This is a sequel to a post I wrote last year. So I finally went and did it: I put my money where my mouth is, and used one of the sites mentioned in my previous post, makeplayingcards.com, to convert a set of tarot cards I had designed into an actual deck. It will not be commercially released, for two reasons: firstly, it is far too derivative of other well-known decks, so there would be a rights issue if I tried to do so; and secondly and more importantly, I don’t claim to be a great artist.
The Majors and the Court Cards I created from the BOTA deck, which is deliberately printed black and white for the purpose of colouring in – as one learns about the colour correspondances of the Tree of Life. I didn’t paint the actual cards, but large scans thereof, which I then re-scanned once finished. The pip-cards, on the other hand, were mostly done with Photoshop (except for the suit of Cups). Incidentally, the pip-cards on the BOTA deck are a bit of a let-down compared with the art-work of the rest of the deck. I ended up photoshopping scans of the Rider-Waite: not only re-colouring them, but also altering the background imagery to suit my own particular interpretation of the symbolism.
Ten out of the seventy-eight cards ended up being original compositions, not based on any pre-existing tarot card. For the back, I printed the text of the invocation used in the Golden Dawn at the start of every tarot reading, for the practical reason that if I put it there, I wouldn’t forget it!
I have to say that the emotional satisfaction of getting this project completed – which is no small thing, subjectively speaking – is the exclusive advantage of this method of acquiring a new tarot deck. It is neither a costly nor timely method. Quite apart from the effort in trying to assemble all the images necessary, the website I went with, makeplayingcards.com , outsource their manufacturing and distribution to China. Not only did this add considerable time to the shipping, I discovered they stopped work over the Chinese New Year period, which of course is a major holiday for them.