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Author Topic: Making Your Own Tarot Deck  (Read 6410 times)
ItstheK
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« Topic Start: October 06, 2009, 05:05:54 pm »

I've already made one tarot deck by compiling pictures that spoke to me, and that is the one I currently use, that I will only print one of. However, I'm in the middle of drawing a second deck, and want some help/encouragement. This one I feel it would be OK to print multiple copies of and sell (my first deck would be a copyright nightmare). I'm working on the major arcana right now, and have finished the Tower, Fool, Magus, Priestess, Star, and Hanged Man, am almost finished with Fortune, am in the process of working on the Empress and Lust, and just started the Chariot. I'm still deciding on the final sketch for the Sun and Moon, and the Hermit is taking a back seat right now, as he doesn't want to work with me.

How many of you have made your own decks?

What do you think about making tarot instead of buying a deck?

Also, would it be all right to post pictures here for critique? (Not art critique; how well I capture the essence of the card. It feels right, but I want outside opinions)

Also, if I do decide to sell copies, because this deck will be strong (I can already feel it), I'm going to be picky as to whom I sell them to. (Meaning, THIS IS NOT AN AD. I just want some feedback and help.)
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« Reply #1: October 07, 2009, 05:10:47 am »

Also, would it be all right to post pictures here for critique? (Not art critique; how well I capture the essence of the card. It feels right, but I want outside opinions)

I don't see a problem with that.  Go right ahead.  The only thing I ask is that if the images are very big you post a link to them rather than putting them directly in your post.  Smiley
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« Reply #2: October 07, 2009, 06:38:38 pm »

Okay, cool! thanks!

Priestess:


Star:
Click here to view (NSFW content)

Hanged man:
« Last Edit: October 07, 2009, 07:24:44 pm by Star, Reason: Changing Star image to link » Logged
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« Reply #3: October 07, 2009, 07:30:05 pm »

Okay, cool! thanks!

OK, so--this is my fault, because I didn't think to make a note of this.  We do try to keep the forum PG-13, partly because we do have younger members (and even older members may have small children reading over their shoulder) and partly because a lot of people read the forum at work or school and things need to be "work-safe" for that reason.  So, while it's OK for you to ask for feedback, I do have to ask that if any image contains nudity and/or explicit sex (like, say, the Star card's depiction of oral sex), you post a link to it rather than displaying it in your post.  That way people can go see it, but it's not going to get anyone in trouble and no one's kids get an, um, education before they're meant to.  Wink  I've edited your post above to do that for the Star if you need to see an example of what I mean.

Sorry for the confusion!
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« Reply #4: October 07, 2009, 09:32:40 pm »

So, while it's OK for you to ask for feedback, I do have to ask that if any image contains nudity and/or explicit sex (like, say, the Star card's depiction of oral sex), you post a link to it rather than displaying it in your post. 

Ah! I think that was an interpretation thing. I imagined a little girl on an older brother's/father's shoulders... But I totally respect you taking it down. I never thought it could be interpreted that way.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2009, 09:38:22 pm by ItstheK » Logged
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« Reply #5: October 07, 2009, 09:33:06 pm »

How many of you have made your own decks?

What do you think about making tarot instead of buying a deck?

Also, would it be all right to post pictures here for critique? (Not art critique; how well I capture the essence of the card. It feels right, but I want outside opinions)


I like the idea of making your own tarot deck quite a bit. It gives you a chance to really dive into the symbolism and consciously ask, "now why does that mean that" or "what does X mean to me?" You get to examine details and decide whether or not you will include them in your own interpretation, and if not what you will use instead. I find it a terrific learning experience. And I like looking at other people's decks that they're making because again, it really lets you compare personal meanings. For example - your Hanged Man is rightside up and I am really curious as to why that is.

I think I understand your High Priestess, and I like the inclusion of the sword. It sort of makes me think there is logic in 'feminine wisdom' and not just all random hunches.

All that said... holy time consuming, Batman. I can see why not many people make their own decks.
My mother really, REALLY wants me to make her a deck, but as much as I love my mom, she ain't paying me so the project is slow going. And no damn way am I doing the Minor Arcana.

This is it so far. Major Arcana only, all based on different deities. My mom wants me to do the Empress next.
Death
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ItstheK
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« Reply #6: October 07, 2009, 09:41:03 pm »


I like the idea of making your own tarot deck quite a bit. It gives you a chance to really dive into the symbolism and consciously ask, "now why does that mean that" or "what does X mean to me?" You get to examine details and decide whether or not you will include them in your own interpretation, and if not what you will use instead. I find it a terrific learning experience. And I like looking at other people's decks that they're making because again, it really lets you compare personal meanings. For example - your Hanged Man is rightside up and I am really curious as to why that is.

I think I understand your High Priestess, and I like the inclusion of the sword. It sort of makes me think there is logic in 'feminine wisdom' and not just all random hunches.

All that said... holy time consuming, Batman. I can see why not many people make their own decks.
My mother really, REALLY wants me to make her a deck, but as much as I love my mom, she ain't paying me so the project is slow going. And no damn way am I doing the Minor Arcana.

Wow. I really like yours. It seems less sketchy than mine, and more focused on design.

As to why my hanged man is rightside up, I didn't feel he would be able to give that same, "I am really the master of you" stare upside down. He's still hanging -- hanging on for dear life as he's about to be sucked into the Abyss -- but I can't imagine that expression upside down. I see the hanged man as a very serious card, and it's hard for me to understand that when he's upside down.
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« Reply #7: October 07, 2009, 09:51:55 pm »

Wow. I really like yours. It seems less sketchy than mine, and more focused on design.

As to why my hanged man is rightside up, I didn't feel he would be able to give that same, "I am really the master of you" stare upside down. He's still hanging -- hanging on for dear life as he's about to be sucked into the Abyss -- but I can't imagine that expression upside down. I see the hanged man as a very serious card, and it's hard for me to understand that when he's upside down.

I'm a design-oriented sorta gal, heh. But also sadly allergic to colour, which is too bad. I think yours, being in colour, actually convey emotion better. But I think with personal tarot decks, just because one deck looks more sketchy or whatever doesn't really affect the meanings, you know? It's more the emotion and associations behind it.

I tend to think of the Hanged Man as very serious too, but my automatic urge is to put him upside down for the whole like... knowledge gained through reversal thing. I always think of that story about Odin hanging upside down on the world tree or whatever with his eyeball pulled out. And somehow being upside down always strikes me as a sort of voluntary helplessness. I think maybe you and I just have different interpretations of the card. I always see it and go, "whee, sacrifice."

Oh, heh, I also totally thought the Star was getting head. That card can be your litmus test for who's a perv at heart.
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« Reply #8: October 07, 2009, 11:25:22 pm »

Oh, heh, I also totally thought the Star was getting head. That card can be your litmus test for who's a perv at heart.

It may help if the person underneath had a face and was facing towards the viewer.
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« Reply #9: October 07, 2009, 11:43:14 pm »

How many of you have made your own decks?

I have a full major arcana set, plus the aces, that I made on index cards.  i don't use them for divination, though - I normally use that set for magic because it is easy to describe the situation I am calling into being using them.

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« Reply #10: October 07, 2009, 11:47:52 pm »


 I think maybe you and I just have different interpretations of the card. I always see it and go, "whee, sacrifice."


Interesting the distinct associations people build up.  I don't see that card as either mastery or sacrifice.  I see it as serenity and being able to accept circumstances as they are without having to pay so much attention to them that progress stops.  A very matter of fact and non-dramatic way of going on in spite of outer circumstances being out of your control.

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« Reply #11: October 08, 2009, 12:04:11 am »

Interesting the distinct associations people build up.  I don't see that card as either mastery or sacrifice.  I see it as serenity and being able to accept circumstances as they are without having to pay so much attention to them that progress stops.  A very matter of fact and non-dramatic way of going on in spite of outer circumstances being out of your control.

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I could see that - there's definitely a serenity about the card that I really love. But I just cannot shake the whole idea of it being needing to give something up in order to gain something else. Self-sacrifice, as opposed to having something taken from you. (And then the whole magical element to it and how it relates to the World card yadda yadda.) Which is probably why I am totally using Odin for that card when I eventually get around to it. Probably just what I learned it as, so it stuck.
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« Reply #12: October 08, 2009, 05:12:43 am »

It may help if the person underneath had a face and was facing towards the viewer.

And if the little girl weren't naked--I don't know if that's something integral to the meaning of the card, but it was the  nakedness + head with face not visible between the legs that mostly lead to my interpretation, I think.  (I don't object to nudity, and I don't automatically associate it with sex, but with the apparent position of the person underneath...)  Also a little bit the position of her legs; having them crossed in front would be really awkward for carrying on shoulders, which lead me to think she was lying down.

ItstheK, I know you said you weren't looking for art critique, so I don't know how helpful you're finding this, but I do think it's worth considering whether that potential interpretation might detract from the card's imagery.  (And I have no idea whether it would, not being well-versed in Tarot.)
« Last Edit: October 08, 2009, 05:14:50 am by Star » Logged

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« Reply #13: October 08, 2009, 05:22:18 am »

It may help if the person underneath had a face and was facing towards the viewer.

I thought about having the star card just floating in space, actually, but decided on having a silhouetted mysterious figure instead for the star to rest upon. I swear though several of my cards will be/are nude, there's no more questionable censors associated. (I feel rather embarrassed that neither I nor my friends saw that when I was drawing it)

I have a full major arcana set, plus the aces, that I made on index cards.  i don't use them for divination, though - I normally use that set for magic because it is easy to describe the situation I am calling into being using them.

Index cards, huh? I tried something similar once, but there was no spirit in the cards, and I ended up losing them besides. (I created the minor arcana on notepad paper that we have lying around, to look after a regular playing deck, with the exception that there were knights in addition to jacks) But I'm not criticising; I think it's neat that it works for you.

And if the little girl weren't naked--I don't know if that's something integral to the meaning of the card, but it was the  nakedness + head with face not visible between the legs that mostly lead to my interpretation, I think.  (I don't object to nudity, and I don't automatically associate it with sex, but with the apparent position of the person underneath...)  Also a little bit the position of her legs; having them crossed in front would be really awkward for carrying on shoulders, which lead me to think she was lying down.

ItstheK, I know you said you weren't looking for art critique, so I don't know how helpful you're finding this, but I do think it's worth considering whether that potential interpretation might detract from the card's imagery.  (And I have no idea whether it would, not being well-versed in Tarot.)

The Star card I see as juvenile innocence, among other things, and I remembered how I rode piggyback on my father's and brother's shoulders when creating the card. The nudity was an obvious choice for me (though not necessarily others, depending on your personal interpretation of the card), as in this card I see it as meaning freedom. I do appreciate this sort of critique, don't get me wrong. What I meant by "art critique" was "your colors look flat/your proportions are wrong/The angle of the arm doesn't look quite right".
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« Reply #14: October 10, 2009, 10:38:41 am »


One more pic, that I'm very proud of (the sphinx was pretty hard, crit all you want except her; I might go back over her still), Fortune:

I had to take a pic with my camera, as the actual thing is too big for a conventional scanner. (when I decide to print my deck, I'm handing the big ones over to the local Kinko's, with a disc for them to save them on, since I'm going to print them at home.)
(would have edited previous post to include this instead of Star, but I couldn't. Oh well.)
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