Hello dearests, welcome. Hubby and I are on the road again, this time in my old stomping grounds of NE Ohio. The weather is dreary and rainy, absolutely perfect! Since I am still practically an invalid, I am enjoying the hotel room with the whirlpool jets in the tub. Remember, sometimes it is the small things that get you through.
The Courtly Love Tarot
A while ago I decided I wanted to try my hand at making my own tarot deck. I have like no artistic skills, so drawing my own was out. But, I do have some alright Photoshop skills and there are tons of royalty-free or public domain photos on the internet. So I set to work designing my own deck.
I am a hopeless romantic. I adore stories of chivalry and honor. I'm also a bit obsessed with John William Waterhouse's work. Combining all of these loves, I created my Courtly Love Tarot deck using public domain images and graphics. All of my images are from Pre-Raphaelite artists. Their subject matter and imagery just spoke to me.
A Few Tips:
1. Use large resolution, high quality images
2. Make a basic "template". If you are going to use a border or some text boxes, save a template image so you only have to change the background photo and the font size. This will save a lot of frustration.
3. Don't be afraid to use only portions of an image, maybe you only want part of it
4. Make one image into multiple cards, if there are several different subject in the image break it up
5. Don't be afraid to make the deck fit your personality, I used one art style as my theme. Maybe you want to do one with just landscapes or one type of animal. The sky is the limit!
Now that I had a theme, I needed to figure out how to make digital mock-ups and then find someone to print my deck. There are several online retailers that will print on demand your deck. I used The Game Crafter. They had really reasonable prices, nice card stock finishes (I used linen I think), and good reviews. They also template I downloaded and used in Photoshop, so I could make sure all cards fit within their printing perimeters. There is also a template for making a box for your deck too. Not essential, but it is nice. The box is a little large so there is room for a little white book if you want to do that as well. I didn't, so there is extra room in my box which doesn't bother me.
Back of Cards
Some caveats about this website. I did have to have them re-print my deck (they did free of charge) as the first printing had some big issues like a super weird smell and not clean cuts. The fixed most of them in the second printing, however there was a bit of drift in my images. Now their site does say there could be about 1/4 inch drift, mine was probably more than that but I honestly didn't feel like "fighting" with them again. Also, they don't recommend doing dark around the edges because you can get chipping of the ink. As you can see in my photos, there is some extensive chipping but I liked how it looks so it wasn't an issue. A plus side of this website is that you can sell your deck right from their site, but there really isn't a big profit on your part. You can print lots of copies of your deck too, but it is expensive if you are trying to do a big run and you may find another business set up for big runs.
Now this is a labor of love and learning. I believe it took me about two-three weeks to get all the images and card mock-ups done. I actually got probably over 100 images and narrowed them down throughout the process. I took it a card at a time, made sure I picked images with subject matter that I could easily identity for the meaning of the cards. One added benefit of this process is you get to make a deck that speak to you, you get to examine the nuances of the card meanings and find an image that really resonates.
Here are some larger photos of some cards. I think this turned out really nice. I love using this deck for my personal readings. I've not used it on a client yet, somehow that seems a little intrusive. I adore the idea of having a deck that is all my own.
I think my next deck will be an oracle deck. I am not sure what theme just yet, maybe something to do with the moon. This was such a fun project. It got my creative juices flowing and really helped me connect with tarot on a deeper level. It is sort of like a color-your-own-tarot deck, without getting frustrated if you aren't a good artist (which I am totally not).