what about the pip cards?


I have an other question for you all!

How do you feel about the suit symbols on the pip cards? Are they essential? Does the 10 of swords need to show 10 swords? I sometimes feel that the composition of the cards is ruined by having to put the apropriate amount of suit symbols in the picture.
Is it enough to express the feeling and meaning of the card by the image or is it required to put for instance 6 cups in the 6 of cups?
I'm just wondering how you feel about that.


i feel it is more important to have the proper number of items(swords etc) then the pictures, or the written number. the pictures can, at times, get in the way of the meanings.

take for example the 9 of swords. look at a rider waite or one of it's clones. nines also symblize the pinnacle of a suit, the best that can be acheived. this is easy to interpret with a marsaille style deck that has no pictures, but it is harder to remember when looking at rider waite's grim image.

this is not to say that the images have no value, they just narrow the meanings in a way, and i would hate to see each card loose it's connection with the original numerology.

a printed number alone, just doesn't resonate with me nearly as well as seeing a particular amount/number of items. the pattern and layout of the items speak as well.

but i do see your point, in that sometimes it looks as if an artist tried to squeeze in an object to make it fit.


designing suit cards

I too feel that the placement and number of suit icons in the card design is of paramount importance.
This might be different in a deck one makes for oneself (since you made up the design, you understand it), but a mass use deck that needs to speak to the greatest number of people has to be the most understandable and the least cryptic.

And, I can see how, from a designer's point of view, cramming ten discs onto a card design is pretty much a pain. But, think of it as a challenge that must be met and overcome, like so many other things in life. You're smart; you can do it. :) Make the 10 pentacles "say" stability, establishment, solidity in a memorable way.


ooops, sorry all. i had read and responded to the thread without noticing that this was in the tarot deck creation forum. so please disregard my previous post!


Hmm i have been thinking about this too recently..I have tried out both ways and think i will go for a picture without the ten swords etc.
I'm going to put the number and the symbol of the suit above or beneath the picture.

I think many won't like this but he its my deck ;)

And like with so many other things " what feel good for you is the best way to go" IMO that is :)


thanks for the imput!
I'm not yet sure what I'm going to do.
I feel that some of the pip cards are easier to merge with a certain amount of suit symbols than others.
I guess it doesn't really matter if I'm designing this deck just for me. but I guess I would have to admit that deep down I have the dream of actually publishing my deck.....
ah well nothing wrong with dreaming, it at least keeps me motivated to spend my precious spare time drawing and painting!


I think I prefer it when I see a deck with a picture; shows the author has put some thought into the meaning of the card, and I like seeing different perspectives on it. Legend: The Arthurian Tarot has a good system, I think, where there's a descriptive picture overlaid by a small box in the corner with the appropriate number of suit symbols in it. That's one solution to the problem, and it works well in that deck.

Edited to add link to examples.



Lovelace said:
i]Legend: The Arthurian Tarot[/i] has a good system, I think, where there's a descriptive picture overlaid by a small box in the corner with the appropriate number of suit symbols in it. That's one solution to the problem, and it works well in that deck.


Thats what i was trying to say!! I like the way the legend handles this!
Thanks for reminding me about this beatiful deck Lovelace :)


cool! When I use that technique, I don't have to worry about the symbols untill the painting is finished. I could just finish all 78 cards ( in the next couple of years...) and add the symbols along with the borders on a computer.
So that gives me a few years to practice digital disigning.


With my deck, I've been working on ways to hide the suit symbols in the pictures- sort of a Tarot 'Where's Waldo?'. I thought it might help encourage a meditative state of mind, or compulsive insanity. Either one works for me.

So in my case I'd have to say that having an actual numerical representation of the suit cards is important. I've seen a few decks that will have one (for example) sword, but somewhere on the card it will say '9', just so you know it's the Nine of Swords and not, say, the Ace. Of course, I can't think of one off the top of my head, but no matter. In such cases I am left with the feeling that the artist thought it might be too much trouble to put all nine swords on the card and therefore it might be too much trouble for me to bother trying to do a reading with them, or even shell out my 15-25 bucks of hard-earned cash for.

However, having said that: I'm a neophyte, so I find the pictures necessary to help engage the hamsters that run the wheels in my brain. An old hand (ha!) at Tarot reading might not need an actual display of all nine swords to get their mind into the right frame...