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This is Section is meant for articles and other tarot resources. Currently, there's only one (by me). But I would greatly appreciate it if you could submit or contribute an article or two here. :) It would be very greatly appreciated, and you would of course be credited for your work.
TAROT DECK CREATION (by Lynyrd Narciso)
Well, if you are planning on making your own tarot deck, though by no means am I an expert, I have a few general noteworthy comments that may aid in your endeavor. Take it from one novice creator to another. :)
First, you must understand that this is a very big undertaking. Creating 78 (or more) different images is by no means a simple thing to do. Hence, you must be realistic with your time-related goals. For one thing, you must budget your time wisely. As with most of us, this project won’t be the only thing that you’ll be doing and attending to. There’s probably school, work, your family, and other things. Even in a fast pace, I am quite doubtful that you’ll be able to all cards within a week. Besides, you wouldn’t want a deck with half-baked images in it, would you?
Plan your deck creation project over a period of time. Though deck creation may be subject to one’s emotional and meditative mood, it still would be nice to set specific goals, so that you are more driven to work on the deck.
For example, in a period of 4 weeks, you allot 3 cards a week for meditation and creation. That will total 12 cards already in a months’ time. And, say, for the first week, you allot the following cards for creation: the Fool, the Magician, and the High Priestess. Allot or free specific areas in your week’s schedule wherein you just meditate on the card and begin your sketching.
3 cards a week is by no means a standard practice (actually there IS no standard practice, I think), in deck creation. And that is why you must adjust your goals to your target output, which in turn must adjust to the amount of free time you have. Do not rush, it’s better to keep working on something, continually adding to it and beautifying it, rather than creating something that you would not be proud of.
Though anyone can make a tarot deck – from professional artists to novices – it would be great if you have a basic understanding and foundation of the cards. I’m not saying that there is a standard meaning for every card in a deck. Actually, I’ve observed that with each deck created, there is a change in card meaning reflecting the personal interpretation of the deck creator. What I’m saying is you must have a clear idea of what each card represents to you. This is, after all, your deck, and if there’s anyone who’s going to use it the most, it will be you.
I firmly believe that anyone can achieve a certain level of artistry, regardless of the amount of aesthetic training. My advice here is, to be realistic, but not lax. You know what looks good for you, and what will pass the mark. Do not settle for something just because you think you’re not artistically capable.
In fact, there are a lot of media available which you can use to create your cards. And now, more than ever, it has become very exciting and easier to create one’s own deck. If you are confident with your drawing/sketching/painting skills, then by all means start with that. For those who do not trust their hands in this matter, there is collage.
Also, as we live in the digital age, why not try to take advantage of your computer by either doing collage digitally, or perhaps digital painting, 3d art, etc. Doing it digitally can offer a number of advantages. For one thing, you can repeat the same image over and over again (for collage) without the hassle of having them photocopied and cut. Plus, mistakes are so easy to undo here, retracing your steps back with a few clicks of the mouse.
But of course, these aren’t the only ways to do art for the tarot. Ever since the Impressionists blurred the fine lines of traditional art movement, there has been a huge variety of styles and methods available to the artist – from the comic-y art of Roy Lichtenstein to the chaotic turbulence of Jackson Pollock, anything goes. You can use various media for your project. I even have this weird idea I wanna try (after I finish all my current deck projects, that is). An origami tarot! I’ve even seen a Polaroid tarot, so just think of being creative.
A few things I would want to impress upon you, though. One, please to try to finish one deck at a time. Especially for those who have a billion ideas buzzing in and out of their minds in a flash, its so very tempting to start on just about any deck idea that comes to your head. Do try to finish the first deck you started and then proceed to the next. (I wouldn’t want you to end up like me now, having a difficult time managing the decks I’m making)
Two, do try to be uniform with your deck. You can opt for a theme, as it usually helps center your ideas. The theme can be a very loose or personal one like something based on your life, or perhaps a more artistic/cultural/etc one (like a Bauhaus Tarot), or a mixture of everything in between. However, do stick to your theme, as I find that it gives the deck a feeling of wholeness. Also, do be uniform with your borders, card titles, etc. Again, the wholeness thing.
The level of investment you make in your project ranges from just some petty cash to a few thousand dollars. It depends upon the scale and magnitude of what you’re doing. First, there’s the materials for creating the deck. Paper, sketching and coloring materials, or graphic software etc. It also depends if you want to make your deck available not just to you, but to other people as well (hence having it printed en masse).
But be certain and realistic with your goals. This is not meant to be discouraging, but try to think from other peoples’ perspectives if you plan to sell your deck. Do you think they’d find your deck appealing? Which markets does your deck cater to? And a whole host of other marketing and management concepts I feel inept to tackle.
Or, you can submit to deck publishers. In any case, I hope you enjoy your deck creation.
Lynyrd Narciso 2004