something. I'm confused about that comment. I'm just the artist. I don't get inspired too much when it comes to drawing anything... but is it possible?

Before I get off track here, I just want to ask:
Are the symbols and colors that important in making a deck? Now, don't smack me upside the head for asking a foolish question, but I'd like to know.

Many thanks ahead.
 

rota

"Before I get off track here, I just want to ask:
Are the symbols and colors that important in making a deck? Now, don't smack me upside the head for asking a foolish question, but I'd like to know."

+++++++

It's actually a Fool-ish question! I mean that in the best sense.

If tarot were literature, the question would be: If I translate Shakespeare or the Rig-Veda or H P Lovecraft into Martian, how much leeway do I have? Should I use a literal word-for-word translation? Should I try to find the closest linguistic idiomatic expressions? Do I go for the beauty of the story, or should I go for the clarity of the story? You can see the problem by now: various aspects of tarot are of greater importance to different people, and in this era when we like to think and reason for ourselves, this gives rise to a thousand versions of the tarot. Take a walk down the aisle in the religion section and amaze yourself with how many versions of the Bible there are. (And how long will it be until there are as many versions of the Koran? Anyway, to get right down to it -- colors have meanings, and symbols very definitely have meanings.

Take your High Priestess for example. Read the various books and get a sense of this card's 'meanings': you'll read about things like duality, emotional qualities, psychic depths, the Tree of Life and the Qabala. All those things add up to a feeling, an understanding or a Gestalt that is personified by the figure of the woman in the chair with the funny hat between two pillars.

If you were a comics artist drawing Superman, you'd have to know the character, right? He flies, stands, speaks and dresses in a certain way. If you draw him in yellow and green, throwing ninja stars and talking like P T Barnum (without a good reason, I mean), you're not drawing Superman. It's the same with the H P.

You as the artist have to get to know her, much as you would if she were a character in a book you were illustrating. On the tarot card, she's enigmatic, maybe unapproachable, or she seems to have a hidden life elsewhere. Certain colors suit her: certain blues, purples, pale moonlike shades, black, because they're expressive of mystery. Perhaps you can't see all of her expression. Maybe shadows cross her form, hiding most everything but the shape of her pale hands making some sort of expressive gesture. Certain symbols go with her: the fact that it's a Moon card pretty much demands that there's a moon in the image somewhere. Or, perhaps you want to ignore the card's history, and simply leave out those moons, old pomegranate designs and those dumb old initialed pillars. She's usually robed chastely in white, (though, who knows? - maybe a hint of fishnet stocking is showing somewhere..). Maybe you want to see her from a low dramatic angle that accentuates her mystery, or maybe you like the stern frontal symmetry that most artists use. Any or all of these things *can* be done with the image, but you need a reason why. A real reason, not just a whim. It's about consistency and readability and usefulness or, like your friend said, you've wandered away from tarot into the realm of the oracle deck.

What I'm saying is that someone has to take charge of deciding what will be in the image, and why it's there. If you're new to tarot and don't feel you have enough of a handle on it, find someone whose opinion you trust to give you the particulars.

To return to the comic book analogy, the artist doesn't simply make up whatever he/she feels like drawing unless they're qualified to both write and draw the story. Besides the artist, there's usually the writer who comes up with the story and dialogue, and the editor who keeps story and picture following a predetermined track. It sounds like you're in the position of trying to be all three at once, so my advice now is the same as it was in the earlier reply: to partner up with someone who can tell you what should be in all the card images, and thereby make the project into a real Tarot deck.
 

Astra

Re: symbols and such

Sayonaran said:
I wonder if it's possible to use just what I understand, instead of shelving deeper into library fines just to get it exactly right?
The first run-through, this is exactly what you should do. By the time you've put together 30 or so images, the first ones should be ready to come back around and bite you in the ankle.

Even though the deck I've been working on is based very much on the standards (well, sort of), my personal bias is towards decks that READERS can use. Whether they conform to the "rules" of a Tarot deck (huh? rules?) or not. If you already have someone finding "hidden" concepts in your images, even if you didn't intend them, then it sounds as though you're well on the way.