Money and Deck Creation



I just notied the trhead right now.
Is there anything I may help with?
(please a summary :)



Ricc, I don't think we're at a point where things can be summarized yet - we're exploring just about anything to do with money, making (and losing!) money, and feelings about money, in connection with creating and publishing Tarot decks.


Unless you can tell us what sort of advances you give to the artists who do the decks, what kind of percentage is on the royalties, and if they get royalties on a once a year basis, twice yearly basis. Or are all your decks done as straight commissioned work & the artist only gets the one payment for the job & nothing afterwards?


I do try...

as You know, Lo Scarabeo very rarely works with submission. That's I think it's for three reasons.
1. We have already too much to do of our own
2. Rarely submissions are Lo Scarabeo "style" (whatever it means)
3. We never have the time to properly follow up and control an outside project.

What it may happen (with greter probability) is that we ask author or artist to work, develop or illustrate a certain subject ot theme, with more or less interference and control from us.
In this occasion the standard for Lo Scarabeo is to make a contract for a "work fro hire". All the rights on the work will then be Lo Scarabeo, but Lo Scarabeo will pay a set money imemdiately upon completition (for artists it does pay half and half, as 78 cards is a long commitment and paying everything at the end would not be fair).
There is a bias in favour of the artist, which is of course paid more. Usually Lo Scarabeo tries to work with professional artists (for instance Toppi - Tarot of the Origins - is truly among the Olympus of illustration.) and they have set fees and rules. And anyway, it is sort of accepted the artist should be make a living for its illustration. While the author is generally considered working as side orders.
For books, Lo Scarabeo tries to work on the same direction (pays everything up front and no royalties - the author is asked from the Publisher to make a book this and that way). However there have been exception on working with roylaties. On this I am allowed to give figures as I am an author (I did the Fey book on my own). I was paid 500 Euro in advance on the roylaties and then 7% on the invoiced price (on average 40% of the cover price). And that again I divided with Mara. Believe me... if it were for the money it would not be worth it. Not at all.


So, like most art, even authoring doesn't really pay unless you can turn out quantity.

Folks better appreciate art/books a little more, it seems that it's almost all done for the love of doing it, not as a way of making a living.


Thanks greatly, Ricc. It actually seems more positive to try self-publishing, the more I hear from people with solid experience. At least I'm not sitting with a staff and premises, both of which have to be supported by ongoing sales, so if it doesn't work, I'm not going to let down other people who are counting on my business expertise, rather than my artistic sense.

On the other hand, it would really be nice to make enough to turn most of the trivia over to somebody else...


I'd like to add my thanks - it's a terribly honest, straightforward account, and appreciated.

So, I've been wondering what I can possibly say that would contribute at this point - so much useful stuff is in this thread already. Then I read a friend's blog ( - not advertising as he's not selling! Just a sort of musing on life, design, business and so on) and he is recommending this today:

Michael McDonough’s Top Ten Things They Never Taught Me in Design School

I don't agree with all of it - and I bet almost no-one will. But as a summary of the relationship between money and business and - on the other hand, art and creation (which after all is where this thread began) it's really good stuff. It may give you a few wry smiles too - it did me.

Here is an extract, just to get you interested:

"95 percent of any creative profession is **** work...If you don’t learn to love the boring, aggravating, and stupid parts of your profession and perform them with diligence and care, you will never succeed."
I have to just add that either I am incredibly fortunate or he is very pessimistic. I enjoy a high proportion of the work we do here - I even get a buzz from some aspects of seemingly boring shipping and stuff like that (it's a bit romantic to me to hear that our decks shipped from Hamburg on a boat called "Tokyo Girl" [or something like that] bound for Los Angeles - gives me a little shiver of excitement!)
But anyway, he is a good "Devil's Advocate".


Hm... sounds all kind of depressing. when talking money, but there are all sorts of other compensations when one is an artist. (or Tarot reader etc) Obvious reason why the value of the work is descending, among others, is an increasing number of decks available, if there would be only few decs, their creators would be bilionairs. This is when we are talking about Tarot creation apart from art profession in general.
Maybe Major Tom should put some powerfull spells to spare Tarot creators from poverty, and increase general valuation of work itself..

But there is another question here, drawing my attention, why there are so many people eagarly taking this challenge in past, let's say 10 years??? Is it just a coincidence or what?
There are numerous professional main stream artist as well, who do not participate in Tarot community and do not have ambitions to publish their work(I personally know two of them in Croatia), but are creators of remarkable Tarot interpretations.

Is it possible that massive Tarot creation movement is a sign of Spiritual Revolution (evolution?) is this expressing someting new and important in the core of civilization and human nature, and what??? Maybe one day in Utopia Society Tarot will become some kind of currency …(hm, my own brainstorming excerpt)
/cups for medical services, beauty etc, swords for intelectual, discs for …hm furniture, houses.., …/


At present I am writing an essay for Art's magazine, and probably will bring up this topic on national TV (Coatia) as an art-history phenomena. So please post some opinions on that question
(Social phenomena as well considering incredibly increasing number of Tarot phone lines and all sorts of Tarot readers)


Baba-prague, a great article. Especially

"The world is not set up to facilitate the best any more than it is set up to facilitate the worst. It doesn’t depend on brilliance or innovation because if it did, the system would be unpredictable. So, good deeds and brilliant ideas go against the grain of the social contract almost by definition. They will be challenged and will require enormous effort to succeed. Most fail. Expect to work hard, expect to fail a few times, and expect to be rejected. "

It sounds so simple, really, but I wish, I wish, someone had drummed that into my head a long, long time ago - I could have coped a whole lot better.

Believe it or not, for all the work I've done on my internal expectations, that came as a shock - or at least as an epiphany - when I read it this morning. I think I'm going to print it out and frame it and hang it where I have to look at it, for a while at least.


well, at the risk of getting a bit off-thread (but not very)

If you would like an icon to go with that quote, you might enjoy choosing from one of these "Patron Saints of Graphic Design"

I like Saint Anxiete myself ;-)