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Author Topic: Making my own Tarot Deck - Advice/Suggestions?  (Read 344 times)

mona lizard

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Re: Making my own Tarot Deck - Advice/Suggestions?
« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2018, 03:01:22 am »

That's a very good point, hadn't considered that. Thinking about potentially using something as a backing for the cards instead of plastic/laminate?  I can't come up with anything that won't make them too rigid.

Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk

Hmm other than plastic I have no idea for that, sorry :/

But something I just thought of is, if you don't want to use the most convenient digital print, you could maybe try hand printing! Lithography, wood engraving, linoleum engraving, silkscreen painting, metal engraving... There are a lot of different printing techniques that are entirely handmade. Some of them require a little bit of material but it's not that pricey, and a lot of artists with a printing press would let you borrow it if you can find etching artists to contact.

With these techniques you would get all the advantages of printed cards : an even and flat texture, identical backs of the cards, consistency in the designs (if you reuse the same engraved frames or numbers for instance), ...

But you would also get the advantages of handcrafting: each card would be done entirely by hand, engraving requires patience and a bit of physical strength, you can cut the paper yourself and even make the paper yourself, you have control over which ink you want to use. Some engraving techniques like metal engraving can even let you use watercolors (i've done it before and it's way fun, metal engraving also allows for more details, but it's more expensive than wood or lino).

This is a little bit longer than just drawing and painting on the cards, especially if you want detailed cards with lots of color, but you can reduce yourself to a few colors which could also help with symbolism (just like the Marseilles tarot only has 8 different colors that each mean something different). The more details and the more color you use, the longer the process will be.

While I'm at it, advice I would give to you for a homemade deck is: write write write about your readings a lot more than you would with a regular tarot deck, cause this is with thorough analysis of your readings and your feelings about each card that you will really understand your personal symbolism. My favourite oracle deck isn't a regular oracle deck, it's a deck of cards from a card game from my childhood that I use for divination. When I started reading with it I went with basic symbolism for interpretation but while analyzing my readings I found out some cards didnt mean what I thought they meant.
- 20 year old artist from France, childlike wonder! -

Emma Eldritch

Re: Making my own Tarot Deck - Advice/Suggestions?
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2018, 02:57:00 pm »
What I'd say is planning out your symbolism. Make it consistent. Since this is something only for you, make it as personal as you want. If you want to include recurring imagery of faeries, do it. If you want to replace pentacles with diamonds because that's what you think of when it comes to wealth, do that. If your image of the Hermit isn't some old man with a three-foot beard, then don't do that. As I said, just make it consistent, and make sure every card shows something that you personally link with the message of that card.

Other than that... Plan plan plan! Thumbnails! Sketches! Scrap paper!

Yes, yes, yes to all of this.

Also realise it may take you longer than you initially thought and that's okay.

Darkhawk

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Re: Making my own Tarot Deck - Advice/Suggestions?
« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2018, 04:41:34 pm »
Does anyone have any advice/suggestions/helpful hints in doing this?

I've been doing design work on a Tarot (with the end goal of Kickstarting it somewhere down the road, so a different mode).  So I've got a different angle of thought for you to consider:

The thing about the Tarot is that it is a complex system of symbology.  Even if you strip out a lot of the conventional stuff you have:

* the Greater Arcana, a system of twenty-two distinct archetypes
* four suits of Lesser Arcana, each of which has an internal arc of meaning flavored by its suit, but also where each distinct number has commonalities across the suits (threes are an initial completion of the thematic arc of the suit, f'ex)

It takes a lot of symbolic work to build a Tarot.  So I would suggest that you do some chewing on what symbolic setups work for you.  Assuming you wish to retain some sort of elemental alignments for the suits, for example, do you work with the ceremonial tools that are in the standard symbol-set, or do you wish to recast them into other sets?

(In my own Tarot design, for example, the minor suits are Grapes, Myrrh, Waterlily, and Bees.  Three plants with various relevant symbolic and mythical associations, and the living energy that helps propagate plants.  I have dabbled in the standard ceremonial tools a little and meh; also I don't find them useful for generating meaning, and if I'm making a meaning-storage device like a Tarot I want it to be dense with the stuff.)

The tools and symbols of the Minors have traditional appearances in the Majors.  The Magician, for example, is traditionally portrayed as having the use of all four ceremonial tools.  What does that mean, structurally, within your symbol-set, and how are the tools arrayed?  (I personally favor the Magician as a trickster figure and way-opener rather than a master of the tools, because damnit mastery comes at the end of the Fool's Journey, not the beginning, but that is a matter of Tarot neepery.  But there are a lot of questions like that, with interpretation, that are part of Tarot design.)

Designing a Tarot is, in my opinion, a brilliant way of codifying and exploring one's personal symbolism, assuming that one is to the point in one's practice that there's enough meat there to make a meal.  I think the Majors can do very well as representations of a personal pantheon, sets of governing principles and ideals, or something similar, with the Minors exploring related themes.  It's great fun to do, too.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

Sefiru

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Re: Making my own Tarot Deck - Advice/Suggestions?
« Reply #18 on: January 15, 2018, 07:08:07 pm »
But something I just thought of is, if you don't want to use the most convenient digital print, you could maybe try hand printing!

As someone whose main artistic medium is woodcut/lino cut (I've also done a bit of etching and silk screen), I have to disagree. I absolutely would not recommend hand printing for this project, unless Feral Wife was already an expert in it.

Quote
Some of them require a little bit of material but it's not that pricey, and a lot of artists with a printing press would let you borrow it if you can find etching artists to contact.

It adds up, especially if you want good quality tools and materials. Block printing can be done fairly cheaply, but intaglio printing (engraving and etching, where the ink is down in the grooves) requires a lot of steps, and thus a lot of materials and space. And some of those materials can be dangerous: for example, oil-based printing ink is capable of spontaneous combustion if disposed of incorrectly. Don't even get me started on etching.

Also, I find that carving requires an entirely different set of motor skills than drawing or painting; even the feel of the different materials takes some adjustment. Especially since everything is backwards while you're working. And then there's the inking/printing process itself, which is a whole other skill set which requires practice to get good results. 

Quote
consistency in the designs (if you reuse the same engraved frames or numbers for instance), ...

Urk, I hope you're not suggesting printing several plates to make up one card. Getting them to line up properly is the worst.

Jack

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Re: Making my own Tarot Deck - Advice/Suggestions?
« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2018, 07:26:06 pm »


In my own Tarot design, for example, the minor suits are Grapes, Myrrh, Waterlily, and Bees. 

I eagerly await the opportunity to use "that'll give you bees" in a legit Tarot reading.

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Darkhawk

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Re: Making my own Tarot Deck - Advice/Suggestions?
« Reply #20 on: January 15, 2018, 09:09:04 pm »
I eagerly await the opportunity to use "that'll give you bees" in a legit Tarot reading.

Tim Curry does not figure in the design, however.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

Uneryx

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Re: Making my own Tarot Deck - Advice/Suggestions?
« Reply #21 on: January 15, 2018, 11:06:27 pm »
Tim Curry does not figure in the design, however.

Oh indeed!


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